To whom it may concern

I was extremely upset this week to receive a parking fine from an outside company – Parking Eye – as a consequence of parking in Aldi car park, Didsbury, to shop in the store! I am a regular shopper at this store and know that a sign has been visible on the back wall of this car park stating clearly that the car park is for customers and shoppers in Didsbury Village. I also know and am recognised by the elderly gentleman who has been attendant for some time in this car park and indeed, usually speak and pass the time of day with him. When did this arrangement change? When was the car park handed over to an outside source and a time limit of two hours imposed?

If your photographic evidence shows my car entering and leaving the car park with a discrepancy of 25 minutes from the new regulations, presumably it also showed me arriving in TORRENTIAL rain, with a small boy and a new baby. It presumably also recorded me trying to put up my pram in TORRENTIAL rain and usher my small son and new baby to do our shopping. Perhaps it also recorded the later shower of rain, which meant I stayed in a local bookshop with my children so they did not get completely soaked before returning and packing up my pram again before departing at 15.39. I did not see the parking attendant that day – has he been retired in favour of this new system? I did not see any ‘clearly visible’ notice. Nothing was clearly visible in those conditions.

What I am most angry about is that for the past couple of years during term time, I have dropped my son at school on Monday morning and come and parked at Aldi at 9am, waited for the store to open and regularly done my shopping spending at least £35 to £40 per transaction, before using other local traders, the post office and the bank in Didsbury village. Please feel free to check this – you can have my Switch card number if you would care to ring me. Since my husband was made redundant and I have been on maternity leave, money has been very tight in our household and I am really cross that a regular customer should be penalised like this. I read in the local paper that the car park was to become pay and display and even checked with the attendant if this has happened. That would be a far more fair way of monitoring parking and customers could pay if they need more than the two hours – it’s quite hard with small children to do a supermarket shop, then any other chores and be back in two hours. Sometimes you need to stop and sit down and feed a small baby if they wake and cry.

Having been a regular customer for so long, this has really put me off shopping at the store, which is a shame as the staff are always so pleasant and efficient and the selection of stock great. You really need to rethink this impersonal ‘initiative’. £70 fine on top of my shopping bill hardly constitutes your ‘Spend a little, live a lot’ slogan, does it?