Mere Parking

Church | Schools

Mere Parking

Mere parking in Wiltshire is getting more problematical by the day. There appear to be further double yellow lines, extra traffic wardens, with a reduction of free car parking and even superstores are now charging for you to park and shop with them...where will it all end?

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

At the outset there are 2 separate types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is imperative for your wallet that you are clear about which notice you have received. If the ticket is an endorsed notice from Mere council or Mere police then you have 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 civic 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 Penalty Charge Notice issued by a council or police force then you should refer to the Mere council or Mere police for assistance on what to do next. Mere 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 involved if you fail to pay within the time limit.

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

The PCN ought to in addition contain transparent detail of what parking violation you are accused of doing and contain any proof, such as a video, which is being relied upon to confirm you committed the offence. Significantly, 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 process and the timescales involved.

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

If you have got a Parking Charge Notice then you have received this from a private parking business. A private parking business is an organisation which has entered into a pact with a landowner 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 ordinarily 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, especially if the notice is clear and prominently displayed and you are as a result entering into a contract with the business running the car park.

More often than not, such restrictions will include a set time limit, a condition to pay and display or a no-return policy. The T&C's of the car park should be displayed openly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at other points across the site, along with info about parking fees and any consequent 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 discover they aren't, you may desire to write to the company to appeal the charge.

The major distinction 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. For that reason they should not 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 entitlement for compensation. The amount 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 cost ought to be affordable and in line with the loss suffered by the company, 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 recover a parking charge from you without first taking you to court, so if you believe there has been a misunderstanding 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 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 show their argument in court, but it is advisable to seek advice from the CAB or a solicitor before things get to this phase. Bear in mind that the parking operator has to prove its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also foremost to note that, as things currently stand, the driver of the vehicle is the only person who can enter into a contract with the landlord. Therefore if you were not 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 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 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 demonstrate its case. However you should let them know that you contest the notice as if not, you can expect a string 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 fair.

The bottom line is it is going to be very difficult for these companies to prove 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 get in touch with 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.