Friday, 29 June 2012

Eastgate retail car park ticket scandal - Addendum

Latest update:
The Council have spoken to the letting agents Aston Rose agents.They have written to the tenants of Eastgate to ask if they are OK with the parking time allowed to revert to 3 hours (Morrisons have already indicated they are OK with this). The question raised here of course is did they write and gain approval in the first place to shorten the waiting time to one and half hours?

The letting agent is still chasing the parking people regarding what signs went up and when. As far as Iis known there were two signs (one next to the car wash & the other in the far r/h corner covered by some trees) put up for a period of about three weeks during June. Last weekend after a number of complaints another 4 signs were put up around the periphery of the car park. If anyone can confirm this it would help.

The letting agent is suggesting to the car parking firm they rescind the tickets issued between the time period between there being  two signs and when the extra four signs went up i.e. beginning of June to last weekend – however depending on the facts this may not happen. He is also asking that those people who have complained to the Council have their tickets cancelled – again this is ongoing.

Finally it is worth pointing people to the following link: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/private-parking-tickets#fight as this seems to advise people not to pay the ticket as it is very unlikely the car parking company will pursue it (worth a look).

The Council will continue to update you on the matter as and when.

Yesterday

I as MP and the Council have received a flood of complaints about car park parking fines on a FREE car park in Accrington. The car park on Eastgate in front of Morrison's Supermarket and the other stores has decreased the time you can park free there from three hours to one and half hours. 


As a consequence the opportunity managers of the site have instructed a car clamping company to begin issuing fines which appear on badly printed form demanding £60 immediate payment or face a £100 fine. Tickets are not being issued, residents are simply receiving a payment notice via post to their home address.

Miles Parkinson the Council Leader has instructed the town centre office to act quickly to resolve this disgraceful greedy practice.

My own view is that shame on Morrison's and the others for allowing this happen. They claim to offer customers value then rip them off with car parking charges. I cannot believe that a company such as Morrisons do not have an agreement on free parking as part of their lease arrangements. I intend to pursue this matter.

If you have been fined, contact your local councillor immediately.

The town centre manager visited the site yesterday and there are now 6 signs dotted about the place that contain information about the use of the ANPR.

He has already been in contact with the letting agents again and had long a conversation with Morrisons. There seems to be no hard evidence this car park is being ‘abused’ by people using it to go elsewhere and I nor anyone else has ever seen people queuing to get in.

Following those conversations the town centre manager has been assured that the owners will definitely extend the hours to 2 hours and he is trying hard to convince them to go back to 3 hours which they are hopefully considering.

In terms of reimbursements the letting agents have asked the Council to gather the names and addresses of the people that have received tickets so they can try and determine the actual numbers, so if you could let either myself or my staff know, or your local councillor know what you know and your details can be forwarded.

The Council are consulting planning and legal to check the original consent and it would appear that the notices given are not penalty charges as they are on private land but rather a charge for ‘loss incurred’. The view seems to be that if the owners took everyone to Court a judge would have to decide whether £60 is a reasonable charge for ‘loss incurred’ on that car park, which common sense would suggest it isn’t as parking is free.