A REPRESENTATIVE of Queenswood Country Park has said that the number plate recognition system in place is not there to 'catch people out'.

In a letter to the Hereford Times, Frances Weeks of Queenswood Country Park & Arboretum, has explained the car parking charges

The letter comes following criticism by a reader of the Hereford Times

Read more: Queenswood's new system for extracting money from unsuspecting visitors

He said: "I am writing in response to recent letters regarding the parking system at Queenswood Country Park & Arboretum.

"Queenswood costs around £421 a day to run which covers everything from keeping the toilets clean, stocked and fully functional (around £30), upkeep of paths, running events and trails, maintaining the playground and visitor areas, waste disposal, planting and tending to trees in the arboretum collection and managing the wildlife habitats in the wider woodland.

"The site is free to all to enter and the car parking charges help us to cover this cost and all money raised through car parking fees is spent on the running of the site.

"The parking system used on site is Automatic Number Plate Recognition which we introduced in 2018 – partly in response to complaints regarding the previous manual system. We felt that the new system would eliminate any ‘grey areas’ as it automatically logs each vehicle’s entry and exit and matches it with the parking ticket purchased.

"We have clearly indicated that this system is in operation on site, the cameras at the entrance are in clear sight and our signage explains the system.

"It is also clearly stated on our parking signs that Parking Charge Notices will be issued to anyone without a valid parking ticket – and the amount of the charge which will be issued.

"The system does require visitors to enter their correct registration number and to pay in advance for the full time they intend to spend on site. However, where visitors have entered one or two numbers incorrectly, we have agreed with the company which manages the site, Corporate Services, to cancel the Parking Charge which will have been automatically generated. Anyone receiving a Parking Charge Notice which they believe to be in error can appeal to Corporate Parking Services or to POPLA.

"We understand that the inflexibility of this system may cause some visitors to feel that it is unfair.

"However, the overwhelming majority of visitors have found the system easy to comply with and we feel it is most fair and professional to apply the rules consistently to all visitors.

"It is in no way our intention to ‘catch people out’ – we want all visitors to have an enjoyable and stress-free visit to the site and we have tried to make our parking system as straightforward as possible.

"During lockdown, we have had to close our Visitor Centre so have not had staff available on site to assist with queries.

"We very much hope to be able to open daily again very soon to provide additional help for visitors on site."