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Column 8th May 2019

A note on realistic parking for all our new councillors

We’ve had a new group of Councillors for almost a week now so I’d like to remind those who have roles on planning committees of some of the issues associated with planning applications in our area.

Especially the relationship between green space and parking.

Parking spaces on residential developments are either allocated or unallocated.

Allocated spaces are assigned to and, usually, owned by the residents. These could be in garages, on drives or in parking areas on roads near the home.

Officially a single garage should be able to accommodate a car, storage and sufficient space for bicycles, with a minimum internal floor area of 3 metres x 6 metres. A Range Rover is over 2.2 wide and 5m long so you might be able to open the doors when the car is in the garage. Most garages are only used for storage.

Unallocated spaces or visitor spaces can be used by anyone.

The County set “maximum” parking standards in 2011 which are used as guidance for the number of allocated and unallocated spaces a development should include.

These maximum standards are not really sufficient for an area like OX12 where there is little public transport or safe cycle routes, and schools and employment are more than walking distance.

Also, allocated spaces are usually in “tandem” (one behind the other) and in front of the garage so using any car but the last one parked means moving a number of vehicles out of the way first. So some people don’t bother and just park on the road or anywhere else they can find.

So, although tandem spaces meet the criteria and are the cheapest option for developers, they may not get used in practice and people will find other places to park.

Green spaces are a requirement on any development and a minimum of 15% of the site should be public open space (in additional to any private spaces).

The Landscape Officer at the Vale appears to be very fond of open spaces on the edge of roads, which may look great on the plans but anyone familiar with Wantage and Grove will know that these quickly become edged with informal parking areas, and edges become very unsightly with deep ruts and mud everywhere.

Our Councillors should bring local knowledge and a bit of reality to planning.

Parking on new developments should be close to the homes and plentiful, and green spaces should be designed so that they can’t become additional car parks.


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