Horsham supermarket cancels parking fine issued to disabled woman

A Horsham supermarket has cancelled a parking fine issued to a disabled woman.

Ann Bartlett-Cole, who lives in Warnham, was fined £90 by Athena ANPR Ltd after spending around two hours parked at Lidl in Foundry Lane, which has a time limit of 90 minutes.

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But she said she was unable to browse the store faster as she is disabled and has a problem with her back.

Ann, who is a blue badge holder, said she spent almost £40 in Lidl on February 1 and scanned her ticket when exiting the store.

She added: “I was absolutely horrified. It was a shock.”

But today Lidl confirmed it had cancelled the fine issued to Ann.

A spokesman said: “We were extremely sorry to hear of this matter.

“We have car park management systems in place to help ensure availability of parking spaces for our customers, and it’s therefore extremely disappointing when we learn that a genuine customer has wrongfully received a fine.”

“In the extremely unfortunate event that a blue badge holder receives a parking charge, we encourage them to get in touch so that the charge can be cancelled as swiftly as possible, and so that longer term solutions can be explored to provide assistance in future.”

Ann said she was ‘absolutely delighted’ to hear the fine had been cancelled.

An Athena spokesman added: “Lidl has car park management systems in place to ensure availability of parking spaces for customers and to help prevent misuse.”

He said the firm provides ‘extensive signage’ throughout the entire site to help inform customers.

The spokesman added: “This car park is very small, it has 16 signs regarding parking and only has 51 parking spaces, which gives a ratio of one sign to every three parking spaces.

“We can confirm that as soon as we learnt that the customer was a blue badge holder, steps were immediately taken to cancel the PCN and provide an extended parking time allowance.

“In the unfortunate event that a blue badge holder receives a parking charge, we encourage them to contact our customer services team directly, so that the matter can be swiftly resolved, and an extended parking time allowance can be granted.”

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