Car caught speeding while “parked” in Gatwick car park

West Sussex County Council is investigating yet another complaint against an unapproved Gatwick meet and greet parking company – one of more than five hundred complaints made this summer.

Holidaymaker, Chris Lynch told the BBC of his “emotional stress” after his car, which he thought was parked in a secure car park, was caught speeding while he was on holiday.

Mr Lynch left his meet and greet parking with Blue Star Parking while he holidayed in Greece. However, upon his return he received a letter from Sussex Police saying his car had been caught travelling at 37mph in a 30 zone – although he was out of the country.

Mr Lynch also claims his car clocked up an extra 150 during his holiday.

It is understood that Blue Star Parking ceased trading eight months ago, although Gatwick Blog cannot find any record of such a company.

Councillor David Barling told the BBC: “We have four investigations running separately at the moment in conjunction with Sussex Police and planning authorities. This seems to have been a phenomena since May.”

If you’re looking to book Gatwick meet and greet parking, Trading Standards along with Gatwick Airport, advises holidaymakers to only use firms approved by the airport. A list of which can be found on the Gatwick website, however, to save you the hassle, here’s a full list of all companies that are approved:

Owners fined for allowing muddy field to be used for Gatwick meet and greet

If you thought the incident last month in which more than 1,000 meet and greet cars were found parked in a muddy field was a one-off, you’d be wrong.

Reigate & Banstead Borough Council has successfully prosecuted the owners of another muddy field after they allowed it to be illegally used for parking more than 500 meet and greet cars.

The owners of the field, Mr and Mrs Flitton, allowed Britannia Airport Parking (aka Easy Parking Gatwick) to use the muddy field as a car park for their Gatwick meet and greet parking business. However, the car park was unauthorised and a temporary stop notice was served on the owners of the field, requiring the parking to stop immediately, but they did not comply.

Councillor Mark Brunt, chairman of Reigate & Banstead’s planning committee, said: “This was a very serious breach of planning rules which we will not tolerate in our borough. The owners of the land did not have planning permission to use the field for the purpose of allowing commercial parking and, having ignored our enforcement notices, we had no choice but to take legal action against them.”

Mr David Flitton and Mrs Eliza Flitton of Baleene, Harrowsley Green Lane, Horley, pleaded guilty to failing to comply with a Temporary Stop Notice at Redhill Magistrate’s Court on 7 June 2016.

The land owners were prosecuted under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and fined £4,675 with an additional £100 costs. 521 vehicles were parked in breach of planning control.

To ensure that your car doesn’t end up in a muddy field, make sure you book your meet and greet parking with a Gatwick Approved Operator.

As part of the criteria required to become approved, meet and greet parking companies must only use Park Mark awarded car parks and have the Trading Standards’ Buy With Confidence award.

Only 12 meet and greet parking companies are approved by Gatwick Airport, they are:

West Sussex Trading Standards issues Gatwick meet and greet advice

If you’re flying from Gatwick this summer and plan to book meet and greet parking, please take heed of West Sussex Trading Standards’ advice to always use a Gatwick Approved company.

The warning comes following the discovery of more than 1,000 cars parked in a muddy field; cars whose owners thought were in the “secure” car parks promised on the websites of five rogue parking companies.

Travellers are advised to:

  • Always use a company that has Buy With Confidence approval
  • Check that the company displays its address on its website – this is a legal requirement
  • When booking, pay with a credit card for additional protection
  • Take a photo of all four sides of your vehicle to assist you with any disputes about damage to your car when you return from holiday
  • Make a note of your mileage when handing your car over
  • Never leave valuables inside your car.

David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “We take any reports of rogue trading, false advertising and damage to property very seriously and our Trading Standards team, as always, are working hard to make sure those involved are held responsible for their actions.”

Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “When using airport parking consumers are handing over the keys to often the second most expensive item they own, but do little in research before they do so.

“Use a Buy With Confidence approved parking scheme to ensure your peace of mind when off enjoying your holidays this summer.”

The following Gatwick meet and greet parking companies are Gatwick Approved:

Trading Standards issues Gatwick meet and greet warning

West Sussex Trading Standards Service is advising customers of meet and greet airport parking companies to check the small print this Christmas.

Trading Standards has received complaints from customers who have experienced thefts from their cars, damage to their vehicles and excess mileage put on the odometer while their car has been in the care of some unscrupulous companies.

The advice being given is:

  • Check the company websites and make sure you know who you are dealing with. Legally, companies need to provide their name and address details on websites. If contact address details are missing, be extra cautious and consider booking with a different provider
  • Consider using a credit card to make your booking if the cost is more than £100 – this will give you extra protection should something go wrong
  • Most reputable companies will complete paperwork highlighting any damage to the vehicle at the time you drop it off. Take photos of all 4 sides of your vehicle when dropping it off to help avoid any disputes regarding damage to your vehicle when you return from holiday
  • Make a note of the mileage reading on your car when you drop it off
  • Do not leave any valuables or money in your vehicle whilst you are on your travels.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services with responsibility for trading standards said: “It’s important to say that the majority of people suffer a stress free experience when dealing with official and regulated meet and greet firms.

“There are so many things to arrange when you are going on holiday at Christmas time, any time for that matter, that it’s easy to look at car parking online and concentrate on price or availability rather than reading the small print.

“If you look closely some companies offering ‘meet and greet’ services do not have full contact details on their websites so you have no way of making contact if you have a complaint.

“In some cases claims of secure parking can actually mean a field or a street near to the airport.

“Our advice is to use the official airport car parking facilities or use a ‘meet and greet’ service provided by our ‘Buy With Confidence’ trading standards approved business.”

West Sussex Trading Standards operates the Buy With Confidence scheme (BWC), a trade approval scheme, where all members are vetted and approved by the service. In relation to meet and greet companies, BWC means that their parking compounds have been checked and are all secure.

Visit the BWC website to find out which meet and greet operators are part of BWC – Gatwick postcode is RH6 0NP (South Terminal)

The Gatwick Airport website has a list of Gatwick Approved operators. The meet and greet companies listed on the Gatwick Airport website will all be members of BWC and their parking compounds will also all have the Park Mark award.