Save pounds on cost of car parking…by finding a drive instead

Save pounds on cost of car parking… by finding a drive instead: ‘I earn £1,000 a year for owning two spaces’

Motorists set to be hit by soaring council car park fees next month could slash costs – by parking on someone’s driveway instead.

Council car park fees are rising by up to 10 per cent from April – putting further pressure on already cash-strapped motorists. Many local authorities are plotting this car park ‘stealth tax’ on top of a 5 per cent increase in council tax in April after the Government lifted the cap on bill rises.

Yet savvy motorists could halve the cost of their parking charge by paying one of more than 50,000 homeowners nationwide willing to rent out their driveway or garage for parking instead.

Motorists can use smartphone apps provided by outfits such as JustPark, YourParkingSpace and Park on My Drive to locate available spots.

Brian MacDowall, a spokesman for the action group Alliance of British Drivers, says: ‘Greed is clearly at work from the councils who consider motorists as just cash cows.

£1,000 a year for the owner of two spaces 

Homeowners with a space on their driveway or an empty garage can use a car parking app to earn a bit of extra cash.

Sebastian Miles earns almost £1,000 a year from renting out a couple of spaces for £7.50 each a day outside his central Birmingham home, which is 300 metres from the popular concert venue Utilita Arena.

‘A win-win’: Sebastian Miles rents out his drive in Birmingham

The 51-year-old financial services project manager says: ‘It is a win-win situation. I make a bit of money from spaces that are not being used while people can park their car for less than a tenner rather than £20 at an official car park.’

Sebastian, who rents spaces via YourParkingSpace, has also added CCTV cameras and a lockable post in front of his driveway to give motorists extra security – but has never had problems in the couple of years he has rented spaces out.

Although the app includes details of location when customers pay for a parking spot, Sebastian also texts them the day before with directions in case they get lost.

‘We encourage drivers to look at the alternatives available rather than pay this stealth tax.

‘Paying someone to park on their driveway can often work out the best value option available – but in the future, with car park price hikes, it is likely to be even more attractive.’

Councils already rake in at least £1.8 billion a year from parking charges. Those that have already confirmed they will bump up charges by 10 per cent or more include councils in London, Kent, Cornwall, Yorkshire and Rutland.

Others such as Hertfordshire will also squeeze motorists by extending car park charge periods and scrapping free parking on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

Motorists are typically charged £5 to £10 a day to park on a homeowner’s driveway for a full day. But you can pay less for shorter periods – or more if you wish to stay overnight. By comparison, council car parks in some cities charge as much as £5 an hour.

As with most public car parks, motorists use a driveway or garage space at their own risk and the homeowner is not held liable for any car damage while on the premises. If anything does happen, you can make a claim on your car insurance.

The cost of parking on a driveway tends to fall the further away you are from a central location, such as a train station or venue.

For example, a spot near the station may cost £12, while one a ten-minute walk away could fall to £6.

The best deals can be snapped up several days in advance, so pre-book if you can. That also gives you peace of mind that you won’t be scrambling around for a space last minute. Drivers can book and pay for their parking spot through the apps so they don’t have to interact with the owners directly. The apps also provide directions on how to find the parking space you have booked.

To use one, you must register by providing some personal details, your car registration number and bank payment details so fees can be taken. You choose the duration of your stay when you make the booking. If you overstay, you are likely to face further charges, which should be clearly disclosed when booking.

JustPark charges motorists a 99p transaction fee on top of the car parking charge – or 49p if parking for under two hours. YourParkingSpace charges drivers commission equivalent to 20 per cent of the bill, plus a 99p fee.

Park on My Drive is free for drivers, but charges driveway owners £20 a year to use its service.

Harrison Wood, YourParkingSpace chief executive, says: ‘With the rises in car park fees right across the country, more motorists are now turning to services such as ours. By pre-booking you can enjoy a less stressful experience than turning up to a car park that may be full.’

A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, says: ‘Councils are working hard to ensure there are parking spaces available for everyone at all times of the day.

‘Income raised through parking charges and fines is spent on running parking services – with any surplus spent on essential transport projects, like road repairs.’