Aylesford Parking

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Aylesford Parking

Aylesford parking in Kent is getting more problematical by the day. There appear to be further double yellow lines, more traffic wardens, a reduced 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 Aylesford. If you have received a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Aylesford, then we are here to help out.

First of all there are 2 distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is crucial for your wallet that you are clear about which one you've received. If the ticket is an endorsed notice from Aylesford council or Aylesford police then you have been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices 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 non-payment of the fines.

If you have received a Penalty Charge Notice issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Aylesford council or Aylesford police for counsel on what to do next. Aylesford 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 implicated if you fail to pay within the time limit.

As a rule they provide a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The PCN should also contain unmistakable detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and include any confirmation, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to establish you committed the offence. Significantly, the PCN should also contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, along with details of the appeals system and the timescales involved.

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you are given a pcn, it is always a nice idea to seek independent opinion from the Aylesford Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Aylesford lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Aylesford 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 arrangement with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their property.

A proprietor typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions commonly in a warning 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, particularly if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are hence entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will involve a set time limit, an obligation to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed obviously 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 be given a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are correctly 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 differentiation relating an official penalty charge issued by the authorities 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. Hence they should not be described as penalties or fines, even though numerous 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 created when you parked on the land in question. According to the CAB, this cost 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 recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you sense there has been an error and you should not 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 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 case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this period. Remember that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also foremost 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. 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 vehicle, 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 confident 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 demonstrate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can expect a progression 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's going to be very difficult for these companies to confirm 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.