Staveley Parking

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Staveley Parking

Staveley parking in Cumbria is getting more difficult by the day. There seem to be additional double yellow lines, extra traffic wardens, less free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

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

First of all there are 2 distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is crucial for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which notice you've received. If the ticket is a formal notice from Staveley council or Staveley police then you've 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 public 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Staveley council or Staveley police for instruction on what to do next. Staveley council will have comprehensive 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.

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

The PCN ought to in addition include comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any evidence, such as a video, which is being relied upon to prove you committed the offence. Crucially, 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 obtain a penalty charge notice, it is always a good idea to seek separate advice from the Staveley Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Staveley lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Staveley 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 landowner to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their property.

A proprietor typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions more often than not in a notification 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, particularly if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are thus entering into a deal 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 openly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the site, along with information about parking fees and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given a parking charge notice you should 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 business to appeal the charge.

The most important distinction concerning 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. Hence they should not be described as penalties or fines, even though scores 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 damages. The quantity they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you created when you parked on the property in question. According to the CAB, this cost ought to be acceptable 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 salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you believe there has been a mistake and you should not 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 provide 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 argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this period. Take into account that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also central to write down that, as things now stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the property-owner. Thus 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 vehicle, you are under no legal obligation to impart 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 convinced 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 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. 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's going to be very difficult 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 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 easy to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to buy.