Personal Parking

United Kingdom

Welcome to Special Events Parking and Admissions Services

This sector of the special events industry has been developing since the 1930s.

Central Car Parks were the first significant commercial parking company at that time to be involved with outdoor events. Britain in 1932 had five million cars on the road (RAC statistics). People's attitudes were different and issues were also different - the road network was less well developed and served by the A, B and C road classifications. Britain’s first dual carriageway in 1925 was the London end of the Great West Road, then the next being the notable opening in February 1940 at Winchester with the upgrading of the bypass.

Parking and traffic control management for motor vehicles has been a requirement for over 100 years with the early part of that time having drivers without formal driving skills (first driving licence was 1934 which was suspended during the Second World War) sharing roads with many horses. Driver road behaviour prevailed heavily in those early days with most attitudes being one of arrogance. However, life has progressed. The horse has prevailed and now enjoys a new found respect among car drivers. Unfortunately some drivers feel they dominate the highway, despite the fact that the road is for all by right. Horse boxes and such large vehicles often frustrate the modern day motorist. By 2013 Britain had 35 million vehicles on the road of which approximately 29 million were cars.

Commercial outdoor event parking has embraced not just the organised parking of vehicles but associated payment requirements. The advent of professional contractors brought operating costs. The event organisers then quickly recognised another revenue source which would increase profits and recover such outlays. Car parking charges were being levied in the very earliest days of commercial car parking and quite often such a charge would be used as an overall admission fee. As events evolved and became more popular a two tier charge system generally followed. This meant that you paid for your car parking, parked and then entered on foot paying an entrance fee (adult/child) at a barrier to the event. It was at this time that event parking contractors developed to become admission/gate control providers. As events grew several hundred staff would be needed (e.g. Royal Show 1981 - 400 personnel operated by PP).

Today very few venues apply car parking fees mainly due to local authority/police pressure which encompass concerns about unauthorised external parking and associated delays. Clearly good and efficient access and egress to an event site is of paramount consideration.

It is important to understand that different types of venue require different travel modes which in turn present different parking demands and associated crowd types. Parking can be at an established sport venue (e.g. Wimbledon) or exhibition hall (NEC) where regular events are staged or at an occasional event such as a sport (Silverstone Motor Circuit) or an agricultural show (Royal Welsh). Whichever it is, a wide diversity of detail exists, and therefore it is essential to ensure that parking supports the event rather than detracts. Traffic and parking arrangements need to form a key part of the planning process for all events at the location. The provision of Park and Ride, Park and Walk, and Rail heads will cause an impact in the venue vicinity or at other transport hubs being used.

The late 1960s first brought the beginnings of major greenfield sites with the staging of music festivals, which by the 1970s would be pop and eventually rave. Local authority staging licences became a battle ground of local authority officers pitched against commercial heavyweights. The lack of previous analysis saw many serious shortfalls arise. The lack of knowledge in all areas of temporary event staging was evident with significant shortfalls in what different types of events attracted; different ages, gender mixes and transport modes. Also, different events attracted different car occupancies which then impacted on site/venue service facilities.

The arrival of Chapter 8 of the Road Transport Act and associated enforcement by the Health and Safety Executive soon focused minds which in turn brought a raft of new requirements at licensing forums. Additionally the Purple Code was published in 1993, albeit primarily directed towards the music scene, it was a strong guide for event organisers.

From the aforementioned times the two subjects of parking and entrance control have developed to levels that require different types of control personnel. The handling of monies and tickets on a large scale requires banking, audit and ticket control skills and consequently venue organisers need to ensure thorough due diligence before contractor appointments are made; reliance on trade kudos is insufficient. The history of this sector has already revealed such shortfalls.

The Company has developed since inception in 1976 to be able to naturally extend its activities which now encompass overseas operations, traffic management services (including CSAS), advanced ticket sales and e-ticketing to the full staging of events.

Personal Parking UK Limited is a pure specialist in Event Parking/Traffic/Admission Control Services. Its Holding and Operational Systems role encompasses Parking Promotions Ltd in the Republic of Ireland.

We have since 1976 been a truly national company operating throughout the British Isles and occasionally in Europe (Germany, Sweden, France, Portugal). Our knowledge of parking and traffic control systems has spanned, from our initial involvement at the Brent Cross Shopping Centre in North West London in 1976 (one of Britain’s early first sites), to the Milton Keynes mass development of the early 1980s, to the Gyle Shopping Centre (Edinburgh) in the 1990s.

This experience extended from the initial operating shopping centre parking to all of the largest greenfield events in the British Isles – extensive sport, music, shows and exhibitions. We have been with most of our clients for a minimum of 15 years.

In 1976 we were awarded the Silverstone Grand Prix contract which then spanned the next 20 years. Major contracts for the Royal Show (25,000 cars per day), CLA. Game Fair (15,000 – 20,000 cars per day), Henley Royal Regatta (30 years) and The Royal Welsh Show (30 years, with 15,000 – 20,000 cars per day), Farnborough Aerospace all followed. These contracts encompass large cash and ticket control requirements.

The Event Trade Services Exhibition (Showmans Show) started nearly 30 years ago and it truly represents the service sector for greenfield sites. We have been the chosen partner since its inception.

Today we truly have a broad client base, with major clients such as Henley Royal Regatta, PGA European Tour and the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society being contracted for over 30 years to one day events like the Tendring Hundred Show (18 years) and Marlow Regatta.

Our management and supervisory teams have a wealth of knowledge and many have over 20 years' experience. Its values include ensuring local integration in whatever region it is operating in the British Isles e.g. sponsorship.

Click to see the South of England Show map sponsored by Personal Parking.