Ilminster Parking

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Ilminster Parking

Ilminster parking in Somerset is getting more problematical by the day. There seem to be more yellow lines, additional 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?

Confidently we can assist you with your parking in Ilminster. If you have established a parking fine or ticket whilst parking in Ilminster, then we are here to help out.

At the outset there are two discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is imperative for your wallet that you are transparent about which one you have received. If the ticket is a formal notice from Ilminster council or Ilminster police then you've been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on public 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 Ilminster council or Ilminster police for recommendation on what to do next. Ilminster 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 frame.

Typically they make available a markdown (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The notice should in addition contain clear detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any data, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to corroborate you committed the offence. Importantly, the PCN ought to 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 uncertainty as to what to do when you obtain a penalty charge notice, it is always a good idea to seek independent advice from the Ilminster Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Ilminster lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Ilminster solicitor.

If you have got a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking business. A private parking company is an organisation which has entered into a union with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their land.

A landowner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions generally 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, particularly if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are as a result entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise 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 clearly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at extra points across the location, along with info about parking fees and any consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you receive a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are accurately displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The most important variance involving 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. Hence 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 a claim for damages. 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 CAB, this cost ought to be sensible and in line with the loss suffered by the company, even though extreme 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 recover 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 wish to dispute the charge with the parking company as soon as possible. You should ask them to make available confirmation 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 corroborate their case 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 of great consequence to write down that, as things now stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. So if you were not 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 bestow 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 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. 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's going to be very hard for these companies to confirm 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 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 purchase.