Bury St. Edmunds Parking

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Bury St. Edmunds Parking

Bury St. Edmunds parking in Suffolk is getting more difficult by the day. There appear to be additional yellow lines, added traffic wardens, a smaller amount free car parking and even supermarkets are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

With a bit of luck we can help you with your parking in Bury St. Edmunds. If you have received a parking ticket or fine whilst parking in Bury St. Edmunds, then we are here to help out.

First there are 2 separate types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is vital for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which one you've received. If the ticket is an authoritative notice from Bury St. Edmunds council or Bury St. Edmunds police then you have been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the 2 bodies are allowed to issue Penalty Charge Notices and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on civic 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 Bury St. Edmunds council or Bury St. Edmunds police for instruction on what to do next. Bury St. Edmunds council will have detailed advice on their web pages 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.

Habitually they present a markdown (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

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

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you receive a pcn, it is always a safe idea to seek separate advice from the Bury St. Edmunds Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Bury St. Edmunds lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Bury St. Edmunds solicitor.

If you have got a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking company. A private parking business is an organisation which has entered into a union with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their property.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions commonly in a notice 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, particularly if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are therefore entering into an agreement 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 site, along with information about parking fees and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you collect a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are properly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they are not, you may want to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The core variance linking an official penalty charge issued by the authorities and a parking charge issued by a private company 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, even though scores of 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 compensation. 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 payment ought to be sensible and in line with the loss suffered by the company, 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 get back a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you deem there has been a misunderstanding 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 offer proof 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 corroborate their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this point. Remember that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also foremost to note that, as things currently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the proprietor. Thus if you were not the person driving you may wish to inform the parking company of this straight 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 regulations 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 succession 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 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 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 stuff you want to purchase.