New parking grace could boost business - Dunmow traders have their say

PUBLISHED: 18:49 11 March 2015 | UPDATED: 18:49 11 March 2015

The new ten minute grace period for motorists was introduced last week by local government secretary Eric Pickles.

The new ten minute grace period for motorists was introduced last week by local government secretary Eric Pickles.

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The law was introduced last week by local government secretary Eric Pickles, who said the increased leniency - motorists will only be penalised ten minutes after their parking ticket has expired - would benefit independent businesses.

The law was introduced last week by local government secretary Eric Pickles, who said the increased leniency – motorists will only be penalised ten minutes after their parking ticket has expired – would benefit independent businesses.

Responses in the town were generally encouraging.

“I think it is a nice thing to do and can only benefit local businesses,” said Zoe Brady, owner of Zoe’s Coffee Shop.

“But I think the best thing to do is to get rid of Pay & Display and introduce pay as you exit. Customers would be more relaxed rather than realising they suddenly have to go.”

Darren Cox, owner of outdoor clothing store Jacks of Dunmow, told the Broadcast: “I often have people going out of the shop because they only have two minutes till their ticket runs out, so I do think it will help.

“I think initially it will help, then people might start to build in the grace period. It can’t do any harm, though.”

Mr Pickles, who is the Conservative MP for Brentwood and Ongar, said the measures had also been brought in to stop local authorities making revenue from parking tickets.

“We always thought that was wrong, we said we would do something about it,” he told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme.

“It just seems to me that we asked local authorities to do this and they just ignored it. It is an utterly reasonable thing to do. It is about localism, giving the power to the people, to motorists and local residents who now can petition and control the car parking in their area.”

North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP), which collects revenue on behalf of six authorities including Uttlesford, Colchester and Braintree, raised £1,650,000 from fines between 2013-2014 – £400,000 more than was raised from parking charges alone.

However, a spokesman for NEPP told the Broadcast: “We were already friendly in regards to overstays so we don’t envisage too much of an impact with further parking fines.”

The spokesman said the NEPP had previously allowed a five minute grace period at the end of paid-for parking and timed parking bays – now to be extended by a further five minutes.

“This means that Penalty Charge Notices will not be issued to motorists until at least 10 minutes after their allotted time has ended,” the 
spokesman added.

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