Frome Parking

Church | Schools

Frome Parking

Frome parking in Somerset is getting more testing by the day. There appear to be more yellow lines, added traffic wardens, a lesser amount of free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

With any luck we can assist you with your parking in Frome. If you have received a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Frome, then we are here to help out.

At the outset there are two various types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is critical for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which one you've received. If the ticket is an authoritative notice from Frome council or Frome police then you have 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 municipal 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 should refer to the Frome council or Frome police for suggestion on what to do after that. Frome 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 implicated if you fail to pay within the time frame.

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

The notice must in addition contain comprehensible detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and include any support, such as a video, which is being relied upon to demonstrate you committed the offence. Significantly, the Penalty Charge Notice should also 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 reservation as to what to do when you collect a pcn, it is always a nice idea to get independent guidance from the Frome Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Frome lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Frome 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 an arrangement with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their ground.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions usually 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, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are consequently entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will mean a set time limit, a requirement 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 location, along with info about parking fees and any consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are correctly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they aren't, you may desire to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The core divergence linking an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is nothing in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Hence they should not be described as penalties or fines, even though scores 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 an entitlement for compensation. The quantity they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you created when you parked on the land in question. According to the CAB, this charge ought to be rational and in line with the loss suffered by the business, although extreme 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 get back a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you feel there has been a mistake 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 make available 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 argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this phase. Take into account that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also vital to write down that, as things currently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the property-owner. Therefore 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 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 corroborate 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 fair.

The bottom line is it's going to be very difficult 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 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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to buy.