Parking fine leaves diners with sour taste

A MEAL out left an elderly New Haw couple with a distinctively sour taste – after they were fined for parking at the West Byfleet restaurant where they were eating lunch.

The fine for £85 was more than the cost of their meal, turning what should have been a pleasant trip out into an uncomfortable worry for Marguerite Ellwood, 88, and her 95-year-old husband Cliff.

Cliff and Marguerite Ellwood, with the parking fine the News & Mail had rescinded

The fine was sent in the post after the couple had enjoyed lunch at the Yeoman, a Harvester restaurant in Old Woking Road.

“I used to go there, and you were given back your parking fee when you had a meal or a drink. Now there is a machine for you to key in your registration number,” Marguerite said.

Despite keying in her number, Marguerite received a parking charge notice from Euro Car Parks for £85, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days.

The letter gave an address in London for written appeals, which can also be made online.

Marguerite does not own or use a computer and decided to appeal directly to the manager at the Yeoman, who took a copy of the letter.

Still concerned, she then called the News & Mail. We contacted a spokesman for Mitchells & Butlers, which owns the Harvester group.

He came back to say that the fine had been cancelled.

“Due to an error Mrs Ellwood’s details were not registered. This has now been rectified and the parking fine waived.

“We ask guests who feel they have incorrectly received a parking fine to contact the restaurant where a member of the team will be happy to help,” the spokesman said.

Marguerite said she was very pleased at the outcome as she and Cliff had been worrying about the fine.

However, despite years of dining there, the couple were no longer keen to return to the restaurant.

“We will find somewhere else to go,” she said.

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