A team of investigators who are devoted to detecting and prosecuting Blue Badge fraudsters were among the big winners at the British Parking Awards 2021, which took place at the Royal Lancaster London on 24 September.
An epic-scaled car park overlooking the Mersey, an online avatar who advises drivers appealing against penalties and pre-booking system for seaside parking were among the other winners at the ceremony, which was hosted by the comedian and actor Marcus Brigstocke.
The annual awards, launched by Parking Review magazine in 2002, encompass both kerbside parking and off-street car parks, and span both the public and private sectors.
The awards ceremony is the highlight of the parking sector’s social calendar, something that was more apparent than ever after 18 months of lockdowns and restrictions on social gatherings. Indeed, for many people in parking, the 2020 awards were one of the last social gatherings before COVID-19 took its grip.
Throughout the coronavirus lockdowns the parking sector played a key role in ensuring that essential health and public services kept working. Many of the entries to this year’s competition set out how parking teams worked to ensure NHS and critical care workers had access to free parking, that essential supplies made it to retailers and that emergency pavement widening and cycling schemes were installed and regulated.
And many parking teams stepped in to help with the delivery of food parcels to vulnerable people, marshalled drive-through test & trace centres, created pre-booking systems for waste and recycling centres and, soberingly, volunteered to help in mortuaries.
These endeavours were recognised by Parking Review magazine in the form of a special section called Positive Responses to the Pandemic, which comprised a short film and the distribution of a glass rosette to honour the teams.
The British Parking Awards is an event that enables the sector to pay tribute to individuals who are making a real difference to the regulation of traffic in towns and cities, or to the effective management of car parks.
The Parking Person of the Year was Paul Slowey, founder of BBFi Fraud Investigations, a public interest company that focusses on fighting the scourge of Blue Badge fraud. The individual award was one of three that he collected on the day, with BBFi also receiving the Parking in the Community Award and sharing the Parking Partnerships trophy with the London Borough of Waltham Forest and enforcement contractor NSL.
A pair of genuine thought-leaders in the parking sector received the MiPermit Inspiration Award, which was shared by Rob Shoebridge, group leader, traffic and transportation at Derby City Council, and Richard Walker, parking partnership group leader of the North Essex Parking Partnership.
There were Lifetime Achievement Awards for car park construction expert Jeff Jones of Radflex Contract Services, and Anjna Patel, Sandwell’s principal officer parking and safer and sustainable travel team.
The next generation of parking was represented by the winners of the Young Parking Professional trophies – Joel Hughes of Taranto and Annie Oliver of Parking Control Management (UK).
The excellent work of several organisations from across the sector was recognised. The Front Line Award was presented to the civil enforcement officers of NSL for their work during the pandemic in the London Borough of Barnet.
The sometimes unsung administrators working in the sector were recognised this year with the Back Office Award, which was presented to the team at ZZPS, a company that supports a number of parking operators.
Two local authorities shared the Team of the Year Award, with Brighton & Hove City Council and Derby City Council impressing the jury with their innovative, public service led approaches.
There was recognition for teams running car parks in a professional and customer-focussed manner. The Outstanding Car Park Award was presented to AGS Airports and APCOA Parking for their work at Aberdeen Airport during the pandemic.
Gemini Parking Services, a company that runs car parks in the retail and sectors, was named Parking Provider of the Year.
The importance of engaging with the public was reflected in a number of awards. A British Parking Association (BPA) initiative that saw a number of parking technology companies cooperate to provide NHS and care workers with access to free parking during the pandemic was presented with the Campaigns Award.
The Communication Award was presented to consultant Project Centre for its work managing public consultations for City of Edinburgh’s controlled parking zone expansion plan.
Debt recovery specialist Penham Excel was presented with the Special Jury Award for its work on tackling untaxed cars and uninsured drivers which has seen the formation of a Nuisance Vehicle Group involving government agencies and the police.
The imaginative and innovative work of technologists was recognised in a number of different categories. The Parking Technology Award was presented to Barbour Logic for Chatbot Max, an online avatar that helps motorists understand parking rules and work out whether or not they have a case when planning to appeal against a parking penalty.
The Intelligent Parking Award was won by JustPark for creating a pre-booking system for drivers heading to a popular beach run by the West Wittering Estate in West Sussex, which wanted to ensure it was not overwhelmed as the lockdowns eased.
The Parking Futures Award was presented to a project created by the London of Hammersmith & Fulham to tackle rat-running and reduce air pollution by linking ANPR cameras with a network of air quality sensors and a virtual access and parking permit system.
The teams that design, build, maintain and renovate car parks were also recognised at the event. The epic 1,400-space Kings Dock car park built by Willmott Dixon for Liverpool City Council was named Best New Car Park.
The Special Projects: Design trophy was presented to Bourne Parking and BrightSpace Architects for the witty aviation-inspired façade of The Common car park in Hatfield.
The refurbishment of the multi-storey car park serving the Chase Farm Hospital in north London won StructureCare and WT Partnership the Special Projects: Renovation Award.
MiPermit Inspiration Award
• Rob Shoebridge, group leader, traffic and transportation, Derby City Council
• Richard Walker, parking partnership group leader, NEPP
Parking Person of the Year
• Paul Slowey, managing director, BBFi Fraud Investigations
Parking Team of the Year
• Brighton & Hove City Council Parking Services
• Derby City Council
Young Parking Professional of the Year
• Joel Hughes, senior business development executive, Taranto Systems
• Annie Oliver, legal and compliance manager, Parking Control Management (UK)
Lifetime Achievement Award
• Jeff Jones
• Anjna Patel
Parking Partnerships Award
• London Borough of Waltham Forest, NSL and BBFi Fraud Investigations – Getting to grips with Blue Badge fraud
The Front Line Award
• London Borough of Barnet and NSL
The Back Office Award
Parking in the Community
• BBFi Public Sector Investigations – Tackling Blue Badge fraud
Best New Car Park
• Kings Dock, Liverpool – Willmott Dixon for Liverpool City Council
Car Parks: Special Projects Award
• Design: The Common, Hatfield – Bourne Parking and BrightSpace Architects for Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council
• Renovation: Chase Farm Hospital multi-storey car park, Enfield, London – StructureCare and WT Partnership for Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
The Outstanding Car Park Award
• Aberdeen International Airport – AGS Airports and APCOA Parking
Parking as a Service Award
• North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP)
Parking Provider of the Year
• Gemini Parking Solutions
• Project Centre and City of Edinburgh Council – Edinburgh-wide CPZ
• British Parking Association (BPA), Parkopedia, YourParkingSpace and JustPark – The NHS Free Parking Platform for Critical Workers
Parking Technology Award
• Barbour Logic – Chatbot Max
Intelligent Parking Award
• JustPark – Controlling occupancy of high demand car parks during a pandemic
Parking Futures Award
• London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, Marston Holdings, Project Centre, Videalert, Smart Transport Hub, Vortex IoT, RingGo and Conduent Transportation – SW6 traffic, congestion and pollution scheme
Special Jury Award
• Penham Excel – Nuisance and unlawful vehicle research
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