Thursday, 23 July 2015


ParkingEye's argument is that without them there to issue parking charges at much higher levels than council charges, chaos would ensure; motorists would be unable to park; the car park would be full of commuters; retailers would suffer. They therefore argue there is a social need for them to pay the landowner £1,000 a week so that they can issue parking charges.

They have never provided any evidence to back this up, so The Prankster decided to investigate the matter.

The ParkingEye v Beavis case concerns Riverside Retail car park, Chelmsford, a car park owned by British Airways Pension Fund, managed by Savilles, and sited in the centre of town close to a rail station. The car park allows parking for free for two hours. After that, the motorist must leave.

The Prankster found a similar car park, Avonsmeads Retail Park in Bristol (BS2 0UG). The car park is owned by British Airways Pension Fund, managed by Savilles, and sited in the centre of Bristol 500m from Bristol Temple Meads rail station. The car park allows unlimited parking with no restrictions whatsoever.

The Prankster decided to investigate to see if parking chaos was rife at this car park.

An initial perusal suggested otherwise. There were plenty of free spaces. Determined to get to the bottom of the matter The Prankster visited the the establishments on the retail site and asked questions of the store managers.

Costa Coffee stated they never had a parking problem. "There are plenty of spaces as you can see." They never had a customer complaint about parking.

The Cinema manager declined to comment, but perhaps looked pointedly at the huge amount of available parking.

The Hollywood bowl stated there were no problems even at weekends and busy times. They informed The Prankster that Savilles wanted to put cameras in with a 2-3 hour limit a while back. The retailers had all pushed back because it would have hurt their businesses. The bowling alley, cinema Costa Coffee, McDonald's and Greggs all opposed the cameras and so manage to get Savilles to change their mind.

Krispy Kreme said there was no problem. They might get a lorry driver sleeping at 11pm when the car park was otherwise empty but they were always gone in morning. They would oppose any time limit.

McDonald's had no parking problems. The park was busy at weekends but there were always plenty of spaces

Marks and Spencer said there was never a problem. There might be one or two non customers parking, "who knows", but they would be adamantly against a limit because it would hurt business

The only problem The Prankster identified that was there were "boy racer" meets every few months. Of course, that is not solved by cameras. The retailers use security to move them on.

So to summarise; a similar car park is in a similar position owned by the same people and managed by the same agents. Parking is free with no limit and no enforcement at all. Despite there being no space problems the landowner tried to enforce a camera regime of 2-3 hours, presumably so they could trouser £1,000 a week. This was robustly resisted by the retailers because it would have hurt their business. None of the retailers thought there was a problem which needed fixing, even though occasional users (eg sleeping lorry drivers) may not be customers. Even at the busiest times there are no problems. No retailers reported complaints from customers. Carmageddon has not ensued.

There is a specific problem with the occasional boy racer meeting, but this cannot be solved by ANPR. Instead it is solved by security moving them on.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Tyhe trousering of the £1000 a month, or whatever, is greed and bears no relationship to losses that MAY be encountered in out of town car parks.
    In fact, the shops have to pay the landowner (ie, the company who owns the mall) a set amount for the priveledge of having a car park at the mall.

    As a result, the costs associated with car parks is absolutely nil in consequence and blows away the disguise of commercial justification.

    1. Can't find a lease for the Metrocentre but there is what they call an "average dwell time" in car parks of 2hrs and 25 mins. This supposes that some leave very quickly and some leave after a very long time. A 2 hour limit imposed by PE in other car parks would fail to allow customers the time to do their shopping to the benefit of the mall shops and owners.

  2. This is just wrong, I know this because Patrick Troy says so. Regularly.

  3. Here's one for you M'learned Pranky,,-0.103712,3a,90y,257.93h,84.79t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sB25fXWQr1uFTd7BbM-Mgdg!2e0!5s20120901T000000!7i13312!8i6656

    It's the offices of the BPA Ltd. There are no parking restrictions of any kind yet there seems to be no evidence of carmageddon. Perhaps selfish drivers are worried their fuel tanks may explode if left in close proximity to Patrick Troy's trousers. Like the retail parks, the BPA Ltd offices are close to a mainline station (350m to Haywards Heath) and are between two busy shopping districts (200m to the north and 350m to the south).

    The BPA Ltd car park may not be managed by Savills but there is a Savills next door whose car park is, surprise surprise, unregulated. You would have thought Patrick Trouser-Fire would have warned them of the carmageddon scenario, what with them being neighbours and all.

    So there seems to be roughly three strands to this then, 1) car parks interfered with by Savills 2) car parks interfered with by Savills and others 3) car parks interfered with but unconnected to Savills.

  4. Similar story at the Northgate Retail Park in Newark with unlimited free parking and no PPC restrictions. Its a couple of minutes walk from the East Coast Main Line station where the car-parks charge an arm and a leg and 10 minutes walk into the town centre. Retailers on site include Next, TK Max, Boots, Pets at Home, Homebase and Dixons. I have never had any problems finding a parking space even at Christmas or when Next is having one of their sales.

  5. To quote another example of a problem that does not exist. Here in High Wycombe there is a retail park that until recently was managed by UKPC, strangely enough they no longer operate the car park since about Jan/Feb this year, and its even easier to find a space there now than it was when the car park was operated by UKPC, so it would seem the parking problem was created by the parking company

    1. As a fellow resident of High Wycombe, I was aware of this at Wycombe Retail Park, which never had a problem other than the fake tickets issued by UKPC, now thankfully gone and not lamented.

      You may also be interested to know that all WDC off-street car parks, such as Easton Street, Railway Place, Duke Street etc., are using the private car parking model of ANPR enforcement under 'contract and trespass' law. The DfT have told them they can't do this, and for the past 12 months the DVLA have blocked them from getting keeper data. So lots of free parking in High Wycombe!

  6. yesterday one of the law lords asked the PE brief whether the managemnt of the car park included picking up the litter when not busy issuing tickets. When told that it didnt he said that there seemed to be no real interest or occupation of the land which is effectively saying that PE had no locus standi. I wonder if the other law lords agree with that thought

    1. But one of the also picked up on the point that the charge wasn't a deterrent as the last thing PE wanted was to preven such breaches as they'd get no money at all.

  7. How about we boycott retail parks , supermarkets etc where they have imposed parking restrictions. That will surely teach the 'landowners' and parking company's a lesson.

    1. 99.9% of the driving population couldnt give a toss about this probelm so the impact would be nil.

      When they get slapped with a charge they winge on about it, pay up and get on with their introspective lives.

    2. An alternative is rather than boycotting the car parks, we all make an effort to overstay and thus get sent out in the post an invoice for parking. Just think if everyone did this then it would bankrupt the PPC in postage alone!

  8. The recent events in Aberyswyth prove that no parking controls causing absolute mayhem. Shops were full. People spending money. Coming and going as they please.

    This is exactly the sort of behaviour this country can do without.

    (insert wink where appropriate)

  9. Think more and more people do give a toss, as the number of victims of ppcs increase daily.

  10. Avonmeads is local to me, and I have *never* failed to get a parking space when I've visited, be it height of lunchtime, or on an evening going to the cinema.