PPS 5: Retailing and Town Centres
Town Centres: Access to Town Centres
31. Town centres are major generators of journeys for employment, shopping, services, and entertainment. They are the focus for a large number of trips and typically act as the hub of public transport networks. New development in town centres can encourage the use of public transport or enable one car journey to serve several purposes and thus help reduce the number and length of car journeys. Town centres can therefore play an important role in reducing the need to travel and reliance on the car.
32. The Department issued Transportation in Northern Ireland:
The Way Forward in October 1995. This document:
- highlights the transportation issues which need to be addressed;
- identifies the choices which will have to be made;
- explains what the Department proposes to do in the short-term; and
- seeks to encourage debate and comment on the matters raised.
33. The document sets out the Department's position with regard to the accessibility of town centres. The Department now considers that it will be neither possible no desirable to meet the predicted demand for parking in larger urban centres. However it is recognised that this could conflict with other objectives. A balance must be struck between:
- strategic objectives of reducing travel by car;
- the mobility requirements of people who have no alternatives to private car travel;
- the need to ensure the commercial viability of town and city centres; and
- traffic management and safety.
34. The Department's current car parking policy is being reviewed and it will be revised to reflect its role as a major component of transportation strategy. In order to discourage all day parking in urban centres, where public transport provides and alternative, the Department will consider:
- a more restrictive development control policy for sites to be used for non-operational all day parking;
- widening the scope for using pricing mechanisms in appropriate circumstances to discourage long-stay parking; and
- the control of parking in residential areas.