Longfield Parking

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Longfield Parking

Longfield parking in Kent is getting more difficult by the day. There look to be more double yellow lines, additional 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 Longfield. If you have established a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Longfield, then we are here to assist.

At the outset there are 2 discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is imperative for your wallet that you are transparent about which one you have received. If the ticket is an authoritative notice from Longfield council or Longfield police then you've been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the 2 bodies are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices 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 non-payment of the fines.

If you have received a PCN issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Longfield council or Longfield police for counsel on what to do next. Longfield council will have complete information 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 limit.

Commonly they present 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 committing and contain any evidence, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to show you committed the offence. Crucially, the Penalty Charge Notice must in addition include 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 receive a pcn, it is always a nice idea to get independent guidance from the Longfield Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Longfield lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Longfield 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 he or she chooses to place on their ground.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - 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 consequently entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will involve a set time limit, a condition 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 site, along with info about parking charges and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you collect a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you find they aren't, you may want to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The main variance linking an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is zilch in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Consequently 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 a claim for costs. The total they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you created when you parked on the land in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this payment ought to be reasonable and in line with the loss suffered by the company, even though extreme 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 recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you deem there has been a lapse 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 argument 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 argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this point. Remember that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also foremost to note that, as things now exist, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the property-owner. As a result 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 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 positive 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. 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 is 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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the stuff you want to purchase.