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John Denham calls for improved signs at Town Quay car park
SOUTHAMPTON Itchen MP John Denham has called for clearer signs at a controversial car park.
He urged the firm which monitors the car park at Town Quay to take action saying people still did not know they are being photographed the second they enter the site and the second they leave.
Since the Daily Echo revealed this in July dozens of people have come forward saying they did not know they were being photographed and that there is no clear indication their time in the car park starts from the moment they drive in – not when they buy their parking ticket.
The system logs everyone entering and leaving the area. It means even motorists dropping off people or drivers who never actually park in an allocated bay can fall victim to the fines because the registration numbers from the photographs are compared to payments made at the pay and display machines, where people must enter their details.
Mr Denham said there was no clear sign at the entrance to the Town Quay car park, owned by Associated British Ports (ABP) but monitored by Parking Eye, where the cameras are in place.
He said: “The problem is the signing. It is simply not clear that when you go onto Town Quay that from that moment you are being photographed and that you now could be liable for a £75 fine.
“It is very easy to drive onto Town Quay not knowing it is that particular parking system and they really must deal with this because it is crucial that people cannot be in any doubt how the system operates.
“If there was a large sign at the entrance people would not be in any doubt about what was going to happen and they could make their minds up whether they wanted to enter on those terms.
“There is not a prominent enough notice there and the company must get the signing right so everybody entering the car park is in no doubt at all. I would certainly call for clearer signs.”
Human rights organisation Liberty spoke out to condemn the “unfair” techniques.
Policy officer Rachel Robinson said: “It’s clearly unfair to charge motorists if they haven’t been warned and parking companies should not be using James Bond-style surveillance techniques to collect fines.”
The Daily Echo has launched a Fair Deal for Drivers campaign, which calls for a clampdown on firms that are unfairly targeting drivers.
A Parking Eye spokesman said: “The vast majority of motorists buy the appropriate ticket, demonstrating that the approximately 50 signs across the car park can be clearly seen.
“All charges are in line with British Parking Association guidelines and have been consistently upheld and enforced by the courts.
“However Parking Eye operates a written and fully audited appeals process and we encourage any motorist to appeal if they feel there are mitigating circumstances in their case.”