Sheffield Parking

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Sheffield Parking

Sheffield parking in South Yorkshire is getting more testing by the day. There seem to be more yellow lines, more 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 uk comprehensive can assist you with your parking in Sheffield. If you have established a parking fine or ticket whilst parking in Sheffield, then we are here to assist.

To start with there are two different types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is very important for your wallet that you are clear about which one you have received. If the ticket is a bureaucratic notice from Sheffield council or Sheffield 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 municipal land. 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 Sheffield council or Sheffield police for recommendation on what to do next. Sheffield council will have comprehensive directives 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.

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

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

If you are in any doubt as to what to do when you obtain a pcn, it is always a nice idea to seek separate advice from the Sheffield Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Sheffield lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Sheffield 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 a contract with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their terrain.

A landowner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions ordinarily 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 then entering into a deal with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise a set time limit, an obligation to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed obviously and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at further points across the location, along with information about parking charges and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are accurately displayed at the car park in question. If you find they are not, you may wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The most important variance between an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is naught in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Therefore 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 damages. The amount 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 company, although 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 salvage a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you believe 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 offer confirmation 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 show their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this period. Remember that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also of great consequence to write down that, as things presently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the landowner. Thus if you weren't the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this straight away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the car, 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 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 prove 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 extremely 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 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 recommend 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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to purchase.