Ballymoney Parking

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Ballymoney Parking

Ballymoney parking in County Antrim is getting more testing by the day. There appear to be more double yellow lines, more traffic wardens, a reduced amount of free car parking and even supermarkets are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

With any luck we can assist you with your parking in Ballymoney. If you have established a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Ballymoney, then we are here to lend a hand.

At the outset there are 2 separate types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is fundamental for your wallet that you are transparent about which one you have received. If the ticket is an authoritative notice from Ballymoney council or Ballymoney 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 illegally on civic 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 Ballymoney council or Ballymoney police for counsel on what to do next. Ballymoney 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.

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

The notice must as well include unmistakable detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any proof, such as a video, which is being relied upon to demonstrate you committed the offence. Importantly, the notice ought to in addition include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, along with details of the appeals process 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 good idea to get separate counsel from the Ballymoney Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Ballymoney lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Ballymoney solicitor.

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

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

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise a set time limit, a condition to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed openly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at further points across the site, along with information about parking fees and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you receive a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are appropriately displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The key distinction relating 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. Hence they shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, even though various 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 costs. The total 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 rate should be affordable and in line with the loss suffered by the business, although extreme 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 salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you feel there has been a misunderstanding and you shouldn't 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 give proof 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 prove their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this point. Take into account that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also important to write down that, as things presently 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 right 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 assured 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 be expecting a sequence 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. Consequently, 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 difficult for these companies to establish 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.