Kidderminster Parking

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Kidderminster Parking

Kidderminster parking in Worcestershire is getting more testing by the day. There look to be more yellow lines, added 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?

With a bit of luck we can help you with your parking in Kidderminster. If you have established a parking fine or ticket whilst parking in Kidderminster, then we are here to help.

To begin with there are 2 separate types of parking ticket which are a Penalty Charge Notice and a Parking Charge Notice. It is very important for your wallet that you are transparent about which one you have received. If the ticket is a legitimate notice from Kidderminster council or Kidderminster police then you've been given a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE (PCN). Only the Police and the Council are allowed to issue PCN's and it means that you are being fined for parking wrongly on municipal 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 Kidderminster council or Kidderminster police for advice on what to do next. Kidderminster council will have thorough 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 limit.

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

The notice 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 establish you committed the offence. Importantly, the notice must 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 uncertainty as to what to do when you pick up a penalty charge notice, it is always a nice idea to get separate advice from the Kidderminster Citizen's Advice Bureau, or a Kidderminster lawyer. The Law Society can provide details of a Kidderminster solicitor.

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

A property-owner typically supermarkets, hospitals, retail shopping centres - creates a car park or uses the one already there - they will set out restrictions typically in a sign 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, especially 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 involve a set time limit, a condition to pay and display or a no-return policy. The terms and conditions of the car park should be displayed visibly and concisely on signs as you enter the car park and at additional points across the site, along with information about parking fees and any consequent charges which could be incurred for failing to comply. If you receive a parking charge notice you ought to check that these terms are accurately displayed at the car park in question. If you discover they aren't, you may wish to write to the business to appeal the charge.

The main differentiation relating an official penalty charge issued by the establishment and a parking charge issued by a private company is that there is naught in criminal law to support a penalty or fine for parking on private land. Consequently 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 land in question. According to the Citizen's Advice Bureau, this charge should be sensible and in line with the loss suffered by the business, even though 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 think there has been an oversight and you shouldn't 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 argument 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 corroborate its case on the balance of probabilities.

It is also crucial to note that, as things now stand, the driver of the vehicle is the solitary person who can enter into a contract with the proprietor. 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 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 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 look forward to 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 fair.

The bottom line is it's going to be very hard 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 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.