THE company behind the enforcement of parking charges at Junction One Retail Park is under investigation by a national industry body.
Civil Enforcement Ltd (CEL), which issues invoices on behalf of the shopping park, is being investigated by the British Parking Association (BPA) amid allegations of a breach of practice at the Leicester Road site.
The company has been accused of various transgressions by a shopper who won an appeal against his £100 fee.
The motorist, who did not wish to be named, won his appeal with the help of Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA) on the grounds CEL failed to produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate the parking charge was a genuine pre-estimate of loss.
As this was sufficient to approve the appeal, his further complaints were not considered, but now form the basis of the BPA investigation.
The allegations question the evidence and photographs submitted by CEL when pursuing the charge, and accuse the company of using signage which does not meet BPA regulations.
The BPA declined to comment on this particular case when approached by The Observer.
But the organisation said all members of its Approved Operator Scheme must comply with a code of practice and observe its compliance programme, and repeated instances of non-compliance over any 12-month period can result in suspension or termination of membership.
A London Councils spokesperson representing POPLA said: “An appeal was made to POPLA regarding the penalty charge, which the adjudicator upheld.
“POPLA deals with appeals on a case-by-case basis and is unable to comment on other organisations.”
The parking charges, which were introduced in February, are currently under review by Junction One owners Orchard Street Investment Management after being suspended in late March amid strong criticism.
Neither Orchard Street nor CEL would comment on whether current charges would be cancelled if the policy was abandoned in the future.
An Orchard Street spokeswoman told the Observer in May the new parking policy was introduced “in good faith and in the best interests of customers and businesses” to dissuade lorry drivers from parking overnight and car owners from exploiting the free car park.
“We were also advised that implementing a ticketing system would not only alleviate this misuse of the car park, but it would also have a direct impact on reducing crime, such as car and store theft.” she added.