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Summer is coming, parking will be in short supply and drivers will be looking for an alternative to paid parking AND YOUR SITE IS AT RISK

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Wherever it is someone needs to manage the parking…watch this space.

The pollsters and pundits are predicting another hung parliament; but will this lead to a coalition? Who knows? And if it does no one seems to be sure which flavour or colours it will be and the options seem to increase by the day.

We believe that good quality, well designed and properly maintained parking provision is vital to the prosperity of Britain's towns and cities. Few manifestos talk about parking but you can bet it will be a hot topic whoever is in Government.

Parkex 2015

Parkex 2015 took place between 21st and 23rd April alongside Traffex at the NEC. As ever in a joint year, the size and scale of the show was impressive featuring some really innovative stand designs. 1854 people came to Parkex over the 3 days, with day 2 recording the highest footfall. The Parkex Hub, now in its second year, proved once again to be a valuable addition to the show where a varied series of presentations, debates and discussions took place.

Members are advised that Parkex 2016 will take place on 15th and 16th June and for the first time ever the show is moving to the Ricoh stadium, Coventry. This venue offers many benefits including an on-site hotel and entertainment – it is also scheduled to have its own train station in time for our show.

DCLG consultation: Parking reform - tackling unfair practices

Hot on the heels of being given responsibility for Government policy on off-street parking, DCLG has issued a Discussion Paper and Call for Evidence on two core issues - management of parking on private land and the ability to use cash to pay for parking in local authority car parks.

This is, as always, a numbers issue. The more responses the DCLG receive the better chance we have of the Government settling the issues once and for all.

We are pleased that Government recognises that appropriate parking control is vital to ensure that facilities remain accessible and provide value for money, both for the landowners providing access to their property, and for the drivers accessing the land. It is Government’s responsibility to strike the right balance between protecting the rights of land owners to control the use of their land and benefit fairly from it, and protecting drivers and shoppers from unscrupulous practices.

Monday Musing: Did you find that appealing?

A rather quick response was heard on Thursday last week, we were barely seated for 30 seconds before we heard the words ‘appeal dismissed’ in the hotly anticipated Parking Eye Vs Beavis Court of Appeal judgement. A quick glance around as the court room emptied showed many confused and surprised faces. It was widely believed that the ruling would drastically shape the landscape of private parking charges in the future.The Court accepted the decision of Judge Moloney QC that the charges were reasonable and enforceable; it was a complex decision with a long analysis of the role of penalties in Contract Law, despite taking seconds for the judge to report the verdict.

The commercial interests of ParkingEye were taken into account and the Parking Charges were found to be fair and reasonable. It also put pay to the somewhat contentious idea that the public would be able to claim back their previously paid charges if Mr Beavis won.

Once again we find ourselves referring to two points that are often forgotten by the public and media but are always relevant:

There is no such thing as a free parking space – someone always pays but it may not always be clear who does. We all benefit from well managed parking – something we may only comprehend fully when it becomes difficult to find a parking space. Mr Beavis is, unsurprisingly, unhappy with the Court of Appeal’s decision and immediately launched another appeal – this time for cash. He was given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court and took one day to achieve his target of £6,000. The fund is still growing which shows the strength of feeling the public has for this particular subject.

Unfortunately, the private parking sector often suffers from negative representation. Perhaps it is hardly surprising when we have multiple codes of practice, multiple appeal services, and variable auditing and sanctions regimes, resulting in confusion for motorists and businesses alike.

We believe that change is long overdue and call for the establishment of a single standard setting body with an independent scrutiny board which will deliver a single code of practice and a single independent appeals service for consumers. We support competition in this area but not at the expense of standards which encourages a race to the bottom, or in confusing the motorist by offering different appeals services of varying quality.

With the General Election just over a week away and the prospect of a new power at the helm of the UK’s future policies, isn’t it the perfect opportunity for us to call upon the next Government to act and in doing so, improve the landscape for motorists and the entire parking sector by helping us raise standards and increase professionalism.

Government could go further by regulating parking on private land

The BPA welcomes today’s Court of Appeal decision which provided clarity on the use of contract law for parking on private land. The ruling supported the view of Judge Moloney that the charge should be an effective deterrent.

See the transcript of the ParkingEye vs Beavis ruling.

Whilst the judgement does not appear to mention an upper limit, we would not expect members to increase their charges as a result of this decision. The judgement at least confirms that current charges are lawful and reasonable. Motorists parking on private land must comply with the advertised terms and conditions.

BPA terminates membership of ANPR Limited (NB: not ANPR Parking Control Ltd)

The British Parking Association (BPA) has terminated the membership of ANPR Limited with immediate effect.

Following investigations arising from complaints by motorists, BPA Officers awarded 16 Sanction Points covering multiple Code of Practice breaches including failing to follow agreed procedures in handling motorist appeals and failing to live up to BPA customer service requirements.

If an operator receives 12 or more Sanction Points in a 12-month period, their case is referred to the BPA Professional Conduct Panel who will review all the evidence. In this instance the panel concluded that the membership of ANPR Ltd should be terminated. This termination means that ANPR Limited’s ability to request vehicle keeper details from the DVLA will cease.

The BPA is committed to encouraging and developing the highest standards of professional conduct and ethics within its membership. The BPA Code of Professional Conduct sets out the standards expected of those working in the profession and all BPA members commit to the code when they join the association. Unfortunately, ANPR Limited was unable to meet these standards.

The company must remove all references to the BPA and the Approved Operator Scheme (AOS) from all its business transactions, including signage in car parks they manage.