A MAN has criticised the company in charge of controversial changes to a Saltaire car park - after a mix-up with a parking site in Northern Ireland.

Melville Heaton, 61, has hit out at Birmingham-based Smart Parking after he received a letter, dated July 4, for a £100 fine saying his wife Christine, 58, had parked at the Toscana Retail Park’s car park in Bangor, County Down, in Northern Ireland for 19 minutes without getting a ticket.

But that was incorrect, as at the alleged time she had actually parked at the Oastler Road car park in Saltaire.

Mr Heaton, of Woodside View, Bingley, complained to Smart Parking and received a letter, dated July 10, stating the fine had been rescinded. But the next day the shocked couple received a third letter demanding the £100 fine be paid, which now featured the Saltaire car park’s details on it, for the incident on June 25.

Now a Smart Parking spokesman says that the Heatons' parking ticket stands and it is awaiting payment from them.

Mr Heaton, one of a number of people who has contacted the Telegraph & Argus over recent changes to the car park, said: “This is totally ridiculous. How can my car be in two places at the same time?

“This is unacceptable. We don’t dispute that we were at the car park in Saltaire then, but we were only there for 19 minutes. I will be getting in touch with my solicitor. The more people come forward, the better.”

A number of drivers have been caught out recently at the car park after not realising they now had to register their car’s registration for their free 20-minute parking at the site.

The car park was taken over by Smart Parking from Bradford Council last month.

When it was Council-run, drivers could park at the site for free for the first 20 minutes. Now Smart Parking has kept the 20-minute free parking system but drivers must submit their registration number as proof.

Despite this change being displayed on signs next to the site’s ticket machine, drivers say the change was not displayed in a prominent enough position.

A Smart Parking spokesman said: “There are 11 signs at the Oastler Road car park which clearly highlight the terms and conditions of use, one of which is that to park for 20 minutes free you need to enter your registration number into a ticketing machine.

“In the case of Mr and Mrs Heaton, they parked at the car park for nearly 20 minutes without doing this, so were correctly issued with a charge. Our printing services are operated by a third party company who sent the Heatons a PCN that unfortunately had a different car park address.

“We are members of the British Parking Association (BPA) and follow their guidelines strictly, so we checked with them and they advised us to cancel the PCN and then re-issue it with the Oastler Road address.”

Shipley MP Philip Davies, who raised the issue in Parliament on Thursday, said: “I have been inundated with people about this issue. The whole thing is an absolute disgrace. For anybody who is getting fined, then rescinded and fined again, you would be steaming. I know I would.”