Sedbergh Parking

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Sedbergh Parking

Sedbergh parking in Cumbria is getting more difficult by the day. There seem to be further yellow lines, added 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 Sedbergh. If you have received a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Sedbergh, then we are here to help.

Firstly there are two separate types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is critical for your wallet that you are clear about which notice you've received. If the ticket is a legitimate notice from Sedbergh council or Sedbergh 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 illegally on public domain 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Sedbergh council or Sedbergh police for information on what to do after that. Sedbergh 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.

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

The PCN must in addition contain comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any verification, such as a video, which is being relied upon to prove you committed the offence. Importantly, the Penalty Charge Notice should also contain 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 doubt as to what to do when you are given a pcn, it is always a good idea to get separate guidance from the Sedbergh Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Sedbergh lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Sedbergh 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 understanding with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their property.

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 notification displayed on the land which you agree to abide by when you park on that terrain. 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 thus entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will mean 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 obviously and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at other points across the location, along with info about parking charges 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 find they aren't, you may want to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The key disparity 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. For that reason they shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, even though countless 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 entitlement for costs. 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 CAB, this rate should be fair and in line with the loss suffered by the company, although 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 salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you think there has been an error 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 provide confirmation 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 case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this point. Remember that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also significant to note that, as things presently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. So if you weren't the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this right away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the vehicle, you are under no legal obligation to supply 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 regulations 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 anticipate 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. 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 is 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 buy.