/ Motoring

Would you ban parking on the pavement?

The Scottish government is planning to ban pavement parking – and the rest of the country could follow suit. Would you support pavement parking prohibition?

As a 17 year-old at college I remember the police coming in to give us a talk on the local parking situation. The college car park was off-limits to students, and the roads surrounding were residential and extremely busy.

With plenty of students having just passed their tests many were flocking to these narrow roads every morning in a bid to park up as close as possible.

Is it illegal?

We were strongly discouraged from parking on the pavement by the police. I remember clearly being told that if there wasn’t enough room for a double pram to get through, then you’d have to move.

But what does the law actually say? In London, it’s crystal clear. The highway code states:

Rule 246: you MUST NOT park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.

But outside of London, it’s a little more ambiguous. Councils have the power to enforce bans on pavement parking, but it’s not an option that’s widely taken up, or even enforced.

Consideration over convenience

Pavement parking is an issue that many groups feel strongly about, with a survey by Guide Dogs revealing that 97% of blind or partially sighted people encounter problems with street obstructions.

The government has acknowledged the issues, saying that a review is underway which will help tackle inappropriate parking.

It’s so common to see streets of parked cars with two wheels on the pavement, with many people clearly opting for the convenience of being close to their destination or home. Do you think people should be parking more considerately?

Let us know if you’d like to see the rest of the UK following Scotland’s plans for a blanket ban.


On one of the roads into town there parking bays that extend onto the wide pavement, allowing two-way traffic on the narrow road. It would be better to have a narrower pavement and keep cars off it, but at least the present system shows where cars are permitted.

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If this legislation goes ahead it might encourage English councils to face up to their responsibilities for the disabled or have control removed from them.

The principle given in the introduction seems sensible. Sufficient pavement should be available for its intended purpose. To comfortably accommodate pedestrians – two walking side by side – a wheeelchair or mobility scooter, no obstruction to visually impaired people for example. However, in many cases pavements and verges improve the appearance of the road and I think we should retain this.

Parking on the road can itself cause problems; leaving insufficient room for two way traffic, particularly if one is a large vehicle, and maybe preventing easy passage for emergency vehicles.

On balance, if proper parking is not available (marked roadside bays, car parks) then I would not allow improvised parking. If you cannot park your car, and are not handicapped, find another way to travel. So improve public transport, use a bicycle (electric??), walk, and help reduce the pollution in built up areas. Leave roads and pavements for what they were meant for – moving traffic.

In residential areas that do provide off-street parking, part of the problem is that residents often don’t use their drives or parking areas, preferring to park outside their home. A common problem is long, narrow drives where parking a second car prevents the first one leaving the property. At least some owners have redesigned their front gardens to accommodate more off-street parking.

I agree about residential parking. Planning permission should require that provision is made for adequate off street parking, not just for residents but also for their visitors. A local small development of 4 bedroom houses and two bedroom flats proposes 1.5 parking places for each house (3 for 2 in other words), 1 for each of the flats and none for visitor parking. So others will just clog up any available space.

Matching off-street parking provision to suit needs is a challenge. The owner of the four bedroom house opposite had block paving put over part of his attractive garden 🙁 to increase the parking space from two to five cars, and sometimes there is a small sixth one there too. They have grown-up kids who visit regularly. In contrast, I have just one car on my drive except when someone is visiting.

Needs can vary. A couple may have one or two cars but that can change when the kids grow up. Old people may give up their cars but don’t downsize their homes and their drives sit empty.

When I am planning to go away on holiday I ask my neighbours to keep an eye on the house and invite them to use the drive.

I hope people use porous paving when turning garden into parking. It should be an enforceable requirement to minimise the contribution to flooding.

On narrow plots there is an increasing tendency to build 3 storey houses which can look attractive. This gives the opportunity to use part of the ground floor plan as a garage, or as a car port with a longer drive for more parking.

This is particularly important where there is heavy clay soil, poor drainage and the intention is to leave little garden. One of the problems with porous paving is weed growth. Have you any experience of how it works in practice, Malcolm?

For areas that are only used for casual rather than regular parking, a plastic/fibreglass grid that grass can grow through seems to be an effective solution.

Weed suppressent fabric is, I believe, used under porous paving. I have an alternative solution for my gravel drive.

Interlocking pierced concrete strips and blocks are available to allow grass to grow and give a better appearance as well as drainage. E.g. https://www.grasscrete.com/docs/paving/grassblock.html

I was not aware of that but weed suppressant fabric is used below gravel and stone drives. I expect that weeds grow in the gaps between blocks to a greater extent than with conventional block paving, requiring either painstaking weeding or use of weedkillers that are harmful to the environment. I prefer the appearance of grass growing through black or brown grids to light-coloured concrete, though the latter will become darker as it ages.

Woking Council stipulates that a 4 bedroom house must have three off-street packing spaces (inc. garages). However, there is no stipulation that they park in the garage. A nearby house has 2 cars in the drive and 4 on the road!

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That seems sensible, Duncan, but how well does it work?

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Thanks, but are owners banned from keeping cars on the streets, and what about visitors?

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That seems reasonable, but only if the rules are clear and people comply with them.

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It’s encouraging that people can take report inconsiderate drivers. It’s probably a bit naughty to block in someone’s car though. 😉

Quite right too. He/she/it probably will think twice before being so selfish in future. There is a tv clip where someone parks their Mini on a tramline, blocking public transport. Locals carry it off. Good for them.

“It’s probably a bit naughty to block in someone’s car though.”

…and it’s definitely naughty to block access to someone’s drive or garage.

Maybe it’s nasty to block access but I found it is not that easy to stop someone who only cares about themself.

I used to live in a cul-de-sac where there it was unusual to see cars parked on the road except when collecting kids from the primary school in the next street. One parent took to parking opposite my drive on the other side of the narrow road. It was difficult to reverse out without scraping my car on a gatepost or her car. I politely asked her if she could park alongside my house and being on a corner there was plenty of space to do this. She told me that she could park where she wanted and carried on. I spoke to Citizens Advice and they could not help. I spoke to the school because of this and parking problems on the adjacent street and was told that they could do nothing, even though they wanted some yellow lines on a corner. I decided that I would join Which? Legal service but abandoned this when they said they could not help.

One day I had taken my car out of the drive because I had an important meeting and parked on the road, outside my drive. She parked outside my house and I was just going out when another car reversed into her car. Unfortunately I did not get the number but I did tell my problem parker in case her car had been damaged, even though she had caused me hassle for weeks. That was the last time I saw her.

It is a criminal offence to park across a driveway, if there is a vehicle already parked on the driveway. It is not illegal if there is no vehicle parked on the driveway. Parking on the pavement with 2 wheels on the pavement by Vans is dangerous as they block the “Sight Lines” of any vehicles driving off a driveway.

The latter is dangerous, but the police can take no action. A friend enters a main road from a small side road where they live. A white van (has to be, doesn’t it) is parked frequently close to the junction, part on the pavement, totally blocking a view of traffic coming from the right. The only way to stop this is double yellow lines which take council approval, legal notices and cost – as well as a lot of time. Everyone agree it is dangerous. However I presume that in the event of an accident the van owner will be held liable and may well not be reimbursed on his insurance. But not a good solution.

This (Michael Hoffman says:Today 11:42 It is a criminal offence to park across a driveway,) appears incorrect. I found this online:

Parking over and blocking a driveway belonging to someone else is one of the most common reasons that people end up falling out with their neighbours. It’s rude, discourteous and can cause a whole lot of problems, especially if access to the driveway is completely blocked in either direction.

When faced with this situation, many homeowners try to fight fire with fire and come out brandishing a copy of the Highway Code which in paragraph 243 requests that motorists “DO NOT PARK in front of an entrance to a property”.

However, if they take things further and report the offender to the police – it often comes as a big surprise to find out that it isn’t actually illegal for a motorist to park in front of a private driveway, despite what you think the Highway Code is saying. The important thing to pay attention to is the language used in the rulings. If ‘Do not’ is used, then this is advisory and should be followed – but there is no legal comeback if a motorist chooses to ignore it. However, if the rule states ‘Must not’ then this is a legal requirement and the driver must therefore obey it or if caught or reported, face legal action.

and already illegal!

Perhaps the thumbs downer(s) would like to add a comment? Is What I posted from an online source not correct?

Rob says:
15 June 2018

Absolutely. In fact I would make it lawful to damage any vehicle obstructing the footway. It is absurd that tactile paving is put in all over the place, supposedly because it has to be to aid blind or partially sighted persons, and then footways supposed to be there for pedestrians (including the blind and partially sighted) are blocked by inconsiderate, selfish morons that cannot park ‘their’ vehicle somewhere sensible. Fundamentally, highways are for people to pass and repass, and not there to be obstructed by vehicles.

People park half on and half off the pavement which isn’t designed for the weight of vehicles and then moan the slabs/surface of the footpath are all wobbly, breaking up or become a serious trip hazard.

Councils are struggling to fix potholes in the road surfaces as it is, the last thing they need are claims from the public for tripping on uneven paths as well as the cost of footpath repair.

The road is for cars and the pathway for pedestrians, in some places paths are much too wide causing restriction to the carriage way and some are only just wide enough for one person and don’t get me started on the stupid idea of mixed cycle and pedestrians on the same path.

They are called footpaths for a reason so keep them clear of obstacles and idiots.

In England, except London, parking on the public highway is tolerated except where it is specifically prohibited. The opposite applies within Greater London, i.e. it is prohibited except where it is specifically permitted, and that is usually designated by markings on the carriageway and on the footway and signs with a pictogram showing a car with ‘two wheels up’.

In order to cram as many dwellings on to a new development as possible the builders have been allowed to reduce the road width to just enough to allow two car to pass. If a big van or truck is coming in the opposite direction one driver or the other has to mount the kerb or tuck into a side road. It is therefore virtually essential for visitors to park partially on the pavement to avoid damage. The off-street parking provision in new developments is rarely more than two spaces per house which includes the garage, but very few garages seem to be used to stable a car, because they are either full of household impedimenta or are not wide enough. The need to include a garage as a parking space within the plot to comply with the planning consent has meant that three-storey ‘town houses’ have become common. Some designs are better than others but the overall effect in semi-rural areas is not usually attractive and the interior spaces are often compromised by sloping ceilings and small dormer windows.

Living now on the edge of Norwich city centre I have noticed that some residents let out their driveway space to commuters who can walk to their place of work within five or ten minutes. I have no wish to do that but it does ease city parking problems. The house is within a controlled parking zone where the availability of permits is strictly controlled. The drive is big enough for two vehicles and it is more convenient to keep it clear for visitors and tradespeople than be under an obligation to a stranger to provide a space plus there is the risk of access to the garage being blocked.

There is no doubt that parking is one of the current era’s knottiest problems and it seems to be getting worse. Personally I am entirely in favour of keeping all vehicles off the pavements but in practical terms I do not see how that will be achieved except progressively by design and control. The desire for chunky cars does not help; the low mpg used to act as check on such indulgence but more advanced engines have neutralised that effect and the necessity of driving children all the way into the classroom at the last minute, together with their instruments and apparatus, has made them essential for the modern parent.

What about a radical idea – to sanction present home owners with a permission ticket but to ban such activity by covenant restriction at next house transfer? This will encourage provision of off road parking to avoid blighting the value of houses without such facility – and correctly value thos where no such provision can be effected.

Absolutely. Governments should be encouraging people, disabled or otherwise, to walk/ cycle wherever possible. Restricting pavement width through inconsiderate and poorly enforced parking does not go hand in hand with this. It is not just blind people, people in wheelchairs, including the elderly as well as parents with children in pushchairs are in particular disadvantaged under the current lax approach to pavement parking and yet these are some of the most vulnerable groups in society.

I’m old fashioned, so I walk wherever I can and I keep my car in my garage.

That said, I think I’m the only one on my development that does this. As we’re a very quiet cul-de-sac, it seems to be pretty safe for pedestrians to walk on the either the roadway of the pavement. The latter does sometimes get constricted with residents or visitors cars parked half on the pavement, but I’ve never seen that cause obvious inconvenience here.

In other places, not least in less expensive districts that were laid out long before private car ownership because necessary, prevailing conventions often seem to involve parking on both sides of the street, with cars half-on the pavement, so that the passage of larger vehicles (not least emergency vehicles) remains possible. If/when I visit such areas, I will often park that way too, it is seem to be the most appropriate thing to do. But if I do that, I’ll try to leave plenty of space for the passage of disability scooters and such like.

For problem streets like that, I agree that home owners (including landlords) ought to be encouraged to provide more off-street parking. As discussed above, no matter how fashionable block paving is for frontages, there are other, greener, ways that can be used to provide more parking spaces.

Our cul-de-sac does not even have a pavement, so you find yourself stepping into a garden when someone drives past. Maybe that’s why it’s called something Lane. Residents know to keep their cars off the road because delivery lorries and bin lorries would not be able to get past.

Whilst it’s a nice idea, the reality is some roads aren’t wide enough to have cars parked on both sides of the street and still allow traffic through. So unless it’s done sensibly which I know from how my council has marked up my street, aint gonna happen, so no. Opposite me where the pavement is wide enough the marked bays are half on the road half on the pavement, at the far end the pavement isn’t wide enough so both sides are fully on the road and if people park at the end or even close it it opposite each other, then no one can get through.

depends what the fines would be – will it be less annually than the cost of increased insurance premiums for all the wing mirror replacement claims?

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I don’t know why you got an anonymous thumbs down, duncan. A scourge of Convos. I’ve removed it.

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Although in principle I agree with banning car parking on pavements, there are some roads where, if they did not, there would be no room for other vehicles to get through, so flexibility is required.

Denis Hanbury says:
16 June 2018

In our local town, people constantly park on the pavement right outside any of several takeaways, while they order, wait for, and collect their meals. It’s all right, though, because most of them use use their ‘magic cloak of invisibility’ hazard flashers to excuse this selfish practice.
Strangely, this doesn’t stop long traffic queues on the road and blockages for pedestrians on the pavement.
– and there’s a 20 space car park right next door to two of the takeaways!!!

…should it really be any surprise that folk too lazy to cook, and loo lazy to walk to their nearest chippy are also too lazy to park in a proper car park?

Those folk should stay at home and get the hard working folk of Uber Eats to bring them their food with chilli sauce and everything on…

[Note – other home deivery companies are available.]

I am afraid I park on the pavement all the time as I do not have a driveway that my car will fit on so even if i parked on the drive I would overhang the pavement. Our road is narrow but has grass verges on both sides. With nearly all families having at least two cars these days would it not be a good idea to turn the verges into parking bays. An initial expense for the councils but they would then save on having to cut the grass on the verges which is an ongoing annual cost to them

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Bafrry says:
16 June 2018

Sadly despite the optimism of some earlier contributors, councils do not enforce the parking space requirements on all new build developments in the cities, and are therefore part of the problem not the solution.
Additionally, as other contributors have mentioned, some streets were built so long ago that they are not wide enough to accommodate adequate parking, road passage (Or emergency vehicle passage)
and pedestrian passage at the same time, so simply banning parking on the pavements is not a proper solution in all cases.
There is also the problem created by the councils themselves, in densely populated areas with flats and tenements, they have huge communal waste bins placed on the pavements already, which reduce the width and are obstructions to the disabled community and others already. Where are these to go?
There is no simple one size fits all solution no matter what politicians may think.

Stephen Turner says:
16 June 2018

Unlike the disabled, those with prams etc. I am perfectly able to walk in the street when cars block my way on the pavement. But it’s dangerous and I resent it. If cars are parked on the pavement, who has right of way in the road: the car or the pedestrian? Pavements should be for people. In my area, however, enforcing a ban on pavement parking would either make the narrow streets completely impassable (already, cars have to yield to each other up and down the streets because the available space in the road is only one vehicle wide, due to cars parked half on the pavement) or would leave thousands of cars with nowhere to park. Our streets were designed for a less affluent time.

Irene says:
16 June 2018

If we didn’t park partly on the pavement (which was the road originally until pavements were unnecessarily widened) Ambulances Fire Engines etc. would not get down the road.