A MOTORIST who was fined £100 and threatened with legal action after parking in a York pub car park claims he was confused by a misleading and poorly lit parking sign.

Now Richard Atkinson looks set to have the fine set aside after a meeting between the pub and a parking firm.

Mr Atkinson said he and his wife regularly parked their car in the Cross Keys car park in Tadcaster Road before attending York Camera Club meetings across the road at St Edward’s Church meeting rooms, and would often round off the evening with a few drinks at the pub.

He said:”We noticed in October that the the car park to the pub was now controlled by CEL - Civil Enforcement Ltd, based in Liverpool - and a parking fee needed to be paid between the hours of 6 am and 6 pm, so we assumed that outside of these hours we were able to park there without charge.

“My wife parked there on November 16 from 19.29pm to 22.20pm. On December 13, she received a parking charge notice stating that payment had not been made in accordance with terms displayed on the signage and she was due a fine of £100 to be paid within 28 days, or £60 if paid within 14 days.

“Apparently the car should have been registered on a machine at the bar which allows customers during the day to park for free, but because we were parking outside the designated hours we thought this would not be necessary.This was not clearly communicated on the sign.”Mr Atkinson, of Wigginton, felt the sign was inadequate and poorly lit, but said CEL had said it was now too late to appeal, demanded payment of the £100 and threatened further action through debt recovery, solicitors and court proceedings.

CEL was unavailable for comment but the pub’s owner Lyndsay Weston agreed the sign had been confusing and said it was now going to be replaced by a better worded one. She said pub staff had got many such fines cancelled and they were all now going to be annulled.

She added that the parking firm had been employed because the car park was often so full with non-customers that the pub’s customers couldn’t park.