Anger over supermarket car park changes
Rob GarrattAnger has broken out at a Dereham supermarket's decision to introduce a hi-tech photographic security system to crack down on drivers who flout parking regulations.Rob Garratt
Anger has broken out at a Dereham supermarket's decision to introduce a hi-tech photographic security system to crack down on drivers who flout parking regulations.
Morrisons has installed a new automatic number plate checking system, which from next month will log every car going into its car park as part of a robust attempt to enforce parking time limits.
But the steps have sparked anger with people who use the car park to visit the town in the evening after the shop has closed, when the current three-hour limit is not enforced.
A spokesman for Morrisons said the present parking regulations will not be changed, but because the car park is manually policed the new technology will effectively force people to stick to regulations whatever the hour.
Members of Dereham Operatic Society say it will affect evening visitors to the nearby Memorial Hall most.
Social secretary Julia Havis said the change could prove 'disastrous' for the group. She added: 'We are angry. I don't understand the necessity to enforce the limit after the shop is closed - less people will go to shows if it is more difficult to park.'
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The Morrisons spokesman rejected claims that the parking limit was being cut to two hours, and also pledged that new signs would be put in place to clearly mark the change.
Robin Goreham, Labour councillor for Dereham Central, said: 'It's a little bit disappointing; they've got to think about the PR side of upsetting customers. The regrettable part is that they are punishing people for parking there at night when they are shut, which doesn't hurt them at all.
'It's their right to do it, but they might lose a little bit of grace and favour with the people of Dereham, who at the end of day are their customers.'
The Morrisons spokesman said: 'Customer service is of great importance to us, and we have parking restrictions in place to try to ensure that spaces are available for our customers to use. We are introducing a new car park monitoring system next month, but restrictions at the car park will not change.
'New signage is to be displayed in the Dereham car park and customer information signs will be displayed at the store entrance.'