Rumpus as leisure centre fines 'illegal' car parkers

PUBLISHED: 05:14 14 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:52 24 May 2010

A LEISURE centre in Cheddar is cracking down on people using its car park for shopping trips by issuing fines. Kings of Wessex Leisure Centre is employing a firm to patrol its car park and issue £25 fines to non-members. Bosses say teachers, pupils and sh

A LEISURE centre in Cheddar is cracking down on people using its car park for shopping trips by issuing fines.Kings of Wessex Leisure Centre is employing a firm to patrol its car park and issue £25 fines to non-members.Bosses say teachers, pupils and shoppers fill the 75-space car park in the grounds it shares with the school and gym members are inundating them with complaints.The county council-run centre is at loggerheads with the independent foundation status school.Centre manager Andrew Burns said the school's proposed drama and performance centre would be catastrophic to its business.He said: "Teachers, students and people going into the town are causing this problem and we're getting around six complaints a week."I've visited another leisure centre in Taunton that uses the same company to patrol parking and the system seems to work."The drama centre is going to be catastrophic as there's nowhere to park. People will be going to performances and using our car park."Members of the centre will be handed badges to put in their vehicles to show the wardens they are entitled to use the car park.Planning officers at the county council are recommending plans for the school's new drama block are given the green light.The council has received only one letter of objection from a resident.Cheddar Parish Council agreed to the proposal provided an archaeological survey is carried out, the building is soundproofed and any trees removed are re-planted.Kings of Wessex chairman of governors Peter Lythgoe said the proposed move to hand out fines was antisocial.He said: "The leisure centre can do this, but I think they're making themselves more unpopular."Quite a lot of these people who park there are sixth formers and use the gym during their free time.

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