I recently led a debate in Parliament on the issue of car parking on private land, and the exorbitant fines charged on motorists for very small offences.
I decided to secure the debate after the issue was brought to my attention by several constituents, and by councillors including Whalley councillors Joyce Holgate and Terry Hill who raised their concerns about the Whalley Arms car park.
The problem stems from operators of private car parks deciding that there is a lucrative income stream to be had by using threats and harassment to extort money from motorists. Some people are being hit with fines that are 100 times the fee that they have paid.
The Whalley Arms car park is used by many people to attend doctor’s appointments, which can run over but there is absolutely no flexibility on the part of the car park operator to take account of this.
These sorts of cowboy car park operators are hurting trade in towns and villages, where car parking spaces are at a premium anyway, and these fines will damage business.
Just prior to my debate the Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles announced a ten minute grace period in local authority car parks and this is exactly the sort of measure that should be forced on these types of private car parks.
I am committed to campaigning for a common-sense solution to this ridiculous system.