Stow-on-the-Wold Parking

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Stow-on-the-Wold Parking

Stow-on-the-Wold parking in Gloucestershire is getting harder by the day. There look to be further 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 Stow-on-the-Wold. If you have established a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Stow-on-the-Wold, then we are here to lend a hand.

First there are two distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is vital for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which one you have received. If the ticket is a formal notice from Stow-on-the-Wold council or Stow-on-the-Wold police then you have 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 municipal 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 should refer to the Stow-on-the-Wold council or Stow-on-the-Wold police for advice on what to do after that. Stow-on-the-Wold 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 implicated if you fail to pay within the time limit.

More often than not they grant a discount (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The PCN must in addition include obvious detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any confirmation, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to demonstrate you committed the offence. Importantly, the PCN must in addition contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, along with details of the appeals procedure and the timescales involved.

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you obtain a pcn, it is always a good idea to get separate opinion from the Stow-on-the-Wold Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Stow-on-the-Wold lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Stow-on-the-Wold 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 understanding with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their property.

A landlord typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions more often than not 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 as a result entering into a deal with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will mean a set time limit, a condition 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 extra points across the location, along with information about parking charges and any consequent 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 discover they aren't, you may want to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The chief distinction relating 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. Therefore they shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, although various 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 a claim for compensation. The total 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 charge 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 blunder 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 give 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 demonstrate 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 prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also vital to write down that, as things currently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. 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 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 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 bear out its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can expect a sequence 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 reasonable.

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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to acquire.