Hungerford Parking

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Hungerford Parking

Hungerford parking in Berkshire is getting harder by the day. There look to be further yellow lines, added traffic wardens, a lesser amount 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 Hungerford. If you have established a parking ticket or fine whilst parking in Hungerford, then we are here to make your life a bit easier.

First of all there are two different 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 an endorsed notice from Hungerford council or Hungerford 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 wrongly on municipal property. 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 Hungerford council or Hungerford police for assistance on what to do next. Hungerford 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.

Typically they grant a discount (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The PCN should in addition contain clear detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any verification, such as a video, which is being relied upon to confirm you committed the offence. Importantly, the PCN ought to also include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, along with details of the appeals method and the timescales involved.

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you obtain a penalty charge notice, it is always a nice idea to seek separate counsel from the Hungerford Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Hungerford lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Hungerford 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 agreement with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their ground.

A landowner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - 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 an agreement 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 terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed obviously and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the location, along with info about parking charges and any consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you pick up a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are accurately displayed at the car park in question. If you find they aren't, you may desire to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The major difference relating an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is naught in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Consequently they shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, although lots of parking operators will label their notices a Parking Charge Notice, which handily also abbreviates to PCN (what a coincidence!).

In issuing a Parking Charge Notice, the parking operator is relying on the law of contract to make an application for costs. The quantity they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the land in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this cost ought to be acceptable 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 a blunder and you shouldn't 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 offer 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 demonstrate their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this stage. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also significant to note that, as things currently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the proprietor. 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 vehicle, you are under no legal obligation to impart 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 certain 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 expect a string of letters from the company itself, debt collectors and solicitors, all warning of court action. However, the reality is that very 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 reasonable.

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