This Item was presented by Heather Stevens, Principal Policy Officer.
She explained this was a draft planning document which had been prepared to support the implementation of revised vehicle parking standards in the District outside the South Downs National Park. The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) would be preparing their own vehicle parking standards supplementary planning document. The Alton Neighbourhood Plan (2016) set its own parking standards and therefore the SPD did not apply to the area covered by this Neighbourhood Plan. Officers considered there was compelling justification to introduce minimum parking standards in the District and highlighted to members that this evidence was contained in the document as Appendix 1. Officers confirmed that the document would go to Cabinet Briefing prior to the 6 week consultation.
Councillors expressed concerns regarding parking at petrol stations with food retail stores. The document stated that one pump was equal to one parking space. Officers said that as the vehicle was occupying that space at that moment in time it was deemed a parking space, especially as petrol stations contained parking for shopping facilities and cars could use these spaces for shopping after filling up with fuel. Councillors felt this encouraged customers to use up these spaces to go shopping which meant there were queues to use the pump if the driver did not move on first. However others had reservations about this as it seemed suspicious to start the engine and move on from the pump before paying for fuel. Heather Stevens said although she could not change the fact that this was regarded as a space, she agreed that she would look at re wording this part of the document to offer clarification and to explain this type of behaviour would be discouraged. Simon Jenkins, Head of Planning suggested obtaining any available survey data about how people use the fuel pump spaces at such facilities to gain a better understanding.
There was also confusion regarding whether the petrol station covered area was included in ‘covered areas’ in the report. Heather Stevens clarified a covered area only referred to shop space and would look at rewording to make this clearer.
There was a discussion surrounding triple tandem parking including whether spaces were long enough for tandem parking as cars often hung over the highway. It was agreed this wording would be changed to include pavements as well as road, as it was recognised as a danger to pedestrians as well as road users.
In response to a discussion regarding electric cars, Officers explained that the cars can be charged using standard household sockets and that certain electric car companies even offered to install charging points for purchasing their car. Officers acknowledged that technology regarding electric cars was evolving so quickly and that there were three types of vehicle charging connectors used by manufacturers and therefore a mix of charger types or dual compatibility chargers could be provided by developers.
Councillors disagreed that minimising car parking spaces would minimise car needs. Officers stated that settlement type was taken in to consideration as typically villages that had fewer public transport options needed more parking spaces as there was a greater need to use cars. However Councillors insisted residents often needed to go beyond their own towns and villages by car as there weren’t enough varied bus routes to get out of town especially for the more remote areas of the district.
Councillors also suggested a change of wording on page 29 of the report to include Village Halls in ‘Places of Worship and associated halls’ under ‘other uses’.
It was RESOLVED that the Panel
(i) provided comments on the draft Vehicle Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document (Appendix A of the report); and
(ii) Councillors NOTED that a six week public consultation on the draft Vehicle Parking Standards SPD is undertaken in Autumn 2017.