‘I went to Bristol B&Q for a £2 paintbrush and got a £60 parking fine’

Shoppers in Longwell Green have been hit by new parking charges

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A woman has warned fellow shoppers at a retail park in Bristol to be aware of ‘disgusting’ new parking charges after being issued with two £60 fines in a week.

Natalie Hall of Oldland Common has been using the B&Q store at Gallagher Retail Park at Longwell Green for several years but is so angry at the new parking charges that she’s now thinking of shopping elsewhere.

Natalie is one of many Gallagher Retail Park customers who are angry about the change to car park charges. Customers now get fined if they leave the car park outside the B&Q and PC World stores and return within two hours.

“It’s disgusting, I had no idea it had changed,” says Natalie, who was fined twice this week for leaving the car park and returning for only a few minutes.

“B&Q didn’t have what I wanted so I left the car park and drove over to Screwfix opposite. They didn’t have what I wanted but recommended something else so I went back to B&Q - it was only 16 minutes.

“For the second fine, I literally left the car park for four minutes because I bought some paint, drove off and got to the roundabout a minute away before remembering I forgot the paintbrush. I literally went around the roundabout and back into B&Q and that was it, another £60 fine for buying a £2 paintbrush.

A copy of Natalie’s ticket and outside Gallagher Retail ParkA copy of Natalie’s ticket and outside Gallagher Retail Park
A copy of Natalie’s ticket and outside Gallagher Retail Park

“It’s disgusting, especially in a cost of living crisis, to squeeze a little bit more out of people. I use that retail park all the time because I’m having a new kitchen and bathroom installed and I live down the road.

“It’s ridiculous and it puts me off using the shops there. If you buy something by mistake or the wrong colour paint, you’re not going to come home, sit for two hours and wait to go back to a store two minutes down the road.

“I’d rather drive to Brislington and use another shop rather than twiddling my thumbs for two hours. I think the stores at Longwell Green will lose a lot of custom because those shops are used a lot by tradespeople - they’re not going to wait to go back each time they need another item and they won’t want to pay fines.”

Natalie says she plans to ask for a refund for the fines and understands B&Q is already dealing with dozens of other such claims. And she thinks stores at the retail park should be warning customers about the changes to parking.

“It was only by chance that I saw on Facebook that other people were getting fines otherwise I wouldn’t have known anything about it.

“They need to make the signs upon entry because B&Q has been there for many years and if you’ve been going somewhere for several years, you’re not going to read the small print on the parking signs.

“They need the security people to make people aware of it and tell them to make sure they have everything they need when they leave because you can’t return for two hours. They need to promote the fact the parking has changed or make a sign when you go though the gates.”

Fellow shopper Phil Parsons took to Facebook to warn people, too. He said: “I had to pay £60 for parking at B&Q twice in one day. I went straight up to B&Q to challenge the situation and they were very helpful but told me to ignore it as it has happened to hundreds of people.

Leighton Price said: “I went to B&Q and got it overturned. The customer services were really helpful and they seem as frustrated as the customers.”

The car park is managed by Lancashire-based enforcement company Parkingeye, which also manages the car park at Imperial Retail Park in Hartcliffe.

Last month, Bristol World reported on a similar situation with shoppers in Hartcliffe expressing concern over ‘ridiculous’ £100 fines for returning to the car park within two hours of leaving.

Bristol World has contacted Parkingeye for comment.

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