The Government's revised National Planning Policy Framework has left local transport planners with enough wriggle room to support limiting parking spaces for major developments, senior sources have told Highways.
The NPPF, the central document for local planning, did not include wholesale the calls for absolute maximum parking standard rights, however a reform to the wording from the draft version has provided more grounds to build a case.
A major alliance of transport and planning groups - including the Local Government Technical Advisers Group (TAG) - had called for the Government to allow councils to set maximum parking standards in order to combat urban sprawl and congestion.
The document now states: 'If setting local parking standards for residential and non-residential development, policies should take into account:
a) the accessibility of the development;
b) the type, mix and use of development;
c) the availability of and opportunities for public transport;
d) local car ownership levels; and
e) the need to ensure an adequate provision of spaces for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles.
'Maximum parking standards for residential and non-residential development should only be set where there is a clear and compelling justification that they are necessary for managing the local road network, or for optimising the density of development in city and town centres and other locations that are well served by public transport. In town centres, local authorities should seek to improve the quality of parking so that it is convenient, safe and secure.'
The section emphasising the case for 'optimising the density of development' was not included in the draft version.
TAG spokesman John Elliott told Highways: ‘Most Major urban areas have a congestion problem. Therefore it should be possible to demonstrate that there is a compelling justification that maximum parking should apply to alleviate this. Local Authorities probably need to get our act together and lay out the clear case as to why limiting parking provision and including public transport provision should apply to all major developments in urban areas. It’s necessary for managing the network and imperative that public transport provision is included in any new plans to meet this test outlined in the new NPPF.
'Building the series of individual cases for maximum parking standards should help developers get maximum value out of their land for spatial development.'