St. Leonards on Sea Parking

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St. Leonards on Sea Parking

St. Leonards on Sea parking in East Sussex is getting harder by the day. There appear to be more yellow lines, additional traffic wardens, a reduced amount of free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

Hopefully we can help you with your parking in St. Leonards on Sea. If you have established a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in St. Leonards on Sea, then we are here to lend a hand.

At the outset there are two distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is fundamental for your wallet that you are clear about which one you've received. If the ticket is an endorsed notice from St. Leonards on Sea council or St. Leonards on Sea police then you have been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on municipal property. 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 St. Leonards on Sea council or St. Leonards on Sea police for opinion on what to do after that. St. Leonards on Sea council will have thorough 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 limit.

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

The Penalty Charge Notice should also include comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any support, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to verify you committed the offence. Importantly, 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 procedure and the timescales involved.

If you are in any uncertainty as to what to do when you collect a penalty charge notice, it is always a nice idea to get separate guidance from the St. Leonards on Sea Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a St. Leonards on Sea lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a St. Leonards on Sea 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 a pact with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their land.

A landowner 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, particularly if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are thus entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will mean a set time limit, an obligation to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed clearly 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 subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you obtain a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are accurately displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they aren't, you may desire to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The key divergence relating an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is not anything in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Consequently 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 an entitlement for damages. The quantity they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the property in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this payment should be acceptable 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 get back a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you feel there has been a blunder and you should not have been issued a ticket, you may want to dispute the charge with the parking company as soon as possible. You should ask them to make available evidence 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 bear out their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this phase. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also crucial to write down that, as things presently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. Consequently 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 car, you are under no legal obligation to bestow 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 expect 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. 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 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 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 buy.