We're fuming over 'extortionate' charges at popular UK beach – it's daylight robbery | The Sun

VISITORS have been left fuming over "extortionate" parking charges at a popular UK beach – slamming them as "daylight robbery".

Woolacombe Beach in north Devon is a haven for both surfers and holidaying families.

Named Beach of the Year in 2021, it is served by two long stay car parks which charge between £5 and £12 a day, depending on the time of year.

Visitors who arrive leave 1pm or arrive after 6pm get a discount, with roadside parking also an option for shorter stays.

But several people have blasted the parking charges at the idyllic family-owned beach.

Charley said: "Car parking… £10 for 1 hour?! We had no other choice but to pay it.

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"Daylight robbery. We were taking little one for her first play in the sand

"Turns out she isn’t a beach babe. Waste of time- won’t visit again."

Mark said: "I was ripped off at the car park in Woolacombe. The notice said parking was £6, £3 if you leave before 1pm.

"We left at 12.30, I paid contactless and it said £3 on the screen when I checked my account balance later in the day it had taken £6."

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Another visitor said: "We decided to drive into Woolacombe to have a walk.

"£10 to park! I drove back out so sadly never got to see Woolacombe.

"Sadly I think Woolacombe will be losing out on a lot of tourists charging those extortionate parking changes."

Lauren said: "Parking was £12 per day. I was disgusted. Rip-off Britain at its best."

Ian said: "Beware some of the parking charges at Woolacombe beach.

"Some car parks are charging £12 or £10 a day. If you leave before 1pm it’s £6 – this is even if you got there at midday and decide not to stay.

"We moved on to Illfracombe where parking charges are by the by hours."

David said: "To charge £8 to park cannot be justified.

"Parkin Estates say it has to be that amount to cover their costs such as lifeguard, toilets and litter collection.

"But with hundreds of cars paying that amount every day someone is making a lot of money."

Jay said: "Rip-off pricing from the car park – £8 no matter how long you park for.

"I parked for two hours and paid £8. There are no other choices, I will never return while they have this system. 

"99% of other beaches in the UK and the world which are just as nice seem to manage without charging such extortionate prices."

Karen said: "I love Woolacombe. But the car park there is a absolute rip off.

"I visited it on May 3rd at about 4.30pm. I went for a walk with elderly friends – one of whom fell over so we had to go back to the car early.

"I was then charged £8 for that short stay. It is criminal to charge those prices.

"You should only have to pay for the time you are there."

"God knows what they are going to charge in the high season."


Parkin Estates, which manages the beach, said: "It is our car park fees that enable us to pay £95k annually for the seasonal lifeguards to keep our visitors safe.

"We clean the beach daily from mid March until the end of October and from November until mid March we hand pick the plastic and other man made detritus off the beach three times per week.

"This is an annual cost of £35k just to dispose of debris brought in by the sea, and £22k to dispose of the rubbish collected in our litter bins.

"The marine debris and litter costs do not include staff wages or the running costs of equipment that we use.

"Your fees provide first class clean public toilets that many reviewers comment on, a lost child facility and first aid for our visitors.

It added: "We are limited to a contactless system that works with our car park machines.

"It takes £6 and refunds £3 – strange but true! To date it has not actually overcharged anyone.

"However, dependent upon your card and your bank it can also show in pending for several days.

"We quite agree that we would be more user friendly if we could charge by the hour.

"However, we are a private company, not a local authority.

"If we used pay and display machines and someone did not pay we do not have access to DVLA data – and we do not have the powers to fine people either."

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