Fishguard Parking

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Fishguard Parking

Fishguard parking in Dyfed is getting more testing by the day. There seem to be more yellow lines, added 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 Fishguard. If you have established a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Fishguard, then we are here to help.

To begin with there are 2 distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is imperative for your wallet that you are clear about which one you've received. If the ticket is a legitimate notice from Fishguard council or Fishguard 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 wrongly on civic 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 ought to refer to the Fishguard council or Fishguard police for advice on what to do after that. Fishguard council will have comprehensive advice 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.

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

The Penalty Charge Notice ought to in addition include comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any confirmation, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to prove you committed the offence. Crucially, the notice ought to also include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, 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 penalty charge notice, it is always a safe idea to seek separate advice from the Fishguard Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Fishguard lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Fishguard 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 landlord to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their terrain.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions frequently in a notification 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 therefore entering into a deal 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 T&C's of the car park should be displayed openly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the location, along with information about parking fees and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given 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 desire to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The most important divergence between an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is nothing in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. For that reason they should not be described as penalties or fines, even though loads 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 damages. 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 affordable and in line with the loss suffered by the company, even though excessive 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 recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you feel 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 make available 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 demonstrate their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this phase. Take into account that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also crucial 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 landowner. So 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 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 positive 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 verify its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can count on a succession 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. 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 just.

The bottom line is it is 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 advise 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.