Family cinema night has Les Miserable end
A FAMILY night out to watch Les Miserables was ruined by chaos in the Merrywalks car park in Stroud afterwards.
Grandmother Geraldine Geers, her husband, their son, his wife and their children had all enjoyed their evening watching the blockbuster film at the Apollo cinema.
But then they faced a fiasco in the adjoining multistorey as they tried to get home to Tetbury.
The family queued for so long to leave the NCP car park that their ticket expired.
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Her husband then had to go back to the pay station and buy an extra 60p ticket so the could get out.
Retired teacher Mrs Geers, 68, said the problem was compounded because the same snag hit more than 100 cars.
She said: "We collected our exit ticket from the machine for £1 then returned to our car on the fourth floor. Fine so far.
"Then we joined the queue and waited and waited. Eventually, after about half an hour, we came near the exit barrier and could see what the problem was.
"Every driver's ticket had expired. Someone from each car had to return to the machine to buy another ticket for 60p."
She added: "There were probably about 100 cars still behind us when we left."
Mrs Geers said she discussed the problem later with friends.
"We learnt that this was a frequent situation," she said.
"On this occasion drivers were remarkably restrained but I can imagine a potentially nasty situation could well develop if drivers' impatience gets out of hand.
"It was a sad end to a good family evening out."
NCP said later it would extend the time it allowed drivers between paying and exiting the car park to overcome the problem for cinema goers.
NCP spokeswoman Michelle McCarthy said she had spoken to the people in charge of the Merrywalks multistorey.
"They have doubled the grace time for people using the cinema," she said.
"We are monitoring the situation and we want people to park there."