Abergavenny Parking

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Abergavenny Parking

Abergavenny parking in Gwent is getting more problematical by the day. There seem to be additional double yellow lines, extra traffic wardens, a smaller amount 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 Abergavenny. If you have established a parking fine or ticket whilst parking in Abergavenny, then we are here to lend a hand.

At the outset there are two discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is essential for your wallet that you are transparent about which one you have received. If the ticket is a bureaucratic notice from Abergavenny council or Abergavenny 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 illegally 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Abergavenny council or Abergavenny police for guidance on what to do next. Abergavenny council will have thorough directives on their website 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.

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

The notice should also contain unmistakable detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and include any support, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to prove you committed the offence. Importantly, the Penalty Charge Notice should in addition contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the penalty, along with details of the appeals process and the timescales involved.

If you are in any uncertainty as to what to do when you obtain a pcn, it is always a nice idea to get independent advice from the Abergavenny Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Abergavenny lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Abergavenny solicitor.

If you have received 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 contract with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their ground.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions generally 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, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are thus 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 plainly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the site, along with info about parking charges and any consequent 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 aren't, you may want to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The key distinction involving an official penalty charge issued by the authorities 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. Hence they shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, even though 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 entitlement for compensation. The quantity 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 charge ought to be reasonable and in line with the loss suffered by the business, although excessive charges are common. This is not a criminal matter despite any impression given to the contrary by the operator.

The operator has no right to salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you feel there has been a lapse 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 provide confirmation 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 prove their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB 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 of great consequence to write down that, as things now exist, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the property-owner. So 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 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 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 corroborate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can look forward to a succession 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 fair.

The bottom line is it is going to be very difficult for these companies to show 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 stuff you want to buy.