Roade Parking

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Roade Parking

Roade parking in Northamptonshire is getting harder by the day. There appear to be more yellow lines, more traffic wardens, less 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 assist you with your parking in Roade. If you have established a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Roade, then we are here to lend a hand.

First of all there are two different types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is essential for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which notice you have received. If the ticket is an authoritative notice from Roade council or Roade police then you have been given 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 wrongly on public domain 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 ought to refer to the Roade council or Roade police for instruction on what to do after that. Roade council will have comprehensive instructions on their web pages 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.

By and large they provide a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The PCN should as well include transparent detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any support, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to corroborate you committed the offence. Importantly, the notice should in addition include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, 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 pick up a penalty charge notice, it is always a good idea to seek independent counsel from the Roade Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Roade lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Roade solicitor.

If you have received 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 a union with a landowner 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 one already there - they will set out restrictions more often than not in a warning displayed on the land which you agree to abide by when you park on that terrain. 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 then entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will mean 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 openly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at further points across the location, along with information about parking fees and any consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you obtain a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they aren't, you may wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The main variance concerning 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. Consequently they should not be described as penalties or fines, although 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 a claim for costs. The total they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the property in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this rate ought to be rational and in line with the loss suffered by the business, although 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 sense there has been a misunderstanding 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 argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this stage. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also foremost to note that, as things presently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. 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 vehicle, 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 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 bear out its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can be expecting 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. 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 show 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 easy to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to buy.