A PENSIONER says he was shocked at being issued with a £60 parking charge for staying 11 minutes over the hour limit in a pub’s private car park – despite having just paid for a meal there.

Maurice Simpson received the charge notification after parking at the Durham Ox in Northallerton, which he visits about once a week with his family for lunch.

He had paid £1 to park for an hour, an amount reimbursed to pub customers at the till.

But the automated system photographed his car leaving 11 minutes after his one hour parking expired and he received a parking charge demand for £60 - which, he was warned, will rise to £100 if not paid within 28 days.

Mr Simpson, of Deighton, near Northallerton, said he tried to speak with the pub manager but was told staff were busy.

"There’s no leverage with this whatsoever," he said. “The pub controls how quickly the meals are brought out and if they’re a little bit slow, then all their customers are going to be charged an extra £60.”

Another customer, Jeff Fishburn, said: “It’s not a manned car park, the staff can put a code in the machine to override it, but we were told they were too busy.”

However, the landlady of the Durham Ox, who did not wish to be named, said Mr Simpson's £60 charge would be waived and that she had been forced to take drastic action after North Yorkshire County Council introduced parking charges on the High Street.

She said since their introduction, the pub car park, just off the High Street, would often be full on a morning before it opened, with people shopping in town.

She said it left customers, including some disabled regulars, unable to park.

“We’ve had issues with parking since they introduced parking on the High Street. When I would open the doors at 11.30am the car park would be full. It’s for patrons only – but they’re not in the pub because it’s not open.

“However, if customers overstay by ten minutes, or are just dropping someone off, I can put their registration plate in (to refund) paying customers.”

According to consumer group Which, motorists receiving a parking ticket on private land not issued by police or a council, can only be issued with a Parking Charge Notice, rather than a Penalty Charge Notice.

The operator is entitled to pursue the recipient for a parking charge proportionate to the normal advertised cost of parking or losses to the company caused by overstaying.

But they are not fines and can only be enforced by taking the motorist to a small claims court.