More drivers fighting Banbury train station car park operator over unfair fines

Banbury Station car park. NNL-190904-122249009
Banbury Station car park. NNL-190904-122249009

More drivers have accused a car park operator at Banbury train station of ‘taking advantage of people’ by fining paying motorists.

So far, four people have gone public with their appeals against parking charge notices from Britannia Parking since it took over the Station Mill Approach car park.

The operator says the car park is clearly signed to meet the industry’s code of practice to highlight that it is no longer run by Chiltern Railways, but complainants disagree.

Shona Beard, who is fighting two fines from Britannia, said: “They’re trying to wear everybody down.

“I’m sure people have paid the fines as sometimes it’s easier as it’s taken me hours and hours of my time but I don’t like these companies taking advantage of people.”

Britannia says it has operated what used to be Chiltern’s West Car Park B for five months.

Since January, motorists have been complaining they had been slapped with fines as they had mistakenly paid Chiltern to park there as they claimed they did not know the car park had changed hands.

All argue the signage was inadequate – initially there were just slight changes to the original signs with the same colour and a couple of small notices on the entrance.

Since the complaints have come to light, more signs have been added, which complainants say could be an acceptance of liability, including one in the station building.

Appellant Lisa Street, who has commuted to London for the past 15 years, said she parked at the station because it was convenient but didn’t expect to get fined at the same time.

Linda Ginger, from Banbury, has been using the car park for around four years for work. She originally faced four £60 fines for falling foul of the changes – one has been rescinded ‘out of goodwill’ but she still plans to take Britannia to court.

“I know I may lose and have to pay more but out of principle, it’s morally unacceptable,” she said.

“I had paid for parking honestly, I hadn’t tried to dodge it. It was a genuine mistake and I have sent them receipts but they have just ignored me.”

Ms Beard is appealing two fines, one for the ‘non-payment’ and another for staying past 11.59pm after buying a day ticket, which in every other station car park runs to the railway schedule, and getting back at 12.50am.

“If they’re trying to offer a service then who’s going to use it? I’m never going to use it again,” she said.

All three have appealed to POPLA, the independent appeals service for parking charge notices issued on private land, and are waiting to hear back.

Ms Street added: “They’re just completely arrogant saying it’s my fault, pay us 100 quid and get it right next time but they don’t comply with signage. I hope POPLA will be reasonable as it’s just ridiculous.”

In response to the complaints, a Britannia Parking spokesman said: “Our car park is one of several at Banbury railway station. It is clearly signed as a Britannia Parking car park and different to the surrounding car parks.

“It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure that they have paid to park and have used the correct machine.

“We have operated the car park for nearly five months. All of our signs and procedures meet the British Parking Association’s approved operators code of conduct.

“We are a member of the British Parking Association and have been operating car parks for more than 25 years, with more than 700 sites nationwide.”