Stranraer Parking

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Stranraer Parking

Stranraer parking in Wigtownshire is getting harder by the day. There seem to be additional yellow lines, extra traffic wardens, a smaller amount 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 Stranraer. If you have established a parking fine or ticket whilst parking in Stranraer, then we are here to assist.

Firstly there are 2 distinct types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice or a Parking Charge Notice. It is essential for your wallet that you are transparent about which notice you've received. If the ticket is a formal notice from Stranraer council or Stranraer police then you have 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 public domain land. 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 Stranraer council or Stranraer police for suggestion on what to do next. Stranraer council will have thorough advice on their website 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.

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

The PCN should as well include plain detail of what parking violation you are accused of committing and contain any support, such as a photograph, which is being relied upon to show you committed the offence. Significantly, the PCN should also 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 get a pcn, it is always a nice idea to seek separate advice from the Stranraer Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Stranraer lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Stranraer solicitor.

If you have got 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 a pact with a landlord to enforce any parking restrictions he or she chooses to place on their ground.

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the existing one - they will set out restrictions ordinarily in a sign 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, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are hence 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 obviously and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the location, along with info about parking charges and any subsequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you be given a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are correctly 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 key variance concerning an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private business is that there is not anything in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. For that reason they shouldn't be described as penalties or fines, even though countless 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 an application for costs. The quantity they ask for is to compensate for you breaching the contract you created when you parked on the property in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this charge ought to be acceptable and in line with the loss suffered by the company, although 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 claim a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you suppose there has been a blunder 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 offer confirmation 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 prove their case in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor before things get to this period. Take into account that the parking operator has to corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also imperative to note that, as things presently exist, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the proprietor. Consequently 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 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 positive 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 corroborate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can be expecting a progression 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 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 easy to miss when you are busy thinking of all the stuff you want to acquire.