Camberley Parking

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Camberley Parking

Camberley parking in Surrey is getting more challenging by the day. There seem to be additional double yellow lines, added traffic wardens, a reduced amount of free car parking and even supermarkets are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

Confidently we can help you with your parking in Camberley. If you have received a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in Camberley, then we are here to help.

To start with there are 2 separate types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is fundamental for your wallet that you are clear about which notice you have received. If the ticket is a legitimate notice from Camberley council or Camberley police then you've been issued a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the 2 bodies are allowed to issue PCN's and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on public domain 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 PCN issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Camberley council or Camberley police for instruction on what to do next. Camberley council will have comprehensive 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 offer a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a set period of time.

The PCN ought to in addition contain unmistakable detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and include any data, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to verify you committed the offence. Crucially, the PCN ought to in addition contain 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 uncertainty as to what to do when you collect a penalty charge notice, it is always a safe idea to get independent opinion from the Camberley Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Camberley lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Camberley solicitor.

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

A landowner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions typically in a warning displayed on the land which you agree to abide by when you park on that property. By choosing to park on the land it may be implied that you agree to these conditions, specifically if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are then entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will include a set time limit, an obligation to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed plainly 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 should check that these terms are appropriately 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 main disparity involving an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is nothing 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 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 damages. The total 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 payment should be reasonable and in line with the loss suffered by the business, 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 claim a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you suppose there has been a mistake 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 give evidence 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 bear out their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this phase. Remember that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also vital to write down that, as things currently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the proprietor. For that reason 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 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 confident 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 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. 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 is going to be very difficult for these companies to establish 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 buy.