Norwich campaigners welcome government crackdown on private parking firms

Green city councillor Denise Carlo has been campaigning against the tickets issued at the Earlham Ho

Green city councillor Denise Carlo has been campaigning against the tickets issued at the Earlham House car park on Earlham Road in Norwich. Picture: Neil Didsbury - Credit: Archant

A potential crackdown on private car parking firms has been welcomed by campaigners, who have been fighting to stop people in Norwich being hit with tickets.

The government move is aimed at tackling “aggressive tactics” used by some operators.

It includes measures such as a new appeals charter, maximum caps for tickets and a 10-minute grace period before a late levy can be issued.

A tiered system would also be brought in to differentiate between major and minor offences.

The initiative, being put out for public consultation, would eliminate unfair tariffs and be a boost for motorists, according to communities secretary Robert Jenrick.

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And it was welcomed by Green city councillor Denise Carlo, who has spent years trying to help drivers hit with tickets after being caught at Earlham House Shopping Centre in her Norwich Nelson ward.

Hundreds of motorists have been caught at Earlham House and dozens have been taken to court by parking company NPE for not paying charges of up to £100.Ms Carlo said of the consultation: “This is welcome and not before time.

“What would be particularly helpful is if this means there is proper control over a 10 minute grace period.

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“There have been cases where drivers have been sent penalty notices when they have been parked for only three to four minutes, or have parked with a wheel over a white line.

“I deal with a lot of complaints over what happens at Earlham House and maybe this will mean that system changes.

“What would be great is if it leads to NPE making an offer to sell the car park to the shopkeepers there or the freeholder of Earlham House.”

Mr Jenrick said: “Our proposals will restore common sense to the way parking fines are issued, while cracking down on the worst offenders who put other people in danger and hinder our emergency services from carrying out their duties.”

The moves would form part of a new parking code of practice and framework.

Among the proposals would be the creation of a single appeals service and appeals charter for motorists to use if they feel they have been unfairly fined.

Consultation runs until October.

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