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.
The Parking Prankster