Motorists in Stevenage are among the hardest pressed to find a residential parking space in England a report released on Friday shows.

Drivers in the town have only 7.09 metres per vehicle to park up in – making it the fifth worst area outside London, behind Harlow, Broxbourne, Slough and Watford, a national survey by car insurers LV= said.

The figure reveals there is 10 per cent less residential parking space in the town than in 2001 - one per cent higher than the national average over that period.

While the number of cars per household is increasing, cars have also been getting longer over the past decade, by an average of 3.7 per cent – adding pressure to available space. A Vauxhall Astra coupe measures 4.47 metres, up from 4.29m in 2001.

LV= managing director John O’Roarke said: “Motorists are becoming increasingly squeezed when it comes to parking and in some areas the average space available is only a few centimetres longer than the average car.”

In the past ten years the average figure for cars per household in Stevenage has increased from 1.14 to 1.24. A spokesman for the borough council which manages residential parking space, said car ownership has rocketed since the town was designed.

“Stevenage, like all towns, has seen a huge increase in the number of cars per household since it was built more than 60 years ago.

“The council rigorously protects residents’ parking wherever possible and we have updated our parking standards to increase the number of spaces required in new housing schemes. We will apply these standards in all future planning decisions.”

Stevenage borough and county councillor Robin Parker agreed the problem was caused years ago when the town was planned, however he argued the solution should have been solved in the 80s and 90s when money was available.

He said people want to park close to their homes, which although desirable was not now always possible. He added: “The borough council has now run out of money, and there isn’t an easy solution.

“There’s no money going spare and we have a major problem.”

Westminster was the worst place for residential parking in the country, with only 4.33m per car.