The redevelopment of a factory in a Lincolnshire town with a block of 111 flats has been allowed after an inspector found that reduced parking provision would be appropriate and would cause no harm to highway safety.
The appellants proposed to include parking spaces for 26 cars on the lower ground floor. The council, local residents and business owners were all concerned that the increase in traffic and the ratio of parking spaces to the number of units would exacerbate congestion and parking difficulties in nearby streets.
The inspector noted that no evidence had been submitted to dispute the appellants' traffic assessment, which indicated that any increase could be adequately accommodated within the existing network. She observed that a high proportion of the flats would be one-bedroom properties and inferred that many occupiers would not own their own vehicles.
She considered that any resident owning a car and unable to find a parking space on-site would be able to park either in a car park opposite or on-street. Furthermore, she reasoned that the requirement for residents to pay for a parking space and the possibility that there might not be a space available was likely to discourage them from car ownership.
The Department for Transport's Manual for Streets, she remarked, recognises that the availability of car parking is a major determinant of travel mode and advises that provision below demand can work successfully when adequate on-street controls are present and where it is possible for residents to reach day-to-day destinations without the use of a car.
The inspector commented that the site was within a short walk of a railway station and town centre facilities and close to bus routes with good services. She also took into account the appellants' proposal to implement a travel plan in order to encourage future residents to choose sustainable methods of travel. She concluded that there were no significant road safety or traffic management reasons for requiring the developers to provide more parking spaces.
DCS Number 100-050-639
Inspector Susan Heywood; Hearing.