SHOPPERS are calling for longer parking times to be put in place at a retail park after being fined for short overstays.

Water Glade Retail Park, in Old Road, Clacton, is currently home to several shops and supermarkets, including Morrisons, Halfords and Carpetright.

The land next to the long- standing complex is earmarked for a multi-million pound development, which could include a new McDonald’s.

Drivers are allowed to park in the Water Glade car park, which is run by Smart Parking, for two hours, for free, which has previously not proved a problem for shoppers.

But automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras, which monitor how long vehicles have spent in the car park, have now been installed.

It has led to more shoppers being slapped with fines for short overstays.

Sue Fergey, 67, from Clacton, who visits the Water Glade Retail Park every two weeks, suffers with spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebra.

As a result, her daughter-in-law has to drive her to and from the complex, as she is unable to carry heavy shopping on and off a bus.

Recently, the pair were given a £60 parking fine for staying 20 minutes longer than the allowed time.

Ms Fergey is now calling on parking companies to better consider the struggle facing the elderly and disabled to complete their shopping in just two hours.

She said: “I am not disabled by any means and there are many more people who are in a worse position than me.

“But I can’t carry any shopping because of the pain I get from my back problems.

“The parking time needs to be made longer and they need to think more about the elderly - it is insulting.

“Why don’t they just have pay and display meters like Colchester?

“People can say about using online shopping instead, but not all elderly people can do that.”

Jill Finch, from Clacton, also found out about the newly installed number plate recognition the hard way.

She has also received a £60 fine and has now suggested the car park operates on a pay and display basis.

Mrs Finch said: “If people want to or need to go to other shops at the retail park, then the parking time needs to be longer.

“It is terrible trying to park anywhere else in or near the town centre.

“So, many people park in Water Glade to go into town or the doctors.

“We need that footfall in the town before it dies, so maybe they should install a pay and display machine at the Water Glade.’’

Smart Parking was originally brought into manage the Water Glade Retail Park in 2013 to stop parking abuse and to ensure genuine customers can always find somewhere to park.

"To achieve this there is a 2 hour maximum stay rule at the car park which has been in place all the time operated the car park," said a spokesman.

"Terms and conditions of use are clearly set out across numerous signs positioned around the car park and the vast majority of motorists park there without any issue.”