I ARRIVED at the St Helens (Peasley Cross) Retail Park on Sunday, October 24 with the intention to do some early Christmas shopping.

I made a good start in TK Maxx, spending more than £100, had a quick look in B&M, then decided to drop my shopping in my car before continuing around the rest of the units and stopping at Costa for a coffee.

It was only when I was approaching my car that I spotted the new car parking restriction sign giving shoppers only two hours’ free parking. Having already been on the retail park for just over two hours, I knew I’d been another victim of an outrageous £100 fine.

My shopping day was over, I left the retail park without visiting the other units. My day and shopping trip completely ruined.

I contacted TK Maxx the next day and was told the signs had gone up on October 17 but they weren’t sure if they were fully operational as yet. However, if they were, they could do nothing to help or waive any fine incurred. I was told the majority of the shopping units weren’t happy about the charges, but the landowner had installed them to prevent rugby fans using the car park on match days.

I completely understand them wanting to stop people who are not shopping from using the car park, but limiting shopping to two hours on a large retail park is ridiculous.

Even more annoying, the two units I visited had no warning of the new restrictions displayed or had the facility to extend the two hours stay, as the cinema car park has.

I think in the coming months, many shoppers will be hit with a fine they can’t afford for spending their hard-earned money by shopping in these units, totally oblivious to the new restrictions.

The shopping units can do a few things to help their customers:

1. Put notices on doors and around the stores.

2. Challenge the landowner to extend the time limit.

3. Have the fee waived with proof of purchase.

The units should stand up for their customers or they may find people shopping elsewhere. A return taxi to Liverpool is cheaper than having to pay a £100 fine for daring to shop for longer than two hours.

Name submitted, via email