A teenager who had recently passed his driving test was hit with an ‘extortionate’ fine after overstaying at a car park by minutes.

Henry Chalkley from Westhoughton just passed his test when he went on one of his first outings to Casa Nostra in Westhoughton.

He tried to park at the restaurant, which offers free parking, but at the time a van was blocking three spaces, so he parked  nearby on Market Street.

The Bolton News: Henry Chalkley with his mum JoanneHenry Chalkley with his mum Joanne (Image: Public)Henry later received a fine for £60 in December  to say that he had overstayed by 11 minutes, and his mum Joanne appealed this on his behalf – although she was unsuccessful.

The fine later increased to £100, after 14 days had passed, which included the time waiting for the appeal result.

Joanne added: “Even if it was 11 minutes, the fine is not proportionate to the length of time over.

“I will help him as much as I can, but he is a full-time student, so he is going to struggle.

"He’s stressing that he will have to pay it and can’t afford it as he only has a little part time job at the cricket club.

“It’s quite stressful because you don’t want him to have any repercussions if he doesn’t pay.

“Henry will never park there again.”

There is typically a 10-minute grace period, which is added to the end of parking, before a Parking Charge Notice is issued.

The Bolton News: His ticket also states that he purchased this at 7.04pm, but the parking fine letter issued says he entered at 7pm.

Joanne says Henry is not convinced he left at 8.11pm, given the difference in time on his ticket, and the fine letter issued.

Joanne added: “Being a new driver, he thought he was doing the right thing.

“He parked up, got his ticket, put it in his window, went to the restaurant, and returned to the car park.”

Henry is currently waiting to see what the decision is from POPLA regarding another appeal.

Westhoughton is a growing food and drink destination with new places to socialise in opening all the time and arguments for more parking have been put forward.

Ward councillor Cllr David Chadwick says that he does think there needs to be more parking, but the issue comes down to council funding from central government.

He said the fine Henry received for overstaying is “extortionate”.

He said: “I do think more parking is needed, but the way finances are, it’s difficult to find any extra money to build more car parking.

“There is just enough money to provided statutory services.

“The council finances across the whole country are in a similar predicament.

“I do think that the £100 fine for going over by just over 10 minutes is extortionate, it’s like £9/10 a minute.

“I would be quite happy to take up the issue with the company to see what I can do.”

Fellow ward councillor Cllr Martin Tighe says he is exploring  options for parking in Westhoughton.

A Parkingeye spokesperson said: “The car park at Market Street in Westhoughton features seven prominent and highly-visible signs throughout providing information on how to use the car park responsibly. 

“The motorist correctly received a parking charge after parking for 1 hour 11 minutes and only paying for 1 hour. 

“Parkingeye operates a BPA (British Parking Association) audited appeals process, which motorists can use to appeal their parking charge.   

“The motorist’s appeal was unsuccessful and is now being reviewed by POPLA, the independent appeals service.” 

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