Parking on Grass Verges, Footpaths and Pavements

Policy Statement

1. Verges, footpaths and pavements are, like roads, all part of the highway. It is the statutory duty of the County Council and its duly authorised agents to keep all highways clear and free from obstructions and to ensure safe and expeditious movement of traffic, including pedestrians. The public has a legal right of way to pass along such highways in travelling from place to place but has no legal right to park vehicles on the highway. The County Council does not have any responsibility to provide parking spaces and is committed to reducing dependency on motor vehicles and improving travel choices for the residents of, and visitors to, Hampshire. The primary responsibility for finding acceptable parking spaces rests with vehicle owners/keepers.

2. The County Council is aware that demand for parking space often exceeds availability of off-street facilities and believes that it is appropriate to accept a degree of parking on the highway where this is safe, does not cause an obstruction and does not damage the highway or any services buried within the highway. Nevertheless the County Council will always prefer motorists to provide or to find off-street parking space wherever this is possible.

3. The parking of vehicles on grass verges, footpaths and pavements is increasingly widespread and creates significant problems in many areas for residents, highway users and for the Council itself. The circumstances of each case vary widely and thus it is extremely difficult to identify a single solution that can be applied universally. The County Council therefore has adopted a flexible approach to the problem, with a view to addressing each complaint as it arises.

4. The County Council invites members of the public to report problems directly to its contact centre, Hantsdirect, giving as much information as possible to describe the nature and extent of the problem, its location and its consequences. This information, along with any other information collected, will then help the County Council to analyse the cause of the problem and will inform the categorisation and prioritisation (Annex 1) process required before problems can be addressed. The highest priority problems are those most likely to receive treatment.

5. The County Council has determined that the treatment of verge parking needs to take into consideration road safety, the expeditious movement of traffic, the effect on the street scene, and the available resources. Depending on the prevailing conditions and community views, the Environment Department will work with partners where necessary to determine the course of action, if any, to be taken from a raft of possible measures (Annex 2).

6. Solutions will be considered on a neighbourhood by neighbourhood basis focusing on areas of greatest need and will be dependent on a consensus of support from the local community and from partner agencies. The introduction of legally enforceable parking controls to deal with verge, footpath and pavement parking problems will need to have the support of the Police (or civil parking enforcement authority, where applicable).

7. Members of the public will have the opportunity to update themselves on the progress of each complaint through the Council's website. The length of time to resolution will be dependent on prevailing conditions, the action to be taken and the availability of funds.

Criteria for Prioritising Complaints

1. Safety - established casualty problem

2. Safety - potential casualty risk to vulnerable highway users (eg children, elderly, those with mobility impairment)

3. Safety - potential casualty risk to other highway users

4. Obstruction - to vehicular traffic used for passenger transport

5. Obstruction - to commercial traffic (including loading/unloading)

6. Obstruction - to other vehicular traffic

7. Obstruction - to highway users with mobility impairment

8. Damage* - to buried services

9. Obstruction - to pedestrians

10. Obstruction - to private accesses

11. Obstruction - to highway maintenance works (including street cleansing and verge maintenance)

12. Obstruction - to visibility (not included in safety above)

13. Damage* - to fabric of highway (footway or carriageway surface, drains, kerbs etc)

14. Damage* - to highway trees and tree roots

15. Damage* - to other highway planting

16. Damage*- to highway grass verges in conservation areas

17. Damage* - to other highway grass verges

* Either immediate or cumulative damage

Treatment Options

This annex outlines some of the options/treatments that are available to address the problem of parking on verges, footpaths and pavements. It also highlights the advantages, disadvantages and potential risks for each.

Provide additional parking spaces




Prohibit verge parking




Exclude verge parking




Allow verge parking and strengthen verges




Allow verge parking and undertake periodic repairs




Version No:   1.0
Effective from:   14/10/2010

If copied or printed, this document should be treated as uncontrolled and correct only at the date it was copied or printed.