I am suprised you can speak for the whole of the UK on a few weeks visit. I was shocked at how some places have grown and hardly recognised some (Stratford-on-Avon was one) We are now in our 6th month living in a pretty village in Surrey/Hants borders. (The front overlooks the Surrey rolling hills and the back a cornfield and Hampshire forest) This is one of about 10 villages in the area more or less the same and time has stood still except there are now more people living here who work in the City than before. If I want upmarket shops etc. it is an leisurely drive on the uncrowded A31 one way into Guildford (traffic bad in centre) or an even quieter drive into Winchester. You say there is never anywhere to park…ever tried Málaga city, Marbella or other coastal towns in summer? There aren’t many places to park in our village as there aren’t any pavements and the roads are very narrow, there is the pub and village hall park though. I think you are comparing rural Spain and France with suburban UK.
Yes there are rules and I am happy with that, far better to have strict guidelines than a free for all like in Spain where eg. the disabled cannot walk pass on pavements because cars are parked on them, or even worse the lack of clear planning rules where a neighbour can begin building an extension that blocks out light and views without the affected person ever being consulted. Rules are very annoying sometimes, I get annoyed when I go to the supermarket and see all the empty spaces set out for disabled and families with young children and there is a guy there to police it but hey, rules are part of a civilised society…bring them on 🙂