Policy T2: Residential Car Parking
Development proposals incorporating or having an impact on car parking will be supported if they comply with the following:
- Access to off-street car parking should be designed to minimise additional vehicle movements on residential streets. Where on-street parking is necessary, it should be provided in designated bays, and designed to ensure the safety and convenience of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users. The in-curtilage element of car parking for dwellings without garages may be instead be provided within a nearby neighbourhood parking area to make more efficient use of land and improve the public realm.
- Where electric vehicle charging provision is required by the County Durham Parking and Accessibility Standards, the facilities must not hinder the movement of pedestrians or disabled people, and should respect the character of the area.
Reducing car parking provision
- Provision of car club spaces for residents and neighbouring users is encouraged.
- Within the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) encouragement will be given to development proposals making provision at less than the minimum car parking levels prescribed in the County Durham Parking and Accessibility Standards.
Extending the Controlled Parking Zone
- Extensions to the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) in order to mitigate the effects of a proposed development will have the costs recovered via planning obligation. Situations which might justify CPZ extension include:
- a development close to, or accessed from, an area which is currently in the CPZ; or
- a development close to the City centre or to a major employment site, such that parking controls would be necessary to maintain residential amenity and avoid use for long-stay commuter car parking; or
- development of student accommodation within or adjoining a residential area, which could increase competition for parking spaces in the residential area; or
- any residential development outside the CPZ where a developer proposes to provide fewer parking spaces than normally required by the County Durham Parking and Accessibility Standards.
4.240 The following questions will be considered when assessing the car parking associated with proposed development, including infill development:
- Does existing street character rule out on-site parking?
- Is the application sufficiently evidenced, for example, by parking surveys, highway safety audit, or public transport impact assessment?
- Is there likely to be an adverse impact on existing car parking users in the vicinity, and how can this be mitigated?
- Are key local services conveniently and safely accessible by walking, cycling and public transport?
- Have the needs of visitors and the needs of disabled people been considered?
4.241 The costs involved in extending the CPZ would include, but are not limited to, the costs of consulting affected residents and businesses, of carrying out parking usage surveys, and the costs of installing signage and equipment such as parking ticket vending machines. It is essential, at the application stage, to perform an adequate assessment: it will not be acceptable for impacts to become apparent only after a development has been completed. An extension to the CPZ might be limited to the new development, or might need to encompass neighbouring streets.
4.242 In setting parking standards the NPPF (para. 105) recommends authorities consider:
- the accessibility of the development; and
- the type, mix and use of development; and
- the availability of and opportunities for public transport; and
- local car ownership levels; and
- the need to ensure an adequate provision of spaces for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles.
4.243 Reducing off-street car parking provision generally has a direct bearing on the potential for achieving higher densities, and for good quality amenity space such as landscaping, green space, and areas for children to play. The Transport for New Homes Project Summary and Recommendations (Foundation for Integrated Transport, July 2018, p. 26) recommends that towns and cities plan for higher densities, and to “curtail car parking to allow our planners to design more attractive places with more space for greenery and better public realm”.
4.244 Owing to the historic nature of the streets within the Controlled Parking Zone, the supply of on-street parking space is limited in most areas, as is evidenced by the Council having ceased to provide resident or visitor permits for occupiers of new developments or conversions since 2000. Car parking space is increasingly coming under pressure with the increase in the size of cars, ownership rates among permanent residents and students, and the increase in student numbers. It would not be possible to meet all the future demand while preserving the special character of Our Neighbourhood, and so the policy emphasis must be on better control and management of car parking, and reducing car dependency.
4.245 The current county-wide policy, the ‘County Durham Parking and Accessibility Standards’ (Durham County Council, 2019a), sets different rates of provision for town centres and areas outside town centres. Its definition of the town centre for Durham City is based on a simple radius of 800m centred on the bus station, which does not take into account the geography of the City. Outside this area, car parking is required to meet or exceed a level determined by the size of the dwelling. Yet within the Controlled Parking Zone, parts of which lie beyond the 800m radius, student accommodation may be built with no car parking provision for residents. This has the effect of reducing the viability of ordinary residential development by comparison with the more profitable development of student accommodation.
4.246 Seeking to restore a better community balance within neighbourhoods is a key aim of the Neighbourhood Plan. This policy therefore allows for residential accommodation to be built with a lower level of car parking than the norm, but only where on-street parking controls exist. This will allow for high quality, higher density developments which do not generate extra traffic and support the viability of public transport services.
Next section: Policy T3: Residential Storage for Cycles and Mobility Aids