Tory Colin Seagers and our own Ron Oatham are the two councillors who are feeling most pleased tonight. They have both strongly argued in favour of keeping to our existing standard of requiring new houses to have a minimum of 2 or 3 parking spaces. They could see that giving up this policy would mean homes being with inadequate parking, so that more and more vehicles would block our streets.
The trouble was that government thinking was against this – by reducing parking requirements, the government felt they could reduce car use and achieve a better use of land.
Our council officers professional advice was that we should give up this policy, because a government department would eventually force us to. However Seagers and Oatham fought a rearguard action over the summer, and kept the policy in our local plan for a few months longer.
Meanwhile last month the government issues a new document – “Planning Policy Statement 3” . Our officers now think that this document gives us some leeway, so we can keep our policy after all. Mind you, if Oatham and Seagers had given up back in the summer and our policy had been dropped, we wouldn’t be able to put it back now.
There will be one change though – we can only use this policy in rural and suburban areas. Town centre housing sites close to good public transport links won’t be required to have our standard parking standards.