Weymouth Parking

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Weymouth Parking

Weymouth parking in Dorset is getting more difficult by the day. There look to be more yellow lines, extra traffic wardens, a smaller amount 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 help you with your parking in Weymouth. If you have received a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Weymouth, then we are here to lend a hand.

Firstly there are two distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is fundamental for your wallet that you are transparent about which notice you have received. If the ticket is an endorsed notice from Weymouth council or Weymouth police then you have been given 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 municipal 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 ought to refer to the Weymouth council or Weymouth police for information on what to do after that. Weymouth council will have detailed information on their website 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.

Frequently they make available a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The PCN should as well contain comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any evidence, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to establish you committed the offence. Crucially, the Penalty Charge Notice must in addition contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the penalty, along with details of the appeals system and the timescales involved.

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

If you have received a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking business. A private parking business is an organisation which has entered into an agreement with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their land.

A landlord typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions ordinarily in a sign 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, specifically if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are as a result entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise a set time limit, a necessity 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 other points across the site, along with information about parking charges and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you receive a parking charge notice you should 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 business to appeal the charge.

The core differentiation between an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is nothing in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Consequently they shouldn't 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 giving out 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 property in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this rate ought to be reasonable 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 recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you have reason there has been a blunder and you shouldn't 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 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 case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this stage. Remember that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also vital to note that, as things presently exist, 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 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 assured 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 corroborate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can look forward to a series 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 reasonable.

The bottom line is it's going to be very difficult 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 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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the stuff you want to purchase.