ASHBOURNE’S MP has thrown his ministerial weight behind an announcement in the recent Autumn statement that the Government will clamp down on the way local authorities issue parking fines in town centres.
In a bid to boost the health of the ailing town centre trade across the country, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a raft of measures in his autumn statement on Thursday to review parking enforcement by authorities such as Derbyshire Dales District Council and Derbyshire County Council.
Currently, the two councils hand over their enforcement to private firm Apcoa and the issuing of tickets has frequently caused controversy in Ashbourne - but Transport Secretary MP Patrick McLoughlin said a fairer approach could stop shoppers being put off visiting towns.
He said: “Unfair parking fines blight the use of our high streets and force shoppers out of towns.
“We want to rein back aggressive rules by banning the use of CCTV for parking enforcement, reviewing the use of yellow lines, and giving shoppers a ‘grace period’ to get back to their car after their ticket has run out before they get fined.
“We will also update guidance to emphasise a less heavy-handed approach to parking enforcement and to reinforce that charges and fines cannot be used as a means to raise cash.”
Mr Osborne said: “As community and business hubs, town centres need to be accessible to businesses, residents and consumers.
“Local authority parking strategies should be fair and reasonable and must not act as an unnecessary disincentive, particularly to shoppers who want to visit our town centres. This may mean a more flexible, cheaper offer to visitors to help drive footfall.
Legislation that could appear following the review could include a ‘grace period’ before penalties are issued.
Mr Osborne also announced a freeze on all parking penalty charges until the remainder the current Parliament, with immediate effect.