Somerset County Council
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Your parking questions answered

 

Can I park for a few minutes on a single or double yellow line to drop off passengers or to load or unload?
In most cases yes, providing there are no signs or lines prohibiting it and you are not causing a hazard or an obstruction. The loading and unloading activity must be visible and continuous. You must not load or unload where it is prohibited. Please check the Highway Code  to see which signs and lines apply. 

Can I park for a few minutes while I get change to pay for parking?
No. You are expected to anticipate the need and carry change to pay for parking. In most areas you can pay for parking by telephone, check the signs for details.

What happens when I purchase a Phone and Pay session?
A Phone and Pay session acts in the same way as a Pay and Display ticket.  Although a driver will have no physical ticket to display, the Civil Enforcement Officer can see which vehicles have a valid Phone and Pay session and when they expire through their hand held computers.  Phone and Pay sessions, like Pay and Display tickets, are only valid in the car park for which the session was purchased.  The same grace periods apply to Phone and Pay sessions as Pay and Display sessions.

How much of a grace period do I get?
From 6 April 2015, a 10 minute grace period is given in dedicated parking bays, where a period of permitted parking ends and controls then come into force.

The 10 minute grace period applies in parking bays in the following instances:

  • at the start of controlled hours when the bay reverts from being uncontrolled to controlled
  • upon expiry of a paid for session during controlled hours
  • upon expiry of a permitted ‘free’ parking period during controlled hours (for example, a maximum stay) 

The 10 minute grace period does not apply in the following instances:

  • anywhere outside of a parking bay, for example on yellow lines, loading bans, footway, when double parked
  • where a vehicle is parked in a permitted parking bay during controlled hours without permission, without a permit or without having made payment (beyond the first 10 minutes of control) 

Why did I get a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) when I left a note in the car advising I was loading or had broken down?
A note is not a valid permit to park and if you wish to challenge your PCN you will need to send a copy of any evidence to support the reason your vehicle was parked in contravention of the restrictions such as the breakdown recovery receipt or delivery note.

How can a motorist be assured that their PCN has been served fairly? 
Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) are trained to follow procedures to ensure that PCNs are served fairly. In some cases this means observing for a period of time to ensure that an exemption (for example loading or unloading) does not apply. The software used in their handheld computer prevents a PCN from being served until the required observation period is completed. A CEO is also required to gather relevant information (such as the vehicle registration mark and photographs) before a PCN can be served. The motorist can view these details, including the photographs by using our View or challenge a Penalty Charge Notice page. 

Can you send out a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) to deal with inconsiderate parking?
A Civil Enforcement Officer can only serve a PCN where a vehicle is in contravention of a parking restriction. You can report inconsiderate parking to Somerset Parking Services  and it will be investigated as soon as possible. If a vehicle is causing a hazard or an obstruction that must be moved immediately please contact the Police.  

I no longer own this vehicle, why do you keep writing to me? 
According to the DVLA you were the registered keeper on the date of the contravention. If you have sold the vehicle you must submit evidence, along with the name and address of the purchaser to Somerset County Council. You will also remain liable until the DVLA have been notified.

I wasn’t driving at the time, why do you keep writing to me?
The registered keeper is liable for any PCNs served to the vehicle irrespective of who was driving at the time the contravention occurred. 

I sent in a challenge but did not receive a response.

  • If a challenge was sent in writing, but did not have a return address, a response would not be possible as we do not have any address details prior to the Notice to Owner stage when we apply to the DVLA for the registered keepers details. 
  • If the response has been sent to the email address you supplied, it may have gone into your junk/spam folder, or an incorrect email address may have been supplied.
  • Occasionally items can get lost in the post, but these can be re-issued on request.
  • Similarly, a challenge via the post will occasionally be lost in post, or a challenge sent to an incorrect email address will not be received. 

What is a web code and why do I need it to make a representation?
A web code is automatically generated on either a Bus Lane Enforcement Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) letter or a Notice to Owner (NtO). The code will enable you to make a formal Representation against your penalty. You will not receive a web code if you are at an earlier stage of the penalty process and would make a Challenge rather than a Representation. 

I have had Enforcement Agents at my door for a notice I do not know anything about.
You can view the details of the penalty online  (you will need the penalty number and the registration of the vehicle to do this). If this has reminded you of the parking contravention and subsequent correspondence, you must deal with the Enforcement Agents (bailiffs) or take independent legal advice.  

If you do not recognise the parking contravention, contact the council on 0300 123 2224.

I cannot afford to pay the PCN(s) in one go can I pay by instalments?
The Parking Partnership is under no obligation to accept payment plans.

For cases of extreme financial hardship any request for a payment plan will be considered on its merits. To enable the request to be considered please provide a full breakdown of income and expenditure along with a realistic proposal that can be met. 

Do Civil Enforcement Officers have a target numbers of penalties to serve each day?
No, they are not rewarded for the number of penalties they serve.

How can a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) issue me with a PCN when I was carrying out a good deed or had an emergency?
Unless a CEO has directly observed an incident, they cannot know why a vehicle was parked in contravention and are not permitted to exercise discretion outside of our published guidelines

Where am I allowed to park if I am a Blue Badge Holder?
The following rules apply when parking using a blue badge:

  • Yellow lines - You may park on single or double yellow lines for up to three hours, providing there is no loading restriction. The parking clock indicating your time of arrival must be displayed.
  • On-street parking meters and pay-and-display machines - You may park for free and, unless otherwise stated, there is no time limit
  • On-street disabled parking bays - You may park for free and, unless otherwise stated, there is no time limit
  • Car parks - Operators should provide disabled spaces, however it is up to them to decide whether these are free of charge. Check signage for details.
  • Free of charge, on-street limited waiting bays - You may park here without time limitations.
  • Resident’s Parking Zones – You should not park unless you have a relevant permit for the zone. If the zone is shared use and also allows limited waiting you may park without time limitations.   

For full details of parking restrictions using a Parking Card for Disabled People (Blue Badge), see the booklet issued with the card.  

Who is responsible for car parks? 
Car parks are the responsibility of the body named on the signs. In Somerset, most car parks are owned and managed by District Councils. There is more information about reporting a problem in a car park on their websites.

Mendip District Council 
Email customerservices@mendip.gov.uk

Sedgemoor District Council 
Email property.services@sedgemoor.gov.uk

Taunton Deane Borough Council 
Email enquiries@tauntondeane.gov.uk

West Somerset District Council 
Email customerservices@westsomerset.gov.uk 

To report pay machine faults in car parks owned by Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, West Somerset District Council or Somerset County Council, you can phone 01823 210566.

Motorcycles
The same parking restrictions apply to motorcycles as any other domestic motor vehicle. Motorcycles must pay to park in on-street pay and display parking spaces. While there may be difficulties securing a physical pay and display ticket, there is the option of Phone and Pay, where no physical ticket is required. Similarly, in resident parking areas, we have moved to a virtual resident permit system where the vehicle registration mark is checked against permitted vehicles.

Motorcycles in car parks are subject to the policies of the relevant District council or private car park operators.

If you have any other questions please contact us.

Contacts

Contact: Somerset Parking Partnership
Address: Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton TA1 4DY 
Phone: 0300 123 2224 

Opening Hours (To speak to an advisor about a Penalty Charge Notice or a parking permit): Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday and Sunday closed

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