Parking measures that put common sense back in the driving seat were given the green-light yesterday by Local Government and Communities Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
Under the new laws to help local shops, drivers will get a 10 minute grace period when parked in a bay. This will prevent fines for being just a few minutes late back to the vehicle – be it in a paid or free parking space.
And the use of CCTV ‘spy cars’ has been banned in the majority of circumstances ending the tyranny of automated fines landing on doorsteps and being issued in industrial volumes
The measures stop over-zealous parking enforcement which often forces people to shop in out-of-town centres or online and were approved in the last reading of parking reforms in the Deregulation Bill.
Other measures protecting drivers include new powers for parking adjudicators so they can hold councils to account to tackle parking problems such as poor signage at specific locations.
And a powerful new right enables residents and local firms to demand that their council reviews parking in their area, including the charges and use of yellow lines.
There will also be tougher rules against heavy-handed action by bailiffs and an end to fines at out-of-order parking meters when there is no alternative way to pay. Guidance will also reinforce that councils cannot use parking to make a profit.
Councils were also asked to volunteer to trial a new pilot that allows motorists challenging a parking ticket to benefit from a 25% discount on the fine if they lose the appeal. Currently drivers are only offered a discount on early payment before challenging a ticket.
The parking measures are a victory for drivers and one of a number of initiatives introduced by the government to support high streets and give local shops a fairer deal.