Whitley Bay Parking

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Whitley Bay Parking

Whitley Bay parking in Tyne and Wear is getting more difficult by the day. There appear to be additional yellow lines, extra traffic wardens, a reduced amount of free car parking and even superstores 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 Whitley Bay. If you have received a parking fine or ticket at the same time as parking in Whitley Bay, then we are here to help out.

Firstly there are two discrete types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is critical for your wallet that you are unmistakable about which one you've received. If the ticket is an authoritative notice from Whitley Bay council or Whitley Bay police then you've been given 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 illegally 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 Penalty Charge Notice issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Whitley Bay council or Whitley Bay police for counsel on what to do next. Whitley Bay council will have comprehensive instructions on their website 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 frame.

Customarily they afford a reduction (how nice of them) if you pay within a certain time frame.

The notice must as well include transparent detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any facts, such as a video, which is being relied upon to verify you committed the offence. Significantly, the Penalty Charge Notice must in addition include 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 get a penalty charge notice, it is always a safe idea to get independent guidance from the Whitley Bay Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Whitley Bay lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Whitley Bay 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 an understanding with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses 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 regularly in a warning 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, specifically 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 involve 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 noticeably and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the location, along with info about parking fees and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you receive 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 most important difference concerning an official penalty charge issued by the authorities 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 many 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 a claim for damages. The sum they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the property in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this payment ought to be fair and in line with the loss suffered by the company, even though excessive 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 believe there has been an error 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 make available proof 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 argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau 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 the essence to note 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 right away. Just because you are the registered keeper of the vehicle, you are under no legal obligation to impart 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 confident 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 corroborate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can look forward to a series 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 is 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 straightforward to miss when you are busy thinking of all the things you want to acquire.