A PENSIONER has hit out at Morrisons supermarket for time restrictions on a free car park in Mansfield Woodhouse.
The car park is on land which belongs to Mansfield District Council and has a free parking sign opposite the Welbeck Road entrance.
It has signs restricting shoppers to two hours’ maximum stay with a £50 fine for failure to comply.
But Ralph Holt (78), of Church Hill Avenue, says the scheme has led to parking problems in the town since the supermarket giant moved in to replace the former Co-op store.
Said Mr Holt: “People who come from outside the village do not know the system.
“They look at the signs and think ‘oops, it says two hours. I better park in the side streets.’
“When the Co-op had it, their customers used to use it but there was no time pressure at all. Why should Morrisons steamroller the rights of the village?”
Mr Holt said the car park is often used as parking place for groups using the nearby Turner Hall but their activities often ran over the two-hour time limit.
“It is a shame because I do not see what gives them the right to control this car park. Someone has to stop them.”
Co Coun Joyce Bosnjak, member for Mansfield North, said the parking restrictions were unfair as the car park is used by people who catch buses there to go on trips.
And Leeming ward district councillor Phil Smith said he was opposed to the time limit.
“The car park is never full so to me it seems to be if they want a good relationship with the community then there should be some give and take,” he said.
Mike Farley, head of customer services and partnerships at the district council, said the authority owns the land on which the car park is built and leases it to the supermarket.
Said Mr Farley: “As part of this lease there is an agreement which states that the store cannot charge for car parking and that the car park is provided for public use.
“Discussions have been ongoing with Morrisons regarding the time restrictions within the car park that Morrisons has imposed.
“As we have been contacted by concerned residents we are continuing discussions with Morrisons in the hope of reaching a resolution.”
But a Morrisons spokesman said: “The current parking system was introduced over 18 months ago in order to ensure that there are car parking spaces for Morrisons customers.”