Parking changes hailed as a victory for motorists

Motorists who have railed against private parking companies for years will breathe a sigh of confidence after the government announced sweeping changes.

From now on, private car parks will have to display prices more clearly, introduce a fairer appeals system and give drivers a grace period in the event of delays under a government crackdown.

The announcement comes as almost two million parking tickets were issued to drivers between April and June last year by private parking companies, the number of which has increased by almost two-thirds in the last five years. years.

Read more: Newquay woman hits over £100 parking fine despite buying ticket in Truro

Under plans announced under the government’s private parking code of practice, most fines for users of private car parks will be capped at £50 – up from £100 currently – although higher financial penalties will remain for more serious infractions, such as parking in Blue Badge Bays.

Operators who fail to follow the rules could be barred from collecting fines from motorists.

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Motorists will get a 50 per cent discount if they pay within 14 days, as they do with fixed fine notices issued by the council.

The plans, which bring private parking companies further into line with the advice, will also mean that excessive debt collection charges for late tickets, which can be up to £70, will be banned, parking companies will have to display prices more clearly and terms. and conditions, motorists will be given a 10-minute grace period before they can issue a late fine and a five-minute cooling-off period will be introduced during which a motorist can change their mind about parking.

Motoring organizations hailed the move, with the RAC saying it had been campaigning for years to “end acerbic practices in the private parking industry”.

An RAC spokesperson said: ‘It will undoubtedly make drivers’ experience of using private car parks fairer while forcing rogue operators to clean up their acts once and for all.’

AA President Edmund King also welcomed the news, adding: ‘For too long those caught by private parking companies are just paying the fees to get rid of them. Fortunately those days are numbered.

“Drivers need to be confident that having a single code of practice and a new appeal charter will give them the confidence to appeal and be properly heard.”

St Austell and Newquay MP Steve Double said complaints about some private parking companies tend to feature regularly in his inbox and that their “actions can ruin the lives of local residents while managing the experience visitors to Cornwall”.

He added: ‘There are many excellent locally run private car parks but these bad apples can damage the reputation of the industry.

“I have long campaigned for a fairer and better regulated set of rules for users of private car parks, having served on the Bill Committee for that legislation as it passed Parliament and speaking on behalf of the people who have contacted me in the past. ”

“The Private Parking Code of Conduct announced this week delivers on these ambitions, creates a fair and level playing field for the industry and will protect private parking users from the misbehavior we have seen in the past.”

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