By contrast all the car parks administered by Stratford District Council—either on-street or off-street—impose a penalty of £50 reduced to £25 if paid within a fortnight. A district council spokeswoman told the Herald that these charges were set by the government.

Helen Munro, chief executive of the town trust—which owns the land on which the civic hall car park is situated—told the Herald: “The town trust reviews the parking charges annually with LPS [Local Parking Security].

“The charges are clearly displayed in the car park and if people choose not to follow the car parking terms as set out that is entirely their choice.

“Clearly in exceptional circumstances people can appeal against the decision. The excess is set by LPS. It is in line with all LPS car parks in Stratford and across the country. The current excess has been in place since July 2013.”

Frank Aston, chief executive of LPS, said: “The excess charge was changed to £85 which is reduced to £50 for payment within 14 days on 12th July 2013. It was previously £60 with a reduction to £40 for payment within 14 days.

“It had been at that level since 2006. These charges are in line with all LPS car parks in Stratford-on-Avon and indeed all of our car parks across the country.

“The signs in Rother Street car park have been changed. This has been done in order meet the latest British Parking Association requirements for signage in private car parks,” he said. “Please note that part of this requirement is the need to offer a minimum 40 per cent reduction from the highest excess charge rate for prompt payment.”