Ballachulish Parking

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Ballachulish Parking

Ballachulish parking in Argyll is getting harder by the day. There appear to be more double 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 help you with your parking in Ballachulish. If you have established a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Ballachulish, then we are here to help out.

To begin with there are 2 discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is imperative for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which one you have received. If the ticket is a bureaucratic notice from Ballachulish council or Ballachulish police then you have been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue PCN's and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on public land. Such an offence is backed up by criminal law and you can be fined or end up in court for not paying your fine.

If you have received a Penalty Charge Notice issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Ballachulish council or Ballachulish police for counsel on what to do after that. Ballachulish council will have detailed advice 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 limit.

Typically they provide a markdown (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The Penalty Charge Notice ought to as well contain clear detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and include any indication, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to establish you committed the offence. Crucially, the notice must also include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the penalty, along with details of the appeals process and the timescales involved.

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you pick up a penalty charge notice, it is always a safe idea to seek independent guidance from the Ballachulish Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Ballachulish lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Ballachulish solicitor.

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

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

More often than not, such restrictions will include a set time limit, a prerequisite to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed plainly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at extra points across the site, along with information about parking charges and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you collect a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may desire to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The most important distinction concerning an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is nothing in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Consequently they should not be described as penalties or fines, although countless 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 application for compensation. The amount they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you created when you parked on the land in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this cost ought to be fair and in line with the loss suffered by the company, even though excessive charges are common. This isn't 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 think there has been an error 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 offer confirmation of their case 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 Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this period. Take into account that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also central to note that, as things now stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the landowner. So if you were not the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this straight away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the car, you are under no legal obligation to provide the parking operator with any further info, 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 confident that you have not parked in contravention of the rules 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 confirm its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can be expecting a sequence 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. Consequently, the letters usually stop. Even if a case does reach court, the company may have trouble convincing a judge that the charge is reasonable.

The bottom line is it's going to be very hard 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 recommend not to contact 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 purchase.