Earlier this year we began the process of changing the way residents applied for or renewed parking permits so that it could be done through the council’s MyAccount payment system; the same system used for other council services, such as Council Tax.

In the long term, this change will improve the customer experience, making transactions with the council easier. It will also better protect against fraud and increase council efficiency.

However, we recognise that this has not been a smooth process for many residents. We want to apologise for the problems some may have experienced and we understand their frustrations.

We are working very hard to resolve the technical issues people have faced and support those who have contacted us for help. This includes recruiting more staff to help with a backlog of enquiries.

Issues with postal deliveries have also meant delays in residents receiving paper copies of visitor permits. To address this. we will now be using a zero-emissions courier for guaranteed next day delivery of these.

We also recognise that how we have communicated these changes and the issues we have faced could have been better.

A change in a system this complex is not without its problems or risks, but we are confident issues will be fixed soon and that lessons have been learned. We would like to thank residents for their continued patience and again apologise for the problems with this service.

Frequently asked questions

I have paid for my permit, but I haven’t received it, will I get fined and what shall I do in the meantime?

First check that the application has been completed– if it has, an email will have been received titled ‘Resident Parking Permit Payment’ confirming that payment has been received. This means it’s being processed, which can take up to seven days.

If you haven’t received that email, you should check your bank account to see if any charges have been paid to BHCC, if you have contacted us via our online form with evidence of the transaction. If funds have not been taken, then the application would not have been completed and you should try again

You may have been asked to submit additional information. You should check for an email titled ‘Parking permit: We need more information’. You should check your junk mail or spam folder in case the email has been moved there because of your own email settings. If more information has been requested, the application will be on hold till we receive it.

New applications (not a renewal)

When a permit is approved and printed, you are automatically sent an email titled ‘Resident parking permit posted’. From this point you may park in your zone without displaying a permit for four days, and no PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) will be issued. As soon as you receive your permit, you must immediately start displaying it. If after four days the permit hasn’t arrived, you should contact us.

Renewals

Your new permit will be valid from the day after their existing permit expires. Please note, you can apply to renew several weeks before your existing one expires – so there’s no need to contact us just because you’ve applied, say, three weeks ago: the important date is the expiration date of your existing permit.

Late renewals

You should complete your renewal application at least 7 days before your existing permit expires – this is because it can take 7 days to process and post the new one to you. Also, we might have to ask for more information before approving your renewal application. If you leave it till after your existing permit has expired to renew, you will have to apply as if it was a completely new application (not a renewal).

What is the best way of contacting Parking Services?

The best way is to use the ‘contact us’ form.

We aim to answer messages sent this way within 7 working days.

For those who can’t use the internet, an Accessibility Line – 01273 296 622 – is available between 09:00 and 13:30, Monday to Friday. Staff will help those who need it – however it is important that people who can use the ‘contact us’ form do use it, so that the Accessibility line is kept clear for those who require the additional support.

How long are people waiting to get a response once they have completed this form?

From June to October, many customers experienced problems with our online system. This resulted in staff being unable to meet the service’s usual commitments to respond within 7 days. Staff have worked extremely hard to bring this back under control and have largely succeeded in the first two weeks of October.

What do I do if I receive a PCN even though I have paid for my permit?

If a PCN is issued as a result of us not having provided a permit in time that was applied for, or when people have genuinely attempted to get a permit and we haven’t responded to help them in time we cancel the PCN. However, you do need to appeal the PCN for us a) to know there’s an issue, and b) to be able to follow the rules around cancelling PCNs correctly.

Why do I have to upload proofs if I’m renewing? You should have all the information already.

We have moved to a new online system and therefore need to ensure that we have the correct documentation to ensure that the applicant meets the eligibility criteria for a permit. This will help ensure that permits are only issued to eligible residents and avoids fraudulent applications. By uploading the proofs it also ensures that we use a secure and safe method of receiving data and meets the data protection policies. The historic information that may have already been supplied will not be valid as may be out of date.

I’ve changed my address in MyAccount – do I also need to do the same when I click through to Parking?

Yes, the address changes that are made for a My Account must also be made through the “Parking, Travel & Transport” section. If a valid permit is already held through “MyAccount” the change of address can be made through this route. If a customer does not have a valid permit via “MyAccount” they will need to notify Parking Services to make the changes to their permit.

Why is MyAccount not showing my parking zone?

One reason might be if you have entered your address manually (filling in each field yourself) rather than using the dropdown list. If your address is in the dropdown you should use it – this allows the system to work out your zone.

If, for example, you call your address ‘Basement Flat’, perhaps to help the postman, the address system might still call it ‘Flat 1’. You should select ‘Flat 1’ from the dropdown if it corresponds to your home.

If your address isn’t in the dropdown, and you have to enter the whole address manually, we will still help you, but it will take longer.

I am moving address; how do I change my address on “My Account” and do I need change my permit details?

If moving address, you will need to amend your address details on “My Account” by logging into your account and selecting “Tell Us you are Moving” through the personal details tab. You will need to select the correlating address from the drop-down list by searching using the new postcode details. Once this has been done you will need to return to the “Parking, Travel & Transport” section and complete the change of address form. You will be required to surrender the old permit and submit an application for your new address using your “My Account”. Once the old permit has been surrendered a refund will be issued for the number of days remaining on the old permit. We realise you are telling us twice in this process, this is something we will change in the future. Thank you for your patience.