A Penalty Charge Notice issued by local council authorities is a mandatory payment to be made by vehicle owners. Through this blog post, we will explore in detail whether you are required to pay a PCN if you are going to challenge it. We will also discuss how PCN payments can be made in Westminister and the consequences of delaying payment. 

Do You Have To Pay A PCN In Westminster If You Challenge It?

No, you do not have to pay a Penalty Charge Notice  (PCN) in Westminster (or any other council districts) if you intend to challenge the fine but you must file your appeal within 28 days of receiving the PCN. 

If you believe that you have been incorrectly charged, you can appeal to your local council office with your Vehicle Registration Number and Penalty Charge Notice number. You must make the appeal before paying for the PCN charges; unless your vehicle has been removed due to a violation of parking restrictions.

If a vehicle owner is found to be in violation of parking rules and they do not respond to notices left on their car, they will be sent a formal notice termed as a Notice To Owner. If the vehicle owner has reason to believe that the notice has been left in error and they have enough evidence to challenge the PCN, they can make a formal appeal to the council.

If your appeal is found to be valid, you will receive a Notice of Acceptance and the charges will be removed. However, if your appeal is rejected, you will receive a Notice of Rejection. You may still contend this through the London Tribunals, however, if you do not pay the charge even after their response, the council can send a debt collection agency to recover the amount. 

The UK government has introduced a specific scheme during Covid-19 to benefit NHS health and social care staff, as well as NHS COVID-19 volunteers/critical care workers; through which parking concessions are available for health, care and volunteer workers. If you fall under any of these categories, you should have a special parking permit and councils will not issue a PCN unless you have parked dangerously. 

In many cases, PCNs are not enforceable and you may be able to win your case and avoid having to pay your fine.

You could begin the process by speaking to an online solicitor for as little as £5. 

How Do I Appeal Against A PCN?

In the case of a notice left on your vehicle by a traffic warden, you must make your appeal against a PCN before the date mentioned on the notice for payment of your fine. In case of car park charges, you will need to following documents to file an appeal:

  • A copy of your season ticket if it allows you to park in the car park.
  • A copy of your pay and display ticket if it was claimed not to be shown properly. 
  • Your booking reference number and mobile phone if you paid through your mobile.
  • An explanation of not parking within the lines if that was the issue.

Meanwhile, in the case of on-street parking charges, you will need to provide the following documents to formally appeal against the PCN:

  • A copy of your pay and display ticket if it was claimed to be not shown properly. 
  • A copy of your parking permit if it was claimed not to be shown properly.
  • A copy of your Blue Badge if it was claimed not to be shown properly. 
  • Proof of purchase from a garage in case your vehicle broke down in the street.
  • A letter of confirmation from a medical professional if you had to park on the street due to a medical emergency.
  • A copy of the delivery note if you had parked temporarily to make a delivery.
  • A copy of the hiring agreement of you had hired your car to someone else.
  • Proof of purchase or sale of you did not own the vehicle at the time of incident/notice.
  • The police crime reference number and the phone number of the police station in case your vehicle was stolen when the PCN was issued.
  • Photographs of the area if the parking space did not have any clear marking or mention of parking restrictions.

How Many Days Do I Have To Pay A PCN?

Once a penalty charge notice is issued by council authorities, you will have 28 days to make the payment and in case the amount is paid within 14 days, you may even get a 50 per cent discount on the fine.

However, whether or not you will be able to make a PCN payment online depends on the following factors:

  • The date when the PCN was issued 
  • The due date for the PCN payment
  • The authority who issued the charge
  • The amount of charge in GBP

If your PCN is more than 60 days old, you have been issued an  ‘Order for Recovery of Unpaid Penalty Charge Notice’ more than 21 days ago or you’ve been issued a bailiff’s letter, you will not be able to make an online payment to clear your PCN charges. In this case, you may have to pay through cheque, postal order or in person at the council post office.

If you do not pay your PCN within 28 days, you will be issued a charge certificate after which you will have 14 days to clear your dues. If you fail to do so, an additional amount of 50 per cent will be added to your PCN charges.

How Do I Pay PCN In Westminster?

Paying a Penalty Charge Notice in Westminister is easy and convenient as there are many options available, which include the following:

  • You can make cashless payments by paying your PCN through a phone call, text message or using the council’s app and your debit or credit card details for PCN payments.
  • If you prefer to pay in cash, there are scratch cards available that can be used to make PCN payments. You can also pay through a Westminister post office, pay by cheque or postal order to the Westminister Council Office.

To be able to make an online payment on the Westminster City Council Parking Portal against your PCN charge, you will need a debit or credit card as well as the 10-digit number that is mentioned at the top of the parking ticket. This number begins with WE, WM or WS. 

What Are The Legal Obligations Of Drivers In The UK?

Legal obligations of drivers in the UK include the following:

  • the vehicle should be registered with DVLA
  • the vehicle must be roadworthy
  • the owner must have paid their current vehicle tax 
  • the owner must have a current mot certificate 
  • the owner must have a minimum of third-party insurance 

Car owners are also required to inform the DVLA in case of the following:

  • a change in the owner’s name or gender
  • new contact details including address
  • in case of a medical condition of the driver
  • major alterations to the vehicle
  • sale of the vehicle

Why Is A PCN Issued?

A PCN is issued by council authorities if someone has violated parking laws on public land such as council car park or high street. In addition to parking offences, a PCN can also be charged for breaking traffic rules, failing to follow road signs, or not paying the charges for the London congestion zone or low emission zone.

Depending on the severity of the action, PCN charges can range between £50 to £130 and must be paid within due time.

Conclusion:

While paying a PCN is mandatory once a vehicle owner is fined; however, if you have evidence to believe otherwise and intend to challenge the fine, you do not have to pay the fine until your appeal is in progress. If your challenge is rejected, it will be essential to clear the PCN payments as per the indicated due date. Payments can be made through an online portal using one’s debit or credit card, through the council post office or a cheque. 

FAQs: Do You Have To Pay A PCN In Westminster If You Challenge It? 

How do you pay for parking in Westminster?

You can make cashless payments by paying your PCN through a phone call, text message or using the council’s app and your debit or credit card details for PCN payments. If you prefer to pay in cash, there are scratch cards available that can be used to make PCN payments. You can also pay through a Westminister post office, pay by cheque or postal order to the Westminister Council Office.

How do I find my PCN number?

Your PCN is the 10-digit number that is mentioned at the top right-hand corner of the parking ticket. The number begins with WE, WM or WS.

Does a PCN have to be received within 14 days?

Once you receive a PCN, you must pay the charges in the next 28 days. However, if you make the payment within 14 days, you will be able to get a 50 per cent discount on the amount of the fine.

Who is responsible for paying a PCN?

The registered keeper of the car is responsible for paying a PCN even if they were not driving the car when the PCN was issued.

What are the parking restrictions in Westminster?

The maximum stay limit on streets in Westminister is 4 hours even if someone pays for more than the duration of this time limit. This time limit is applicable Monday through Saturday from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm.

References:

Parking_ticket_Westiminister.

Westminster City Council Parking Portal

Paying a council car parking fine

Parking Technology – Westminster City Council

Parking fines and penalty charge notices – GOV.UK

What was missing from this post which could have made it better?