East Grinstead Parking

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East Grinstead Parking

East Grinstead parking in West Sussex is getting more difficult by the day. There seem to be additional double yellow lines, additional 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 we can help you with your parking in East Grinstead. If you have received a parking ticket or fine at the same time as parking in East Grinstead, then we are here to lend a hand.

First there are 2 various types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is essential for your wallet that you are clear about which notice you have received. If the ticket is an official notice from East Grinstead council or East Grinstead 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 civic land. 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 ought to refer to the East Grinstead council or East Grinstead police for counsel on what to do next. East Grinstead council will have comprehensive 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.

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

The Penalty Charge Notice should as well include plain detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and include any proof, such as a video, which is being relied upon to show you committed the offence. Importantly, the PCN must in addition include clear instructions of what to do if you want to dispute the penalty, along with details of the appeals modus operandi and the timescales involved.

If you are in any doubt as to what to do when you pick up a pcn, it is always a nice idea to get separate guidance from the East Grinstead Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a East Grinstead lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a East Grinstead 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 an arrangement with a landowner to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their land.

A proprietor typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions customarily in a warning 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, specifically 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 include a set time limit, a requirement 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 additional points across the location, along with info about parking fees and any ensuing charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you collect a parking charge notice you should check that these terms are correctly displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they aren't, you may wish to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The main divergence concerning an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is not anything in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. For that reason they should not be described as penalties or fines, although lots 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 a claim for compensation. The quantity they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you formed when you parked on the property in question. According to the CAB, this rate ought to be rational and in line with the loss suffered by the company, although 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 feel there has been an error and you shouldn't 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 provide 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 case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this point. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also worthy to note that, as things presently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the property-owner. 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 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 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 corroborate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can be expecting a series 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's going to be very hard for these companies to demonstrate 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 stuff you want to acquire.