Inquiry begins after family locked in Upminster carpark

Havering Council is demanding an explanation from a contractor after it refused to send out staff to let a mum and her young children out of an Upminster car park.

Lucy Partner had parked her car in the New Windmill Hall car park in St Mary’s Lane while she took Riley, three, and two-month-old Jude to see Santa in a shop and eat out.

When she returned to the car on Wednesday last week at 7.30pm, the barrier was closed and she was unable to get her car out.

The Hornchurch resident said: “I didn’t see a sign saying it was closing at a particular time and I came back at a time I had done previously.

“I called the emergency phone number on a sign. I would have paid the �75 release fee but the woman on the phone just said, ‘It’s not an emergency – there’s nothing I can do.’

“I was stuck there with two young children and my son heard me on the phone and he was crying.

“What is an emergency in a car park if not a woman stuck in the cold with two young children?”

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The town hall says the incident should never have taken place and is seeking an explanation from its contractor.

Housing boss Cllr Lesley Kelly said: “We are very sorry that this happened.

“We do have processes in place to ensure that people locked in car parks after they have closed can get out or access their vehicles.

“This is managed by external contractor Vangent. We will be expecting a full explanation and for them to outline how they will prevent this from happening again.”

Vangent did not respond to a request for comment before the Recorder went to press.

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