Wednesday 20th August 2014
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Is it a rip off? The media has recently shed some light on the dangers of private parking companies targeting motorists, particularly the elderly and the disabled, as they are usually parked in the prime locations such as hospitals, and store car parks. These unsuspecting motorists often receive fines starting from £100 from official looking parking squads, as they are a few minutes late in returning to their cars. Eric Pickles (Communities Secretary) has recently announced that an investigation will be launched into rogue firms that are profiting from the use of misleading marketing or aggressive enforcement tactics, at the expenses of unsuspecting motorists. Pickles’ aim is to stamp out the aforementioned head on. Ross Altman (Government advisor and pensions expert) had to interject and display his support of Pickles’ tough stance, by comparing this act to that of the PPI scandal.  Mr Pickles proposes a ban on the use of CCTV cameras to enforce on street parking restrictions. Pickles’ bid is to limit the overzealous parking fines that are raised by certain councils in a bid to raise money. This will allow motorists to protect themselves more, and this will ease motorist’s trips to shopping centers, and schools.

Private parking tickets are parking tickets issued on private property – i.e. not owned by the local council. The places where you might receive such tickets are:

 

  • Supermarkets
  • Retail parks
  • Hospitals
  • Motorway services
  • A managed residential park 

 

These private parking firms’ fines do not hold the same official standing as governments fines. Firms maybe playing hardball but, motorists do have rights to appeal to these proposed fines. The board that oversees how these private car parks are run is the British Parking Association, and in unfair fines i.e. – when motorists are a few minutes late returning to their vehicles or if there is not proper signage present on the private spaces where they have parked, then they will usually favour the motorists. Drivers across the UK are often fined by private parking firms, often without legal authority. These firms are now at the eye of the storm. It is clearly in the interest of the public that Pickles initiative is supported, as these private parking firms can enjoy sumptuous homes, whilst exploiting the public.

The transport committee published a report in June 2014 with the proposal of a nationwide 10 minute grace period being introduced, after a motorists ticket has expired. (This already exists in some areas). In addition to the above allowing local residents and local firms to demand a review of parking in their area, including charges and the use of yellow lines could also reduce the penalties substantially that motorists could face. Overall the consensus of many people supports Pickles’ various suggestions. Yet they would also like much more clarity as to why they can still be fined when they are in a free car park.

 

For further info on Pickles’ proposition please visit:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-bans-use-of-cctv-spy-cars-for-on-street-parking

 

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