Flexible approach required to parking provision even in an accessible location

Two schemes for nine or six apartments on vacant land in a London borough both failed on highway safety grounds.

The outer borough site took its access from a busy urban thoroughfare but the proposals excluded vehicular access. No on-site parking spaces would be provided in either scheme and both would be car free. It was agreed by the main parties that the site lay in an accessible area with alternative choices of travel within walking distance, including rail and bus services with some opportunities for cycling and walking. It had a PTAL rating of five which meant it had very good accessibility.

Although the appellant pointed to emerging local plan policy expecting all developments in areas with a PTAL rating of five or higher to be car free, the inspector decided the appeal on the basis of current unitary development policy requiring some on-site parking to reflect local circumstances such as higher levels of car ownership. He considered it unrealistic that the one and two bedroom apartments would only be attractive to those who did not own a car and because of high housing demand and prices they could also be occupied by a small family. With parking in the vicinity strictly controlled, the inspector concluded the proposals would lead to additional demand for on-street parking in the already congested residential streets. He also identified the potential for further highway problems arising from the lack of dedicated parking for service and delivery vehicles. The appellant offered mitigation including car club membership, but without these measures agreed with the council and secured by a legal agreement the inspector gave them little weight in his decision that the proposals were in conflict with development plan policy protecting highway safety and requiring parking provision to be appropriate to local conditions.

The larger scheme for nine falts in two blocks also failed on matters of townscape and residential outlook. Both appeals were dismissed.

Inspector: Richard Aston; Written representations

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