Chinnor Parking

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Chinnor Parking

Chinnor parking in Oxfordshire is getting more testing by the day. There look to be further yellow lines, added traffic wardens, with a reduction 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 Chinnor. If you have received a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Chinnor, then we are here to help out.

First there are two various 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 transparent about which notice you have received. If the ticket is an endorsed notice from Chinnor council or Chinnor police then you have been issued 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 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 Chinnor council or Chinnor police for suggestion on what to do after that. Chinnor council will have complete instructions 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.

Usually they grant a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The notice should also contain comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and include any verification, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to demonstrate you committed the offence. Importantly, the PCN should also contain 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 obtain a penalty charge notice, it is always a nice idea to seek separate counsel from the Chinnor Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Chinnor lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Chinnor 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 a pact with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their property.

A landowner 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 terrain. 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 for that reason entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will include a set time limit, a prerequisite to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed plainly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at extra points across the site, along with info about parking charges and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you receive a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are appropriately displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they aren't, you may wish to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The key distinction linking an official penalty charge issued by the establishment 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. Therefore they shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, although countless 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 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 CAB, this charge should 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 believe 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 provide evidence 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 prove their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau 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 of great consequence to write down that, as things now exist, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. As a result 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 vehicle, you are under no legal obligation to supply 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 corroborate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can be expecting 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. 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 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 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 buy.