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What are my parking rights?

Lawrence Allan

Written By Lawrence Allan

on street parking London

It's now common to find households that have two or more cars. So, whether you want to know where you can park or if it's legal for your neighbour to park over your dropped kerb, we've compiled a few answers to clear up the confusion.

We've all been there. You come home after a long day of work only to find someone's nicked that last parking space. Certain areas have to put up with more parking nuisances than others. If you live near a railway station that's used by commuters or are close to a school, you'll often find that parking issues can cause real friction.

This is made worse if you're without a driveway or a set parking space. Your neighbours might kindly leave the spot outside your house free for you, but this isn't a legal right.

As ridiculous as it may seem, you can be issued a PCN for parking across your own dropped kerb.

It's important to remember - for the most part - that drivers can park in any street, providing they comply with parking regulations and do not cause obstructions. 

It's illegal to park directly outside a school, on the zig-zag lines to a pedestrian crossings and in designated marked bays you don't have a permit for.

Can you park over a dropped kerb?

This is one area that always causes controversy. Dropped kerbs are lowered sections of the pavement that allow easier access from the pavement to the road by wheelchair users, pushchairs and the visually impaired. Dropped kerbs are also often found outside of businesses and private residences for vehicle access.

The Highway Code's Rule 243 states that you should 'not stop or park where the kerb has been lowered to help wheelchair users and powered mobility vehicles, or where it would obstruct cyclists except when forced to do so by stationary traffic.'

Parking a vehicle fully or partially across a dropped kerb is classed as an obstruction and either the police or local council can enforce the contravention. Based on the resources a particular authority has in dealing with this, attention will usually be focussed on offences that impede those with disabilities.

Complaints can be made to the local police via the non-emergency 101 number, although it's usually better to contact the local council first. Action from the council can only occur the it's the occupier of the premises involved who has complained.

If the problem persists, the council can mark a white line below the dropped curb. However, the markings aren't enforceable by police or councils - they're only an advisory area as where not to park.

As ridiculous as it may seem, you can be issued a PCN for parking across your own dropped kerb. To avoid this happening, contact your local council with the make, model, registration of your vehicle and confirmation that you reside at the property. 

Can someone park on my driveway?

This is a little bit of a grey area. Rule 243 of the Highway Code states: 'Do not stop or park in front of an entrance to a property except when forced to do so by stationary traffic.'

However, if you can still get in and out of your driveway and the car is fully taxed, insured, isn't causing an obstruction and is not in breach of any parking restrictions, the police cannot take any action. Ultimately, this will come down to whether your local council or police are willing to act based on their available resources and what the parking situation in your area is.

If the vehicle has been untaxed for at least one month and left in the same location for a significant amount of time it can be classed as abandoned and therefore removed. You can do that here.

Pavement parking

'You must not stop or park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it,' says Rule 244 of the Highway Code.

It is also an offence (under section 72 of the Highways Act 1835) to drive onto the pavement, even if you aren't intending to park.

This is enforced by the police, although leniency is often allowed if there isn't a lot of space for parking and the road would become too narrow without cars parked partially on kerbs or pavements.

Local authorities and the police have the power to remove a vehicle if it's causing an obstruction or has been abandoned. A vehicle can only be illegally parked if there are parking restrictions operating in the area.

Highway Code, Rule 238: "Double yellow lines indicate a prohibition of waiting at any time even if there are no upright signs."

Can a business park vehicles on my road to sell them?

Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 (part two) it's an offence to park vehicles on the street in order to sell them and to park vehicles on the street in order to carry out repairs for a business.

Section three states that it's an offence for a person to park vehicles on a street in order to be sold. There must be two or more vehicles on the same street, no more than 500 metres apart, acting as part of a business for the offence to be committed.

Section 4 states that it's an offence to carry out 'restricted works' to vehicles on a road as part of a business. This also doesn't apply to a vehicle that's broken down or had an accident as long as it's repaired within 72 hours.