New ‘10 minute’s grace’ parking law may see Northamptonshire fines reduced

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  • New powers for parking adjudicators so they can hold councils to account on poor signage
  • Residents and firms will be able to demand their council reviews nearby charges and use of yellow lines
  • Guidance to reinforce the principle that councils cannot use parking to make a profit

The £1 million in parking fines that Northamptonshire County Council collects each year could be under threat from new parking laws.

Under the new laws to help shopkeepers, drivers will from later this month get a 10 minute grace period when parked in a bay, which prevents fines for being just a few minutes late back to the vehicle.

And the use of CCTV ‘spy cars’ has been banned in the majority of circumstances, which the Government says wil end “the tyranny of automated fines landing on doorsteps” that are being issued in “industrial volumes.”

According to latest figures, Northamptonshire County Council collects £1,042,000 in street and car park fines each year.

Eric Pickles MP, the communities secretary, said: “We are ending the war on drivers who simply want to go about their daily business. 

“For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals, and caused enormous damage to shops and businesses. 

“Over-zealous parking enforcement undermines our town centres and costs councils more in the long term. 

“Our measures not only bring big benefits for high streets, motorists and local authorities - they put common sense back into parking.”

Other parking reforms in the Deregulation Bill include new powers for parking adjudicators so they can hold councils to account to tackle parking problems such as poor signage at specific locations.  

Residents and local firms will also be able 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 the principle 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 per cent discount on the fine if they lose the appeal. Currently drivers are only offered a discount on early payment before challenging a ticket. 

The cross-Government Deregulation Bill passed third reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday and Royal Assent of the Bill is expected shortly. 

For too long parking rules have made law-abiding motorists feel like criminals

Eric Pickles