Car park company ‘preying on Newry motorists’ says local Councillor

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Wednesday, October 18th, 2017
Business, Community, News

A car park management company has been accused of preying on local motorists by imposing £100 fines without providing adequate warning signage at a Newry city-centre car park.

SDLP Newry City Councillor Michael Savage accused Smart Parking, which manages the two car parks to the rear of Merchants Quay in the City, of not doing enough to warn local motorists of the consequences of parking in the area for more than two hours.



Speaking to Newry Times, Councillor Savage said, “The car parks at Argos and TK Maxx to the rear of Merchants Quay are currently being managed by an English-based company Smart Parking and they are currently fining unsuspecting motorists £100 every time they park their car in the area for more than two hours.

“The signage in the car parks is totally inadequate with small print and I have been inundated with complaints from shoppers who park for more than two hours, and revellers who enjoy a night out and leave the car parked over night only to return to discover a fine attached to their vehicle.”



Councillor Savage continued, “One sign in the car park does not warn motorists that the 2 hour parking policy applies for 24 hours while another sign does. Anyone parking near the sign without this information would be totally unaware that they are breaching that policy especially when parking overnight, which has been custom and practice in the area since the hotel was built.

“What makes matters worse is that blue badge holders have also fallen victim to the fines in this car park, despite being of the opinion that they are exempt from parking restrictions in the city.



“The fines issued are for a maximum of £100 but are reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days. These fines represent a huge financial challenge for struggling families and pensioners who are out shopping only to end up with an additional bill for their troubles,” he insisted.

“This car park management policy also has the potential to damage retail footfall in the area and be counterproductive. Smart Parking is preying on local motorists by not having adequate and informative warning signage in the area and my fear is that this will put people off parking and spending money in this part of the city.”



Councillor Savage confirmed that his party colleagues Justin McNulty MLA and Sinead Bradley MLA have assisted local motorists in appealing the fines and said that McNulty has written to Smart Parking asking for clarity on the company’s jurisdiction to impose fines of this nature.

Councillor Savage added, “My party colleague Justin McNulty has written to the company seeking clarity and expressing concern about the signage. To date Smart Parking has not responded to the SDLP’s letter.”



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