Festive revellers have slammed a Biggleswade hotel after being caught out with its new parking system.
In the past week they have been receiving parking fines of up to £100, even though they were using the car park while eating at Stratton House Hotel.
Fiona Harcourt said she and three members of her family had eaten at the hotel on Boxing Day, spending around £150.
But she says they were not told on the day that a new system for parking had been brought it, which meant customers of the hotel had to provide their car registration number.
“We have been there loads of times and this time we didn’t see any signs,” she said. “Nothing was said about the car parking and the need to sign in.
“The hotel said we need to appeal because they outsource the parking.”
But she said despite trying to contact the parking firm involved, she had not been able to appeal online.
And she says the family-run hotel, on London Road, has not been helpful – at one point telling her they could not believe people were being so stupid over the new system.
“Nobody I know is going there again, said Mrs Harcourt. “I can live with the fine but I can’t believe how rude they were.”
Other customers have also complained about the new system.
Sarah Lack and her family are regular users of the hotel restaurant and turned up for Christmas dinner on December 25.
“We had no idea that they had introduced a new system,” she said. “There were no prominent signs, and so after parking we went into the hotel as usual.
“I was shocked when we were sent a ticket. I thought as we were regulars at the hotel and spent a lot of money there, that they would waive the charge.
“But the manager I spoke to was actually quite rude.”
The hotel’s website shows details about the new parking system were updated on January 31.
In a statement, Stratton House proprietor Marian E Hawkes-Blodau said: “Since the council car parks became pay and display the hotel has had major issues with people using our carpark but not our facilities! Resulting in our paying customers being unable park.
“The decision to appoint a Parking Management Company was not taken lightly and was always with the intention of providing a better service for all our customers.
“Stratton House Hotel does not receive any monies from the parking charges or management company.
“[The] Equipment was
installed by the Parking Company on the 21st November 2018 6 signs were placed around the car park.
“The system went live on the 1st December 2018 and 15 signs went up in and around the hotel.
“We reminded as many customers as possible if they came to the reception, bar or restaurant to input their car registration along with helping with them if required with inputting this information in to the iPad provided.
“After the first month it became apparent that some of our customers had not observed the signage, so it was increased further.
“The vast majority of our customers have and are using the new parking system without issue.”