Totnes Parking

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Totnes Parking

Totnes parking in Devon is getting harder by the day. There seem to be additional double yellow lines, more traffic wardens, with a reduction of free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

Confidently we can assist you with your parking in Totnes. If you have received a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Totnes, then we are here to assist.

To begin with there are 2 various types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is very important for your wallet that you are transparent about which one you have received. If the ticket is an official notice from Totnes council or Totnes police then you have been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the two bodies are allowed to issue PCN's and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on public 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Totnes council or Totnes police for information on what to do after that. Totnes council will have thorough instructions on their web pages outlining how long you have got to pay the fine, how to pay the fine and the penalties implicated if you fail to pay within the time frame.

More often than not they present a discount (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

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

If you are in any doubt as to what to do when you get a penalty charge notice, it is always a safe idea to seek separate counsel from the Totnes Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Totnes lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Totnes 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 land.

A proprietor typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions usually in a sign 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 then entering into a deal with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will involve 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 plainly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at further points across the location, along with information about parking charges and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you obtain a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are accurately displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they aren't, you may want to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The most important divergence involving an official penalty charge issued by the establishment 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. Consequently they should not be described as penalties or fines, even though 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 entitlement for costs. The sum they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you created when you parked on the land in question. According to the CAB, this charge ought to be acceptable and in line with the loss suffered by the company, even though 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 get back 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 want 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 demonstrate 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 important to note that, as things currently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the landowner. For that reason 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 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 convinced 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 anticipate 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. 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 is 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 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.