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09th September 2021

Private Car Parks

Information on Parking Charge Notices, how to avoid them and what to do if you get one. 

What is a Parking Charge Notice?

Parking Charge Notices are the result of a parking infringement on private land or in a car park which is operated by private organisations on behalf of the landowner, and are not enforced by the local highways authority or the police.

This means you are liable to a Parking Charge Notice as opposed to a local-authority-issued parking ticket or Penalty Charge Notice. The acronym for both is the same (PCN). 

Typically, the types of car parks that issue Parking Charge Notices are found at shopping centres, airports, railway stations, supermarkets, fast food restaurants and out of town retail outlets,  however they can also be found in other places such as private car parks close to coastlines.

How are Parking Charge Notices issued?

Car parks that are managed by a private parking company may have an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera at the entrance and exit of the car park to monitor the facility. This camera will photograph your car entering and exiting the car park to calculate the period of time you have parked. If you parked for longer than the time advertised then you will receive a PCN. 

Some companies will issue a PCN on the spot and this will be fixed to your windscreen, while others that have ANPR cameras will issue you the charge via post. 

How to avoid getting a Parking Charge Notice

  • Read the signs – Be sure to look for signage which confirms the length of time you are allowed to park, and other terms and conditions;
  • Park correctly – Parking Charge Notices are not just for over-staying. You can be ticketed for parking over the white lines; 
  • Show your permits – If you are a permit-holder, or blue badge carrier, ensure it is clearly visible; 
  • Check your registration – Ensure you enter the correct car registration in Pay and Display machines. Failure to do so will lead to a Parking Charge Notice even if you have paid the correct amount; 
  • Do not use blue badge or permit holder spaces – Unless you have the permits to do so, parking in spaces for blue badge or permit holders may result in clamping as well as a Penalty Charge Notice; and 
  • Always keep your ticket – Just in case you receive a parking charge notice. 
  • If you work in a retail park – If you are employed by a retailer within a privately managed car park/site, you may be exempt from paying parking charges if there is a parking scheme in place. Speak to your employer for further advice and to provide your registration details.

What to do if you get a Parking Charge Notice

If you have received a PCN, contact us as soon as possible. Some companies will refuse to consider an appeal if it is not received prior to the charge being passed to a debt recovery company.

You can get in touch via our freephone number 0800 121 6022 or email us at

More information

We have provided a template appeal letter that must only be used by the registered keeper of the vehicle if they were not driving on the date of the alleged parking contravention, when appealing a Parking Charge Notice (PCN).

For more information, you can also download our factsheet below.

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