Parking company using ‘unauthorised’ cameras at retail park

Mansfield St Peters Retail Park

Mansfield St Peters Retail Park

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Controversial company Parking Eye has been using ‘unauthorised’ cameras and signs at a shopping park, Mansfield District Council has said.

The firm, which operates at St Peter’s Retail Park, had been ordered by Mansfield District Council to apply to use signs and automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras mounted on columns.

The legal loophole was recently spotted by a member of the public, but was initially dismissed by Mansfield District Council.

However, after a re-think planners ordered Parking Eye to apply for permission, which they have now done.

In a letter from planning officer Christine James, and obtained by the Chad, she says it is an “offence to display signs or adverts without such consent”.

She adds: “The ANPR cameras require planning permission but no permission has been granted.”

Parking Eye were warned that if they did not apply within 28 days, enforcement action could be taken.

Council planning officer Martyn Saxton told the Chad: “Following recent complaints with regard to the cameras in St Peter’s Retail Park, the council has sought an appropriate retrospective application for the cameras.

“The council is considering an application for the ANPR cameras and although the cameras currently do not have planning permission, they are unauthorised, but not illegal under planning law.”

The application submitted by Parking Eye is for retrospective planning permission for 33 signs dotted around St Peter’s Retail Park, plus the three ANPR cameras.

Parking Eye maintain they do not need planning permission, but applied through courtesy. The company would not offer a further statement.

The cameras are used to register vehicles entering and exiting the park, catching those out who have overstayed and issuing penalty notices.

Motorists get a free 45 minutes, but then pay hourly rates thereafter.

Parking Eye was criticised recently after fining a number of motorists for overstaying the free 45 minutes during December.

Many had tried to leave but had become stuck in traffic.

After pressure from the Chad, Parking Eye relented and promised to reimburse those caught up in the traffic.