John McLellan: £60 car park penalty imposed on dyslexic driver waived

Scottish Tory MSP Murdo Fraser believes the SNP broke a direct manifesto pledge. Picture: TSPL
Scottish Tory MSP Murdo Fraser believes the SNP broke a direct manifesto pledge. Picture: TSPL
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Murdo Fraser MSP has launched a campaign designed to address problems with the operation of car parks, and in his sights is an Australian-owned firm which operates across the UK, Smart Parking Limited (SPL), described on its website as “a world leader in the design, development and management of parking technology”.

There has been a belief that private penalty notices are unenforceable in Scotland, going back to the days when clamping was outlawed as extortion, but a recent Scottish court ruling upheld the right of private operators to charge penalties on the basis that parking up is effectively the same as signing a contract.

The caveat is that the rules are clear, visible and fair.

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As a Perth MSP, Fraser launched the campaign at the city’s Kinnoull Street car park which is operated by SPL, and by coincidence a constituent of mine contacted me only a few days before with a problem at the same place.

A relative had borrowed his car to go to Perth, used the car park, paid the fee, left on time, but he then received a £60 penalty notice in the post.

The company said that as one character in the registration number had been wrongly entered the penalty stood despite the fact, wait for it, that the driver was dyslexic.

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When I inquired on his behalf the penalty was waived, but I’m sure scores of people will have paid such penalty notices even though the grounds can be spurious to say the least. Again, this is from the SPL website: “We’ve been transforming the parking experience and increasing revenues for a huge range of clients for over ten years.” They certainly have.