Lake District National Park Authority ditches Parking Eye at car parks

First published in News The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by

AN UNPOPULAR parking management system which netted a private company nearly half a million pounds is to be replaced by the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA).

Car park contracts with the firm Parking Eye, which currently enforces fees at some Lake District car parks, will not be renewed as they come to an end, say LDNPA bosses.

A new ‘user friendly’ system will be introduced – Park With Ease.

The current system has proved unpopular with some users who claim it is not flexible enough and has led to enforcement notices being issued unfairly.

This week the authority revealed that around 8,000 enforcement notices had been issued in national park car parks.

Based on Parking Eye’s £60 discounted penalty for prompt payment, this will have earned the company £480,000, of which only the value of the avoided parking fee is returned to the LDNPA.

The new Park With Ease system will charge a prompt payment penalty of £20, which the authority says covers the administration cost of the enforcement.

LDNPA development manager Adam Thomas revealed that at Brockhole alone during July and August around 500 notices were issued by Parking Eye – attracting penalties of £30,000 at the prompt payment rate.

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He said the Park With Ease scheme, developed especially for the LDNPA and trialled at the Lakeside car park in Coniston, allowed visitors to choose from a number of different ways to pay the parking charges.

Incorporating touch screen technology, the system lets visitors to the national park pay by cash or credit card both on entry and on exit or even after they have returned home.

Mr Thomas said the aim was to make parking as flexible as possible.

“The new system has been trialled in Coniston and will be rolled out throughout the national park over the next three years,” he said.

“It has been developed especially for the LDNPA in conjunction with a number plate recognition company and a software company.”

He added: “Park With Ease is very user friendly. It allows motorists to pay on entry, on exit or up to 10 days after they have parked.

“This will allow a visitor to come to the Lake District and use all our car parks over the duration of their stay and then pay their parking in one go after they return home. It will really make a difference.”

Comments (24)

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10:39am Thu 13 Dec 12

Spotty Fish says...

Well done the LDNPA. They have rightly had a lot of stick because of the Parking Eye system, but this shows that they can listen and learn.
Well done the LDNPA. They have rightly had a lot of stick because of the Parking Eye system, but this shows that they can listen and learn. Spotty Fish
  • Score: 2

10:44am Thu 13 Dec 12

Ben Berry says...

Most unexpected!

New system sounds very interesting. Im sure we will have some user reviews in the letters section of the gazette soon.
Most unexpected! New system sounds very interesting. Im sure we will have some user reviews in the letters section of the gazette soon. Ben Berry
  • Score: 1

11:30am Thu 13 Dec 12

848848 says...

I understand from your report that the authority wants more than the costs given to them for using the previous parking system. For instance they would want £20 per prompt parking penalty rather than have the basic cost of parking. So they want 8000 x £20 instead based on enforcement notices. The problem here is that when using an SLDC car park if you contravene the parking conditions they place a yellow bag on our screen. By this action you are able to gather evidence at that moment in time to defend their demands. It appears here that you may not remember what happened 3 weeks ago and are unable to retort! Its all a big money making scam. SLDC make 6 million a year on car parking and that is our already tax paid disposable income we have earned!!
I understand from your report that the authority wants more than the costs given to them for using the previous parking system. For instance they would want £20 per prompt parking penalty rather than have the basic cost of parking. So they want 8000 x £20 instead based on enforcement notices. The problem here is that when using an SLDC car park if you contravene the parking conditions they place a yellow bag on our screen. By this action you are able to gather evidence at that moment in time to defend their demands. It appears here that you may not remember what happened 3 weeks ago and are unable to retort! Its all a big money making scam. SLDC make 6 million a year on car parking and that is our already tax paid disposable income we have earned!! 848848
  • Score: 1

6:00pm Thu 13 Dec 12

lakesailor says...

Are you suggesting that car-parking should be tax deductible?
Are you suggesting that car-parking should be tax deductible? lakesailor
  • Score: 0

3:00pm Fri 14 Dec 12

848848 says...

The point I attempt to convey is that 6 million pounds a year derived from parking charges (SLDC) is excessive whilst I do appreciate a 1 million income from the Westmorland Shopping Centre Car Park can be justified to offset the capital cost of its construction. I liken the outrageous over charging as another tax that we are forced to pay after already having paid tax on that money in the first place. In the reported article it appears the LDNPA is seeking to increase its share of the penalty charge revenue so in a years time lets us see if the coffers are so large they can reduce the parking costs to the law abiding car park ticket users...by using the surplus 8000 by £20.
The point I attempt to convey is that 6 million pounds a year derived from parking charges (SLDC) is excessive whilst I do appreciate a 1 million income from the Westmorland Shopping Centre Car Park can be justified to offset the capital cost of its construction. I liken the outrageous over charging as another tax that we are forced to pay after already having paid tax on that money in the first place. In the reported article it appears the LDNPA is seeking to increase its share of the penalty charge revenue so in a years time lets us see if the coffers are so large they can reduce the parking costs to the law abiding car park ticket users...by using the surplus 8000 by £20. 848848
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Fri 14 Dec 12

dancer58 says...

To little too late ,I was one of the people fined just for simply turning around in the car park, so many visitors to the lakes will not return for being treated in this way , when will the the LDNPA learn to look after the visitors to the lakes they are the main economy of the area , and I live & work here so i should know .
Tourist numbers are very down year after year , so why not encourage visitors ! instead of ripping them off
To little too late ,I was one of the people fined just for simply turning around in the car park, so many visitors to the lakes will not return for being treated in this way , when will the the LDNPA learn to look after the visitors to the lakes they are the main economy of the area , and I live & work here so i should know . Tourist numbers are very down year after year , so why not encourage visitors ! instead of ripping them off dancer58
  • Score: 7

7:26pm Fri 14 Dec 12

onelocal says...

dancer58 wrote:
To little too late ,I was one of the people fined just for simply turning around in the car park, so many visitors to the lakes will not return for being treated in this way , when will the the LDNPA learn to look after the visitors to the lakes they are the main economy of the area , and I live & work here so i should know .
Tourist numbers are very down year after year , so why not encourage visitors ! instead of ripping them off
And the changes will not eliminate this problem. They only mean that you can pay the extra penalty charge of £20 up to 10 days later. This is a con trick. Our local MP and Councillor Halliday have both communicated recently that the problem has been solved. As long as the cameras are still there the problem is still there.
Recently on holiday in Central America we met a Canadian couple. Who on learning we were from the Lakes told us they had been caught at LDNPA parking at Coniston. They had entered the parking, which was full, so they had gone for lunch at a pub and returned to the car park later. Little did they know their parking period started when the camera first picked them up. They paid what they thought was the right fee. Then they were hounded for £120 penalty for months until their rental car company told them to ignore the demand.
When I meet someone who has visited the Lakes I hope to hear how much they had enjoyed their visit, not to hear about how badly we treat our visitors.
[quote][p][bold]dancer58[/bold] wrote: To little too late ,I was one of the people fined just for simply turning around in the car park, so many visitors to the lakes will not return for being treated in this way , when will the the LDNPA learn to look after the visitors to the lakes they are the main economy of the area , and I live & work here so i should know . Tourist numbers are very down year after year , so why not encourage visitors ! instead of ripping them off[/p][/quote]And the changes will not eliminate this problem. They only mean that you can pay the extra penalty charge of £20 up to 10 days later. This is a con trick. Our local MP and Councillor Halliday have both communicated recently that the problem has been solved. As long as the cameras are still there the problem is still there. Recently on holiday in Central America we met a Canadian couple. Who on learning we were from the Lakes told us they had been caught at LDNPA parking at Coniston. They had entered the parking, which was full, so they had gone for lunch at a pub and returned to the car park later. Little did they know their parking period started when the camera first picked them up. They paid what they thought was the right fee. Then they were hounded for £120 penalty for months until their rental car company told them to ignore the demand. When I meet someone who has visited the Lakes I hope to hear how much they had enjoyed their visit, not to hear about how badly we treat our visitors. onelocal
  • Score: 3

10:28am Sat 15 Dec 12

Spotty Fish says...

Unless I have completely misunderstood the above article, there should really be no excuse for getting a parking ticket and having to pay a £20 fine. The way I read it, you can pay as you enter the car park, as you leave, or even up to 10 days later, and you can use cash or cards. This seems incredibly flexible and much better than rummaging in pockets for cash or clock watching for when your ticket runs out.
As for too little too late. I think that is a little bit negative. I'm sure there are a lot of bitter people out there who have been caught out by the old system, but at least for once the LDNPA have listened and are doing something about it.
Unless I have completely misunderstood the above article, there should really be no excuse for getting a parking ticket and having to pay a £20 fine. The way I read it, you can pay as you enter the car park, as you leave, or even up to 10 days later, and you can use cash or cards. This seems incredibly flexible and much better than rummaging in pockets for cash or clock watching for when your ticket runs out. As for too little too late. I think that is a little bit negative. I'm sure there are a lot of bitter people out there who have been caught out by the old system, but at least for once the LDNPA have listened and are doing something about it. Spotty Fish
  • Score: 1

11:21am Sat 15 Dec 12

onelocal says...

Spotty Fish wrote:
Unless I have completely misunderstood the above article, there should really be no excuse for getting a parking ticket and having to pay a £20 fine. The way I read it, you can pay as you enter the car park, as you leave, or even up to 10 days later, and you can use cash or cards. This seems incredibly flexible and much better than rummaging in pockets for cash or clock watching for when your ticket runs out.
As for too little too late. I think that is a little bit negative. I'm sure there are a lot of bitter people out there who have been caught out by the old system, but at least for once the LDNPA have listened and are doing something about it.
Indeed, the payment opportunities are as you describe. The issue is the camera. The charging starts the moment you enter the car park. So as the case of the people I mentioned, where they couldn't find a place, or if someone just changes their mind and turns round and leaves, they will be charged, as with the previous system. With the new system they will owe for an hours parking. Not understanding how this works, they will not be aware until they receive a demand, which will mean a penalty, £20 within 10 days, more if longer. The people I referred to had a rental car, which meant a long delay before receiving the demand.
So in effect, the payment method has changed, the penalty has come down (though no mention of the penalty after 10 days), but as long as the camera is still used, these unfortunate incidents will continue. Parking Eye is just the name of the operating company. Number plate recognition will still be there under another name.
[quote][p][bold]Spotty Fish[/bold] wrote: Unless I have completely misunderstood the above article, there should really be no excuse for getting a parking ticket and having to pay a £20 fine. The way I read it, you can pay as you enter the car park, as you leave, or even up to 10 days later, and you can use cash or cards. This seems incredibly flexible and much better than rummaging in pockets for cash or clock watching for when your ticket runs out. As for too little too late. I think that is a little bit negative. I'm sure there are a lot of bitter people out there who have been caught out by the old system, but at least for once the LDNPA have listened and are doing something about it.[/p][/quote]Indeed, the payment opportunities are as you describe. The issue is the camera. The charging starts the moment you enter the car park. So as the case of the people I mentioned, where they couldn't find a place, or if someone just changes their mind and turns round and leaves, they will be charged, as with the previous system. With the new system they will owe for an hours parking. Not understanding how this works, they will not be aware until they receive a demand, which will mean a penalty, £20 within 10 days, more if longer. The people I referred to had a rental car, which meant a long delay before receiving the demand. So in effect, the payment method has changed, the penalty has come down (though no mention of the penalty after 10 days), but as long as the camera is still used, these unfortunate incidents will continue. Parking Eye is just the name of the operating company. Number plate recognition will still be there under another name. onelocal
  • Score: 1

12:59pm Sat 15 Dec 12

Spotty Fish says...

I might be wrong, but I believe that you are supposed to get up to 10 minutes grace before the charges come in to force. As I say, I could well be wrong and certainly a lot of people have been caught out by the old system, which lest face it, seems to have been run just to make money for some faceless company in Manchester.
Maybe if the cameras don't give you 5 to 10 minutes grace, that is something LDNPA could look in to, and include the information in a prominent position on the signs as you enter. Take away every opportunity for people to mess up and be left with a bad taste after a visit to The Lakes. We need all the visitors we can get at the moment.
I might be wrong, but I believe that you are supposed to get up to 10 minutes grace before the charges come in to force. As I say, I could well be wrong and certainly a lot of people have been caught out by the old system, which lest face it, seems to have been run just to make money for some faceless company in Manchester. Maybe if the cameras don't give you 5 to 10 minutes grace, that is something LDNPA could look in to, and include the information in a prominent position on the signs as you enter. Take away every opportunity for people to mess up and be left with a bad taste after a visit to The Lakes. We need all the visitors we can get at the moment. Spotty Fish
  • Score: -1

5:22pm Sat 15 Dec 12

dancer58 says...

Think you may be wrong on the grace period as i challanged this , my correspondence was ignored and the payment method is a faceless telephone system ie press 1 for press 2 for system , they are money making crooks !
Think you may be wrong on the grace period as i challanged this , my correspondence was ignored and the payment method is a faceless telephone system ie press 1 for press 2 for system , they are money making crooks ! dancer58
  • Score: 2

5:27pm Sat 15 Dec 12

dancer58 says...

if you read this part of the article you will get the gist this was just 2 months

at Brockhole alone during July and August around 500 notices were issued by Parking Eye – attracting penalties of £30,000 at the prompt payment rate.

do you really think 500 people did not buy a ticket to park . they simply drove in to see what brokehole was all about !
if you read this part of the article you will get the gist this was just 2 months at Brockhole alone during July and August around 500 notices were issued by Parking Eye – attracting penalties of £30,000 at the prompt payment rate. do you really think 500 people did not buy a ticket to park . they simply drove in to see what brokehole was all about ! dancer58
  • Score: 0

6:21pm Sat 15 Dec 12

I know nothing says...

These parking charges, not fines, just need to be ignored a private company cannot "Fine" you anymore then I can.

For the doubters go to PePiPoo: and read the forums.

A Council ticket is totally different though.
These parking charges, not fines, just need to be ignored a private company cannot "Fine" you anymore then I can. For the doubters go to PePiPoo: and read the forums. A Council ticket is totally different though. I know nothing
  • Score: 3

7:27pm Sat 15 Dec 12

Airfix says...

I received demands through the post from Parking Eye and ignored every letter, debt collection letter and thread for court. They give up in the end because they know they can't demand the money.

Thing was I actually paid the correct amount for the time I was in the car park!
I received demands through the post from Parking Eye and ignored every letter, debt collection letter and thread for court. They give up in the end because they know they can't demand the money. Thing was I actually paid the correct amount for the time I was in the car park! Airfix
  • Score: 3

11:48pm Sat 15 Dec 12

twitchy says...

The actual number of parking charges issued between June and August was 1,000 netting Parking Eye £60,000 in illegal charges,
A parking "charge" is not the same as a parking penalty, it is a scam." Parking with ease" easier to get the money out of you thats all, so beware.
The actual number of parking charges issued between June and August was 1,000 netting Parking Eye £60,000 in illegal charges, A parking "charge" is not the same as a parking penalty, it is a scam." Parking with ease" easier to get the money out of you thats all, so beware. twitchy
  • Score: 2

11:56pm Sat 15 Dec 12

twitchy says...

Spotty Fish wrote:
I might be wrong, but I believe that you are supposed to get up to 10 minutes grace before the charges come in to force. As I say, I could well be wrong and certainly a lot of people have been caught out by the old system, which lest face it, seems to have been run just to make money for some faceless company in Manchester.
Maybe if the cameras don't give you 5 to 10 minutes grace, that is something LDNPA could look in to, and include the information in a prominent position on the signs as you enter. Take away every opportunity for people to mess up and be left with a bad taste after a visit to The Lakes. We need all the visitors we can get at the moment.
Sadly Spotty F the whole development is being run by a Manchester company with the blessing of the LDNPA who have turned their back on conservation in favour of profit,and are none too fussy about how it is aquired.
[quote][p][bold]Spotty Fish[/bold] wrote: I might be wrong, but I believe that you are supposed to get up to 10 minutes grace before the charges come in to force. As I say, I could well be wrong and certainly a lot of people have been caught out by the old system, which lest face it, seems to have been run just to make money for some faceless company in Manchester. Maybe if the cameras don't give you 5 to 10 minutes grace, that is something LDNPA could look in to, and include the information in a prominent position on the signs as you enter. Take away every opportunity for people to mess up and be left with a bad taste after a visit to The Lakes. We need all the visitors we can get at the moment.[/p][/quote]Sadly Spotty F the whole development is being run by a Manchester company with the blessing of the LDNPA who have turned their back on conservation in favour of profit,and are none too fussy about how it is aquired. twitchy
  • Score: 1

12:24pm Sun 16 Dec 12

Lakeland Plodder says...

As a frequent traveller to the Lake District, I was overjoyed to be find the new Park With Ease system at Coniston earlier this year. I too have been caught by Parking Eye, all be it not in the Lakes, however difficult to convince a group of robbers that it was injust. What a difference at Coniston, having never seen a system like this before I took the trouble to ask the staff at the boating centre who were most helpful and knowlegeable, explaining in great detail how the system works. What a great day I had not worrying about getting a parking ticket, indeed we paid online at home 2 days later, an easy and intuative website. What a breath of fresh air a local authority who has thought of its customers. Yes we all know, if you dont pay you expect a fine, this local authority wants you to enjoy your day and only charge you for what you have used. I was also assured by the staff that if you didnt find a car parking space you dont get charged. Hurrah for some common sense at last.
As a frequent traveller to the Lake District, I was overjoyed to be find the new Park With Ease system at Coniston earlier this year. I too have been caught by Parking Eye, all be it not in the Lakes, however difficult to convince a group of robbers that it was injust. What a difference at Coniston, having never seen a system like this before I took the trouble to ask the staff at the boating centre who were most helpful and knowlegeable, explaining in great detail how the system works. What a great day I had not worrying about getting a parking ticket, indeed we paid online at home 2 days later, an easy and intuative website. What a breath of fresh air a local authority who has thought of its customers. Yes we all know, if you dont pay you expect a fine, this local authority wants you to enjoy your day and only charge you for what you have used. I was also assured by the staff that if you didnt find a car parking space you dont get charged. Hurrah for some common sense at last. Lakeland Plodder
  • Score: 0

1:31pm Sun 16 Dec 12

Spotty Fish says...

Good to hear that the system works Lakeland Plodder. I assume the fact that the staff in the boating centre could help and advise was also reassuring.No matter how many times you read the signs you always worry you've missed some small print, as seemed to happen all too often with Parking Eye.
Maybe that could be a lesson to the LDNPA - talk to the local people and involve them in the decisions and processes going on in The Lakes and maybe you'll get more support and help. Try it, you might find us quite useful. After all quite a lot of us live in the Central Lakes all the time and deal with tourists and locals all the time.
Good to hear that the system works Lakeland Plodder. I assume the fact that the staff in the boating centre could help and advise was also reassuring.No matter how many times you read the signs you always worry you've missed some small print, as seemed to happen all too often with Parking Eye. Maybe that could be a lesson to the LDNPA - talk to the local people and involve them in the decisions and processes going on in The Lakes and maybe you'll get more support and help. Try it, you might find us quite useful. After all quite a lot of us live in the Central Lakes all the time and deal with tourists and locals all the time. Spotty Fish
  • Score: 1

5:06pm Mon 17 Dec 12

in despair says...

What I find most disturbing about Alan's article is the fact that LDNPA entered into a contract with Parking Eye without ensuring they had an ability to influence the approach taken to enforcement, which has resulted in such a negative experience for so many. They should also have negotiated a contract in which the Authority had a more equitable share of the "benefits" from the penalties. They are after all always pleading lack of resources.
What I find most disturbing about Alan's article is the fact that LDNPA entered into a contract with Parking Eye without ensuring they had an ability to influence the approach taken to enforcement, which has resulted in such a negative experience for so many. They should also have negotiated a contract in which the Authority had a more equitable share of the "benefits" from the penalties. They are after all always pleading lack of resources. in despair
  • Score: 2

6:50pm Mon 17 Dec 12

twitchy says...

Don't expect anything to change quickly, the LDNPA are locked into a three year contract with Parking Eye.

They can't "ditch" it at will, not without considerable penalties.
Don't expect anything to change quickly, the LDNPA are locked into a three year contract with Parking Eye. They can't "ditch" it at will, not without considerable penalties. twitchy
  • Score: 1

8:17pm Mon 17 Dec 12

Lakeuk says...

Yep they're desperately trying damage limitations in the PR space, read through the comments on Trip Adviser and it's plain to see what a disaster this has been.

They took the easy out source option without doing proper due diligence into Parking Eye
Yep they're desperately trying damage limitations in the PR space, read through the comments on Trip Adviser and it's plain to see what a disaster this has been. They took the easy out source option without doing proper due diligence into Parking Eye Lakeuk
  • Score: 2

9:37pm Mon 17 Dec 12

life cycle too says...

Who installed the ANPR equipment....?
Who installed the ANPR equipment....? life cycle too
  • Score: 0

10:31am Tue 18 Dec 12

Lakeland Plodder says...

http://www.thewestmo
rlandgazette.co.uk/o
pinion/10106993.Comm
ent__Car_parking_tro
ubles/?ref=ms

Worth a look at!
http://www.thewestmo rlandgazette.co.uk/o pinion/10106993.Comm ent__Car_parking_tro ubles/?ref=ms Worth a look at! Lakeland Plodder
  • Score: 0

11:49pm Tue 18 Dec 12

twitchy says...

life cycle too wrote:
Who installed the ANPR equipment....?
Parking Eye installed the ANPR in the car parks contracted to them......it is a money making scam which will do considerable damage to the reputation of the lake district.
[quote][p][bold]life cycle too[/bold] wrote: Who installed the ANPR equipment....?[/p][/quote]Parking Eye installed the ANPR in the car parks contracted to them......it is a money making scam which will do considerable damage to the reputation of the lake district. twitchy
  • Score: 1

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