The following questions are amongst the most often asked of the Customer Service team and Civil Enforcement Officers on patrol. Please select the appropriate heading to bring up those questions most commonly asked. Alternatively, you can email us at email@example.com.
All Penalty Charge Notice information is held on our Parking Gateway system for up to 200 months.
|Penalty Charge Notice scanned correspondence and supporting documentation||84 months|
|Penalty Charge Notice database records||84 months|
Access to the data including the photographs is only given to officers who have specific permission and work for the Parking Services department. However, once a Penalty Charge Notice is paid or cancelled it is most unlikely that an officer will have cause to refer to the Penalty Charge Notice, unless that officer is reviewing past Penalty Charge Notices when considering a challenge against a new Penalty Charge Notice.
No. Pay and Display tickets are not transferable between car parks, not least because the tariffs in one car park and another are not always the same. It states, on the face of the Pay and Display ticket, that it is only valid in that location. Likewise, tickets purchased in car parks cannot be used on-street, or vice versa.
Certain on-street locations permit a maximum stay during the day. The intention is to thereby increase the number of vehicles that can use these limited spaces during the working day. Extended stay is permitted during the evening, but parking charges are still levied. This is because these bays are shared with local residents, and we would encourage motorists to use car parks for longer stay both during the day and in the evening (all borough car parks are free after 6pm, and some are free even earlier (see Ashford town parking or Tenterden parking).
There is no difference in the restriction other than the times during which they apply. Double yellow lines do not require signs, as they operate 24 hours a day.
Single yellow lines are active during the period stated on the signs.
Yellow lines indicate a no waiting restriction. There are few exemptions to this restriction, such as you are permitted to undertake loading from this location, or drop off or pick up passengers.
In a car park the process is written on the tariff notice board, one of which is adjacent to each ticket machine. Instructions are shown in the information section of the tariff notice board. The parking charges are also stated.
In all cases vehicle registration details (the last three characters of your vehicle registration) need to be entered before you may insert any money.
Directions are stated on the face of each ticket machine. In all cases vehicle registration details (the last three characters of your vehicle registration) need to be entered before you may insert any money.
Please note: In many on-street location there may be a maximum stay (of one hour) at certain times of day. You are not permitted to extend the maximum time by purchasing a second ticket, or returning within the specified time. Information is given on the ticket machine. Those wishing to stay for longer during the day would be advised to use a car park. Longer stay is permitted in the evening.
Pay and Display tickets must be purchased at the time of parking for the amount of time required. Details on each ticket include the ticket machine number, the expiry date and time, the fee paid and a unique serial number. When displaying a ticket, the following conditions apply:
If the above points are not adhered to, then a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) may be issued by a Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO). We do observe a grace period in certain circumstances. Find out more about grace periods.
Please follow guidance given on each machine, or you can download the pay by card for parking guide [pdf] 218KB
N.B. one can also use the cashless parking, Parkmobile in all of our car parks and on-street locations.
The main reason for this is the legal requirement that a customer's initial payment deposit must be retained in the machines coin validator until the customer has decided to request production of the ticket or return of the payment deposit. Any transaction can be cancelled until the payment has been confirmed by the customer.
There are additional issues that are taken into consideration, not least of which is the fact that a ticket machine in a busy car park would need either a very large change depository or frequent restocking visits.
No. You cannot leave your vehicle in the car park or on-street location to get change. This is the case even if you leave a passenger in the vehicle whilst you are away. As an alternative you can pay by using your credit/debit card with a mobile phone to contact Parkmobile. Information on how to do this is also shown on the ticket machines.
Vehicles which you consider to be dangerous should be reported to the Police (call 101, or 999 only in emergencies).
It is important to report the issue to the correct body. The borough council is obliged to try to contact the registered keeper or owner as part of our processes. We can only access owner details after inspecting the vehicle. This is necessarily a slow process.
Unless the suspected abandoned vehicle is a danger or causing unnecessary obstruction (see above) it would not be possible for us to simply remove it. Moreover, we would normally only do so after contacting the police (to ensure that they had no interest in the vehicle). By contacting the police first (see above), you can help to speed up this process - the police will either deal with the matter or send us details direct.
N.B. information is given in complete confidence. Please given as much information as you can, as insufficient details may prevent us from pursuing the matter, delay us or otherwise frustrate our efforts.
These can be reported as illegal street trading to our Licensing team.
Please try to provide as much detail as possible about the location, so that no time is lost during investigation.
(This section is taken from our Parking Enforcement Policy)
Any vehicle can load or unload continuously in places where such activity is permitted.
Civil Enforcement Officers will observe vehicles to ascertain if they are indeed loading/unloading. If, during this time no activity is noted, the Civil Enforcement Officer will assume the vehicle is not involved in any loading/unloading activity and the restriction may be enforced. Loading/unloading may be allowed for commercial purposes or if the items being loaded or unloaded are not easily portable. The process does have to be continuous and the Civil Enforcement Officer must see some evidence of loading/unloading.
Loading and unloading is permitted:
Loading and unloading is NOT permitted:
Grace applies where a vehicle is stationary in a designated parking place and the vehicle has been left beyond the permitted parking period.
No penalty charge is payable for the contravention where the vehicle has been left beyond the permitted parking period for a period not exceeding 10 minutes.
Please note: Grace does not apply to locations which are not designated parking places. For example, there is no grace period for locations subject to 'no waiting' restrictions (yellow lines) or stopping bans (e.g. bus stops).
A "designated parking place" means a parking place established by a Traffic Regulation Order.
A "permitted parking period" means either a period of parking that has been paid for (an expired Pay and Display ticket) OR a period for which no payment is payable (A free bay which permits maximum stay or the commencement of the chargeable period).
The meaning of grace is set out by the Department for Transport
No, there is no bonus structure or commission of this sort. All civil enforcement officers are salaried, and are employed by Ashford Borough Council.
It should be noted that Civil Enforcement Officers (CEO) will not be set targets in issuing a specific number of Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) when undertaking their duties and income generated will be used to fund the scheme's operational costs. Under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, the application of any surplus from on street parking is limited to meeting the cost of providing and maintaining parking facilities, highway improvement schemes and public passenger transport services.
Not if there is a stopping ban on these restrictions. This is indicated by the road markings (a broad yellow line, similar to a bus stop clearway) and signs.
No waiting on taxi ranks would be is indicated with double yellow lines or a narrow single yellow lines (as well as a sign). One can drop off or pick up a passenger on a waiting restriction, but not on a stopping ban.
Aside from any enforcement actions, the meaning of such stopping bans is given in the Highway Code (road markings section); all motorists should be aware of this.
Whilst it might seem harmless to drop off a passenger on this sort of restriction, the ban is enforced to help ensure free movement of traffic and the passage of buses and taxis
You cannot stop here during the times indicated on the sign. The markings should serve to warn the motorist that you that a stopping ban is in place.
Aside from any enforcement actions, the meaning of stopping bans is explained in the Highway Code (road markings section) of which all motorists should be aware.
As the restriction is in place for safety reasons it cannot be accepted that one might be permitted to stop and again move off, however quickly.
No. There is a waiting restriction on double yellow lines (24 hours a day) and on single yellow lines (during times shown on nearby time plates).
You also cannot stop to use a mobile phone in bus stops, taxi ranks or loading bays. This applies to receiving or making calls. You cannot stop to send or reply to text messages.
You would be expected to find a safe place to stop, away from restrictions.
(This guide is provided by Patrol).
If a challenge or representation is made during the relevant period, i.e. before the Penalty Charge Notice has progressed to the stage when a Charge Certificate has been issued (Step 3 on the attached guide), we will place the case on hold until we are able to consider your case. The case will not be progressed until it has been considered by Parking Services. We are not obliged to put a case on hold at a later stage, and may do so only at our discretion.
Consequently, if a warrant has been issued for recovery we will not normally put the case on hold. You will need to either contact the enforcement agents direct or get independent legal advice.
Initially, you are expected to contact the enforcement authority to make a challenge against your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN). Details of how to do this are stated on the Penalty Charge Notice itself. You can also make a challenge or representation online.
It is only after we have rejected your representation, and served a Notice of Rejection of Representations (NoR) that you are able to appeal directly to the independent adjudicator. Details on how to make an appeal is sent to you with the NoR.
Further information on the progression of a Penalty Charge Notice can be found on the Patrol website.
Patrol is the Joint Committee of England and Wales for the Civil Enforcement of Parking And Traffic Regulations Outside London.
The progression of the Penalty Charge Notice is set out by legislation.
If you appeal to the independent adjudicator, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) adjudicator will be able to decide whether to allow or refuse the appeal.
If the adjudicator refuses the appeal she can make a recommendation to the enforcement authority to accept the charge at the discount level but, as such a decision would necessarily confirm that the Penalty Charge Notice was correctly issued, this recommendation is not binding on the enforcement authority.
You can contact the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. Please note that the TPT will not consider a case until the enforcement authority has been able to consider your representation and issue a Notice of Rejection.
In order to ensure that any challenge or reply is interpreted correctly, it must be made in writing; this protects both parties.
We appreciate that motorists may be very frustrated when they receive a Penalty Charge Notice, particularly if they believe that there was genuine mitigation or exemption in place. However, as the case might eventually reach the stage at which it would need to be considered by an independent adjudicator, representations must be made in writing, so that a proper audit trail can be established.
You can visit the Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL and request a paper copy of the application form.
Alternatively, you can call or write to Parking Services at the Civic Centre and request the same. Contact us for directions.
Any proofs that are requested can be sent by post (copies only) or copied at the Civic Centre and sent to Parking Services for our consideration.
After providing proof of ownership and handing back the original permit, unless there is cause to contact Parking Services, you will be issued with a temporary permit, such as the one shown below.
This allows you to benefit from the use of a Resident Parking Permit whilst the change of vehicle is being processed.
If you cannot use the online system, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
N.B. We cannot issue a temporary permit to residents who do not yet have a resident parking permit issued to them.
New residents would be expected to obey the parking rules that apply, until such time as a valid resident parking permit has been issued.
If you have queries about this process you can email Parking Services.
Please visit the Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL, or call Ashford Borough Council on 01233 330111.
Please have your current permit number to hand. Parking Services will be able to provide your PIN number at that time.
In all resident parking permit zones a maximum of one permit may be issued to any property which qualifies. Second permits may be issued in some zones at our discretion, due to the finite nature of the parking space.
Preference will be shown for vehicles without off-street parking.
Some zones will only permit a maximum of one vehicle, due to the size of the zone and available parking space on-street. Multiple vehicles can be listed on one permit, but this would mean that you need to switch the permit between vehicles to ensure that the vehicle parked on-street was displaying the valid permit.
Visitor permits cost £1 each. Temporary visitors parking permits can be purchased by residents and some businesses for £1 each.
These can be purchased from Ashford Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford Kent TN23 1PL. Visitor permits are purchased in books of ten, in order to cover the expected and unexpected arrival of visitors, although smaller amounts can be purchased on request.
Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 5pm.
You can write to us, enclosing a cheque or postal order for the required amount. Please make cheques or postal orders payable to 'Parking Services'. Please do not send cash.
Our address is Parking Services, Ashford Borough Council, Civic Centre, Tannery Lane, Ashford, Kent TN23 1PL.
N.B. In order for a visitors parking permit to be valid, it needs to be filled in. An explanation is given at the head of each visitor permit.
Any failure to display the permit clearly, or to indicate the valid date or other data correctly, may result in the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice.
Disabled bays offer better access to users, who might commonly require a wheelchair or other assistance in order to get in or out of the vehicle. However, a disabled badge holder is permitted to park in any standard bay in the car park if they wish, or if they find that no disabled bay is available, as long as they clearly display both the disabled badge (with expiry details uppermost) and the time clock, set to the time at which the vehicle was parked.
If you are parked in a standard on-street bay there is no limit to the length of time you may park. You do not need to display a time clock. Most disabled bays on-street are also without limit, although there are some that permit a maximum stay of three hours (please check with signs when you park). This allows for a turnover of use of such bays, increasing the numbers of disabled badge holders that might benefit from their use.
If you are parked on a 'no waiting' restriction (on double or single yellow lines) the three hour limit applies. This rule applies across England and Wales.
You would be expected to move off of the restriction, as the safety of road users is one of the reasons for the restriction to be installed in the first place.
If you are parked in an off-street car park, and you wish to park for longer than three hours, you are expected to purchase a Pay and Display ticket that would be valid for the entire length of your intended stay. Therefore, you are not permitted to purchase a Pay and Display ticket for part of your stay and 'top up' the stay with a time clock.
If you are parked in a disabled bay you would always be expected to display a blue badge.
Full information about the blue badge scheme can be found in the guidance provided by the Department for Transport.
Please note that in other private car parks and off-street locations, such as in supermarkets, you would need to check for any rules that apply there.
N.B. If you park a motorcycle in an on-street bay you are expected to purchase a Pay and Display ticket, as would any other motorist. You may also use the pay by phone service and avoid the need to display a ticket.
There are five bays for camper vans or mobile homes in Ashford. Two of these are suitable for long wheelbase vehicles. They are found in Civic Centre Car Park, Ashford TN23 1PL.
If the wheelbase your vehicle does not fit into the marked bays in our car parks you would be expected to park elsewhere.
These bays are for parking only, for visitors to the town and local amenities. They are not for long-term stay. N.B. this car park is closed overnight.
On street bays in most locations are not marked into individual parking spaces, so a vehicle would be able to park here without committing a contravention, unless the wheelbase of the vehicle extends out of the bay and into the highway. The vehicle would have to obey the rules indicated on the signs and ticket machine.
This information is also shown on the tariff notice boards in the car parks.
In those car parks where you can park overnight you are able to purchase a Pay and Display ticket for the following day only after the chargeable hours have ceased for that day. The ticket issued will be valid from the beginning of the next chargeable period. This is explained in the instructions on the tariff notice boards within the car parks.
N.B. If you leave your vehicle in a car park that does not permit overnight parking it will be locked in. Please call us 01233 331111 to request to be released. There is a release fee that must be paid. Information relating to the closure times of car parks is indicated in the car park, and on the tariff notice boards. There is a maximum stay of 23 hours in all of our car parks.
A distinctive feature of the Restricted Parking Zone is that the Department of Transport has decided carriageway marking and roadside signage in the zone should be kept to a minimum.
As a consequence, notification that waiting and loading is prohibited is indicated by signs at the zone entry points and throughout the zone, not by yellow lines painted on the carriageway.
Restricted Parking Zones prohibit the following:
The council's civil enforcement officers patrol the Restricted Parking Zone frequently to ensure the parking and waiting restrictions are being observed by motorists.
Ashford's Restricted Parking Zone includes the following roads (either wholly or partly): Apsley Street, Bank Street, East Street, Elwick Road, Elwick Square, Forge Lane, Gasworks Lane, Godinton Road, Godinton Way, Middle Street, Norwood Gardens, Regents Place, Queen Street, Tufton Street, West Street.
The guidance relating to use of a disabled badge is given by the Department of Transport.
N.B. Information on where you can use your badge is shown in Section 2 (page 14) 'Where can I Park?'
Parking in Ashford Town Centre Pedestrian Zone
Ashford town centre is a pedestrian area at certain times, and there is an order preventing the movement of traffic here. Access is therefore strictly limited, in order to protect pedestrians.
The central pedestrian zone of Ashford includes upper Bank Street, High Street, North Street and part of Park Street. There is also limited access to the New Rents (New Street) area.
If you wish to visit the town centre, and arrive after 10:30am, you would need to park in a parking place (designated disabled or standard), outside the zone, or in one of the town centre car parks.
Additionally, County Square has a Shopmobility service which is managed by the Customer Service team at County Square. This service can provide both electric scooters and manual wheelchairs for people who have difficulty walking without assistance. This service is available seven days per week. For bookings and more information telephone 01233 621196.
The rules relating to disabled badges only apply on-street. However, in Ashford Borough Council controlled car parks, vehicles displaying a valid disabled badge and time clock may park for free for up to three hours, in any disabled or standard bay. The time clock needs to be set to the time of arrival, due to the three hour period.
If you are staying for longer than three hours during the chargeable period, you need to purchase a Pay and Display ticket upon arrival for the entire period of your stay, and display this with your disabled badge if you park in a designated disabled bay.
You would be expected to follow the other rules of the car park (which are indicated on the tariff notice board, located next to each ticket machine). For example, you would be expected to park within the markings of a bay, even if other vehicles have parked inconsiderately.
More information can also be found on our disabled parking page.
Kent County Council issue disabled badges.
Abuse of blue badges is a widespread problem. There is no grace period for expired badges, as holders are expected to apply for a badge or a renewal in good time.
We are aware that the application process can be lengthy, but we cannot accept that an expired blue badge can confer the same benefits as a valid badge; government guidance is clear that it does not.
You can use any standard bay, either on-street or in a car park.
The criteria, application form and notes are listed on our disabled parking page.
Applicants need to complete and return the form and provide:
The application notes should answer most questions, but enquiries can be sent through to email@example.com or 01233 330694.
Payment details are listed on the Penalty Charge Notice. Payment details are listed below.
If you have been contacted by our enforcement agents (EPC), you would need to follow the instruction they have given, including payment. Do not pay Ashford Borough Council direct.
However, if you are paying before this time, the details are:
Alternatively, you can appeal, view or pay a parking fine or complete a PCN Representation Form
All of our schemes have been agreed by the elected members.
Whilst new developments will have been constructed since the inception of the Resident Permit Schemes the level of on-street parking which can be safely provided will be largely unchanged. By placing a limit on the eligibility of permits to the properties listed on the Register of Electors at the creation of each scheme, new developments (particularly in those instances where several residential dwellings are being created in one location) will not form a source of congestion in an area by creating a greater demand for vehicle permits than the parking capacity of the corresponding zone can safely support.
Similarly, businesses may be unable (depending on the scheme), to apply for permits in order to prevent misuse of the on-street parking facilities in this area for protracted commercial parking and contributing to increased traffic congestion.
This restriction on permits further ensures that developers must consider parking provision as an integral part of a development's design rather than circumvent the responsibility through reliance on on-street parking, which would lead to congestion through merely increasing on-street parking demand without altering the available supply.
Please call Customer Services on 01233 331111, which is available 24 hours a day. Messages can be forwarded to Parking Services and the enforcement team.
It is helpful if you are able to provide details of the transaction, or attempted transaction, when calling us.
Normally, if a machine is out of order, we would expect car park users to use another machine in the car park (if there is one) to obtain a Pay and Display ticket.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you become aware of any errors or omissions. We will be able to advise and, if necessary, send a message to the enforcement officers.
Please email the Parking Services team.
If we can get enforcement officers to the location we will try, but given the limited numbers of enforcement officers, this is not always possible.
If you wish to call us, please telephone customer services on 01233 331111.
Ashford Borough Council enforces on-street restrictions within the borough boundaries as agents for Kent County Council (Kent Highways). Whilst the Traffic Management Act allows for enforcement of dropped kerbs across residential driveways it is currently the policy of Kent County Council not to enforce when the dropped kerb provides access to a residential driveway.
Any obstruction of this kind could only be enforced by the police, who can be contacted by calling 101. Please note that the police would only deem obstruction a situation where a resident is prevented from accessing the highway, not when they are unable to leave the highway i.e. to park on a private driveway.
We can undertake enforcement when the footway, cycle track or verge has been lowered to meet the level of the carriageway for the purpose of assisting pedestrians crossing the carriageway.
Kent Police have given additional guidance in relation to parking on the public highway, which outlines their responsibilities. See Kent Police's parking advice.
Kent Police have given additional guidance in relation to parking on the public highway, which outlines their responsibilities. Visit Kent Police for more information.
This is a matter for the Police. Please call 101 (999 for emergencies only).
The Police have the powers to issue fines, or in some cases remove vehicles, that are parked in an obstructive manner. This may involve blocking a private driveway, or walkway, or parking in such a manner so as to prevent emergency vehicles free access through a street
It is for the Police to decide that there is an instance of genuine obstruction.
On the public highway all users have equal access. You do not have a right to park on the road outside of your property and if someone else parks there, very little can be done unless they are actually blocking your access.
Similarly, if someone is parked in an inconsiderate manner but there is no restriction shown by lines and signs, and they are not obstructing the highway, very little can be done by either the council or Police.
There is a process, set down by legislation, in order to make or amend restrictions that are covered by a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO). If you want to introduce, amend or remove a restriction you would need to contact Engineering Services. It may be that the location/restriction is already being considered.
All signs and road marking on the public highway must adhere to central government legislation (Statutory Instrument), the 'Traffic Signs, Regulations and General Directions 2016'.
This specifies the size, shape, wording, location etc. of signing. Ashford Borough Council is not permitted to deviate from this document, by, for example, erecting larger signs than those permitted. Therefore, you cannot successfully appeal against the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice on the basis that, in your opinion, the signs are unacceptable, unless this can be shown to deviate from the rules laid down in the legislation. Central government decides on factors such as this, rather than the individual authority, although the Department for Transport may, on occasion, give permission to local variants.
Kent County Council will ask you to contact Ashford Borough Council for permission to install the dropped kerb, also for any additional help or advise please contact the email email@example.com.
If you intend to use the public toilets in a car park you are expected to purchase a Pay and Display ticket during chargeable hours before you use the facilities. Additionally, you are not allowed to park a vehicle other than a coach to access the toilets located off Station Road Coach Park, Tenterden, whilst it is specifically designated for the use solely of coaches (from April to October; this will be signed at the entrance and within).
Bailiffs are now called 'enforcement agents'. Once the Penalty Charge Notice has progressed to a state when a valid warrant has been issued we would ask, in the first instance, that you contact the enforcement agent direct, for advice and guidance.
Parking Services will not be able at this point to reconsider the original Penalty Charge Notice, as the opportunity to make a challenge or representation will have passed.
The details of the main enforcement agencies commonly used by Ashford Borough Council are shown below (this is not an exclusive list, as sometimes enforcement agencies are given cases in small numbers). Please refer to any correspondence you will have received from the enforcement agency for full details.
If you wish to pay or contact someone, contact the enforcement agents. They are:
If you wish to challenge the warrant we would suggest that you to seek independent legal advice. Warrants relating to Penalty Charge Notices are processed through the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) which is part of Northampton County Court. You can contact the court directly, but they are not able to given legal advice.