The company behind the operation of a Lancing car park has apologised to all motorists affected by the errors with its new system.
An Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system was supposed to be introduced at Beach Green car park in Lancing, replacing the pay and display system, on Monday, January 7.
However the new system went live days earlier, causing many innocent motorists to be issued with fines.
The problems continued during the first few days of the new ANPR system, with several more drivers incorrectly receiving Penalty Notice Charges.
District Enforcement, the parish council’s contractor, has confirmed that all the fines that were issued incorrectly had been voided and apologised to those affected.
A spokesman for the company told the Herald: “Unfortunately, the ANPR system went live early due to a miscommunication between the council and ourselves.
“Although the charges were issued in good faith, this miscommunication has caused a backlog of enquiries and appeals regarding the charges issued during this period.
“However, we can confirm that all PCNs incorrectly issued during this period have been cancelled and the recipients do not need to take any further action.
“Between 7th and 9th January 2019, a small proportion of motorists received notices despite entering their details correctly.
“This was due to a delayed upload from one of the machines.
“This fault has now been rectified and additional measures put in place to prevent this error occurring again.
“Again, these charges have been voided and any payments made in error have been refunded.
“We have also taken adopted a sympathetic approach to challenges and appeals to PCNs issued where the motorist has failed to enter their details correctly or made payment outside of the grace period.
“Having operated this site for the last three years, we can assure your readers that the introduction of the ANPR system is not intended to issue countless PCNs but rather to encourage compliance to support what is a fabulous local resource.
“Whilst private parking operators may be seen as profiteering monsters, we are entirely committed to providing and supporting this local facility.
“Please extend our apologies to all affected motorists and reassure your readers that the system is now working correctly.”
One of the residents affected, Margaret Millgate from East Worthing, said she hoped the contractor would respond individually to everyone who appealed their fines to personally confirm they had been voided.
She received a Penalty Notice Charge after visiting the car park on January 8.
Mrs Millgate, who had been celebrating a special lunch with her daughter to mark being three-and-a-half years clear of cancer, got a ticket from the new machines at the car park as required.
But several days later she was sent a Penalty Charge Notice and, although she has appealed, she said she had not received a response from the company.
“I expected to hear back from them, they could write and tell me they haven’t charged me,” she said.
“Not hearing back is worrrying, it would be nice to have something in writing.
“What about the people who don’t use Facebook, or don’t live local and can’t get the paper?
“How do they know, if they are not getting in touch?”
She added: “Things go wrong when new systems come in, everybody makes mistakes, but you do need communication when it goes wrong.”
Lancing Parish Council has also confirmed that drivers who use the car park between the hours of 10pm and 8am will not be fined.
The sign at the car park currently states the daily tariff of £1.50 is valid from 8am until 10pm.
It added that a charge of £50 will be payable if a driver enters or stays on the premises between the hours of 10pm and 8am daily.
However, a spokesman for the council confirmed that no charges would be made from 10pm to 8am.
The spokesman said: “The signs were installed prior to the decision being made in respect of not charging between those hours.
“Lancing Parish Council and District Enforcement are sorry that this was not picked up on prior to the system going live.
“To reiterate, the current charging period is between 8am and 10pm but no penalty charge notices will be issued outside of those times and there remains a 10 minute drop off/pick time allowance.
“This system was introduced in good faith and Lancing Parish Council and District Enforcement apologise for the problems and inconvenience the introduction of the ANPR has caused.”