Laying claim to a parking space is not as simple as it first seems

The difficulty in finding an on-street parking space is one of lifes bugbears.Picture: PA

The difficulty in finding an on-street parking space is one of lifes bugbears.Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Parking is one of life's biggest bugbears. Frankly I can think of a few to 'Trump' it (joke) – but finding a parking space can be a nightmare.

It makes our blood boil when a selfish driver parks across two bays, or someone leaves far too much space in front and behind their vehicle thus reducing the amount of parking space available.

My wife has a particular annoyance with this, leafleting previous neighbours of ours, appealing for spacial awareness. When a stranger parks outside your house...well that's a total wind-up.

This week I dedicate my EDP column to this 21st-century predicament. On a recent trip to an unnamed North Norfolk village, I came across a conundrum – if you park on the road outside your house, how do you safeguard your space?

Now, we all know that our seaside settlements are particularly delightful.

Most morph from sleepy backwater to vibrant tourist resort for four months of the year.

I also fully understand how frustrating it is hiking from your vehicle to your front door because 'outsiders' have turned your street into a car park.

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Now... I reckon you think I'm on the side of the homeowner, the good rate-paying Norfolkian? Well, think again.

I wish claiming territory was as easy as placing a sign in the middle of your desired space simply saying – 'THIS IS MINE!'

If that were the case I would claim the whole of Jersey armed with a Post-it note and a permanent marker. But this Norfolkian had done just that, claiming ownership of the space outside his house by placing cones in the road.

Before anybody thinks I've turned into a heartless law enforcer consider this – if any hapless tourist was to inadvertently trip over this 'amateur' road obstruction, prang their car on a temporary sign or come into contact with an ill-placed cone they might legitimately turn to the law for compensation.

These days a broken fingernail appears to command a healthy settlement. Imagine the outlay for something vaguely serious.

And what about that little old inconvenience that is British Law? In this country it's not yours unless you've got the deeds.

This year I've already witnessed one exasperated tourist being chastised for parking – legally – while a homeowner railed at her.

Actori incumbit probatio ['the burden of proof is on the plaintiff...'] ...and I very much doubt he had the relevant Land Registry document he would need in court.

Much more sensible would be to consult the local authority and ask for an assessment.

Of course there are mitigating factors if you're expecting a skip or a removal van. Once again it's always best to seek advice from your local authority. I accept, sadly, that some drivers are oblivious to their local environment.

In fact their parking can be darn right anti-social. Some have scant regard for the Highway Code, let alone parking rules.

And does law enforcement really work?

I imagine a few absent-minded souls think a parking fine is a note endorsing the positioning in the bay rather than a penalty notice.

Maybe the angst of local residents deserves a long-term solution. Alas I can only think of two... permitted parking or patience. Both are unpopular.