When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Spy cameras on Town Quay 'hurting businesses'
AN INDEPENDENT shop owner has told how he is losing his customers – because spy cameras are hitting motorists with hefty fines.
Ian Parker, who owns coffee shop Monsieur Hulot at Town Quay , said he fears for the future of his family business due to “scandalous” techniques used by a Big Brother-style parking firm, as revealed by the Daily Echo.
The business owner said dozens of his regular customers have been fined since the new cameras were installed.
Grandad-of-two Mr Parker, celebrating the cafe’s 20th anniversary this year, now parks in a different city centre car park and walks to his shop.
He said: “All I can say is our business is suffering, suffering, suffering.
“This is a complete farce because people just have no idea they are on camera and they don’t know they can be fined without even parking up, so it is completely unfair.
“It is absolutely scandalous. This has driven all my customers away.”
Parking Eye, which run the site, use cameras to photograph cars the second they enter the area and again when they leave.
This data is compared to payments made at the pay and display machines where motorists key in their registration numbers.
Everyone entering and leaving the privately-owned area is logged via the technology – which means even motorists dropping people off can fall victim to the fines.
If fines are paid within a fortnight it costs £75 but beyond this period it costs £110 plus a £40 administration charge as well as charges to use cards.
Motorists have been contacting the Daily Echo to complain about the scheme.
Chris Ryan, who has been caught out by the cameras, urged people to beware because he was fined when he drove on to the site without using a bay.
He said: “I know many pensioners go to the spot and they have a sandwich and a coffee to watch the ships . There is nothing obvious saying if you stay longer than 15 minutes you will be fined a large sum.”
Town Quay is owned by Associated British Ports (ABP) which contracts out to Parking Eye to run the site.
Parking Eye insists there are signs displayed in the car park and there is a “grace” period – as set by the British Parking Association – in place for people to leave the car park in enough time.
A spokesman for ABP said: “In recent years ABP has invested over £3m in upgrading Town Quay. This has enabled us to make significant improvements to the marina, offices and layout of the site.
“We continue to work with all the users of Town Quay and we believe the majority of our tenants are happy with the new system and improvements that have been made.”