Car park information and Enforcement Policy

This Policy is effective from 1 April, 2023

Select the + sign at the end of each heading to expand the content.

1/ Introduction

Cherwell District Council (CDC) provides car parks with short and long stay parking spaces in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington.  

CDC has an Agency Agreement arrangement with Oxford County Council of County Hall, New Road, Oxford OX1 1ND to undertake daily enforcement of CDC’s car parks, through a subcontract to a third party known as Conduent.

This policy sets out:

  1. how CDC, via Oxford County Council (OCC), manage and regulate car parking activity within its car parks; and
  2. the enforcement activity which OCC is authorised by CDC to take in order to regulate the use of CDC’s car parks.

2/ Payment methods

CDC operates Pay and Display, Pay by Phone, and cashless payments by credit / debit card  at all of its car parks.

Current car parking tariffs, including excess charges for non-compliance with car park regulations made by CDC, are set out on information boards (Information Boards) in each car park.

Payment for parking in any of CDC’s car parks must be made by Customers in accordance with the tariffs set out on the Information Board for that car park.

The Pay and Display machines are checked daily by Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) for OCC to ensure they remain in good working order.

CEOs for OCC also check vehicles which are parked in CDC’s car parks to ensure that the correct payment has been made for each vehicle.

3/ Tariffs and periods when charges apply

Information on the current tariffs, charging periods and other restrictions that apply to particular car parks are displayed on the Information Boards and ticket machines within each of CDC’s car parks. These are reviewed annually by CDC and are subject to change.

Vehicle owners and/or drivers using CDC’s car parks are advised to check the Information Boards prior to parking in one of CDC’s car parks and familiarise themselves with the terms on which their vehicle may be parked.

More information about our car parks, fees and restrictions.

4/ Season Tickets

A range of season tickets are available for use in CDC’s long stay car parks for periods of either 5 days a week or 7 days a week. 

Season tickets can be purchased for periods of one, three or twelve months.

More information and how to apply online

5/ Blue Badge holders

In order to park in parking spaces reserved for use by Customers with disabilities in CDC’s car parks, Blue Badges must be correctly displayed at all times and the ‘time of arrival clock’ must be accurately set.

Parking for Blue Badge holders is free of charge in CDC’s car parks up to the maximum period of stay for that car parkan additional hours parking is provided for all Blue Badge holders (please refer to the Information Boards in each car park).

6/ Use of additional spaces

If a vehicle is not parked fully within a single space, additional payment must be made for each additional space wholly, or partially occupied by a vehicle to cover the full period of stay.

7/ Payment into next daytime period

Customers can pay to park their vehicle in CDC’s car parks overnight and into the following day by using the Pay by Phone service. 

Details of the tariffs are displayed on the ticket machines in each car park.

8/ Payment for multiple days’ parking in long stay car parks

Multiple days’ parking can be purchased in long stay car parks by using the Pay by Phone service or, at the Cattle Market car park in Bicester, by using the pay on exit barrier.

9/ Electric vehicle charging points

Some of CDC’s car parks provide for parking spaces reserved for the charging of electric vehicles using charge points provided by third party contractors for the purpose.  These spaces are for use only by electric vehicles being connected to and charging from an electric vehicle charge point.

A Penalty Charge Notice (see section 11 below) will be issued to any Customer using such a space whose vehicle is either incapable of being electrically charged or is capable of being charged electrically but is not connected to and charging from an electric vehicle charge point.

Any Customer charging a vehicle at an electric vehicle charge point will be responsible for both:

  • making payment to CDC for use of the bay in accordance with the relevant tariff (see section 3)

and in addition

  • making separate payment to the relevant charge point operator (and not to CDC) for the electricity consumed in the charging of the Customer’s electric vehicle at the tariff set by the charge point operator for that service.

10/ Parking Regulations

Regulations covering CDC’s car parks have been made in accordance with the Road Traffic Regulation Act of 1984 and the Traffic Management Act (TMA) 2004.

In particular, the TMA 2004 (and accompanying Regulations, see section 12) permits civil parking enforcement via the issue of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) by CEOs in the event a vehicle owner does not park in accordance with the regulations in each car park.

The current TMA 2004 Off-Street Parking Places Order (Order) applicable to CDC’s car parks.  View Cherwell District Council (Off Street Parking Places) (Conversion) Order 2021.  A hard copy is also available for inspection by appointment at CDC’s main office at Bodicote House, Banbury.

11/ Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)

“Penalty Charge Notice” means a penalty charge notice issued or served by a CEO or posted by the enforcement authority pursuant to the provisions of Section 78 of the TMA and the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 no. 3483 (the Regulations).

Why are PCNs issued?

PCNs will be issued where:

  1. no valid parking ticket or permit is displayed on the vehicle windscreen/dashboard or paid for online.
  2. payment for parking has not been made.
  3. the parking ticket/Blue Badge/permit was not correctly displayed, or the date and expiry time were not clearly visible.
  4. the vehicle was parked for longer than the maximum period paid for or permitted.
  5. the vehicle was not parked fully within a designated parking space(s) and payment has not been made for the additional parking space(s).
  6. the vehicle was parked in a space designated for disabled persons but was not displaying a valid Blue Badge.
  7. the vehicle was parked in a space reserved for the charging of electric vehicles and is not itself capable of being electrically charged or connected to an electric vehicle charge point.
  8. the vehicle was parked in a space which is reserved for a particular class (e.g., in a space designated solely for taxis, doctors’ vehicles, coaches, buses or vehicles exceeding the designated weight limit).

What fee is payable for a PCN?

Two levels of charges are applied: 

  • Lower level £50 - parked for longer than permitted
  • Higher level £70 - all other charges carry the higher-level charge amount

A 50 per cent reduction of the Penalty Charge is applied in each case provided payment is received by CDC or the Authorised Agent (as indicated on the PCN) not later than the last day of the period of 14 days beginning with the date on which the PCN was served.

12/ Payment of a Penalty Charge Notice

Customers can pay PCNs in the following ways:

Online: Using our online payment portal 

By Post: Payment can be made by post using cheques or postal orders which should be made payable to Cherwell District Council, crossed A/C Payee Only.

Customers should write the PCN number together with their name and address on the back of the cheque or postal order, and send the cheque or postal order together with the completed payment slip to:

Oxford PCN Processing Centre
PO Box 860, Oxford, OX4 1FT

If paying by post, Customers are advised to allow time for the postal service to deliver the payment.  Discounts on early payment of PCNs are only allowed in the event payment is received within the discount periods set out in the previous paragraph.

13/ Can a PCN be cancelled?

If you believe your PCN was wrongly issued, you can challenge it. Do not pay the charge if you wish to contest it as challenges cannot be accepted if you have already paid.

13.1 A PCN might be cancelled

  1. In the case of personal illness that results in an overstay – the PCN may be cancelled on the production of a Doctor’s certificate or other evidence from a medical professional.
  2. In the case of a vehicle breakdown – the PCN may be cancelled on production of a certificate or invoice from a vehicle recovery or repair company.
  3. If the Customer has purchased a ticket and if it is clear that the Customer has inadvertently failed to correctly display the ticket – the PCN may be cancelled if it is the Customer’s first and only such contravention.

13.2 A PCN will not be cancelled if

  1. A ticket had been purchased but the Customer forgot to display the ticket at all, or did not display it correctly for any reason, and the Customer has previously failed to correctly display a ticket;
  2. The Customer did not realise they had to pay for parking;
  3. The Customer did not realise that they were parked in a restricted parking space;
  4. The Customer was only partially occupying another parking space;
  5. The Customer was only parked for a few minutes;
  6. The Customer cannot afford to pay the PCN;
  7. Other vehicles were parked in the same manner and did not receive a PCN;
  8. The Customer did not realise the Order had changed;
  9. The Customer had parked an electric vehicle in an electric vehicle charging space but did not or had forgot to charge the electric vehicle at the appropriate charge point; or
  10. In the case of an expired ticket, the Customer inadvertently pressed the ticket issue button before all the coins had registered (i.e., enough money was paid for the duration of the stay in the car park but due to the Customer’s error this was not captured on the ticket which was issued).

14/ To request a review, or challenge a PCN

If you believe your penalty charge notice was wrongly issued, you can challenge it, within 28 days of the date on which the PCN is issued.

Warning: Do not pay the charge if you wish to contest it as challenges cannot be accepted if you have already paid.

If you make your challenge within 14 days of the date when the notice was issued, you will normally have another chance to pay at the 50 per cent discounted rate if your challenge is rejected.

Details on how to challenge a PCN will be shown on the PCN issued. Under statutory legislation, there are three stages to the process of challenging a parking PCN:

  1. Informal challenge
  2. Formal representation
  3. Appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (an independent adjudication service)

If the informal challenge has been rejected, and if the full penalty has not been paid within 28 days, the local authority will find out from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency at Swansea who the registered keeper of the vehicle was at the time of the PCN was issued.  This person will be sent a Notice to Owner.

The Notice to Owner gives a further 28 days either to pay the full penalty charge or make formal representation to the council.  If the council rejects the representation, it will issue a Notice of Rejection enclosing details why the representation was rejected and how to appeal to the independent adjudicator at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. 

Please note, an independent appeal to the adjudicator cannot be made unless the procedure above has been followed.

15/ Complaints

CDC operates a complaints procedure for Customers dissatisfied with the standard of service, or standard of the car parks.

Making a complaint to CDC 

This is not, however, a route to request a further review of a PCN when a Customer thinks that it should be cancelled.  The process for seeking cancellation of specific PCNs is set out in section 14. 

Accordingly, any complaint received that seeks to challenge, appeal or otherwise challenge an PCN through the complaints procedure will be dismissed. Complaints regarding enforcement, or a PCN should be directed to Oxfordshire County Council - Contact Parking.    

16/ Non-payment of a PCN

If you do not pay or challenge the fine within 28 days, the local authority will find out from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency at Swansea who the registered keeper of the vehicle was at the time of the PCN was issued.  This person will be sent a Notice to Owner.

The 'notice to owner' will explain how to pay or make a representation.  

You have 28 days to pay or make a representation. You will not have to pay the fine if your challenge is accepted.

If you do not pay or appeal, we'll issue a late penalty ('charge certificate'). The penalty will increase by 50 per cent.

You have 14 days to pay. After that, we can register the debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC). Our TEC is Northampton County Court.

The TEC will issue an 'order for recovery of unpaid penalty charge' (TE7). The TE7 includes a witness statement (TE9). The charge will be the unpaid PCN, plus a £9 debt registration fee.

You have 21 days to either:

  • pay the PCN, plus a £9 registration fee
  • return the completed witness statement.

Witness statement

You can only use the witness statement for one of these four reasons:

  • You did not get a notice to owner.
  • You made a formal challenge (representation) but didn't get a rejection notice.
  • You appealed to a parking adjudicator against our decision to reject your representations but received no response to the appeal.
  • You paid the penalty charge in full.

Warrant of execution

If you don't pay or complete a witness statement, we can ask the TEC for authority to prepare a warrant of execution.  The warrant authorises a certificated bailiff to seize and sell goods belonging to you to the value of the outstanding amount plus the cost of executing the warrant.

17/ Data Protection and use of Personal Data

When undertaking enforcement action in connection with the use of CDC’s car parks both CDC and Oxfordshire County Council will process personal data belonging to their Customers, which can include, but is not limited to:

  1. Registration numbers of vehicles (including CCTV images and photographs of vehicles taken by wardens);
  2. Names and addresses of Customers; and
  3. Financial information (such as credit cards or bank account details taken when payment is made).

View full details of the processing of Personal Data undertaken in connection with this policy 

18/ Miscellaneous

CEOs for OCC monitor safety and security at CDC’s car parks and report any incidents or potential problems to CDC.

Some of CDC’s car parks are also covered by CCTV, which is monitored by Thames Valley Police.

Customers are made aware, however, that CDC does not accept any liability for the use of its car parks and vehicles are left in the car parks at the Customers’ sole risk.