Strange thing is, - do we ever notice any
easier parking provision in our towns and cities while all these people are
travelling away from home to these holiday locations? I haven't.
For a great many of us (myself included), street
parking outside ones own home is getting to be a bit of a luxury these days.
Those properties with well designed highway access and off road parking
have a definite added value element to their homes that will be of even
greater value as the years proceed.
Therefore, any property without the facility for
off road car parking may be seriously less desirable in 5 years time
for example. There is also a 'sustainability' element that conflicts with
this desire for people to park their 4 wheel 'designer badge' off the road.
I guarantee you will not see many late model Merc's BMW's or other german
machinery parked in the gutter these days. Many Planners would have you believe
that we are unable to sustain this level of car dependency but even if petrol
went up to £10 a gallon, most people would rather starve than not put
juice in the car to get us around - it's a freedom thing!
So, your property does not have any off street
parking at present but has the ability to be modified to incorporate such
a space or three. I can guarantee that the cost of installing such a facility
for a dwelling (even if it is just one car space) will add significantly
to the value and desirability of your home and is often a very easy thing
to have done. The problem arises when people do this without any thought
for the design, materials and if Planning Consent is required.
Generally speaking, if you live on a classified
road (A, B, C, D, etc.) then you will need formal planning permission. When
consent is required the Highways have a whole set of requirements for vision
splays, materials, dimensions etc. that many properties are unable to comply
with. So even if you could do it, you may well be prevented on road safety
issues by the Highways and Planning Dept. There can be ways around
this but it does involve a degree of risk that is explained within our Planning
Properties on unclassified roads can have a
field day as no formal Planning permission is normally required and a
new access can be installed in any location. Regretfully, this has led to
some very unsightly car parking spaces in small front gardens of lovely Victorian
terraces for example. Generally speaking, the smaller the property and its
front garden, the harder it is to design something that respects the local
As a guide, great attention and detailing must
be placed on material selection and ancillary landscaping elements. You would
be amazed just how much a car parking space can be improved visually with
strategically located planting, bunding, planters, paving and curves - yes
curves. The poorest quality of car parking simply uses gravel or concrete
without any edge detailing or thinking as to the pedestrian access to the
front or side doors when a car is actually parked - poor old posty can
have one hell of a job delivering the mail at times.
So think about these issues and don't try to install
an off road car parking facility on the cheap as that's exactly how your
properties curb side appeal will be - cheap!.
Finding out whether or not your property is on
a classified road is simply a matter of telephoning the council and asking
that question. Also, please remember that you will still need to have
a dropped kerb installed and this can only be completed by a contractor that
is on the Highways approved list as they need a huge amount of liability
insurance to dig up pavements and roads. Again, have this done correctly
with the proper matching sets and materials for making good. A concrete
repaired path adjoining tarmac looks awful.
If you can, always make sure that your actual parking
bay area is of a min. size of 2.4M x 4.8M. You may only have a small
mini but the next owner is bound to have a boring BMW that wont fit and most
people who pander to these German status symbols wont change their car to
fit your parking slot. Also remember that you should allow a greater width
of parking bay if your have raised walling or planters for example around
the bay other wise you may not get out of the car door.
Our 'Maximum Build
Planning Guide' explains further the tactics involved when
developing land or a site for residential use and how to give yourself the
best chance of being granted an approval.