Dunstable Parking

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Dunstable Parking

Dunstable parking in Bedfordshire is getting more difficult by the day. There look to be additional yellow lines, added traffic wardens, a smaller amount free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

Hopefully uk comprehensive can help you with your parking in Dunstable. If you have received a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Dunstable, then we are here to lend a hand.

First there are two different types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is imperative for your wallet that you are clear about which one you have received. If the ticket is a bureaucratic notice from Dunstable council or Dunstable police then you have been issued 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 illegally on civic property. 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Dunstable council or Dunstable police for counsel on what to do after that. Dunstable council will have complete instructions 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.

By and large they supply a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The notice must also include transparent detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any confirmation, such as a video, which is being relied upon to confirm you committed the offence. Importantly, the notice must in addition include 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 reservation as to what to do when you pick up a pcn, it is always a safe idea to get independent opinion from the Dunstable Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Dunstable lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Dunstable solicitor.

If you have got 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 an understanding with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their land.

A proprietor typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions ordinarily in a notification 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, specifically if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are hence entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise a set time limit, an obligation to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed clearly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the site, along with info about parking fees and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are correctly displayed at the car park in question. If you find they are not, you may want to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The main divergence relating an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is naught in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Therefore they should not be described as penalties or fines, even though many 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 a claim for damages. The sum they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the property in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this cost ought to be realistic and in line with the loss suffered by the company, although extreme 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 recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you have reason there has been a mistake and you should not have been issued a ticket, you may want to dispute the charge with the parking company as soon as possible. You should ask them to provide 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 argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this period. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also of great consequence to note that, as things now exist, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the property-owner. So if you weren't the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this straight away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the vehicle, 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 positive 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 corroborate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can count on 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 fair.

The bottom line is it is going to be very hard for these companies to confirm 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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to buy.