Parking restrictions in Luton explained
As a busy town Luton is subject to many different types of parking restrictions. Below is a list of the main restrictions in our town, providing a guide of who can park, when and why.
Permit holder only bays
Permit holder bays are available to residents, visitors and business permit holders. These permits are specific to a zone, and the bays are signed with time plates to indicate ‘permit holder’ exempt for the relevant zone. Unless you hold a permit for the relevant zone, you cannot park in these spaces.
The days and times of these restrictions are indicated on the time plates adjacent to the bays. Outside of these times, the bays are available to anyone.
Blue Badge holders are generally not allowed in ‘permit holder only’ bays but can be used in ‘shared use bays. See below for more information on shared user bays.
To apply for a residents or visitors permit, click here. Business permit applicants must call 01582 547272.
Pay and display bays
Anyone who purchases a ‘pay & display’ ticket from the relevant machine may park in one of these bays. Payment is only required during controlled hours.You must ensure that:
- the ticket is valid
- the ticket is clearly displayed so that the details, such as the expiry time/date, can be seen from the outside of the vehicle
- the correct tariff has been paid
- the vehicle is parked completely within the bay markings
- the bay is not suspended
- you have not overstayed the maximum stay as stated on the sign on the street
Blue Badge holders are allowed to use these bays without time limit.
Shared use bays
Shared use bays are bays which combine both of the above. The time plate adjacent to the bays will normally say ‘permit holders’ or ‘pay at machine.’
Blue Badge holders are allowed to use these bays without time limit.
These bays are available to holders of Blue Badges. Only vehicles displaying a valid Blue Badge may park in these spaces. If a time limit applies (ie three hour limit) the clock must be displayed with the badge.
These bays are specific to motorcycles. No permit is required however the vehicle must be a solo motorcycle. Blue Badge holders are not allowed to use these bays.
What is a red route?
A red route is a clearway where a vehicle cannot stop. Unlike an urban clearway, red route prohibition applies to the footway and verge as well as the carriageway and does not include any signed and marked lay-bys or bays.
Double red lines mean no stopping or parking ‘at any time’.
Single red lines mean no stopping or parking ‘during the restricted time’ as denoted on the sign.For more information see frequently asked questions.
Can I park on yellow lines?
Double yellow lines indicate no parking ‘at any time’ and there is no need for a sign. Therefore, you should not park on these lines unless you are carrying out an exempt activity (see below for exemptions).
Single yellow lines indicate no parking ‘during the restricted times’. These times are indicated by a sign, either on the road in question or, on entry into a Controlled Parking Zone, see below.
You are able to load/unload on a yellow line restriction and also alight passengers providing that this activity is continuous. Where there are chevrons on the kerb this means that no loading/unloading activity is permitted to take place. See below for information on loading bans.
A Blue Badge holder can park on yellow lines for up to three hours, providing the loading ban (chevrons) are not in operation. Please see Blue Badge guidance.
Most single and double yellow lines have exemptions in place which allow drivers to load/unload heavy and bulky goods or passengers to board/alight the vehicle.
Loading exemptions apply in places which are not covered by loading bans, see below. Boarding and alighting exemptions apply on every yellow line restriction in the borough.
Importantly, both of the above exemptions are only applicable whilst the stated activity is taking place. For example, if it is not evident that a person is boarding a vehicle when an officer is observing, no exemption is applicable. There is no allowance for drivers to wait for passengers to arrive; their passenger must be waiting to board.
Similarly, if a vehicle is used to enable goods to be loaded/unloaded it should be shown that the vehicle is used necessarily for carrying the items (normally heavy/bulky items). Again, the exemption only applies whilst the activity is taking place, so it would not apply if loading is not seen during the time an officer observes the vehicle.
What is a controlled parking zone?
A controlled parking zone (CPZ) is an area where parking is only permitted in designated parking bays, and the rest of the kerbside space is restricted by yellow lines.
In a controlled zone individual time plates are not required as large signs are erected at all the entry points into the zone clearly displaying the days and times that restrictions are in operation. These signs are double sided with one side showing that you are entering a controlled zone and the other showing you exit the zone.
As the zone can cover a large area it is advisable to assume you have not left the zone until you see a zone exit sign. The entry/exit signs relate directly to the enforcement of single yellow lines within the zone. Parking bays will be signed separately.What is a restricted zone?
A restricted zone (can be a pedestrian zone) is an area where restrictions are in place. Large signs will be displayed at all entry points into the zone, crucially there will be no lines painted on the road.
George Street pedestrian zone is one such area where restrictions are in place to priorities access for pedestrians. No motor vehicle is allowed to wait or load in these areas during the controlled hours.
Typically there is an exemption to load/unload at these locations before 10am and after 6pm (times may vary at locations). However this exemption does not apply to other activity or beyond the stated times.
Lines are not painted, either to reduce the negative aesthetic impact on a street or because the road surface makes using paint impractical or inappropriate. In large areas / restricted zones, there will be periodic repeater signs however in smaller zones such as the one in George Street, repeater signs are not required.
Where do the restrictions apply?
Yellow lines are enforced up to the boundary of public highway where it meets private land including pavement, grass verge and central reservations.
How do I know if there is a loading restriction on a yellow line?
A loading restriction will be indicated by chevrons on the kerbside and for a single chevron there will also be a sign stating the times of the restriction.
Single chevrons indicate a 'peak hour ban', check the signs. Double chevrons indicate an 'At anytime ban', so no need for signs.
A Blue Badge holder can park on yellow lines for up to three hours providing the loading ban (chevrons) are not in operation. Please see Blue Badge Rights and Responsibilities booklet.
Are single yellow lines enforceable on a bank holiday?
Single yellow lines are enforceable on the days and during the times as stated on the sign. If the sign states Monday to Saturday then the restrictions apply on a bank holiday.
Most restrictions apply on a bank holiday in Luton as they are some of our busiest days of the year. Our shops and other businesses tend to stay open which often results in an increase in local traffic.
I have received a PCN when parking on yellow lines what do I do?
You should then decide whether to:
Parking on pavements and grass verges
You should not park on the pavement or grass verge. It costs us thousands of pounds to maintain pavements and grass verges that have been damaged by vehicles parking on them.
In addition to this, the Highway Code clearly states that you must not park on the pavement in London and:''...should not do so elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on the pavement can obstruct and seriously inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs or with visual impairments and people with prams or pushchairs.''Pavements and verges adjacent to yellow line restrictions are enforceable. Yellow lines on the road apply building line to building line so generally include grass verges and pavements. You may risk a Penalty if parked in these locations.
Parking on zig-zags and school keep clear restrictions
You cannot park on zig-zags for any reason. Zig-zags are usually in place where it is dangerous for people to park, for example, outside a school entrance or on the lead up to a crossing.
Zig-zags are enforceable 24 hours a day, seven days a week, unless there is a sign that states otherwise.
We are now issuing Regulation 10 Penalty Charge Notices. This means that if you are seen, by a CCTV operator or a Civil Enforcement Officer in our camera car, to be parked on a on a zig-zag, we can issue a notice by post. This will be sent to the registered keeper of the vehicle.
Parking on cycle lane
Parking on a mandatory cycle line is prohibited for all vehicles except cycles, at any time. A mandatory cycle lane is indicated by a solid white line and is different to an ‘advisory’ cycle lane. An advisory cycle lane is indicated by broken white lines and should also be avoided, but is not enforced.
Please also be aware that advisory cycle lanes may be accompanied by yellow line restrictions. When this occurs, the yellow line restrictions should be abided by.
I have received a PCN when parking what do I do?
You should now decide whether to:
Only goods vehicles are allowed to park in these bays in Luton. A goods vehicle is any vehicle which has been created or adapted for the haulage of goods. Hatchbacks with the rear seat down can be classed as a goods vehicles.
You can use a loading bay for the loading and unloading of goods or when making a scheduled delivery or collection.
You cannot park in a loading bay. Once you have finished loading and unloading goods, the vehicle must be moved to a different bay, for example a pay and display bay, where a ticket should be purchased from a machine on the street.
These bays are specific to holders of doctor’s permits. There are very few locations in the town with such parking places. However, no vehicle other than one displaying a permit can park here.
Only licensed hackney carriages that are waiting for their next fare can park in a taxi rank. They cannot stay in a taxi rank for any other reason.
Taxi ranks give drivers a place to park easily and centrally while waiting for a fare. Taxi ranks are usually situated where there is likely to be a need for a taxi in Luton.
The sign on the street will tell you this. If no times are shown the bay operates at all times, 24 hours a day and every day.
Electric vehicle charging points
We are creating a network of plug-in points for the town, in partnership with the Source East programme, to create a number of ‘hotspots’ across the region.
Luton’s first two plug-in points were set up last summer at Basepoint on the Butterfield Business Park and Motorbodies in Kimpton Road.
Now these are joined by more in:
- Alma Street
- Upper George Street
- Vicarage Street car park
- Stockwood Discovery Centre
- The Mall’s central and market multi-storey car parks (where normal parking charges apply)
Another is planned shortly in Bute Street, at the junction with Guildford Street.Around 600 plug-in points are currently being installed across the east of England to support the rapidly growing market for electric vehicles. Any vehicle that is licensed with the DVLA as a pure electric or a plug-in hybrid can join the Source East scheme for a £10 yearly membership, including motorbikes, cars, vans, trucks and scooters.