When you challenge a Parking Charge Notice

Parking ticket machine.
Parking ticket machine.
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Local authority “traffic wardens” have no jurisdiction on private land such as hospital car parks, shop car parks, retails parks and private roads.

Land owners may supervise what happens on their land, or more often a private company is under contract to the land owner to do so.

Gary Rycroft.

Gary Rycroft.

Parking tickets issued for private land are called Parking Charge Notices and are fundamentally different from Penalty Charge Notices issued by councils in respect of publicly owned land.

Parking Charge Notices may be left on a windscreen or sent in the post. If CCTV or photographic evidence is being relied upon, the notice must be sent within 14 days.

If you have parked in a private car park and ignore a Parking Charge Notice, a car parking company who is member of an Accredited Trade Association may contact DVLA to obtain details of the vehicle owner. A non-accredited company may not. When you park in a private car park you enter into a contract to park according to certain conditions. Parking longer than the time agreed or paid for is breach of contract but the losses claimed by the land owner must be reasonable. Likewise with regard to damages claimed for trespass by parking on private land.

Accordingly if you receive a Parking Penalty Notice you can either pay the sum requested or challenge it.

To challenge you must have grounds such as evidence it was not your vehicle, or you did not overstay. Even if there has been a technical breach you may wish to argue reasonable grounds and offer an alternative payment which you think is commensurate with the breach.

If you overstayed by just a few minutes, offer to pay a sum you think is equivalent to the loss suffered by the land owner.

If you have specific legal grounds for appeal you may go to an organisation called Parking on Private Land Appeals.

So, if you have the time and inclination, challenging a Parking Charge Notice can develop into quite an enjoyable hobby; for others paying up quickly is the line of least resistance. The business model of car parking companies relies on more of us being in the latter camp than the former.