Local residents in East Renfrewshire are up-in-arms over a private company’s attempts to make profits at their expense.
The company, Smart Parking Limited who operate the car park at Clarkston Toll, have been likened to a modern day Dick Turpin by Kirsten Oswald MP.
This Notice might look like an official fixed penalty issued by the police, but it isn’t one. It’s a notice that the car park operator intends to take you to a civil court, and will offer to let you pay the charge to settle the case out of court. This is a civil matter, not a criminal one.Citizens Advice Bureau
The Extra has been contacted by readers who have been issued with ‘penalty notices’ by the operator, claiming they owe a £100 ‘fine’ for overstaying or failing to pay the correct sum for parking.
Reader Iain McInnes said his wife had received just such a fine - despite the fact that the parking machine was faulty and that she had only been in the car park for 12 minutes!
He said: “I believe it is most important we support local shops in Clarkston, buy by allowing companies like Smart Parking to operate, they’re chasing customers away.”
Robert Sheridan, traffic law specialist with solicitors Scullion Law, said: “Many of these parking firms quote legislation that cannot be enforced in Scotland.
“They may threaten to pursue you through a civil action but it would be prohibitively expensive for them and we know of no cases where they have done this. All our clients have successfully appealed their tickets.”
Fred McManus, former Strathclyde Police superintendent and now a traffic consultant, said there is no legal requirement in Scotland to even respond to the tickets.
He added: “I can understand stores wanting to stop people using their parking areas without buying anything.
“So why not employ someone at a barrier and refund charges on production of a receipt?”
A Smart Parking Spokesman said: “The British Parking Association sets the industry standards that companies must follow. Smart Parking ensures that it meets or exceeds all of these standards. Kirsten Oswald has never contacted Smart Parking about any of the constituents she says have asked her for help.”