Sunderland football fan's anger at evening city centre parking charges

A Sunderland football fan has criticised “ridiculous” evening parking charges after he was fined for failing to buy a ticket before a Black Cats match.

Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 19th February 2020, 11:13 pm
Businessman John Marshall, left, thinks charging motorists to park in Sunderland city centre at night time is "ridiculous".

Businessman John Marshall has labelled the £2 night-time fee at Sunderland City Council’s car park in Livingstone Road, part of the former Vaux Breweries site, as a “cash grab” and a deterrent to people visiting the city centre.

Season-ticket holder Mr Marshall, 63, who said he was unaware of the evening charges, said: “Surely the city and its businesses want people like us to come to town and use the facilities.

“I am concerned that all this policy achieves is to trap unsuspecting visitors and hit them hard.”

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The Livingtstone Road car park where John Marshall was fined for not paying a £2 evening fee.

The council responded stating evening charges have been in operation since the car park opened in 2012 and that a 2018 survey found Sunderland was the cheapest place nationally to park.

Mr Marshall, who lives in Durham City and ran Sunderland’s former Durham Pine business, said his car was ticketed at 9.28pm during the Black Cats’s recent Friday night draw with Doncaster.

While accepting he did not check the “not prominent” signs, he wonders why evening parking cannot be free as in many parking areas in Durham.

Mr Marshall, who paid the £25 fine before it doubled, also wants to warn other unsuspecting motorists about the £2 charge, adding: “Had we known this we would never have taken a risk for the sake of two quid.”

A council spokesman said: “Signs at the car park state how daytime parking between 8am and 6pm is charged at £1.30 per hour and evening parking is a flat rate of £2.

“Seven motorists received penalty charge notices at Livingstone Road for parking contraventions after 6pm on Friday, January 24.”

The council spokesman added: “A survey in 2018 by private number plate provider National Numbers found that Sunderland is the cheapest place for motorists to park in the UK with drivers paying an average of 79p an hour.”