Parking nightmare as one in six St Albans and Harpenden residents struggle to park in the road they live in

Car parking is a nightmare outside many district homes

Car parking is a nightmare outside many district homes - Credit: Archant

As the amount of cars on the roads soars, there is mounting chaos for those trying to park near their own homes.

One in six St Albans and Harpenden residents find it challenging to park on the road they live in.

And Radlett in Hertsmere is the 19th worst area for residential parking in the country - with an average of 7.57 metres parking space per car.

This is according to a recent study showing why motorists are finding it a nightmare to park, as they experience frustration, fines and bumps to vehicles they must shoehorn into unfeasible spaces.

Car ownership is growing at twice the rate of residential parking spaces since 2011 – causing parking to becoming harder. And it looks likely to get worse.

Despite these jam-packed streets, just half (53 per cent) of councils have added to the number of parking zones in their area.

And areas of Hertfordshire, such as Watford and Broxbourne, are also among the most squeezed places in the UK for parking spaces.

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While those Hertfordshire towns were not in the top 10 areas of worst parking five years ago, they have seen space-per-car shrink by five and six per cent respectively since 2006. Watford is the fifth worst area in Britain for residential parking and Broxbourne is fourth worst.

The study shows UK drivers wait anywhere between two days and nine and a half years (in Devon and Canterbury) for a residential parking permit.

In the past five years, car ownership has grown at twice the rate of residential parking spaces, according to the research carried out by car insurers, esure.

This means there are 2m extra cars on the road, with drivers having a daily battle to find a space near their homes. More than one in 10 (13 per cent) find it tricky to park on their own street – a figure rising to one in five (19 per cent) in London and one in six (18 per cent) in the South East.

A reason for the trend towards declining parking space is the proportion of households who live in flats – which has risen from 21 per cent to 23 per cent over the past five years.

With only a third of flats having off-street parking, cars and vans are forced to find spaces in surrounding residential streets.

An obvious consequence is that some drivers feel compelled to park illegally if they cannot find suitable spots to leave their cars in. One in 10 motorists admit to breaking the law, with a third being fined an average of £106.

One such area in St Albans is the hundreds of flats in Charrington Place, near the city station. Ellis House, for example, has about 20 spaces - which hundreds of residents sometimes literally fight over. There is no designated parking so it’s first-come first served and the rest get expensive parking tickets if they park on the street or pavement.

Jon Wilshire, chief underwriting officer at esure, said: “Drivers are not imagining it – it really is harder to find a parking spot for your car. Over the past two decades, the number of cars in Britain has increased by 10 million but the space available for parking in residential areas has not kept up.

“In some areas, the average space available is so tight that drivers can barely manoeuvre their cars into the spaces. When space is so limited, drivers must take extra care when parking to avoid damaging their own vehicle or those around them.”