LIDL’s top management in Northern Ireland have confirmed to Councilor Cadogan Enright they will no longer levy fines for customers parking at their premises after shopping hours. This announcement followed a ‘Facebook’ campaign by Councilor Enright which has resulted in a lot of unfavorable publicity for LIDL around Down District and Northern Ireland.
Cllr Enright said, “LIDL management ‘phoned me on Monday to announce this change in policy and also pledged to pay the fines of anyone who was penalized outside of shopping hours at their Downpatrick store. They asked me to forward any fines received by my constituents in these circumstances and that LIDL themselves would pay these fines on their behalf.”
Explained Cllr Enright “Large numbers of people have been receiving £100 parking fines for parking at LIDL at night time. These individuals rightly presumed that signs at the Market Street store reserving parking spots for customers did not apply when the store was closed. One of my cases involves young lady working for a minimum wage in the pub next door to LIDL who has been fined £400 for parking at night time outside of shopping hours by this new and extraordinary scheme.”
“I would call on anyone who has been fined in these circumstances to send me their fines, or their car registration numbers so as I can provide their details to LIDL head office in Kildare who will be looking after these fines.”
The system of fines was introduced after problems arose with commuters to Belfast started to monopolise LIDL car parking spaces during the day, leaving no room for actual LIDL customers. The problem with the new system was that (unlike on-street parking in Downpatrick) the fines system applied 24 hours a day – and there was no way a customer could have known that from the signs on the front gate.
LIDL has also promised the Councilor Enright that they would urgently review their contract with the private car park operator to ensure that no further fines would be issued in this manner.
Cadogan Enright welcomed this volte-face and said, “LIDL is a valuable presence in the town, and it is to their credit that they chose a town centre location which helps other businesses around the town rather than going for an out of tome centre like other multiples.”
“Parking in the town centre at night time can be limited, and this safe, monitored car-park adds to the attraction of Downpatrick as a centre for the ‘evening economy’ where people going out for a meal or an outing with friends have somewhere safe to park their cars.” Concluded Cllr Enright