We have recently submitted our response to the proposed changes in planning law. In the new draft planning policy there are several changes that we support.
In particular paragraphs 106 and 107:
“106. If setting local parking standards for residential and non-residential development, policies should take into account:
a) the accessibility of the development;
b) the type, mix and use of development;
c) the availability of and opportunities for public transport;
d) local car ownership levels; and
e) the need to ensure an adequate provision of spaces for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles.
“107. Maximum parking standards for residential and non-residential development should only be set where there is a clear and compelling justification that they are necessary for managing the local road network. In town centres, local authorities should seek to improve the quality of parking so that it is convenient, safe and secure, alongside measures to promote accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists.”
In May 2014 the Secretary of State was clear that new developments should be built with sufficient parking to reflect local market demand. However, the current Oxfordshire County Council policy for Parking Standards for New Residential Developments (approved in 2011) dictates maximum numbers of parking spaces on residential developments throughout the County.
Our local planning authority (Vale District Council) does not require anywhere near the “maximum” number of spaces to be included on new developments.
With the growing lack of infrastructure (schools, health services, leisure facilities) and public transport, cars are becoming increasingly important to the lives of residents in Wantage and Grove.
In 2017 the Wantage and Grove Campaign Group undertook a parking survey of residents of the OX12 area. Take-up of the survey was high at 580 responses.
The average number of cars per household in the survey was 1.8 excluding the needs of visitors or company vehicles brought home at night. Yet the “maximum” parking standards imposed by the County are 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.
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.
Surely it’s time that our planners took account of reality and required parking spaces at realistic levels. Perhaps our long awaited Neighbourhood Plan will help?