PPS 3: Access, Movement and Parking
Policy AMP 7
Justification and Amplification
5.39 The availability of car parking is a major influence on the means of transport people choose for their journeys, even for those locations well served by public transport. This combined with increasing car ownership levels is contributing to a growth in traffic congestion in many city and town centres. The provision of car parking in association with development therefore needs to be considered within the context of wider government policy aimed at achieving more sustainable travel patterns.
5.40 To tackle growing congestion problems and help reduce reliance on the private car the Department considers that in certain instances it will no longer be appropriate or desirable for developers to fully meet demand for car parking generated by their developments. This is especially the case in city and larger town centres and other defined locations where alternative modes of transport exist, can be provided or services improved. A development plan may designate an area of parking restraint, within which a reduction in the Department's published car parking standards will be applied (see Para 4.11). Beyond these areas of parking restraint there may also be situations where a reduction in car parking provision in association with new development will be acceptable.
5.41 A reduction in parking provision may be accepted where it forms part of a package of measures to promote alternative transport modes, particularly where this has been demonstrated and accepted through the Transport Assessment process. Reduced parking provision may also be acceptable in locations which are highly accessible and well served by public transport. This includes many town and district centres and locations close to public transport interchanges.
5.42 On occasion reduced parking provision may be appropriate where new development is proposed close to existing public car parking and it is demonstrated there is available spare capacity. Reduced parking provision may also be acceptable where schemes propose shared parking arrangements, particularly in town centres or as part of major proposals. For example office and leisure uses (such as cinemas) where shared car parking is a viable option because the peak levels of use do not coincide.
5.43 It may also be acceptable for small-scale developments, which do not generate significant parking demand, to rely on using on-street parking for a proportion of their parking provision. In assessing these options the Department will require evidence to demonstrate the capacity and availability of such alternative parking provision.
5.44 In assessing developments affecting conservation areas, areas of townscape character or the surroundings of listed buildings, it may not always be possible or desirable to provide the full standard of parking provision. In order to protect the character and appearance of these features of the built heritage or assist with the retention of trees, a reduction in parking provision may be considered acceptable. There may also be occasions where flexibility in the level of car parking provision will help facilitate a better quality development or facilitate the beneficial re-use of an existing building.
5.45 Where parking reduction is considered acceptable in principle the Department will negotiate the precise level of reduction with developers. Account will be taken of the specific characteristics of the development, its location and its accessibility to means of travel other than the private car, including any measures proposed to promote alternative transport modes.
5.46 In many locations however it will remain important that development makes adequate provision for car parking. This is particularly important in rural areas and those towns and villages where the potential for using public transport is limited. Accordingly, with the exceptions outlined above, development proposals in areas not subject to parking restraint through the development plan process will generally be expected to meet the Department's parking standards.
5.47 Parking provision in excess of the published standards will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances. For example it is recognised that in city and town centres a balance has to be struck between encouraging new investment by providing adequate levels of parking and potentially increasing traffic congestion caused by too many cars. Accordingly, where major retail or leisure developments are proposed in a town centre or an edge of centre site, parking provision additional to the normal standard may be considered acceptable. In such instances it must be demonstrated that the parking facilities will genuinely serve the town centre as a whole and a legal agreement to this effect will be required before planning permission is granted.
5.48 Given that the car is often the only form of transport available to many people with disabilities developers will be required to reserve an appropriate proportion of parking spaces to meet the needs of people with disabilities. Such designated parking spaces should be conveniently located to facilitate ease of access to the buildings they serve in order to take account of the limited mobility range of many disabled people. Best practice on the number, size and layout of reserved parking spaces is set out in the Department's guide 'Access for All'.
5.49 Consideration should also be given to the provision of public transport facilities for able-bodied people and people with disabilities who do not have access to a car. In larger schemes provision should be made for appropriately located bus stops, including set-down and pick-up bays for vehicles such as public and private hire taxis which are wheelchair compatible.
5.50 For retail, leisure and community uses consideration should be given by developers to the provision of 'parent and child' parking spaces. As with spaces reserved for people with disabilities these should be located in a manner, which facilitates ease of access to the buildings they serve.
5.51 The Department's policy for parking associated with residential development is set out in PPS 7 'Quality Residential Environments' and parking standards are currently contained in the design guide 'Creating Places'. Development Control Advice Note 8 - Housing in Existing Urban Areas recognises that levels of provision lower than those set out in Creating Places may be appropriate. For example in urban contexts where there is good pedestrian access to local facilities and public transport, or where townscape character would be undermined.
5.52 Servicing arrangements are also important and can exert a major influence on the quality of the urban environment and its attractiveness to shoppers and other visitors. In city and town centre locations, developers will normally be expected to include proposals for the provision of rear servicing facilities where practicable. It is recognised, however, that historic settlement patterns may be a constraint upon the provision of rear servicing.
9 The Department has published supplementary guidance on parking standards to accompany the publication of this PPS.