Now, architects have hit on a solution — the car turntable. Instead of having to build a big enough space to allow for turning, you revolve the driveway.
Turntables have been used in the railway industry for a century. But their adoption for use in private homes is a more recent, yet fast-growing, trend, and several companies have sprung up to meet the demand.
Current installations include the former Belgravia home of Russian-born oil tycoon Eugene Shvidler, Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich’s right-hand man.
Land Registry records show that Mr Shvidler sold the property for £55 million to an offshore company two years ago, and it is now undergoing a revamp that local planning records suggest is largely based around the car turntable.
The company apparently hired to fit the space-saving device is based in Tamworth, Staffordshire, and is called, fittingly, Spin-It. Recent customers have included another Russian tycoon in Pont Street, Knightsbridge; Coldplay guitarist Jonny Buckland, for his home in Hampstead, and practically a team’s-worth of Premier League football players around the country.
Luxury hotels, including the Corinthia in Whitehall, have joined in the trend, as has the Discovery Channel’s TV car renovation show, Wheeler Dealers.
Spin-It director Kieron O’Connor says: “Cars are getting bigger, houses are getting bigger, and land is getting more expensive. The result of all that, especially in London, is that there just isn’t enough parking space. Architects have realised car turntables are a cure. We get a lot of orders in London, but more and more are coming from abroad as well — Dubai, Kuwait, Qatar and pretty much every country in Europe.
“Foreign clients say it gives them a one-upmanship on their neighbours to be able to say they have a luxury British car on a UK-engineered turntable.”
The biggest turntable Spin-It has fitted to date is about 25 feet across and sits outside the entrance to the prestigious Harbour Hotel in the millionaire’s playground town of Salcombe in Devon. That was custom-built — price on application, in other words.
For a more usual 19ft 9in diameter, still big enough for a brace of Land Rovers or a Rolls-Royce Ghost, manufacture and installation will set you back about £20,000.