Harpenden pub ticketing car park to deter non-customers

The parking ticket machine in the car park for The Old Bell in Harpenden

The parking ticket machine in the car park for The Old Bell in Harpenden - Credit: Archant

Fed up with shoppers, commuters and people with dental appointments using its car park, a Harpenden pub has taken an unusual step since reopening.

The Old Bell in Luton Road, a Grade II listed building that reopened three weeks ago after refurbishment, has installed a parking ticket machine at the entrance to its car park to ensure that spaces are reserved for customers.

And even though the pub, owned by Spirit Inns, is only charging £1 for three hours parking, the machine has done the trick and random parking has all-but stopped.

Team leader at The Old Bell, Emma Chapman, explained that customers of Tesco Express and the nearby dental practice were parking in the pub car park and leaving no room for patrons.

Some commuters were also parking there all day and walking to the station even though it is some distance away.

Emma said there had been few issues with the parking machine because people coming into the pub had the charge refunded.

She went on: “A few people have said why are you having to do it but we have days where there are only three spaces left in the car park and the pub is empty.”

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Emma said that the parking machine had had a positive effect and pointed out that whereas before there were 15-16 cars in the car park at 10am on weekdays, that had now stopped.

She went on: “We had to do something and discussed it with Spirit Inns and they agreed that we were losing business. People are more than welcome to park in our car park and come in for a drink afterwards.”

Emma added: “We are not being detrimental, rude or anything but it is just so our customers can have a parking space.”

Harpenden town councillor John Chambers commented: “The machine is very prominent and it could have been placed somewhere better.”