Policy T3

Policy T3: Residential Car Parking in the Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ)

T3.1: 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 if the following conditions are satisfied:

  1. It can be demonstrated that there will be no adverse impact on existing car parking users in the vicinity; and
  2. The applicant has demonstrated that genuine demand exists for car-free or low-car housing in the proposed location; and
  3. The proposal site should be within 400 metres’ walk of a high daytime frequency (every 15 minutes) direct bus route to the city centre; and
  4. Key local services (e.g. small supermarket, newsagent, pharmacy) are conveniently and safely accessible by foot within 800 metres’ walk; and
  5. Residents have a choice of safe and convenient walking and cycling routes to key local services and the city centre; and
  6. Visitors’ access needs, and the needs of occupiers and visitors with disabilities have been considered; and
  7. Information is provided as to how any on-site parking will be allocated, which might include residents renting an allocated space.

T3.2: Access to off-street car parking should be designed to minimise additional vehicle movements on residential streets. Provision of car club spaces for residents and neighbouring users is encouraged.

4.200 If planning permission for a development with a reduced level of car parking is granted, conditions will be applied to keep the development car-free or low-car. Car-free proposals will require a Transport Assessment to demonstrate full consideration of accessibility, mitigation and enforcement.

4.201 The following questions will be considered when assessing car-free or low-car development, including infill development:

  1. Does existing street character rule out on-site parking?
  2. Is the application fully evidenced, for example, by parking surveys, highway safety audit, or public transport impact assessment?

4.202 This policy will be applied pragmatically. For example, additional car parking up to, but not exceeding, the levels prescribed in the ‘County Durham Parking and Accessibility Standards’ (Durham County Council, 2014b) may be required if a development is close to the edge of the Controlled Parking Zone, in order to mitigate against residents keeping cars on residential streets outside this zone.

4.203 New developments outside the Controlled Parking Zone must provide the minimum levels of car parking set out in the County Durham Parking and Accessibility Standards. Applications providing less than the minimum level of car parking will only be considered in conjunction with an extension of the Controlled Parking Zone to the development and possibly to neighbouring streets. Such extensions would be subject to acceptance by the local authority and consultation with affected residents. In such cases the costs of extending the Controlled Parking Zone may be sought via planning obligation. Situations which might justify Controlled Parking Zone extension include:

  1. a development close to, or accessed from, an area which is currently in the Controlled Parking Zone; or
  2. 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
  3. development of student accommodation within or adjoining a residential area, in which case extending the Controlled Parking Zone to the residential area may help to manage competition for parking spaces from students keeping cars in the residential area.


4.204 This policy applies to infill developments in areas already subject to controlled parking. Owing to the historic nature of the streets within the Controlled Parking Zone, the supply of on-street parking space is limited in some areas, as is evidenced by the Council having ceased to provide resident or visitor permits for occupiers of new developments or conversions since 2000.

4.205 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.

4.206 In setting parking standards the NPPF (para. 39)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
  • an overall need to reduce the use of high-emission vehicles.

4.207 The current county-wide policy, the ‘County Durham Parking and Accessibility Standards’ (Durham County Council, 2014b), sets different rates of provision for town centres and areas outside town centres. Its definition of the town centre for Durham City is problematic, being based on a simple radius of 400m centred on the market place, which does not take into account the geography of the city. Outside this area, car parking is required on a sliding scale depending on the size of the dwelling. Yet within the Controlled Parking Zone, much of which lies beyond the 400m 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.

4.208 Seeking to restore a better community balance within neighbourhoods is a key aim of our Neighbourhood Plan. This policy therefore allows for residential accommodation to be built with a lower level of car parking than the norm, but only under strict conditions designed to achieve high quality, higher density developments which do not generate extra traffic, support the viability of public transport services, and bring residential life back into the city centre.

Next section: Policy T4: Residential Storage for Cycles and Mobility Aids

4 Responses to Policy T3

  1. Timothy Clark says:

    I support this policy. In Durham, as in other historic towns, many otherwise attractive streets are defiled by doubling as car parks.
    A city wide CPZ would be very welcome.

  2. Matthew Phillips says:

    Discussion at the drop-in event at St Oswald’s Institute highlighted that the current DCC policy is also possibly problematic in its requirements for parking spaces for students at purpose-built student accommodation. Currently there is no student parking requirement (except for disabled students) for sites in the Controlled Parking Zone. But outside that zone, 1 space per 15 students is stipulated. Unlike the residential parking policy, this is a maximum, so less parking could be acceptable. We understand that the university policy on parking permits is very restrictive on students having permits, but privately-developed accommodation might seek to use parking as an attractor. There could be situations where a PBSA or college building is proposed which is much closer to the University than some of the PBSAs recently built, yet because it is outside the CPZ might be allowed to have more student car parking, which could lead to an increase in student car use. (Parking for visitors might need accommodating, however, if further from the city centre.) This needs looking at again, particularly with respect to the fringe effects on nearby residential streets. Either the policy itself or paragraph 4.203 might need some attention.

  3. John Pacey says:

    POLICY T 3
    Whilst the spirit and general intention of this Policy is understood and supported it is at this stage difficult to give unqualified support without knowing
    (a) that the satisfaction of conditions 1 to 7 would not in practice weaken the effect of minimum parking levels prescribed in the County Durham Parking and Accountability Standards, and
    (b) in what way condition 1 could in practice be demonstrated in advance of completion of any particular development.

  4. Peter Smith says:

    Some thought needs to be given to the extension of the CPZ particularly into Gilesgate Green to prevent a fringe effect, however this will only push the fringe outwards and therefore a city wide CPZ needs to be examined.
    Thought must also be given to a relaxation on contractors vehicles and business permits as it is becoming impossible to get contractors to work in the city and the council are missing a rich source of income on business permits.