Whitstable Parking

Church | Schools

Whitstable Parking

Whitstable parking in Kent is getting harder by the day. There seem to be further double yellow lines, added traffic wardens, with a reduction of free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

Hopefully we can help you with your parking in Whitstable. If you have established a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Whitstable, then we are here to make your life a bit easier.

Firstly 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 unmistakable about which notice you have received. If the ticket is a bureaucratic notice from Whitstable council or Whitstable 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 illegally 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 ought to refer to the Whitstable council or Whitstable police for assistance on what to do next. Whitstable council will have comprehensive 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 frame.

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

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

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you collect a pcn, it is always a good idea to get independent guidance from the Whitstable Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Whitstable lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Whitstable 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 agreement with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their property.

A landowner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions customarily in a warning 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, specifically if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are as a result entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will mean a set time limit, a requisite 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 other points across the location, along with info about parking charges and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you obtain a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The core distinction linking an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is nothing 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 lots 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 damages. The sum they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you created when you parked on the property in question. According to the CAB, this charge should be rational 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 claim a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you have reason there has been a blunder 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 provide confirmation 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 case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this phase. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also of the essence to note that, as things currently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary 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 convinced 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 bear out its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can be expecting a string of letters from the company itself, debt collectors and solicitors, all warning of court action. However, the reality is that very 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 just.

The bottom line is it is going to be very hard for these companies to establish 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 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.