A BLUE badge holder has called for better signage at a Didcot shopping centre after he was hit with a fine.

Disabled pensioner Stewart Lilly was issued an £80 penalty, reducing to £25 if he paid within 14 days, after exceeding the free parking limit at the Orchard Centre.

The former county councillor said: "It's curious that there's no signage at the disabled bays saying there is a two-hour limit.

"I don't want others like me to make the same mistake - other people who are disabled and maybe can't move as fast.

"If they just had a little sign saying there is a two-hour restriction, it means those using the disabled bays who think - like 99 per cent of the time - there is no time limit, are forewarned."

Mr Lilly was issued with the fine after visiting the centre to meet a friend, and exceeding the two-hour free parking limit by 40 minutes.

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He said Hammerson, which runs the Orchard Centre, was understanding and agreed to waive the penalty this time.

However, he wanted to draw attention to the policy, adding: "You have got to watch the clock - otherwise it'll be the most expensive cup of coffee you'll ever buy."

He said he felt the time limit was 'contrary to the vast majority of disabled car parking facilities.'

A separate review of the car park, posted on Parkopedia in June by another blue badge holder, said: "I parked in a disabled space and displayed a valid blue badge.

"When I went to the machine it said that blue badge holders do not have to pay a concession.

"I've now received an £80 fine because I didn't pay - I won't be shopping here again."

Blue badge holders are entitled to free on-street parking where there are meters or pay and display machines, for an unlimited time.

However, there is no such rule on private land, or in council-run car parks.

Government guidance states: "Off-street car park operators should provide parking spaces for disabled people.

"However, it is up to the car park owner to decide whether badge holders can park free of charge - do not assume you can always park for free."

ALSO READ: Shoppers want time limit extended at Orchard Centre car park

The Orchard Centre has 875 parking spaces, offering free parking all day on Sundays and a two-hour limit Monday-Saturday, increasing to £1.70 for up to three hours.

A Hammerson spokesperson said: "The blue badge parking policy at the Orchard Centre is in line with many neighbouring retail destinations.

"Following this being brought to our attention, we will now consider additional signage for blue badge holders to make this clear."

Hammerson recently reviewed its parking provision at the shopping centre, asking customers for their feedback.

The spokesperson added: "In response, we increased the maximum stay allowed in the centre car park from four to five hours, and reduced the no return period from three hours to one hour.

"It is important to us that our retail destinations make the shopping and leisure experience as welcoming as possible for all our customers, and we will continue to work hard to ensure our locations are accessible for all."