Seaford Parking

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Seaford Parking

Seaford parking in East Sussex is getting harder by the day. There seem to be more yellow lines, extra traffic wardens, a reduced amount of free car parking and even supermarkets 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 Seaford. If you have established a parking fine or ticket whilst parking in Seaford, then we are here to assist.

Firstly there are two discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is critical for your wallet that you are clear about which one you have received. If the ticket is an endorsed notice from Seaford council or Seaford police then you've been given 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 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Seaford council or Seaford police for counsel on what to do after that. Seaford council will have thorough information 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.

Ordinarily they offer a markdown (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The PCN ought to as well contain obvious detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and include any corroboration, such as a video, which is being relied upon to corroborate you committed the offence. Importantly, the Penalty Charge Notice ought to in addition include 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 doubt as to what to do when you receive a penalty charge notice, it is always a good idea to get independent advice from the Seaford Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Seaford lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Seaford solicitor.

If you have received a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking company. 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 terrain.

A proprietor typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions usually in a notification 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, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are thus entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will involve a set time limit, a condition to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed clearly 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 consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you pick up a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are correctly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may want to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The major differentiation 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 shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, although scores 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 application for damages. The total they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the land in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this payment should be reasonable and in line with the loss suffered by the company, even though 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 claim a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you suppose there has been a mistake 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 evidence 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 show their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this period. Remember that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also important to note that, as things currently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the landowner. As a result 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 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 confident 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 anticipate 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. 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's going to be very difficult for these companies to establish 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 things you want to purchase.