The owners of the car park at Coppet Hall beach have moved to clarify concerns around the operation of the facility - but admit that they will now be working with an enforcement company - after instances of people who refused to pay to park becoming ‘rude and aggressive’ towards attendants when challenged.

The Hean Castle Estate has stated it wanted to bring an end to ‘ensuing speculation’ over comments on social media that included ‘serious inaccuracies and assumptions’.

Saundersfoot harbour commission recently received a backlash from members of the public for using the company Britannia Parking to utilise ANPR cameras at the seaside car park, operating 24 hours a day.

Coppet hall car park
“Firstly, the Car Park is not for sale, and has not been sold to NCP or anyone else. It remains, and will remain, in the ownership and management of the Estate,” said a spokesperson for the Hean Castle Estate. (Observer pic)

A spokesperson for the Hean Castle Estate stated that a new ANPR system is due to be installed before the summer: “The current system has had an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) facility since it was installed, which notified the attendants of visitors who hadn’t purchased a ticket on a previous visit.

“We have always tried to be pleasant and polite with our printed notices that were put on cars who hadn’t paid, and often received positive feedback from people who had made a genuine mistake or the ticket wasn’t in view.

“Our primary requirements for the new system were for it to be user friendly, yet be able to issue Penalty Charge Notices to people who didn’t purchase a ticket or overstayed, and also to be able to give us control over the penalty ticketing process.

“Unfortunately, there have always been a small number of people who have refused to pay to park, and in many cases were rude and aggressive towards the attendants when challenged.

“In the last couple of years, the number of people not paying has increased, and the rudeness has reached an intolerable level.

“As a result, we have partnered with an enforcement company who will be able to raise Parking Charge notices against people who refuse to pay - and thus avoid the unpleasantness which has been forthcoming.”

The new system at Coppet Hall will operate from 8am to 7pm, with parking remaining free outside these times.

There will be a 15 minute ‘grace period’ which will be clearly signposted at the entrance.

“The Estate Office will have access to the ANPR system, so details of vehicles entering and leaving the site will be able to be checked, and in the case of genuine claims for errors, tickets cancelled,” they added.