A HOME and garden superstore has defended policies on its private car park following criticism from Star readers.
The Range has a parking contractor that monitors use of the car park in Chalon Way, St Helens town centre.
The store says the car park is for genuine customers, rather than shoppers who park there but then don’t go into the store.
But a mounting number of Star readers have voiced their concern after being handed £60 penalty notices for parking their cars at The Range in Chalon Way West.
Some of those penalised say they did shop at the Range but left the car park to go into St Helens before visiting the store.
A spokesperson for The Range, which has 86 outlets nationwide, explained its clampdown: “Since The Range in St Helens opened in 2012 they have had continued issues with the private car park being used by people who do not intend to shop in the store.
“The superstore is located close to the town centre as well as St Helens RFC ground and this issue has an impact on genuine customers.
“The landlord that regulates the private car park has put restrictions in place to try and combat the misuse of the area and has bought in an external company – Car Care – to run it.”
The large car park has 50 signs stating that it is for The Range customers and parking is subject to a maximum stay of two hours. In-store announcements repeat restriction warnings.
The spokesperson added: “If a customer needs longer than the two hours allocated, this can easily be arranged at the customer services desk.
“In addition the attendants who watch the car park will only issue on the spot tickets to people who park in the private car park and then do not go straight to the store.
“If a genuine customer is issued with a fine we are encouraging customers to get in contact with the store who will be able to evaluate the circumstances and providing they can give a valid receipt, the store manager will then honour the receipt and request for the parking fine be revoked.”
The Range says they make no financial gain from the fines and the restrictions are only in place to enable genuine customers of the store to park at their convenience.