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Householders set to earn cash from driveways

Earlier this month it became clear that our local authorities have, for years, been treating parking charges and fines as an income generator. After many years of denials, it now appears that councils have been using drivers as dependable cash cows as they boost their income.

Earlier this month it became clear that our local authorities have, for years, been treating parking charges and fines as an income generator. After many years of denials, it now appears that councils have been using drivers as dependable cash cows as they boost their income. Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, condemned the councils' use of parking fines as income streams after it emerged that local authorities across England had raked in more than £600 million last year and were set to increase charges by a further £34 million this years, even though traffic levels are falling.

Pickles has suggested easing traffic controls, instead of aggressively enforcing them and has floated the idea of allowing drivers to park for up to 15 minutes on certain stretches of double yellow lines, specifically in High Street areas. This is an attempt to reinvigorate High Street trade by making it easier for drivers to access the shops there. It seems that Pickles intends to become the motorists' friend because now he has come up with another idea that could boost motorists and provide income for hard pressed families. His idea involves enterprising house owners who allow drivers to park in their drive ways.

This practice can be quite lucrative for householders, with some earning up to £5,000 per year. Up until now, however, the council has insisted on getting in on the act, charging home owners £385 for so-called 'change of use' planning permission. Those who refused could be hit with fines of up to £20,000. Now Pickles is changing the law, so that no planning permission will be required for a single car, although multiple car parking will still need to seek permission from the council. Pickles commented: "Councils should be welcoming common sense ways that help hard-working people park easier and cheaply and for families to make some spare cash. Councils shouldn't be interfering in an honest activity that causes no harm to others, unless there are serious concerns." 

The founder of the world's largest online parking marketplace, Anthony Eskinazi of www.parkatmyhouse.com also welcomed the news, saying: ''Drivers should not be at the mercy of vast parking charges and minimal parking spaces. Parking should be no different to all other services where those who shop around can find the best deals. Often drivers feel powerless but by choosing an alternative to council parking, drivers can demonstrate to Councils that they won't stand for inflated prices and poor choice.''

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