SUPERMARKET staff are fearing for their jobs after several shoppers complained of receiving parking fines they believe were issued in error, a town council heard.

New parking measures were introduced in February in the Maiden's Walk car park in Hexham, which serves Marks & Spencer and B&M Bargains.

Under the changes automatic number plate recognition has been installed, Blue Badge holders are required to pay to park and cash payments stopped.

Several drivers have complained of fines they believe were issued in error.

The issue was raised at a meeting of Hexham Town Council on Monday (April 11).

Mayor of Hexham Derek Kennedy said he asked for it to be put on the meeting's agenda after the town council and individual councillors received numerous emails from persons receiving fines.

Coun Penny Grennan said she had spoken to a staff member at the store, who had told her the footfall at the store has 'totally been decimated'.

"It has got to the point where staff are afraid for their jobs," said Coun. Grennan.

She added the staff member said M&S' head office were aware of the issue.

Coun. Alison Smith said: "At the moment, people are just so afraid to use the car park and that's the only reason people aren't going.

"We definitely don't want to lose that shop in the town [M&S]."

Coun. Kennedy said: "Marks and Spencers and B&M are important parts of this town, we want them to succeed, we want them to continue to have that relationship and continue to be a long-term partner to the town and provide that excellent service that they have for several years."

He added: "To the people of Hexham and Tynedale who have received this, we do look at this very very importantly and we will stand for you because we do not think this is the right thing to do and we will do our level best to make sure Marks and Spencers and B&M are going concerns into the future."

The council agreed they will write to M&S and to B&M to raise the issue.

The Hexham Courant has contacted M&S for comment.

Adderstone Group is the landowner; the managing agents are Carter Towler LLP. Parking enforcement is monitored by Workflow Dynamics Ltd and Hozah oversee payments. All were contacted for comment by The Hexham Courant.