Banham Parking

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Banham Parking

Banham parking in Norfolk is getting more challenging by the day. There look to be additional yellow lines, extra 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 Banham. If you have established a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Banham, then we are here to help.

Firstly there are 2 discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is very important for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which one you have received. If the ticket is a formal notice from Banham council or Banham police then you have been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue PCN's and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on municipal 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 Penalty Charge Notice issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Banham council or Banham police for counsel on what to do after that. Banham council will have detailed advice 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 frame.

Commonly they present a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The notice must also contain unmistakable detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any proof, such as a video, which is being relied upon to show you committed the offence. Significantly, the Penalty Charge Notice should also 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 pick up a pcn, it is always a safe idea to get separate opinion from the Banham Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Banham lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Banham solicitor.

If you have got 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 a union with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their terrain.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions customarily 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, specifically if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are thus entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will include 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 visibly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the site, along with info about parking charges and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you pick up a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you find they aren't, you may desire to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The main distinction linking an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is naught 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, although many 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 damages. The amount 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 payment ought to be sensible and in line with the loss suffered by the company, although 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 salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you think there has been a lapse 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 proof 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 CAB or a solicitor before things get to this period. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to corroborate 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. Consequently 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 provide 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 anticipate a progression 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 reasonable.

The bottom line is it is going to be very difficult for these companies to prove 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 things you want to acquire.