Holwell Parking

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Holwell Parking

Holwell parking in Dorset is getting more difficult by the day. There look to be additional yellow lines, more traffic wardens, a lesser amount of free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

With any luck we can help you with your parking in Holwell. If you have received a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Holwell, then we are here to help out.

Firstly there are 2 distinct 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've received. If the ticket is an authoritative notice from Holwell council or Holwell police then you have been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the 2 bodies are allowed to issue PCN's and it means that you are being fined for parking illegally on public domain 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 Penalty Charge Notice issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Holwell council or Holwell police for instruction on what to do after that. Holwell council will have complete 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 frame.

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

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

If you are in any doubt as to what to do when you collect a penalty charge notice, it is always a safe idea to seek independent advice from the Holwell Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Holwell lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Holwell solicitor.

If you have got 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 arrangement with a landlord 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 notice 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, particularly if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are for that reason entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will involve a set time limit, a requirement to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed visibly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at extra points across the location, along with info about parking fees and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you collect 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 business to appeal the charge.

The main distinction relating an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is naught in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Therefore they should not be described as penalties or fines, even though many 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 a claim for compensation. The amount 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 rate should be rational 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 recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you sense there has been an error 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 give confirmation of their case 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 Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this stage. Take into account that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also significant to write down that, as things now stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the property-owner. Thus if you weren't the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this straight away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the car, you are under no legal obligation to supply 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 certain 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 demonstrate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can look forward to a string 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 is going to be very hard for these companies to prove 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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the stuff you want to acquire.