Dear Sir, if my experience described below is commonplace it will not endear Rye to any of its visitors.
I visited Rye from Pembury on 2 November and left my car in the ’Budgens’ car park. A few days ago I received a Charge Notice demanding £40 from owner’s agents not based in Kent or Sussex, because I had overstayed the free parking period by an hour and 3 minutes. I do not dispute this timing, but I was unaware at the time that there was a limit on the free parking period, and below is my response to the agents’ claim that ‘the time limit on this site is two hours. This is displayed on prominent signs both at the entrance to this site and throughout.’
If there were prominent and clearly recognisable signs in place throughout the car park on 2 November I cannot understand how they were missed by by my wife, my daughter and myself – all experienced drivers and car park users. My daughter went looking for a Pay and Display ticket machine, but was told by another user that the car park was free. That person may have known there was a two hour limit, but failed to mention it. My daughter and I walked the length of the car park on our return but saw no signs. There were certainly no signs as prominent as those in motorway service stations or in the car park in central Crowborough which I used a few days ago.
As to a sign at the entrance, unless it is instantly readable it will be easily missed by a anyone turning in from a major roadway (the A 268) and negotiating other cars entering and leaving the car park, whilst he/she may be being distracted by the large Budgens sign. Anyone driving with due care and attention will first make a safe entry into the car park, and then look for any signs, ticket machines etc.
Regards, John Evans Pembury.