Help with Penalty Charge Notices

A guide to civil parking enforcement of parking and the options available when you receive a Penalty Charge Notice.

You should never ignore a Penalty Charge Notice. This guide is intended to provide you with the information you need to pay or challenge your Penalty Charge Notice.

If you have concerns about making payment or challenging your Penalty Charge Notice that are not answered on this page please contact the Parking Office on (01237) 428981 during office hours. You should be aware that decisions to cancel Penalty Charge Notices are never made over the telephone. The Parking Office may be contacted via telephone 8.30am-4.30pm Monday-Friday.

The council is a member of the Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) Adjudication Joint Committee.  The Joint Committee publishes an Annual Statement of Accounts which is subject to External Audit and the arrangements for 2010/11 can be found at http://www.patrol-uk.info/site/index.php

If you already know what you want to do please select one of the following options:

I want to...

Know why Penalty Charge Notices are issued

View my Penalty Charge Notice details online

Pay a Penalty Charge Notice

Know what happens if a Penalty Charge Notice is ignored

Know about how personal details may be obtained and managed

Challenge a Penalty Charge Notice

Respond to a 'Notice to Owner' or other correspondence

Pay or challenge a lost Penalty Charge Notice

Know what procedures Torridge District Council will follow once a Penalty Charge Notice has been issued

Check whether my Penalty Charge Notice was issued by Torridge District Council

Why Penalty Charge Notices are issued

A Penalty Charge Notice may be issued for a number of reasons for example:

  • No valid ticket displayed
  • Expired Parking Ticket
  • Unauthorised use of a disabled bay
  • Unauthorised use of a reserved bay
  • Failure to park within a marked bay

What ever the reason is for the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice, it will be clearly stated on the ticket along with the make of the vehicle, the registration number, the parking place and the date and time of the contravention.

The tables below, provided by The Joint Committee of England and Wales for the civil enforcement of Parking And Traffic Regulations Outside London (PATROL) list all the parking contraventions that may be issued outside London. For further information about these contraventions and independent advice on the Penalty Charge Notice process please visit the PATROL website.

Off-Street Parking (Car Parks)





Parked in a loading area during restricted hours without reasonable excuse



Parked without payment of the parking charge



Using a vehicle in a parking place in connection with the sale or offering or exposing for sale of goods when prohibited



Parked for longer than the maximum period permitted



Parked in a restricted area in a car park



Parked after the expiry of paid for time



Parked in a car park without clearly displaying a valid pay & display ticket or voucher or parking clock



Parked with additional payment made to extend the stay beyond time first purchased



Parked in a permit bay without clearly displaying a valid permit



Parked beyond the bay markings



Parked in a disabled person's parking space without clearly displaying a valid disabled person's badge



Vehicle parked exceeds maximum weight and/or height and/or length permitted in the area



Re-parked within one hour* of leaving a bay or space in a car park



Parked in a car park or area not designated for that class of vehicle



Parked causing an obstruction



Parked in car park when closed



Parked in a pay & display car park without clearly displaying two**** valid pay and display tickets when required



Parked in a parking place for a purpose other than the designated purpose for the parking place



Parked with engine running where prohibited


In Torridge £70.00 is payable for a Higher Level contravention (£35.00 if paid within 14 days) and £50.00 is payable for a Lower Level contravention (£25.00 if paid within 14 days).

* Or other specified time
** Or voucher
*** Sometimes applies during term time only
**** Or other number

View your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) details online

Your PCN can be viewed online along with the details and evidence supporting the PCN. The page also has links to either pay or challenge your PCN directly as well. You will need to enter both your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) number and your vehicle registration.


How to pay your Penalty Charge Notice

You can pay your Penalty Charge Notice in 4 ways as explained below. Full payment details are also printed on the Penalty Charge Notice.

Online - For PCN's with a number starting with 'TC' ONLY


Please note:

You should follow the instructions on screen very carefully. This service should be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. However, if you experience any problems please contact the Parking Office as a matter of urgency on (01237) 428897 or (01237) 428984 during office hours.

By Telephone

You can make credit or debit card payments by phoning the Parking Office on (01237) 428981 during office hours only.

You can also make credit or debit card payments automatically by using our touch-tone telephone service. This service can be accessed 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. To use this service please call 0300 7900 215.

Please note:

There will NOT be a charge for credit card payments.

By Post

To pay by post complete the payment slip at the bottom of your Penalty Charge Notice and attach it to a cheque payable to Torridge District Council.

If you do not have the payment slip please write your name, address and your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) number (in the format TC00000000 ) on the back of the cheque.

Cheques should be sent to:

Torridge District Council, The Parking Office, Riverbank House, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QG

Please allow 2 working days for 1st Class post and 5 working days for 2nd class post to be delivered to us.

Please do not send cash in the post.

Please note:

If your PCN number is not quoted your payment may not be correctly allocated to your fine.

Cheques that are post dated will not be accepted.

Sending a cheque with a challenge letter or to an address other than that given above may delay processing your payment.

At Our Office

Our cashiers are able to accept the following payment methods:

Cheque, Postal Order, Debit & Credit Card

Our offices opening hours are given below:

Riverbank House, Bideford  
Monday-Friday 9.00am-4.30pm  

Please note:

There will NOT be a charge for credit card payments.

The cost of ignoring a Penalty Charge Notice

If you have received a Penalty Charge Notice act now.

It is important that you read any correspondence you receive very carefully. If you are need assistance at any stage of the process please call the Parking Office on 01237 428981.

The table below shows how the Penalty Charge will increase if ignored, in accordance with the Traffic Management Act 2004.

The cost of ignoring a Penalty Charge Notice

When you pay a Penalty Charge Notice

Lower level contravention charges

Higher level contravention charges

Within the discount period - 14 days from the date the PCN is issued...

Weekends and Bank Holidays and the day the PCN is issued are included in this period.

An informal challenge can be made during this time. The charge will then be frozen until a response is sent. If you challenge in this period you will be given a further 14 days to pay at the discount rate if your challenge is rejected.



After the expiry of the discount period until the issue of a Charge Certificate...

14 days after the expiry of the discount period a Notice to Owner is sent. If no payment is received within 28 days from the issue of a Notice to Owner a Charge Certificate is issued.

A formal challenge called a representation can be made during this time. The charge will then be frozen until a response is sent. If your representation is rejected you will be given time to pay at the normal rate.



Within 14 days from the issue of a Charge Certificate...

When a Charge Certificate is issued the charge is increased by 50%.

Once a Charge Certificate has been issued you may not challenge the issue of the Penalty Charge Notice.



Within 21 days from the date the PCN is registered as a debt at the Traffic Enforcement Centre...

If a Charge Certificate is not paid the debt is registered at the Traffic Enforcement Centre. A £5.00 registration fee is added to the charge.

If you do not make payment in this time or complete the TE3 and TE9 forms you receive a warrant will be issued. Your property may be seized and sold to recover the debt.



After a warrant has been issued...

Once a warrant has been issued the bailiff will increase the charge to cover the cost of any action they need to take to recover the debt. Each action they take will have an associated charge. This includes telephone calls made and letters sent as well as visits made.

At least £82.00

At least £112.00

How your personal details may be obtained and managed

The address details of the registered keeper of a vehicle will be requested from the Driver Vehicle Licensing Authority DVLA if a Penalty Charge Notice is not paid within 28 days of its issue or if an informal challenge against a Penalty Charge Notice is unsuccessful.

Details obtained from the DVLA will only be used to issue a 'Notice to Owner' letter and collect outstanding monies.

Please note that details will not be obtained from the DVLA until after the payment period has elapsed (28 days after the date of issue of the Penalty Charge Notice).


Torridge District Council will use any data collected through the issuing of an Off-Street PCN,for the enforcement of parking contraventions and other associated purposes.

This data may be disclosed to other enforcement agencies for the purposes of this enforcement. It may also be disclosed to other departments within the Council or external parties for related purposes or as required by law. All processing of this data will be in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018.

How to challenge your Penalty Charge Notice

If you believe that your Penalty Charge Notice was wrongly issued and you want to challenge it you should write to us at the address below:

Torridge District Council, The Parking Office, Riverbank House, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QG

You will need to to quote the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) number (in the format TC00000000) and clearly state the reason why it should have not been issued.

Please ensure you provide your name and your full postal address or email address. We regret that we are not able to respond to informal challenges where these details are not provided.

You may also wish to attach supporting documentation.

Alternatively, you may notify us of your appeal via email through the following email address:  carparks@torridge.gov.uk Please provide the information detailed above. Scanned documents will usually be accepted.

The third method of challenge is an online challenge. To do this, you first need to view your PCN. Once your PCN details are open, there will be a button labeled 'Appeal' which can be clicked to begin the online challenge process.

All enquiries and challenges must be made in writing, either on paper or digital (email). Please be aware that you will not recieve confimation of a challenge having been recieved, but this can be checked by calling the office on (01237) 428981 during office hours. Once a challenge is reiceved by this office the PCN is placed on hold until a responce has been sent via the same way that the challenge was received, either on paper or digital (email).

How to respond to a Notice to Owner or other correspondence

If you have received a Notice To Owner and wish to make payment you can do via any of the 4 ways described above.

If you wish to make representations then please do so by returning the Notice to Owner form filled out in full. Alternatively, you can select the 'Appeal' option via the 'View my PCN' link. To do this you will need to have the NTO to enter required information.

If you have not responded to a Notice to Owner you may have received a Charge Certificate or debt registration forms. Please read and follow the instructions on these carefully.

If you do not understand any correspondence you receive we will be happy to explain it to you if you telephone on (01237) 428981 during office hours. You should be aware that decisions to cancel Penalty Charge Notices are never made over the telephone.

What to do if you have lost your Penalty Charge Notice

If you want to pay or challenge a Penalty Charge Notice you have lost please contact the Parking Office for assistance by email at carparks@torridge.gov.uk or by telephone on (01237) 428981 during office hours. You will be asked to provide your vehicle's registration number and/or as much information as possible.

Penalty Charge Notice Procedure

When you receive a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) you may either pay it or send us a challenge as outlined above.

If you decide to challenge the PCN we will consider your case and will send you a letter informing you of our decision. If your challenge is successful we will cancel your Notice. If your challenge is rejected then you will be given a further opportunity to pay at the discounted rate providing that we receive your payment within 14 days of the date of the rejection letter.

If the Penalty Charge Notice remains unpaid after 28 days (from date of issue of the Penalty Charge Notice) we will then send a Notice to Owner. Details on how the owner of the vehicle may make either formal representation, pay or appeal to an independent adjudicator will be included on this Notice.

After a further period of 28 days has elapsed and providing that the Penalty Charge Notice has not been either paid or cancelled or the owner has appealed to an independent adjudicator then the Council will increase the charge by 50% and send a Charge Certificate. If the outstanding balance is then paid within 14 days then the case will be closed.

However, if payment is not received then we will register the debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre (Northampton County Court) where a court fee will also be applied to the outstanding balance and an order for recovery will be sent to the vehicle owner. If this is paid within 21 days then the case will be closed if not a warrant will be registered and bailiffs instructed to recover the debt.

The Council's approved policy on how we will deal with challenges and representations and a flowchart showing the path the Penalty Charge Notice will take once issued is available to view/download by clicking on the link at the right of this page.

Check whether your Penalty Charge Notice was issued by Torridge District Council

By looking at your Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) number you can tell at a glance whether it was issued by Torridge District Council. Your PCN number can be found on all correspondence regarding your PCN. You should quote it when making payment or corresponding with the Council regarding the PCN as it uniquely identifies the record. A PCN number consists of a two letter prefix followed by eight numbers e.g. TC00000000. When quoting your PCN number always remember to give the prefix.

If your PCN number does not begin with the prefixes 'TC', it was issued by another local authority. You will need to contact or pay the relevant Council or authority for the PCN; contact details may be found on the original PCN.

For quick reference the prefixes used by Councils in Devon are given below. For PCNs issued outside of Devon please see the original PCN.

PCN number prefixes in Devon

District Council

Prefixes used

Contact details

Teignbridge District Council


Address: Teignbridge District Council - Parking Services
Forde House
Brunel Road
Newton Abbot
TQ12 5AB

Telephone: 01626 215859

Fax: 01626 215436

Email: parking.services@teignbridge.gov.uk

Link to Teignbridge District Council's website

South Hams District Council


Address: South Hams District Council - Car Parks Team
Street Scene
South Hams District Council
Follaton House
Plymouth Road


Telephone: 01803 861234
Fax: 01803 866151
Email: carparks.team@southhams.gov.uk

Link to South Hams District Council website

West Devon District Council


Address: West Devon Borough Council - Environmental Services (Parking),

Kilworthy Park



PL19 0BZ

Telephone: 01822 813600

Fax: 01822 813634

Email: services@westdevon.gov.uk

Link to West Devon District Council's website

East Devon District Council


Address: East Devon District Council - Street Scene Team
Council Offices
EX10 8HL

Telephone: (01395) 571624

Contact Online: Click here

Link to East Devon District Council's website

Exeter City Council


Address: Exeter City Council - Parking Enforcement

Civic Centre
Paris Street

Telephone: 01392 265405

Fax: 01392 265165

Email: parkingenforcement@exeter.gov.uk

Link to Exeter City Council's website

Mid Devon District Council


Address: Mid Devon District Council - Estates Management
Phoenix House
Phoenix Lane


EX16 6PP

Telephone: 01884 255255

Email: lowmanopps@middevon.gov.uk

Link to Mid Devon District Council's website

North Devon District Council


Address: North Devon Council - Customer Services (Parking)
Civic Centre
EX31 1EA

Telephone: 01271 388279
Typetalk: precede with 18001
Text: 07624 804042
Fax: 01271 388451
Email: customerservices@northdevon.gov.uk

Link to North Devon District Council's website