NCP lines up £100 fines for late-payers in Whitgift Centre

Easily missed: One of the new signs in the NCP at Wellesley Road, with details of their own version of penalty charge notices

Anyone considering driving into Croydon town centre for some Bank Holiday retail therapy* had better beware: NCP have changed the payment system for their car parks on Wellesley Road, with nasty great fines lined up for anyone who fails to follow the tightly regulated system.

The CCTV-controlled car park is now ticketless, using automatic number plate recognition cameras. Drivers entering have to pay by machine within the car park or online within 24 hours.

New notices have popped up over the past month or so (one at a jaunty angle), though they are somewhat understated in flagging up the changed system. The signs at the car park entrance certainly do not make any mention of the time limit for payment.

According to one loyal reader who almost got caught out, “There are signs that specify payment within 24 hours, but it was quite possible to enter the car park, park the car and leave on foot without ever seeing one of those signs.

“Nor are the whereabouts of the payment machines readily sign-posted.”

Mind the small print: the signs at the car park entrance make no mention of the 24-hour time limit

And the NCP uses what appear to be quasi-official “penalty charge notices” to extract their 60 pounds of flesh.

“The consequences for not paying within 24 hours is a penalty notice. Apparently NCP have the ability to send the penalty notice letter, but not the ability to send a reminder to pay.

“The penalty is a £60 fine which rises to £100 if not paid within a specified time, encouraging most people to acquiesce.

“It’s nothing less than demanding money with menaces,” the reader said, calling the practice “legalised theft”.

They added, “The fine system is wrong in itself. There will be an important consequence for the Whitgift Shopping Centre and nearby shops. People who are once bitten by this will choose to shop elsewhere. The Whitgift was nearly deserted on the two occasions I was there recently. This won’t do anything to help.”

NCP, of course, are acting within their rights – and will rely on the terms and conditions in the small print on notices around their car parks to justify their actions. B

ut the harsh and costly fines for non-payers could yet rebound on them, and the run-down shopping centre that their car park is supposed to serve.

(* – Yes, there are probably many better things to do on a Bank Holiday. But after more than a year of lockdowns, the novelty of strolling through the Whitgift Centre and discovering if there are actually any shops still trading there might offer a diversion for an hour or so on a wet weekend…).

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11 Responses to NCP lines up £100 fines for late-payers in Whitgift Centre

  1. Lewis White says:

    No wonder people are not coming to the Whitgift. Customer friendly?. Sadly,, people arriving by car will just go shopping on line even more in future –or drive to free parking places.

    The answer ? Make parking cheaper. Plus clear signage. Discount for electric vehicles. Make the car park environments, and transition experience from car to shops bright and attractive. Clean paint. Good lighting.

    • What a load of old bollocks. “Make parking cheaper”? How are you going to do that Lewis? Your beloved Labour sold off car parks to NCP, a private company.

      If NCP couldn’t make a profit out of charging people to use their car parks after years of experience, they’d go bust or sell out.

      Then again, they might do what Croydon Labour have done, which is turn temporary homes for cars into permanent homes for people.

  2. I no longer go into central Croydon unless I cannot avoid it, the only good reason to visit is the David Lean Cinema. Certainly Bromley is the choice of most, even if it needs an uncomfortable bus journey.
    Doubtless this new parking arrangement, it was always appallingly expensive, is some new wheeze to promote ‘anywhere else’.

  3. Edwin Benhan says:

    Why would you leave a car park without paying before exiting? If you can’t afford to pay don’t use the car park. Loads of street parking within 10 minutes.

    • These idiots would love to put everything on the slate and forget about it, from drinks in the pub to parking their car.

      • There is a principle of fairness involved. The old system, with exit tickets and barriers, provided a suitable reminder to customers of the need to pay (unless they exited onto Wellesley Road in some sort of tribute to The Sweeney, of course).
        The car park owners have a responsibility to provide clear and unambiguous signage and payment points. Otherwise, it all appears as if they are trying to trick people into incurring money-spinning fines.

  4. Jacqui Hill says:

    I parked my car in the NCP Wellesley Road leading up to Christmas. I was told that I could pay when leaving the car park at the machine.

    There were so many machines just by Sainsbury’s with unclear instructions, but I managed to purchase a ticket anyway.

    However I was fined £60, but when I appealed with a copy of the ticket they said it wasn’t theirs, even though it was from one of their machines.

    I paid the fine as didn’t want it to go up, plus all very stressful.

    I still have all the evidence is there anything I can do as there was no clear signage or instructions

  5. Gaz says:

    The ticket machines are in the same place as they have been for the past decade, I don’t quite know how you miss them leaving.
    I didn’t know you could pay 24 hours later at home, I’ve always done it at the machines.

    I do remember it being fairly affordable to park there, and you even got 20 mins free if you were just popping in quickly.

    However now it’s like £3.20 for the first hour, so expensive.

  6. B says:

    NCP can not justify doing this,even though this company has grounds it’s just another way of trying to make more money in a weaker economy,this is truly Wiil the shops benefit if people choose to go shopping elsewhere, than pay this fine.

  7. Colin Cooper says:

    Is everyone associated with this shambolic Council bound and determined to ensure that every last vestige of a chance of making the town centre even vaguely attractive to shoppers and other visitors a no go? We should seize back the car parks from NCP and discard ALL parking charges for a year or more if needed. Let’s face it there is ZERO money spent on maintenance so this would make little or no difference to the condition of the areas, the only maintenance by NCP is protecting their payment machines!

  8. John Conway. says:

    I parked in Whitgift car park recently and purchased a ticket from the ticket machine at the Sainsbury’s exit prior to leaving. On receipt of a parking ticket I appealed only to be told that the ticket I purchased and sent as evidence was not for the correct parking company. My question is why is this parking machine still operating. This machine had a Q of people so presumably they have all got tickets.

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