WaGCG : Wantage and Grove Campaign Group
Wantage and Grove Campaign Group (WaGCG)

Column 16th August 2023

County Council Policy means parking fines

People dropping their children off at the new primary school on Crab Hill have received parking fines from wardens employed by the developers.

The Kingsgrove Development follows the Oxfordshire County Council parking standards to the letter providing very limited public parking.

It would be fine if all of the facilities on the development (limited to the primary school and a temporary café at the moment) were designed only to be used by the residents of Kingsgrove, but given the nature of the OX12 area, children come from a wider catchment and parents have to get their children to school on the way to work, therefore tend to travel by car much of the time.

The school can accommodate 420 pupils and has five visitor parking spaces, two of which are disabled spaces. It also has 36 staff parking spaces. There are also spaces for up to 48 pupil cycles and 40 scooters.

In the planning application it talked about 30 spaces being provided for the sports pavilion which would be sited next to the school which could be used by parents but these spaces had vanished in another application approved at the same time leaving only 22 spaces (including 3 disabled spaces) for the whole of the central park, allotments and any other uses.

These 22 spaces have not yet been built nor have most of the other public parking spaces on the site but parking wardens are already in place.

There are a few spaces by the temporary café but no other spaces near the school for parents to park when dropping off children.

Is this appropriate in an area where safe cycleways are limited and one bus runs every 30 minutes from the centre of Wantage to the development?

The NPPF states that ‘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, or for optimising the density of development in city and town centres and other locations that are well served by public transport.’

The County Council have always imposed maximum levels of parking on new developments in Oxfordshire regardless of justification.

The Standards say that striking the right balance by providing an appropriate level and type of parking, while also protecting highway safety for all users and promoting active and sustainable transport modes, is essential.

Is this the right balance for a community so dependent on cars?

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