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Bromsgrove council hits out at Mr Loophole's 'free parking' claim
A TOP lawyer, dubbed Mr Loophole, says Bromsgrove District Council’s comments on parking in authority-owned car parks may have unwittingly given people a “free parking ticket”.
But the authority has hit back at his comments, describing them as inaccurate and unhelpful.
Bromsgrove resident Paul Raybould wrote to town MP Sajid Javid questioning why travellers who occupied the Stourbridge Road car park in September, were not fined.
A district council reply to Mr Javid was then passed on to Mr Raybould, clarifying the authority’s position on the matter.
The letter said: “The position in respect of any normal user of the car park is that, by entering and parking their vehicle, they are entering into a contract with the council to pay a sum of money in return for the council allowing them to leave their vehicle there for a specified amount of time.
“If the vehicle is left for longer than the paid for time, no payment is made, or there is a failure to comply with parking regulations, there is, in effect, a breach of contract which entitles the council to make a penalty charge.
“In the case of the travellers they were on the car park as illegal occupiers and, as such, there was no contract with them as the purpose for which they entered was not permitted.
“In the circumstances the appropriate course of action was not for breach of contract but for illegal occupation.”
Nick Freeman, the defence lawyer who became known as Mr Loophole after winning a series of high profile motoring cases involving celebrities, contacted the Advertiser to say he believed the comments could open the door to motorists, nationally, legally flouting parking restrictions on council car parks and public roads.
Mr Freeman said: “Motorists using public car parks, where charges are enforced, can legitimately put a note on their windscreen saying: ‘I’m here illegally, I am not entering a contract and I do not accept your terms and conditions’.
“From a legal perspective the authority is handcuffed because of the absence of any agreement entering into a contract."
But Bromsgrove District Council’s executive director for leisure, environment and community services, Sue Hanley, said: “These comments are inaccurate and unhelpful and we obviously do not condone behaviour that would simply cost the taxpayer more money.”
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