Steve Double MP names and shames Newquay private car parking companies in Parliament
Not so Smart Parking at Fistral. Photo: @gingernut123
Steve Double, Member of Parliament for St Austell and Newquay, yesterday used a debate in Parliament, to raise serious concerns regarding the operation of private car parking companies in Newquay – and on the relationship between the DVLA and private car parking companies.
Speaking in the debate, Steve said:
“The way in which some parking firms operate in issuing penalties for spurious reasons is unfair to motorists and damaging the reputation of Newquay and many other areas.”
“I believe we need to take action to stop motorists being treated unreasonably. It will in turn help hardworking businesses of Newquay, many of them family owned, who go out of their way to welcome tourists. These parking firms damage the reputation of the town and hide behind faceless PO box addresses.”
“A cynic might argue that their whole business model is based on being able to issue these extra charges simply to add to their profits”
“My office has received many, many pieces of correspondence, both from locals and tourists, complaining about Parking firms, their unjust actions and the way they been unfairly treating locals and tourists. Despite numerous attempts by my office to contact these firms and try to open some sort of constructive dialogue with them, not once have they responded. They have not even given me the courtesy of a letter saying “Please go away, we don’t want to talk to you!”
“I am going to name the two parking firms: Parking Eye and Smart Parking in Newquay. Both firms are operating in this unacceptable way and I believe they deserve to be named for their refusal to respond to me as the local Member of Parliament.”
According to their website blurb “ParkingEye has grown to become the largest supplier of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems in the UK”.
Acquired by Capita plc in October 2013 they currently employ over 300 members of staff based out of their Chorley HQ and Blackburn offices.
Smart Parking is a multi-national behemoth covering city wide contracts from Wellinton NZ to Athens, Westminster and Cardiff. It’s UK HQ is in Birmingham.
In response to Steve’s speech, A ParkingEye spokesperson said: “ParkingEye is a member of the British Parking Association (BPA) and follows it code of practice. We encourage people who have received a parking charge to appeal if they think there are mitigating circumstances, and instructions about how to do this are detailed on all communications and on our website.”
We didn’t get a response from Smart Parking.
“I believe we need to look at the relationship between Parking firms and the DVLA. They obtain car keepers details from the DVLA to issue official looking invoices masquerading as fines. This is not on, and something which I believe the Government should review.”
“When we have unfair practices, when we have firms operating in ways that are damaging other businesses and upsetting tourists and locals, it is right that the government look at this carefully and if necessary bring in legislation that will protect motorists and help sustain local businesses.”
“I do not want the defining memory of so many visitors to places like Newquay being their shoddy treatment at the hands of these rogue operators and so I will continue to press the Government for change here.”