Appin Parking

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Appin Parking

Appin parking in Argyll is getting more testing by the day. There seem to be further yellow lines, more traffic wardens, with a reduction of free car parking and even supermarkets are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

Hopefully we can assist you with your parking in Appin. If you have established a parking ticket or fine whilst parking in Appin, then we are here to make your life a bit easier.

To start with there are 2 distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is essential for your wallet that you are transparent about which one you've received. If the ticket is a formal notice from Appin council or Appin police then you've been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the 2 bodies are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices and it means that you are being fined for parking illegally on public land. Such an offence is backed up by criminal law and you can be fined or end up in court for non-payment of the fines.

If you have received a Penalty Charge Notice issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Appin council or Appin police for assistance on what to do next. Appin council will have detailed information on their website outlining how long you have got to pay the fine, how to pay the fine and the penalties involved if you fail to pay within the time frame.

More often than not they offer a discount (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The PCN ought to as well contain obvious detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any support, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to confirm you committed the offence. Importantly, the PCN should in addition contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the penalty, along with details of the appeals procedure and the timescales involved.

If you are in any doubt as to what to do when you are given a penalty charge notice, it is always a nice idea to seek separate counsel from the Appin Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Appin lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Appin solicitor.

If you have received a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking company. A private parking company is an organisation which has entered into a union with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their property.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions commonly in a notification displayed on the land which you agree to abide by when you park on that land. By choosing to park on the land it may be implied that you agree to these conditions, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are for that reason entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will involve a set time limit, a requisite to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed noticeably and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at extra points across the site, along with info about parking charges and any consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you receive a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are accurately displayed at the car park in question. If you find they are not, you may wish to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The chief difference linking an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is not anything in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Therefore they should not be described as penalties or fines, although scores of parking operators will label their notices a Parking Charge Notice, which handily also abbreviates to PCN (what a coincidence!).

In giving out a Parking Charge Notice, the parking operator is relying on the law of contract to make an entitlement for costs. The quantity they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the property in question. According to the CAB, this rate ought to be sensible and in line with the loss suffered by the company, although excessive charges are common. This is not a criminal matter despite any impression given to the contrary by the operator.

The operator has no right to claim a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you deem there has been a mistake and you should not have been issued a ticket, you may wish to dispute the charge with the parking company as soon as possible. You should ask them to make available evidence of their argument against you. If you fail to reach an agreement with them, then, as with all civil matters, it is up to the parking company to bear out their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this point. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also imperative to write down that, as things now exist, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the proprietor. So if you weren't the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this right away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the car, you are under no legal obligation to bestow the parking operator with any further information, as you would be with the police. In particular you do not have to identify the driver or supply his or her name and address.

Indeed if you are assured that you have not parked in contravention of the regulations of the car park, you do not have to contact the parking company if you do not wish to do so as the obligation is on the parking company to prove its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can anticipate a series of letters from the company itself, debt collectors and solicitors, all warning of court action. However, the reality is that extremely few cases ever reach court because of the difficulties the private company has in proving its case. As a result, the letters usually stop. Even if a case does reach court, the company may have trouble convincing a judge that the charge is just.

The bottom line is it's going to be very difficult for these companies to prove you are a guilty party in this. In 99.99% of cases the best thing to do is rip up the ticket and throw it away. We would advise not to get in touch with the company (as you are handing them your details) or waste your time and money consulting a solicitor. Most of these companies do not provide proper signage - in other words they are easy to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to acquire.