Horncastle Parking

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Horncastle Parking

Horncastle parking in Lincolnshire is getting harder by the day. There appear to be more yellow lines, added 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 help you with your parking in Horncastle. If you have received a parking fine or ticket whilst parking in Horncastle, then we are here to lend a hand.

First of all there are two distinct 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 an authoritative notice from Horncastle council or Horncastle police then you've been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the two bodies are allowed to issue PCN's and it means that you are being fined for parking illegally 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 Horncastle council or Horncastle police for counsel on what to do next. Horncastle council will have meticulous directives 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.

More often than not they provide a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The Penalty Charge Notice should as well contain obvious detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any proof, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to confirm you committed the offence. Significantly, the Penalty Charge Notice must also include 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 collect a penalty charge notice, it is always a nice idea to get separate counsel from the Horncastle Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Horncastle lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Horncastle 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 arrangement 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 existing one - they will set out restrictions regularly in a sign displayed on the land which you agree to abide by when you park on that land. 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 therefore entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise a set time limit, a requirement to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed openly 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 obtain 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 wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The chief differentiation concerning an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is not anything 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 scores of 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 entitlement for damages. The quantity 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 rate should be acceptable and in line with the loss suffered by the business, even though excessive 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 claim a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you deem there has been an error 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 give 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 bear out their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this point. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also important to note that, as things presently 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 straight 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 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 assured 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 corroborate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can count on a sequence 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. 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 just.

The bottom line is it is going to be very difficult 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 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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to purchase.