Councils rake in an eye-watering £3 million a year from homeowners who have been forced to take drastic action to deal with parking nightmare in their street. And the worse the situation gets, the more councils can squeeze homeowners for - with the total sum pocketed by the authorities up 68% in just two years.
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The nice little earner is the money taxpayers have to fork out in order to apply to have the kerb dropped outside their home. It's something you are legally required to do if you want to park on your front garden. You're not allowed to drive over pavements and verges without this, in case it damages the surface of the pavement - or pipes and cables buried underneath. When the kerb is dropped, the pavement or verge may also be strengthened.
The figures were discovered by Direct Line Home Insurance, which said the rise of restrictions on parking outside your own house - including an increasing number of areas charging for residents' parking permits - have forced people to take action. There were 40,000 applications for dropped kerbs in 2015 - and 30,000 of them were accepted. That's up 49% from two years earlier.
Some local authorities, such as Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, don't charge for applications, while Dorset County Council bills £267.50, Kent charges £150 and Bromley £100. There is even a significant disparity between London boroughs, with residents of the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames paying a non-refundable application charge of £210, while in Wandsworth residents are charged just £45. The average cost of an application, including those boroughs where it is free, is £66 in the UK.
As a result of these applications, some councils are making a fortune. Kent County Council approved the most dropped kerb applications in 2015 - with all of its 1,394 requests granted - and generated over £400,000. Surrey County Council was in second place - making over £190,000 from applications in 2015.
The councils making the most from dropped kerbs
Kent County Council £404,976
Surrey County Council £191,411
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham £127,200
Northamptonshire County Council £107,600
Derbyshire County Council £28,132
There is really only one small silver lining for homeowners: estate agents point out that off street parking is so attractive to buyers that it doesn't just add to the property's saleability, it's also likely to increase the property price too. So while paying a few hundred pounds to the council may feel painful - you're likely to make the cash back several times over if your application is accepted.