Caledon Parking

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Caledon Parking

Caledon parking in County Tyrone is getting harder by the day. There seem to be further double yellow lines, more traffic wardens, a smaller amount 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 Caledon. If you have established a parking ticket or fine whilst parking in Caledon, then we are here to help.

First there are two discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is critical for your wallet that you are clear about which notice you've received. If the ticket is an official notice from Caledon council or Caledon police then you have been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on civic 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 Caledon council or Caledon police for instruction on what to do next. Caledon council will have thorough directives 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.

Usually they grant a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The Penalty Charge Notice must in addition contain transparent detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any proof, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to confirm you committed the offence. Significantly, the notice ought to also contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the penalty, along with details of the appeals method and the timescales involved.

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you are given a pcn, it is always a safe idea to get independent opinion from the Caledon Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Caledon lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Caledon solicitor.

If you have got 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 understanding with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their ground.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions generally 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, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are therefore entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise 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 noticeably and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the location, along with info about parking fees and any consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given 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 wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The chief differentiation involving an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is zilch in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. For that reason 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 issuing a Parking Charge Notice, the parking operator is relying on the law of contract to make an application for damages. 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 ought to be acceptable 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 recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you feel there has been a lapse 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 make available 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 confirm their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this period. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also central to note that, as things currently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary 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 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 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 bear out its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can expect 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 just.

The bottom line is it's going to be very hard 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 recommend 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 stuff you want to purchase.