MOTORISTS have received an apology from Chester City Council following a mix-up over the use of Charisma cards at car parks.

Drivers who are also Charisma card hold-ers have been using them to receive a discount on parking charges - the card normally entitles you to four hours car parking for the price of two.

But a number of motorists have been returning to their cars to discover they had been given fixed penalty notices - even though they had prominently displayed proof of their Charisma card ownership in the windscreen.

Signs informing drivers of the Charisma card parking discount had been covered up but the city council admitted this week that a mistake had been made due to a breakdown in communication between departments.

One card holder from Blacon, who did not wish to be named, said: 'First of all we get hit by an increase in car park charges which is ridiculous in itself.

'Then I parked at the Gorse Stacks car park, displayed my Charisma card and went shopping.

'When I returned to my car there was a fixed penalty notice.

'My mother had bought the ticket and not noticed that the sign that says you can use your Charisma card was covered up.'

The city council admitted there had been other complaints and that a mistake had been made.

'All the signs about the Charisma card discount have now been restored to the city's car parks.

However, the card is under review and changes are due to be made in September.

A spokesperson for the council said: 'The city council apologises for the mix-up regarding parking charges for Charisma parking pass holders.

'The offer is still in place and will be available until September 2007.

'If anyone using their Charisma parking pass has received a penalty notice as a result of the mixup, they should contact parking services on 01244 402633 who will be happy to help.

'The Charisma scheme is currently being reviewed and will be re-launched later this year with a host of new offers and an improved website.'

But enough is enough for the Blacon resident: 'I will not be renewing my Charisma card in Se ptember.

'The main reason I bought the card was for the parking benefits.

'I have a young child and it was so convenient, but combined with the ridiculous rise in car park charges it is just not worth it. I won't be driving to Chester ag ain.'

* Offers available to Charisma card holders can be found on the website at