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Complaints mounting about Inverness city centre car park

By Erin Miller

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Rose Street retail park locator March 2023. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Rose Street retail park locator March 2023. Picture: James Mackenzie.

Parking meters in a city centre car park are causing many motorists a headache it has been claimed.

The car park at the Rose Street retail park – home to Home Bargains, Iceland, Starbucks and the Smyths toy store –contains meters run by Britannia Parking .

These meters are card only and a number of people have been in touch to claim that they recently haven't been accepting these either.

As a result, they say, in some instances where they have parked at the site but have not been able to pay for their spot due to faulty machines they have subsequently faced fines of up to £100.

They have also claimed that, when they phone to dispute the fine, they have had problems being able to get through to the firm's customer service team.

The system works through Automatic Number Plate Recognition.

Parking sign at Rose Street Retail Park car park. Picture: James Mackenzie.
Parking sign at Rose Street Retail Park car park. Picture: James Mackenzie.

There also appears to have been additional confusion for Blue Badge holders who were previously able to use the car park without paying, under previous operators, but under Britannia are no longer exempt.

Britannia currently has a 97 percent one-star rating on the online TrustPilot goods and services ratings system, with over 172 reviews, the vast majority of which are negative, from across the UK.

Complaints about the Rose Street retail park car park are similar to those raised by hundreds of Inverness drivers previously with regards to the car park in nearby Strothers Lane, run by Smart Parking, which ultimately saw Trading Standards get involved to try and improve the service there.

One woman who contacted the Courier but did not want to be named said: “They are based in England and their car parking ticketing machine at Rose Street has not been working for a very long time – they do not take cash either.

“If you look at reviews that people have left on the Britannia parking website they are all saying very similar things.

“Their payment line that they advise you in their letter with the fee doesn’t work either, it says all the time that your card is at fault, which it is not.

“They have just been absolutely appalling to deal with, you cannot get them. For example I tried telephoning them this morning and I actually pressed every option that there was on their line and you just don’t get anybody. It doesn’t even ring.

“You can understand if people are just not paying, but their machines are just not working.

“They are giving you literally a couple of days to pay this £60 fine and then they are just upping it to £100 days later and threatening you with debt collectors and court.

“I put an appeal in and it was an absolute waste of time. The whole thing is just absolutely shocking.”

Inverness councillor for Millburn, Isabelle MacKenzie, said she has been contacted about issues with the car park on several occasions by concerned constituents, in her role as Highland old peoples' champion.

She also recently posted on her social media asking people if they had had issues using the Britannia car park and provided contact details for the company.

Cllr MacKenzie said: “There has been quite a lot of complaints or confusion with regards to this company.

“Britannia should be asked to comment and to come back on the issues. I have highlighted to the public that it is in the Central ward and have suggested that they involve those councillors because they should be aware of it too – and I have copied Ian Brown the city leader into it again, because it is a matter of the city centre.

“I definitely think this is an issue that should be highlighted – that this is causing aggravation and frustration for residents and visitors around Inverness.”

Britannia has been approached for comment.

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