Ware Parking

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Ware Parking

Ware parking in Hertfordshire is getting harder by the day. There look to be additional double yellow lines, additional 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 a bit of luck we can help you with your parking in Ware. If you have received a parking ticket or fine whilst parking in Ware, then we are here to help out.

First there are 2 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 transparent about which one you've received. If the ticket is an authoritative notice from Ware council or Ware 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 wrongly on public 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 should refer to the Ware council or Ware police for guidance on what to do after that. Ware council will have meticulous 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.

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

The Penalty Charge Notice must in addition include unmistakable detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any support, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to show you committed the offence. Importantly, the Penalty Charge Notice ought to also include 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 doubt as to what to do when you pick up a penalty charge notice, it is always a good idea to get independent counsel from the Ware Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Ware lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Ware solicitor.

If you have got a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking business. 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 property.

A landlord typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions typically 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, specifically if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are consequently entering into a deal with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will involve 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 openly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the location, along with information about parking charges and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are correctly displayed at the car park in question. If you find they aren't, you may desire to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The major variance involving an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is zilch 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, even though 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 costs. The amount 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 affordable and in line with the loss suffered by the business, 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 salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you deem there has been a misunderstanding and you shouldn't 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 provide 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. Remember that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also vital 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 landowner. Thus 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 impart 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 verify 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 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 reasonable.

The bottom line is it is going to be very hard 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 easy to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to buy.