Parking fines issued 'without permission'
PEOPLE hit with parking fines in one Falmouth car park are being urged not to pay – by its owner.
Discovery Quay Car Park is at the centre of a row between its owner, New Cornwall Development, and Armtrac Security Services.
New Cornwall Development claims Armtrac has been issuing £60 fines to drivers without permission for more than a month.
Motorists initially complained about being fined by Armtrac while the ticketing machine was broken.
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It followed similar complaints when the company was forced to admit a worker had wrongly fined motorists in Tabernacle Street car park in Truro, who may be entitled to a refund, after the police got involved.
Terry Barnes, director of New Cornwall Development, which owns the site near Events Square, Falmouth, said drivers should ignore the fines.
He contacted Armtrac after it emerged motorists were being fined up to £60 for not displaying a parking ticket.
He told the West Briton the machine went down last week and was being fixed.
But after checking his records, he confirmed that it had ended its contract with Armtrac on November 11.
He added: "It is out of order and Armtrac should not be ticketing people. Any fines issued on these days (while the machine was broken) should be ignored. It had no authority to issue fines after November 11."
Mr Barnes said he would take immediate action, asking Armtrac to "waive the fines" from the site, which is controversially earmarked for a new Premier Inn.
He also said he would go to court with any motorists threatened with legal action as a result of non-payment of fines received since November 11.
Off-duty Falmouth PC Steve Hawkins was one of at least four disgruntled motorists to receive a parking penalty while using the car park on Monday afternoon.
He said: "It's a small but popular car park because it charges 70p per hour. I parked there but couldn't get a ticket because the machine was out of order.
"We explained to Armtrac's patrol woman that we couldn't buy a ticket, but she said that she was just doing her job."
Mr Hawkins said he was pleased the fine was being cancelled, although he believed many motorists may have already paid up.
He added: "The fine says that you have 14 days to appeal, although the small print says legally you have 28 days in which to plead your case – the fine then goes up to £100. It's a lot of money and people often pay without appealing, fearing it will keep going up."
Kris Kinson, director of Armtrac Security Services, based in Penzance, said his firm had reported the faulty machine to the landowner on several occasions.
Speaking before Mr Barnes asked for the fines to be waived, Mr Kinson said: "All we can do is keep reporting it. Our patrols are sparse, but we still have a job to do."
Armtrac was unavailable for comment after the landowner revealed he had ended his contract.