THAT great British tradition and showpiece, the front garden, is shrinking rapidly in the drive for more off street parking.
Despite the proliferation of TV gardening and green awareness programmes, the rose beds and lawns of Britain are gradually being concreted over according to figure released by the RAC Foundation.
The Foundation says that around 80% of Britain's 26 million dwellings were built with a front plot but almost a third of these little green havens have been turned into hardstanding.
This means seven million front gardens now contain concrete and cars rather than flowers and grass, a total area roughly equivalent to 100 Hyde Parks or 72 Olympic Parks.
Houses built between 1919 and 1964 are most likely to have a front garden and hence it is these properties which are most likely to have seen the change.
And probably the most predictable statistic is that even where properties have garages, these are increasingly being used to store things other than vehicles or converted into extra accommodation.
A third less cars are put away in a garage overnight than a decade ago. Probably because vehicles just don't rust as quickly as they used to and are more reliable.
The move to find extra parking space has resulted from the huge rise in car ownership. In 1950, there were two million cars. In 2011, there were 28.5 million.
Based on current rates of ownership, the rise in population alone is set to increase this figure to around 32 million cars in the next two decades.
And the need for more space is reflected in the fact that our cars are getting bigger. The Ford Escort of 1968 was five feet wide, whereas the Ford Focus of 2012 is six feet wide.
The foundation claims that on average 800 cars are parked in Britain every second.
Although I have always been a constant supporter of having the freedom of personal transport and the right to park, the loss of so many front gardens, although a sign of the times, is sad.