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Parking fines up 420% at Jersey's sports and leisure centres

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ALMOST 50 fines a week are being issued to drivers parking in sports facility car parks – a 420% increase on two years ago, new figures show.

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Government data shows 2,392 fines have been issued to vehicles at Les Quennevais, Fort Regent, Springfield, Grainville, FB Fields and Langford this year.

Dozens of footballers and spectators were angered last month after being fined for parking at Les Quennevais Sports Centre and Springfield while they were playing or watching matches.

Parkrun Jersey organiser Michael Chaytor said fines for runners had become a ‘real problem’, adding that he felt participants were being ‘specifically targeted’ by authorities because they were ‘easy pickings’. Parkrun, a free 5km timed run that takes place every Saturday at Les Quennevais, attracts about 350 runners and volunteers every week.

Mr Chaytor said visiting runners had also been penalised and the organisers had created three signs to remind participants to display parking discs.

The car parks, which fall under the remit of Economic Development’s sports portfolio, are patrolled by private firm JMD Secure. The firm took over the contract, initially monitoring just two car parks but now all six, in 2018.

Data shows that in 2017, 459 fines were issued. That increased to 1,235 last year.

A government spokeswoman stressed that there ‘has been no crackdown’ and parking orders were needed to stop drivers ‘parking at Springfield to walk into town, by parking at Les Quennevais rather than paying to park at the Airport, or by dumping their vehicles at Grainville’.

She added: ‘If members of sports groups aren’t displaying their badge or time of arrival, then they will be issued a ticket as the patrol officer has no indication that they are participating in a sports event.’ An appeals process is available.

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Last month Assistant Economic Development Minster Steve Pallett, who has a special responsibility for sport, said fines were being issued to drivers who were parking without displaying a yellow disc at Les Quennevais and Springfield. Parking is free for three hours out of any 24 but discs, which can be bought for £2 and reused indefinitely, must be displayed.

The Senator told the JEP that there had been issues with campervans or people using the car parks to store their ‘second, third or fourth cars’.

Chris Minty, outgoing chief executive of the Jersey Cricket Board, said there had been problems for players and officials involved in cricket matches at several grounds during the 2019 season.

‘There was no consultation or discussion prior to the restrictions being imposed, which led to some issues in the early part of the season,’ he said. ‘The parking control team took our comments on board – that cricket matches last at least three hours – and we had very few problems thereafter.’

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The government spokeswoman said the department was aware that some sports ‘last more than three hours’ and said members of sports clubs can display a badge alongside their time of arrival so they will not be ticketed.

She added that ‘net profit’ from fines was used to ‘maintain sports facilities car parks, for example, but not limited to, undertaking tarmac and pothole repairs, cleaning, clearing drains, line marking, lighting upgrades, signage, tree surgery and removal of abandoned vehicles’.

‘Parking orders have been in place for many years at these sites. They are there to ensure there is adequate parking on site for those using the sports facilities. All sites actively promote the need for their customers to display a permit and or/time of arrival.’

Jack Maguire

By Jack Maguire
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