Nottingham Parking

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Nottingham Parking

Nottingham parking in Nottinghamshire is getting harder by the day. There seem to be further double yellow lines, extra 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 Nottingham. If you have received a parking ticket or fine whilst parking in Nottingham, then we are here to make your life a bit easier.

First there are two discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or 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 formal notice from Nottingham council or Nottingham police then you've been issued 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 illegally on public domain 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 Nottingham council or Nottingham police for counsel on what to do next. Nottingham 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 implicated if you fail to pay within the time limit.

Regularly they give a discount (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The Penalty Charge Notice must as well include clear detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and include any evidence, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to show you committed the offence. Crucially, the PCN should in addition include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, along with details of the appeals method and the timescales involved.

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you obtain a penalty charge notice, it is always a safe idea to seek independent opinion from the Nottingham Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Nottingham lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Nottingham 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 an arrangement with a landlord 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 existing one - they will set out restrictions ordinarily in a notification 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 an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will involve a set time limit, a prerequisite to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions 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 consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you collect a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may desire to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The key differentiation linking 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. Therefore they shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, although lots 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 a claim for damages. The amount they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the land 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 isn't a criminal matter despite any impression given to the contrary by the operator.

The operator has no right to recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you sense there has been an error 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 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 prove their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB 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 significant to write down that, as things currently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the landowner. For that reason 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 car, you are under no legal obligation to provide 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 verify its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can count on 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 just.

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 stuff you want to purchase.