A COUNCIL has slammed town centre car park operators for refusing to refund ‘unfair’ tickets.

Hyndburn Council, and the borough’s MP intervened after hundreds of tickets were issued on Accrington’s Eastgate car park.

The tickets were issued when time limits were changed from three hours to ninety minutes.

Shoppers, who fell foul of automatic camera fines sent to their homes, said the new signs were on the car park’s periphery, hidden by trees.

Following a campaign by local politicians, Excel Parking agreed to Hyndburn Council’s campaign to cancel unpaid tickets.

However the council said it had been unable to persuade the company to cancel tickets, issued this summer, in cases where people have paid up.

The council is now advising residents to seek their own legal advice after months of negotiations with Excel.

Deputy leader Clare Pritchard, who oversees town centre issues, said: “We’ve had many complaints about the way the parking restrictions were imposed on Eastgate. I must stress that this car park is not owned by the council, however we’ve worked extremely hard, on behalf of the people affected, to try to get a satisfactory resolution to the problem.

“We’ve negotiated to get the time allowed back to three hours and seen the unpaid notices cancelled.”

The council said Excel had agreed it will not pursue unpaid tickets issued following the time changes between June 2 and July 8. However the operator has told the council it will not be refunding tickets ‘which have been paid for legitimate parking contraventions’.

Hyndburn Council said Excel Parking had refused to refund, because tickets had been paid to a secondary company.

The company has told Hyndburn Council it is unable to refund any cash paid to Vehicle Control Services.

Though the monies were collected by Excel, they claim all the information relating to the notices is held by VCS.

Coun Pritchard added: “We would advise motorists who paid the fine for notices during this period to write to Excel Parking asking for a refund and also to seek their own legal advice.

“It is important to stress Accrington town centre remains open for business and car parking across remains free.”