Government guidance on reduced parking fines ‘doesn’t go far enough’

Parking has been a problem in Knebworth High Street and the surrounding area

Parking has been a problem in Knebworth High Street and the surrounding area - Credit: Archant

Parking fines could be reduced by the Government, but villagers don’t think the proposals go far enough to help local businesses.

The Government is looking at reducing maximum parking fines – currently £130 in London and £70 elsewhere – and bringing in a five-minute grace period before issuing tickets when cars remain in bays for too long.

Last month, the Comet reported how retailers in Knebworth felt parking charges introduced in 2012 have been driving business away from the village, with Knebworth Parish Council vice chairman Alan Sleator criticising North Herts District Council (NHDC) for “imposing a draconian parking scheme” to “maximise the number of £70 fines they can levy”.

Asked how he felt about the Government’s proposals, Cllr Sleator said: “Any proposal which prevents parking charges from ruining the local economy is good, but I’m not sure these go far enough.

“The impression we have of North Herts District Council is that they want to charge as much as they can for parking. Any initiatives from central government must surely force local government to review what they are doing and listen to local people. I take an optimistic view.

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“North Herts District Council’s policies are out-of-date. They were fine before high streets were dying on their feet, but you can’t get away with penalising local people for shopping locally now.

“I’m not against parking charges completely. I just want to see the application of common sense.”

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Sharon Yorke, manager of Knebworth Tanning Studio on London Road in Knebworth, said: “They would be better allowing free parking in villages between 10am and 4pm, to stop the commuters from parking all day. The only solution for villages is free parking between certain periods.”

Cllr Tom Brindley, NHDC’s portfolio holder for planning, transport and enterprise, said: “NHDC’s car parking strategy for North Herts will be reviewed in light of any new government guidance, and in particluar how car parking provision affects town centres.

“Enforcement of car parking in Knebworth town centre helps to address issues of traffic flow and public safety and any changes in legislation will be given our full consideration.”

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