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Car Parking Fees and Notices

There is a political movement from Government and Local authorities wanting us, the general public, to use public transport rather than our cars.  As such, parking in cities and towns is, more than ever, at a premium. Such parking is, however, really only designed for: those requiring a few ad hoc hours parking, those whose employers provide the parking (often with a permit or discount card), or those who pay handsomely for the ‘pleasure’ of stepping from car to office.

Given these constraints, people have sought to use a variety of loopholes to allow them to park more cheaply or at no cost at all. Loopholes include: parking in ‘no-mans’ land (e.g. under bridges or on waste ground), abusing the Blue Badge Scheme (this one really gets our goat) or parking all day in retail parks and ‘employee’/Private car parks.

Our solicitors have experience in acting for some of the country’s major parking management/solution companies to recover parking charges from those who abuse premium parking, to the detriment of proper beneficiaries: customers and employees (and ultimately retailers and employers).

One of our solicitor’s successes came after a hearing at court on the law and facts. The case involved a man who parked in a “private” car park every day for months. There was no barrier and he wasn’t an employee nor a customer of where he parked. Every working day he was captured on camera parking his car (the images showed both him and his car). The car park owner displayed multiple parking notices stating that the car park was private and that those parking in the car park would be asked to pay a £30 fee.

The ‘loopholer’ (Defender) received parking notice after notice, on both his car but also by post. He ignored everything he received. The car park owner eventually raised court action against the loopholer, not least because the owner was losing valuable parking space required for their employees and customers.

In the case in question, the court accepted all of the arguments advanced for the car park owner, including the following:

  • The owner was lawfully seeking a parking fee, rather than unlawfully seeking to impose a monetary penalty (fine) after conviction of a criminal offence;
  • Notice of same had been adequately communicated to the loopholer;
  • By parking his vehicle, in a known private car park and without a permit, the loopholer made it plain that he accepted the position that he was aware of the notice and was liable to pay the fee; in this case a fee of £30.00. After all he had a choice to park there or not;
  • The loopholer's position was no different from that of a person who boards a bus or hires a taxi. That passenger undertakes to pay the fare to his destination, even though he may think that the transporter is not entitled to charge a fare;
  • £30.00 per day was a reasonable fee given that the car park owner (in this case also a retailer) was losing money every day that the space was not being utilised by: clients, customers or employees.

All of the above should be borne in mind by those seeking to park in Private car parks on a daily basis, and to those who seek to rely on their law adviser "Google" when ignoring parking notices.

At TCH Law we are more than happy to answer your parking or any other real estate/property  law related queries.  Please don’t hesitate to contact our solicitors:

Tracey Campbell-Hynd (tch@tchlaw.co.uk);

Marcus Whyte (mwh@tchlaw.co.uk) or

Angela McCredie (amc@tchlaw.co.uk)