Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Driven round the bend.

As any seasoned Londoner will know, if you want to get any where fast, don't drive. Driving in the capital takes patience, cash and a fairly flexible schedule. You need patience to navigate the traffic and deal with the odd rogue cyclist, you need cash to pay the congestion charge and parking costs, and you'll need the flexible diary because ultimately you will get stuck in gridlock or end up parking half a mile from your meeting. 

London is gradually evolving into a city less reliant on the motor vehicle. Investment into improving public transport infrastructure, the expansion of the 'Boris Bike' cycle hire scheme and the fruition of car sharing schemes across the capital are giving households more reasons not to own a car. The increasing cost of fuel and insurance has also led to households seeking alternative forms of transport across the capital. 

Making car ownership more expensive and improving transport infrastructure is also part of a wider 'green' plan for London to increase air quality and create a sustainable environment for Londoners and visitors. This is also reflected in planning policy which has drastically reduced the number of parking spaces allowed for new developments. New residential and commercial developments, especially those in Underground Zones 1 & 2 are likely to have limited parking and in some cases, no parking whatsoever. Through so called 'Planning Gain' (terms and conditions of planning permission being granted) developers will often have to make contributions to or facilitate local transport infrastructure to improve the quality of the surrounding environment. 

So, what if you like cars, you own a car, and you want to use your car in the capital? Fair enough, you'll need a parking space. 

In many London boroughs, on street parking can be obtained after some form filling at the local council office, but that doesn't guarantee you a space on your doorstep (or even on your street). Also, do you really want to leave your new motor in full grasp of the wondering cyclist or driver with a limited spacial awareness? 

Parking in the capital is a premium, but everything has it's price. That's why there is a bustling market for parking spaces across the capital, from central underground car parks to secluded mews garages, there will also be a home for your car. Last year a double garage in Knightsbridge (pictured below) apparently sold for over £500k. If you want something less personal, Foxtons is currently marketing this space on Park Lane for £87,000 on a 99 year lease, a relative bargain. 

If this all seems like hard work, a super car club may be more tailored to your needs. Why not get the new Ferrari 458 Italia or Aston Martin Rapide delivered to your home or office, then give it back when you're done. Established clubs such as P1 and Ecurie250 are worth a look if this is more you. 

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