'Poldark' village residents hit with parking fines from harbour owner

Poldark parking war: Residents of village used as setting for hit TV show are deluged with fines from harbour owner

  • Charlestown, near St Austell, stood in for Truro in the BBC drama Poldark
  • Residents claim their lives have been blighted since landowner Rolf Munding installed a parking camera
  • Mr Munding recruited the firm Smart Parking, which issues cars parked on Quay Road with £100 penalty notices
  • No amount of swashbuckling would help Ross Poldark win this battle.

    The residents of an unspoiled Cornish village are at daggers drawn with the businessman who bought their harbour – after he began issuing hundreds of £100 fines for parking outside their homes.

    Residents of Charlestown, near St Austell, which stood in for Truro in the BBC drama Poldark, claim their lives have been blighted since landowner Rolf Munding installed a parking camera, leaving many facing hundreds of pounds in penalties.

    Mr Munding says he resorted to the automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) camera to recoup money he claims residents refused to pay for the upkeep of the private road that runs around the harbour. 

    He recruited the firm Smart Parking, which issues cars parked on Quay Road with £100 penalty notices.

    Residents of Charlestown, near St Austell, which stood in for Truro in the BBC drama Poldark, claim their lives have been blighted since landowner Rolf Munding installed a parking camera, leaving many facing hundreds of pounds in penalties. Dave Nicklin (pictured), 70, chairman of the residents' association, said that since the camera went up in September, one household alone has received 50 penalty notices

    Residents of Charlestown, near St Austell, which stood in for Truro in the BBC drama Poldark, claim their lives have been blighted since landowner Rolf Munding installed a parking camera, leaving many facing hundreds of pounds in penalties. Dave Nicklin (pictured), 70, chairman of the residents’ association, said that since the camera went up in September, one household alone has received 50 penalty notices

    Mr Munding says he resorted to the automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) camera to recoup money he claims residents refused to pay for the upkeep of the private road that runs around the harbour. He recruited the firm Smart Parking, which issues cars parked on Quay Road with £100 penalty notices. (Above, some of the homes - background, to the left - affected by the furore)

    Mr Munding says he resorted to the automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) camera to recoup money he claims residents refused to pay for the upkeep of the private road that runs around the harbour. He recruited the firm Smart Parking, which issues cars parked on Quay Road with £100 penalty notices. (Above, some of the homes – background, to the left – affected by the furore)

    Furious locals complain they have also been hit with fines for simply driving around the harbour – a claim Mr Munding denies.

    They insist they have a right of way on Quay Road, as do their guests, along with access to park. They also claim there is no way for tradesmen and tourists to pay for parking on the road.

    It has led to a bitter stand-off, with the residents’ association appealing on behalf of dozens of locals against their fines.

    Homeowners accused Mr Munding of creating a car park ‘with no way to pay’. 

    One said: ‘He bought the harbour a couple of years ago and has tried to run roughshod over planning laws, locals and anybody else.

    ‘He decided to install an ANPR camera over the harbour and the road which residents and homeowners have a legal right of way over, as well as the right to park.

    ‘Immediately people began getting tickets, whether they are a resident or not. 

    As well as the modern Poldark drama (above, starring Aidan Turner), Charlestown featured in the original series in the Seventies

    As well as the modern Poldark drama (above, starring Aidan Turner), Charlestown featured in the original series in the Seventies

    ‘He has turned the road into a big car park and there’s no way to pay when you get there – apart from fines. It is a crazy situation. He is the rich, bully landowner and really thinks he can ride roughshod over the locals.’

    Dave Nicklin, 70, chairman of the residents’ association, said that since the camera went up in September, one household alone has received 50 penalty notices.

    Mr Nicklin, a retired company director, said: ‘They installed a camera which captures people going in and out of their homes. But it also captures tradesmen, friends and family – everyone who comes to your house is fined. 

    ‘What he has done is declared it a car park without telling anyone. As residents, it is in our deeds we have the right to pass and park.

    ‘It is about control and him wanting to turn the road from a liability into a profit.

    ‘The simple way to do that is stick a camera up and fine people £100. Forget the details of people’s lives, just concentrate on the big picture of making money. Yesterday I got four fines from people.’

    Mr Munding said he was forced to install the cameras as ‘the least controversial and simplest method of controlling access to our land’.

    He said residents were made aware of how to register their vehicles with Smart Parking to exempt them from penalties.

    But those living in the 50 or so homes around Charlestown Harbour hit back, saying their efforts to work with Smart Parking had been stymied and visitors were still forced to pay.

    They say they are seeking legal advice and could fight the installation of the camera in court.

    Charlestown Harbour Limited, which is owned by Mr Munding, said it had acted reasonably, adding: ‘We have endeavoured to approach what has been a long-outstanding issue with common sense. 

    Those living in the 50 or so homes around Charlestown Harbour say their efforts to work with Smart Parking had been stymied and visitors were still forced to pay. They say they are seeking legal advice and could fight the installation of the camera in court

    Those living in the 50 or so homes around Charlestown Harbour say their efforts to work with Smart Parking had been stymied and visitors were still forced to pay. They say they are seeking legal advice and could fight the installation of the camera in court

    ‘The desired effect of our effort is to stop those who have no right to use our road system from using it and with this share appropriately the cost of maintenance.’ 

    Mr Munding is a director of 14 firms ranging from craft brewing to a dormant clothing company.

    Charlestown, on the south Cornwall coast, is a late-Georgian working port, built between 1791 and 1801 to export copper and import coal. As well as the modern Poldark drama, it featured in the original series in the Seventies.

    The Mail has highlighted how ruthless parking firms operate. 

    Some 1.95million drivers received parking fines in the first quarter of this financial year, meaning private firms demanded up to £195million in three months.

    A proposed law could bring in a code of practice for the industry, a single appeals service and charges and fines more in line with those levied by councils.

    Smart Parking did not respond to a request for comment.

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