Otley Parking

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Otley Parking

Otley parking in Suffolk is getting more problematical by the day. There seem to be additional double yellow lines, extra traffic wardens, less free car parking and even supermarkets are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

Hopefully we can help you with your parking in Otley. If you have received a parking fine or ticket whilst parking in Otley, then we are here to help out.

To begin with there are 2 different types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is fundamental for your wallet that you are transparent about which one you've received. If the ticket is an official notice from Otley council or Otley police then you have been given 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you ought to refer to the Otley council or Otley police for advice on what to do next. Otley council will have detailed directives on their web pages 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 limit.

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

The PCN should in addition contain transparent detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any corroboration, such as a video, which is being relied upon to establish you committed the offence. Importantly, the notice ought to in addition contain clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the fine, along with details of the appeals method and the timescales involved.

If you are in any reservation as to what to do when you get a penalty charge notice, it is always a safe idea to seek independent guidance from the Otley Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Otley lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Otley solicitor.

If you have received 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 an agreement with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions they choose to place on their land.

A landlord typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions more often than not in a notification 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 hence entering into an agreement with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will comprise a set time limit, a requisite to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed clearly 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 ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you obtain a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are accurately displayed at the car park in question. If you find they aren't, you may wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The core divergence linking 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, although numerous 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 an application for costs. The quantity 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 sensible and in line with the loss suffered by the business, 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 get back a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you suppose 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 provide 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 confirm their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this point. Take into account that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also significant 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 landowner. Therefore 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 vehicle, you are under no legal obligation to supply 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 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 verify its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can expect 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. Consequently, 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 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 stuff you want to purchase.