A pensioner from Gerrards Cross who fought and won a case against a private parking company after receiving a £100 fine says a new code of practice introduced by the ‘parking cowboys themselves' is a distraction tactic.

Stanley Luckhurst, 85, received a £100 fine after parking in a bay reserved for electric vehicles for 20 minutes during a trip to Uxbridge last year.

Stanley said the poor visibility of an underground car park meant he couldn’t see the relevant signs – and he went on to win a legal case against Excel Parking after the company tried to claim additional charges on top of the initial £100, including debt collection costs.

After his legal battle, the 85-year-old discovered that the International Parking Community (IPC), which runs the Independent Appeals Service, is funded by parking firms including Excel – something that he said only qualifies it as a “so-called independent arbiter”.

He has since gathered more than 1,000 signatures on a petition calling for the government to “stop dragging its feet” on introducing a new Parking Code of Practice to reform the “anarchic” imbalance of power in the industry.

Last week, however, the IPC and the British Parking Association (BPA) announced their own Code of Practice for the private parking sector.

The code, which includes an Appeals Charter with “clear” parameters for motorists to appeal against charges and a 10-minute grace period, has caught many by surprise – including both Stanley and the head of policy at the RAC Simon Williams.

Mr Williams was “flabbergasted” by the announcement, which he said contradicts the IPC's long-held opposition to an official government code which would be backed by legislation.

Meanwhile, Stanley said there was nothing in the new code that “answers the big questions”– with a cap on parking charges and debt recovery fees at the top of his list.

“This code is being issued by the parking cowboys themselves, and it looks like they’re just doing it to get ahead of the government.

“They say they're bringing in a new appeals service but they already have one and it's has been discredited because the industry is regulating itself.”

A Parking Code of Practice was published by the government in early 2022 but was withdrawn after private companies sought legal action against the introduction of measures including capped parking charges.

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Stanley said he was told by Jacob Young from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) last month that a further public consultation on the code would be launched “in due course”.

Representatives for the IPC and BPA said the new code, which will be published in full in June, would enable the speedy implementation of key aspects of the delayed government code.

A spokesperson for the DLUHC said: “We are pleased to see that the industry has recognised the unfairness of the current private parking system and the need for change by introducing this single industry code.

“Whilst this is a positive step forward, it is only through the introduction of our Private Parking Code of Practice that we will strengthen the existing system of regulation.”

Stanley, who has spoken about the urgency of launching a new government-backed code before parliament dissolves ahead of this year’s general election, said he is now poised to launch a fresh petition through the House of Commons petition committee.

E-petitions of over 100,000 signatures are considered for debate in the House of Commons. Click here to see the Change.org page Stanley created back in January.

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