3.3 Parking provision

3.3.1 Parking policy and objectives

We aim to achieve the following:

  • manage car parking provision to encourage modal shift;
  • encourage and facilitate more public transport use in the development of an integrated transport strategy;
  • ensure adequate parking spaces for those with disabilities;
  • provide short term parking to encourage local shoppers to support local shops;
  • encourage new developments to embrace green transport plans where appropriate; and
  • work with developers to provide adequate levels of parking to achieve the right balance to serve the needs of the community.

3.3.2 Parking standards

Refer to our Parking Standards for the levels of parking required for different Planning Use Classes.

Where the Council is satisfied that the nature of a development is such that these standards would result in over or under provision of parking, standards based on expected numbers of employees or visitors may be used.

3.3.3 Residential developments

In residential developments, specific provision should be made for residents’ and visitors’ parking. However, walking, cycling and public transport infrastructure must feature more prominently than facilities for cars, in order to reinforce the transport hierarchy.

Residents’ parking

Car parking should be considered at an early stage in the overall design to achieve a balanced distribution of spaces throughout the site, and layouts should ensure that it is more convenient to use the designated parking areas than to park casually on the road. Since parked vehicles can be visually intrusive, judicious landscaping should break up large areas and provide a level of screening.

Parking spaces reserved for the exclusive use of residents and/or their guests should be located off the carriageway to the side or rear of buildings to minimise the visual impact of vehicles on the streetscape. The location and surface treatment of off-road parking areas should emphasise their private nature. They should be clearly separated from the carriageway, usually by crossing a footway via a reinforced crossing and, in localities where there is a significant demand for public car parking, private spaces should be screened from public view.

Residents’ parking spaces should generally be situated no more than 45m walking distance from the nearest entrance to the dwelling they serve.

See Chapter 4.21 of our Supplementary Planning Guidance Design Standards to New Housing Areas for futher policy on parking layout in residential developments.

In line with current Building Standards, car chargers are required. More guidance on car charging requirements.

Visitors’ parking

Parking areas provided for communal use by casual visitors should be located so as to be obvious to strangers to the development. It will usually be appropriate for such public parking to be in parallel and contiguous with the adopted road (e.g. as a lay-by), particularly since obviously marked bays can discourage indiscriminate kerbside parking elsewhere on the road. Visitor parking should be evenly distributed around the site.


Private driveways should normally meet the road at right angles and extend at least 6m clear of the heel of the footway or service strip into the property. They should be 3.3m wide to allow a wheelchair to pass on either side. Double driveways should be 11m in length, or 6m in width. The maximum permitted gradient for driveways is 5%.

The first 2m measured from the heel of the footway or verge should be hard-surfaced to prevent loose material (e.g. chippings) being carried on to the road.

Pedestrian ramps to houses may encroach by up to 300mm on the width (but not the length) provided they are no greater than 150mm in height above the adjacent driveway surface.

Private driveways should serve no more than two properties – or else they should be factored. This is to ensure that the responsibility for future maintenance is clear.

Where the driveway is accessed from an A or B class road, or a road with a speed limit greater than 20mph, it will need to incorporate a turning area to vehicles to exit onto the road in a forward gear.

Gates should open into the property in all circumstances. On roads with a speed limit of more than 30mph, particularly in more rural areas, and where the public road is restricted in width, any gates to private drives should be set back by at least 6m from the heel of the footway or verge. This is to ensure that cars entering or leaving are not required to stand on the carriageway while the gates are opened or closed.


Individual garages or car ports must be set back by at least 6m from the heel of the footway or verge. This allows garage doors to be opened when the car is in the driveway and also facilitates adequate sightlines. Garages are not counted as parking spaces, though car ports measuring at least 3.3m x 6m may be.

3.3.4 Commercial and industrial car parks

A number of factors including the purpose and size of the development will establish the parking requirements for retail, commercial and industrial sites. For larger developments, a Transport Assessment will be required which should include an assessment of parking provision.

Commerical car parks should generally be provided to the rear or the side of the building, so minimising the distance that pedestrian, cyclists and public transport users have to walk from the street.

The minimum dimensions of a single parking space within a car park are 2.5m by 5m.

Car chargers are required in line with current Building Standards. More guidance on car charger requirements.

Where it is proposed to control entry and exit by means of barriers, the layout must ensure that any queues do not extend onto the public road.

Large unbroken expanses of parking are visually unattractive and can be confusing to the driver trying to find their car. It is desirable for larger parking areas to be subdivided, with the use of appropriate landscaping, into units of between fifty and one hundred spaces. Detailed design guidance for multi-storey car parks can be obtained from the Roads Authority.

Parking management

Parking provision of 100 or more spaces must have a management plan agreed with the Roads Authority (this may also be required for car parks with fewer than 100 spaces, depending on the location).

The Roads Authority may seek availability for use as public parking by the general public during normal shopping hours and / or if the road authority considers it desirable, availability for overnight residents’ parking, controlled through the management plan.

Employment sites and industrial development parking

Provision must be made in non-residential developments for the overnight parking of all associated vehicles off the public road. Where large numbers of servicing movements are expected, consideration should be given to the provision of parking bays for vehicles awaiting access to loading bays. The dimensions of the parking bays should be similar to those of the loading bays but references should be made to Designing for Deliveries published by the Freight Transport Association for layout details. Provision must also be made for car parking.

Taxi stands for offices and shops

For office or retail developments of over 2000m2 , a taxi pick up/set down point should be provided as close as possible to the main entrance to the building(s). The internal road network should enable entry and exit without reversing

The taxi point should be appropriately marked and signed, and there should be facilities conforming to Roads for All standards to enable mobility impaired persons to reach the entrance from the pick up/set down point.

3.3.5 Redevelopment

Whenever existing buildings are rehabilitated or modernised, parking should be provided at the level required for the new use where this is over and above the level of parking historically required. In Conservation Areas, a reduced or zero parking provision may be acceptable in exceptional circumstances provided that there are demonstrable townscape and/or amenity benefits and that road safety in the locality is not compromised.

3.3.6 Car park layouts

Typical layouts for off-road parking areas are shown below. It should be noted that angled parking layouts tend to be less efficient in land-use than perpendicular parking even with the narrower aisle widths possible with single-way working.

Diagram with typical car park layouts


Off-road parking areas (a) Echelon parking, one-way circulation only; (b) Perpendicular parking, two-way circulation permitted; *8.0m aisle width required for lock-ups

Parking bays provided specifically for disabled people should be in accordance with the Building Standards Technical Handbook with at least a 1.2m reserved strip on each side and at the rear to facilitate the passage of wheelchair users. This strip may be shared between two parking spaces, and may be part of a footway or path. Accessible spaces must be clearly marked for use by disabled people and must be located not more than 45m from the principal entrance to the building which they serve.

Within car parks with unallocated spaces (whether commericial or residential), at least one space (or 5%) must be fully accessible, and marked appropriately. 

3.3.7 Lay-by parking

The layout of lay-by parking areas is dependent on the road type and the traffic flow. On General Access Streets lay-by parking should normally comprise bays located parallel to the carriageway, but on lightly-trafficked roads parking may be permitted at right angles to the road.

Parallel parking bays that will form part of the public road shall have minimum dimensions of 2.5m by 6m.

In residential areas, on street parking bays must be laid out to minimise their use of public space, and so as to not dominate the streetscene. They can be used to divert the route of vehicles to complement traffic calming objectives.

3.3.8 Cycle parking

Standards for cycle parking are set out here.

Note: These webpages are for reference by developers of housing and employment sites in East Lothian. 
They provide guidance on transport infrastructure against which Planning Applications will be assessed 
and evaluated, and set out East Lothian Council's procedures regarding the construction and adoption of 
new roads in accordance with current legislation. 
These pages supersede all previous versions of our Standards for Development Roads document. 

01/07/2023 Document release
02/07/2023 Section 3.3.3 changed required width of car port from 3m to 3.3m in line with accesible driveway widths