The Government abolished national maximum parking standards in January 2011 and 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 policy for Parking Standards for New Residential Developments (approved by Oxfordshire County Council in 2011) dictates maximum numbers of parking spaces on residential developments throughout the County.
We recently issued a Parking Survey to residents of the OX12 area. Take-up of the Survey was high at 580 responses. This response is both statistically significant and indicative of feelings running high on this issue amongst local residents.
Less than 3% of those who responded don’t own a car and over 60% own at least two vehicles. 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./
Only 4 in 10 of those who have a garage use it for parking. As one resident said “We park on the road as the garages are not of a suitable size to easily drive in and out. Also as other people park opposite the garage entrance making it impossible to access garage entrance at times.”
Many planning authorities now exclude garages from the total number of parking spaces as they recognise the problem.
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. Narrow roads and lack of off-street parking is making our roads increasing dangerous to use.
As one resident said “The road in which I live has so many cars parked on the pavement during the daytime that I have to push my baby’s buggy down the middle of the road as I can't access the path. This is very dangerous."
Another resident pointed out that “Parking for visitors (our grown up children and friends) is always a problem and is a real issue as there are usually no spaces near the house and people have to park up to 500m away.”
We must rely on the planners to ensure that sufficient space is provided to ensure road safety and access as well as enough useable parking spaces. This should be reflected in Neighbourhood Plans and in the new Vale of the White Horse Local Plan Part 2.
Parking is a serious problem in Wantage and Grove and residents suggest that it creates a danger to public safety.
The lack of adequate parking facilities forces residents and visitors to park on narrow roads. This creates a dangerous environment for both drivers and pedestrians and severely hampers access for both Services and Emergency vehicles.