Northolt Parking

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Northolt Parking

Northolt parking in Middlesex is getting more difficult by the day. There appear to be more double yellow lines, added traffic wardens, a smaller amount 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 Northolt. If you have received a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Northolt, then we are here to help out.

First there are 2 different types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is fundamental for your wallet that you are clear about which one you've received. If the ticket is a formal notice from Northolt council or Northolt police then you have been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the 2 bodies are allowed to issue PCN's and it means that you are being fined for parking illegally on public domain land. 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 should refer to the Northolt council or Northolt police for assistance on what to do next. Northolt council will have comprehensive advice 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 limit.

Typically they afford a markdown (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The notice must also include comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and include any evidence, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to prove you committed the offence. Importantly, the PCN must in addition include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, along with details of the appeals procedure and the timescales involved.

If you are in any doubt as to what to do when you receive a pcn, it is always a good idea to seek independent advice from the Northolt Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Northolt lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Northolt 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 he or she chooses to place on their land.

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

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise 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 visibly 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 pick up 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 wish to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The most important disparity between 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. For that reason 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 issuing a Parking Charge Notice, the parking operator is relying on the law of contract to make an application for compensation. The total 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 reasonable and in line with the loss suffered by the business, although 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 get back a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you suppose 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 give confirmation 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 bear out their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this stage. Remember that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also central to write down that, as things presently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. For that reason if you were not 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 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 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 prove its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can look forward to 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's going to be very hard for these companies to demonstrate 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 acquire.