Petersfield Parking

Church | Schools

Petersfield Parking

Petersfield parking in Hampshire is getting harder by the day. There appear to be further yellow lines, more 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 assist you with your parking in Petersfield. If you have established a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Petersfield, then we are here to make your life a bit easier.

At the outset there are 2 distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is essential for your wallet that you are clear about which one you have received. If the ticket is an official notice from Petersfield council or Petersfield police then you have been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the two bodies are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on civic 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 Petersfield council or Petersfield police for guidance on what to do after that. Petersfield council will have complete instructions on their website 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 frame.

Commonly they provide a markdown (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The PCN must also include unmistakable detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any support, such as a video, which is being relied upon to corroborate you committed the offence. Crucially, the notice must also contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the penalty, along with details of the appeals method and the timescales involved.

If you are in any uncertainty as to what to do when you pick up a penalty charge notice, it is always a nice idea to seek independent opinion from the Petersfield Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Petersfield lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Petersfield 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 understanding with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their land.

A landlord typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions commonly in a notice 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 comprise a set time limit, a requisite to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed noticeably 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 subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you receive a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are appropriately displayed at the car park in question. If you find they are not, you may want to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The major disparity relating 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. 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 an application for costs. 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 CAB, this payment should be rational and in line with the loss suffered by the business, although 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 salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you deem there has been a blunder 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 offer 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 bear out their case 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 crucial to note that, as things currently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the property-owner. For that reason 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 car, you are under no legal obligation to bestow 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 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 prove its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can count on 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. Consequently, 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 demonstrate 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 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 easy to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to purchase.