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'Shoppers should get 10 minutes of grace time when parking' plea
SHOPPERS should have a few extra minutes to get back to their cars without fearing a fine, a Dorchester business figure has said. Although the council says it offers a ‘grace time’ of five minutes, Phil Gordon of the Dorchester BID thinks shoppers should get up to 10.
As reported in DT1, Dorset County Council has made more than £79,000 from parking fines so far this year and £446,715.73 since 2008.
Mr Gordon said he believes there is a difference between the grace given to drivers by operators of the pay and display car parks in Dorchester and the on-street parking, with those operating pay and display giving a longer grace period.
Speaking after comments made in the House of Commons last week, Mr Gordon said: “I think shoppers should be given 10 minutes. There should be a few minutes to allow an upstanding citizen time to walk back to their car.
“It’s happened to us all where there are little delays – like if somebody asks you for directions.
“You’re not intending to defraud the council.
“I think if somebody regularly comes to Dorchester to shop and pays to park and on the 17th time gets back to their car a few minutes late, they should be able to do that without fear of a fine.”
The comments came after an MP on the Commons transport committee said last week that motorists should be given a grace period after their ticket expires.
The committee said it was ‘neither acceptable nor legal’ for councils to use fines to increase revenue.
Andrew Martin, head of Dorset highways operation at the county council said: “We already operate a grace time of five minutes.
“If somebody has gone over their limit in pay and display we’re not going to go straight away and issue them with a ticket – we wait five minutes for the person to come back to the car.
“We would have to issue an immediate ticket if somebody is parked across a bus stop or disabled bays, for example.
“I think the suggested five minutes is sufficient for us to realise if the person has just missed it by a few minutes or totally avoided paying.
“I don’t think that’s unreasonable period of time.”
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