Openshaw Parking

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Openshaw Parking

Openshaw parking in Greater Manchester is getting harder by the day. There look to be further double yellow lines, more traffic wardens, a lesser 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 a bit of luck we can assist you with your parking in Openshaw. If you have received a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Openshaw, then we are here to assist.

To start with there are two discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is fundamental for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which notice you've received. If the ticket is a bureaucratic notice from Openshaw council or Openshaw 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 illegally on public land. 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Openshaw council or Openshaw police for advice on what to do after that. Openshaw council will have thorough instructions 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.

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

The PCN should also include plain detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any confirmation, such as a video, which is being relied upon to show you committed the offence. Significantly, the notice should 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 collect a pcn, it is always a nice idea to seek separate opinion from the Openshaw Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Openshaw lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Openshaw 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 arrangement with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their ground.

A proprietor typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions regularly 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 for that reason entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will mean a set time limit, a necessity 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 additional points across the location, along with info 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 appropriately displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The main distinction involving 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 shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, although many 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 a claim for compensation. The amount 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 charge should be fair and in line with the loss suffered by the company, even though extreme 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 suppose there has been a mistake and you shouldn't 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 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 corroborate their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this phase. Take into account that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also central to write down that, as things presently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the proprietor. So if you were not 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 provide 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 assured 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 bear out its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can count on a sequence 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 fair.

The bottom line is it's going to be very hard 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 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 stuff you want to purchase.