Development Control Casebook: Commercial and Industrial - Commuter parking ruled unsustainable

An enforcement notice requiring the use of land in Leeds for long-stay commuter parking to cease has been quashed subject to the introduction of tougher restrictions on the length of stay.

Temporary permission for parking issued in 2007 required the use to cease by 2008. In appealing against the notice and seeking permission to retain long-term parking for a further two years, the appellant argued that the development complied with unitary development plan policy because it lay close to public transport routes and would not materially harm the council's transport strategy. The inspector agreed that the site was reasonably accessible by a choice of means of transport.

The local transport plan sought to achieve a modal shift away from long-stay parking to alleviate congestion and reduce environmental impact. The appellant's survey suggested that if the car parks were to close, 19 per cent of customers would use non-car means of transport to access the city centre. In the inspector's view, this would represent a significant modal shift supported by local and national policy.

The sites also benefited from a planning permission for a mixed-use development which had not been implemented due to unfavourable economic conditions. The inspector acknowledged that the land was being put to active and beneficial use until the mixed scheme becomes viable and noted that its retention for car parking was not commercially attractive in the long term.

In that light, he decided that temporary permission should be granted subject to a maximum stay of five hours, with a charge of £25 imposed for parking exceeding this period. This would deter use as long-term commuter parking in accordance with the council's transport strategy while enabling the appellant to gain an income from the land and put it to beneficial use, he concluded.

DCS Number 100-069-495

Inspector John Murray; Hearing

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