Haddington Parking

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Haddington Parking

Haddington parking in East Lothian is getting harder by the day. There look to be further double yellow lines, additional 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?

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

Firstly there are two separate types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is imperative for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which notice you've received. If the ticket is an official notice from Haddington council or Haddington 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 public domain land. Such an offence is backed up by criminal law and you can be fined or end up in court for not paying your fine.

If you have received a Penalty Charge Notice issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Haddington council or Haddington police for instruction on what to do after that. Haddington council will have complete directives on their web pages 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.

Usually they supply a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The PCN ought to in addition contain comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any corroboration, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to show you committed the offence. Crucially, the PCN must in addition 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 uncertainty as to what to do when you get a penalty charge notice, it is always a nice idea to get separate advice from the Haddington Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Haddington lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Haddington solicitor.

If you have received 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 he or she chooses to place on their land.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions commonly 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, particularly 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 mean a set time limit, a requisite 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 site, along with information about parking charges and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you collect a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are appropriately displayed at the car park in question. If you find they are not, you may desire to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The core divergence linking an official penalty charge issued by the establishment 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. For that reason they should not be described as penalties or fines, although numerous 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 damages. 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 Citizen's Advice Bureau, this cost should be reasonable and in line with the loss suffered by the business, although excessive 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 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 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 bear out their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this stage. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also central to write down that, as things presently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the landowner. For that reason 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 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 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 count on a series 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'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 things you want to acquire.