How to Handle Parking Problems at Your B & B
Parking can cause real problems for B&B owners particularly if they are in a residential area. With many families having two cars, perhaps more as their children grow up, pressure for parking is getting really tight and a B&B in a residential road can really exacerbate the problem.
Parking on Your Own LandIf you are lucky enough to have a large garden that you can transform into parking spaces then all well and good. But that's often not possible, particularly in many seaside resorts, and towns in busy National Parks. In these places many B&B's and small hotels are conversions from older domestic housing stock, built when cars didn’t exist or were thin on the ground.
This means narrow roads and few drives or garages so many householders become proprietorial about 'their' bit of the road outside their house. B&B owners who are under pressure from neighbours should look at their gardens and plot to see if they can fit more parking spaces on their land.
At the same time it should be noted that front gardens can no longer be paved over; planning law changes now mean that planning permission is required. This is to prevent flooding and improve the environment. It doesn't mean that permission will be refused but it is likely that drainage will be required or a permeable driveway surface used.
Build Relationships with NeighboursB&B owners need to be realistic and understanding about neighbour's feelings. Some years ago one B&B in a popular seaside town alienated all their neighbours when paint stripper was poured over any cars that deigned to park outside their premises.
The use of paint stripper stopped after police visits to the B&B but offending cars continued to be defaced, albeit in less destructive ways, which caused a lot of bad feeling in the street. B&B owners need to keep neighbours on their side to avoid problems and create a good atmosphere that keeps customers coming back.
Parking Regulations and PlanningThere are no general regulations in the United Kingdom about the numbers of parking spaces that a B&B needs to provide. Some district and regional councils may impose their own local restrictions but these are likely to apply to parking in general. Parking is one of the many issues that will be considered at the planning stage if a B&B is being extended or developed.
Planners will not often insist on enough parking for one car per room, as they will be aware that no B&B is full every night of the year, but the exact numbers will depend on the situation around the B&B and the council. But for a B&B that has been in operation for some years (even though it has changed hands many times) there are no government regulations that we are aware of that could jeopardise an existing B&B business if neighbours complain about parking.
Pressurise Councils for SolutionsIf parking is a real issue in the area and there are a lot of B&B's and small hotels or guesthouses, you could consider asking the council to set up a visitors permit scheme that would allow guests to use municipal car parks. These are often empty once workers and shoppers have gone home and many councils have set up schemes like this to alleviate parking pressure in residential streets.
Other councils have set up similar schemes but to allow B&B and hotel guests to use on-street parking. This is useful in areas where there are resident-only restrictions on the streets and no municipal car parks nearby.