DCAN 4: Restaurants, Cafes and Fast Food Outlets
Traffic Considerations and Car Parking
5.17 Restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets often give rise to concerns about their effect in terms of traffic flow, road safety and car parking, and the following matters will be taken into account by the Department in coming to its decisions on applications for restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets.
- The planning history of the site.
- The existing use of the site.
- Existing traffic conditions.
- The availability of public transport.
- The availability of public parking provision.
- The implications for the amenity of the surrounding area (particularly if predominantly residential).
- The availability of private parking provision, where required.
5.18 Fast food outlets are often located on busy urban or suburban main roads, and experience has shown that a significant proportion of their trade is car borne and short-stay. Where there is limited or no parking, either outside or in the immediate vicinity of the premises, customers may be tempted to indulge in short stay parking of an opportunistic and possibly dangerous nature, for example, near to junctions and traffic lights or within the approaches to pedestrian crossings. Combined with the manoeuvring of vehicles (in order to park in a confined space, for example) and the additional movements of vehicles stopping at and leaving the premises, the free flow of traffic on the main roads can be obstructed, causing congestion and inconvenience and jeopardising the safety of other road users.
5.19 In such circumstances, the Department may have to refuse planning permission or to impose conditions on a restaurant use, for example, to prevent its use as a take-away (this will be inappropriate where the use is ancillary). Applicants may therefore wish to consider other options such as locating on secondary roads or a location not directly fronting onto a highway, which would satisfy traffic/car parking considerations.
5.20 Inadequate car parking provision may also lead to an increase in parking in adjacent streets where parking problems may already exist, causing inconvenience to residents. Restaurants, cafés and fast food outlets cause most parking problems in the evenings and at weekends when the demand for on-street parking spaces by residents is heaviest. The Department will have regard to the availability of kerbside spaces and any off-street parking provision. Planning permission may be refused if customer and staff car parking would prevent local residents from parking their cars near to their homes.
5.21 Adequate arrangements must also be made for the servicing of the premises, both by delivery vehicles and for refuse collection. Ideally this should occur away from the main road.
5.22 It is important that each case is decided on its own specific merits and that advice from DRD Roads Service is fully considered.