McReynolds calls for DOJ to regulate private car parks

Belfast City Council has called on the Department of Justice to clamp down on the practice of private car park operators and their agents in Northern Ireland, after Alliance Councillor Peter McReynolds Raised their behaviour with Belfast City Council.

Securing support for the plan that will see the local authority call on the Department of Justice to create an independent parking ombudsman to regulate the legal grey area, Peter said that it would be an enormous benefit to the many who feel powerless against intimidating parking notices.

He said: “I’m delighted Belfast City Council has recognised the issue – that the on-going threats and calls for payments to be made are just that, threats meant to scare people into paying what they can’t appeal”

The issue with many of these is that they are automated and record your license plate upon entry. This is taken as a legally binding contract to obey the terms and conditions that may, or may not, be displayed clearly in the car park.

“This also means that if you overstay by even a minute, for whatever reason, you will receive a penalty notice in the post – a notice which on the surface can look threatening and technical and which many will automatically accept and pay for fear of the consequences.

“However, they usually are citing law that is not applicable in Northern Ireland and barely worth the paper they are written on.

“The practice is completely unacceptable, which is why I’m delighted the Council has backed by plans to write to the Department requesting it begins looking into the creation of something similar to the Parking on Private Lands Appeal Service in England and Wales.”

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