Page last updated at 16:12 GMT, Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Warnings to replace some Westminster parking fines

Parking ticket
Parking attendants are to be called "street ambassadors"

Some motorists who park illegally in central London could receive written or verbal warnings instead of a £120 fine, Westminster City Council has said.

It said warning notes could deal with 20% of parking offences in the borough.

The "soft enforcement" is part of the biggest shake-up of parking enforcement in the London borough for seven years.

The changes, which begin on 1 April, aim to educate rather than penalise drivers, with parking attendants taking on the role of "street ambassadors".

They will have extra duties, including offering help and advice to motorists and reporting street signs which have been sprayed with graffiti.

The arrangements are part of Westminster's new £50m parking contract with business services group Mouchel.

'Firm but fair'

The deal will run until April 2014 with an option to extend it for two more years.

Parking attendants will use handheld computers that will provide extra guidance as to whether they should issue a ticket to an illegally parked car, based on the type of offence committed, the location and any previous tickets issued.

Westminster Council's cabinet member for city management Councillor Danny Chalkley said: "I understand that parking enforcement isn't popular, and no-one likes getting a ticket, but Westminster is the busiest and most congested borough in London.

Whether this policy will really benefit motorists remains to be seen
Barrie Segal
AppealNow.com

"We have pioneered new parking policies to make it easier for motorists to park in Westminster with our firm but fair approach.

"This new contract will build on these innovations and help keep Westminster moving."

The council has recently faced criticism for its approach to the issue, including the allegation that it planned to use parking charge rises to raise revenue - something it denied.

It is also one of five London councils which the BBC discovered could have to repay millions of pounds in fines issued to people who left their vehicles in diplomatic parking bays.

Founder of AppealNow.com Barrie Segal said: "This is a long overdue change in policy.

"But with the pressure on civil enforcement officers to issue parking tickets whether this policy will really benefit motorists remains to be seen. I am sceptical."



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SEE ALSO
Three-decade parking error revealed
01 Feb 10 |  London
Drivers with valid tickets fined
26 Jan 10 |  London
Council's 'illegal' parking plan
20 Jan 10 |  London

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