Set up a car park. Advice needed please?

in Boost your income
20 replies 24.1K views
My train station car park is ridiculously expensive to park every day but there is no other option as all of the roads near the station have restrictions. It also gets full up by 8am so people have to drive to the next station.

So I had a thought - why don't I buy some land (just a small field for around 50 cars - 100 cars) and turn it into a car park? There is obviously a need for more spaces and if I charged less than the existing car park, hopefully my spaces would be taken up first.

It sounds like a simple plan in principle, I just need to find a small plot of land quite close by. Does anybody have any advice on where to go from here eg what type of land?, do I need certain permissions, etc? Or can anybody point out a MASSIVE flaw in my plan that has completely passed me by?

Any advice would be much appreciated.
Thanks :o)


  • You would almost certainly need planning permission to change the use of the land from field to a car park. Cost for constructing the carpark, buying the ticketing machines. Buying Public Liability insurance would be sensible but cheap. Then need to have inspectors to check the machines, empty them cash, refill the tickets. Plus checking cars are displaying valid tickets. Need to keep monies aside for repairing the machines and carpark. Possibly paying rates on the land (not sure if they'd apply). Potentially handling selling advertising on the tickets?

    Planning permission with be the stumbling block particularly if in green belt land, potentially going to have to show you wont create drainage problems etc.

    Some elements you may be able to outsource (such as the ticket inspections) with a revenue share and the machine with maintenance may be available as a package (guessing on this one).
  • dibuzzdibuzz Forumite
    2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    For a start you would need planning permission and probably some sort of insurance (public liability maybe?)
    14 Projects in 2014 - in memory of Soulie - 2/14
  • Thanks for the response. Very helpful.

    I thought as it's such a small car park, maybe I could just set up a little hut and take money as the cars enter rather than ticket machines and employing staff? I think the car park would be full by about 8am so once it's full I can lock the entrance gate and leave the exit gate open for drivers to leave when they choose. I don't need to sit there all day waiting for one to leave and replace the space as that would mean employing a full time staff member. I'd just like to provide a space for a few lucky commuters who begrudge paying for the other car park, like I do. It would be very basic, a field with a sturdy fence around it, an entrance with lockable gate and then an exit with one of those one way spike contraptions so cars can get out but not in.

    Good point about drainage though, I would have to look into that.
  • Bigmoney2Bigmoney2 Forumite
    640 Posts
    Is there any land for sale near the station?
    A field will be classed as agricultural, you will need to get change of use/ planning permission from the council, difficult if not impossible in my view.
    What area of the country are you in?
  • You will get some that manage to get in even with the one way spikes but the amount is probably too little to worry about.

    If you sit in the hut yourself you'll be ok, if you want others to do it for you then you'll be an employer and so legally need Employers Liability Insurance (again not expensive).

    The main challenge will be the planning permission. You should speak to one of the chaps in the planning office to get a feel for if it is likely they will allow it or if it will be a blanket no
  • I'm looking into land at the moment. There are plenty of possibilities but as I wasn't sure what type of land I should be looking for, I thought I'd ask for advice here. Apart from a good idea (well I think it is ;)) I am completely clueless about going any further with this so am really grateful for all the posts so far.

    Regarding getting planning permission, I may have a good argument to put to the council. A lot of people I know park in the nearest non permit street and walk 15-20 minutes just so they don't have to pay for the car park but the neighbours in these streets are getting annoyed by the excess amount of cars and have taken to keying the paintwork of any car parked outside their house!! So I could maybe get the locals on side if it means these cars won't be blocking up their street?
  • JimmyTheWigJimmyTheWig Forumite
    12.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    I agree that finding the field and getting planning permission will be the hardest bits.
    Buying the field will be the most expensive (unless you're in the middle of nowhere, but I'm guessing not if parking is that much of a problem).
  • Inside Insurance - I'm sure somebody will find a way of getting in but to be honest - if they get in then well done to them. They deserve to park there for free :o)
    Most of the cars will be there all day as it's a commuter to London station so as long as I've got my 50 paid cars a day then I'm happy and if somebody leaves halfway through the day making an available space, it's up for grabs if you can get in it.

    I will sit in the hut myself at the start I think. If I open at 6, I can be full by 8 (I'm guessing) and be home with a pocket full of money by half 8! I could even keep my day job as I can park in my own car park for free hehe and jump on the train to work. Although I quite like the sound of working a 10 hour week :oD

    Land is my only issue at the moment and as it's the most important thing I'll need to look into that now I've got all this advice from you guys. Thanks so much!
  • PS sorry for the random smileys in my posts. I'm new to forums so haven't quite grasped how to add symbols/quote posts, etc.
  • Hi, I like the sound of your idea. How much does the train station car park charge and how much would you be planning to charge?
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