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Column 6th June 2018

Could councils be seeing sense over parking at last?

A few weeks ago we talked about the new draft planning policy and its proposed local parking standards for residential and non-residential development.

It proposes that, amongst other things, planners should take into account the availability of and opportunities for public transport and local car ownership levels.

As we wrote at the time, this is very different to the “maximum” parking standards imposed by the County Council which limit parking to 1 space for a one bedroom home and 2 spaces for any larger property with an additional one unallocated visitor space for every two homes with more than three bedrooms.

We also reported that the District Council does not require the full number of unallocated spaces to be provided on new developments so is effectively approving parking on residential streets and open spaces.

Since then there has been a slight change in the approach taken by our local planners and developers.

They appear to be increasing the number of private parking spaces (including garages) on new developments but reducing the number of unallocated visitor spaces.

The report which recommended approval of 150 homes on the site of King Alfred School East, Springfield Road, Wantage, stated that the scheme would now provide: “347 allocated spaces for the dwellings and 27 visitor spaces.”

That’s 27 unallocated visitor spaces for 150 homes, even the County Standards require 62 visitor spaces.

This application was approved.

The report which recommended approval of 88 homes on Park Farm, East Challow for the District Council Planning meeting last Wednesday evening stated that the proposal includes space for 278 private parking spaces (including garages) and 5 unallocated spaces.

They didn’t say that there are 62 garages and that many other planning authorities now exclude garages from the total number of parking spaces as they recognise that few people use their garage for parking (particularly where the private parking spaces are in tandem in front of the garage as they are on this application).

The planning officer argued that this is a balanced approach to achieve convenient parking close to households whilst reducing the dominance of car parking in the street scene.

He obviously hasn’t looked at some of our existing developments where the lack of parking means that cars are very dominant and park wherever they can creating hazards for pedestrians and other drivers alike.

Luckily the Councillors saw sense and agreed that a further plan would be required with more visitor spaces.


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