Planning to Park

Parking in Coalville and Hugglescote is being made even more difficult for established residents. Developers build on former garage sites and other informal parking spots. Residents complaints fall on deaf ears.

Under the National Planning Policy Framework, County Highways are not obliged help. Residents have no statutory right to park near their homes. The Government takes the view that if you need a parking space, it is up to you to buy a house with a drive or a garage.

With my Labour colleagues, I have tried to get NWLDC to use Planning gain to help residents. District and Parish Councillors are told it is up to LCC Highways. LCC Highways say it is up to NWLDC Planning. In the end nothing happens.

Where there is a will…

Coalville is not the only area with this problem. My home town of Birmingham has streets of terraced Victorian houses. Their residents struggle to park too. Birmingham City Council has decided to do something about it. This proves it cannot be impossible. So I put a formal Question to NWLDC Full Council in September:-

"Residents in my ward, living in Coalville and Hugglescote's traditional Victorian terraced properties, rely on finding on-street residential parking for the vehicles they need to participate in the local economy.

Residents are experiencing the loss of public garage spaces and on-street residential parking due to new housing developments.

I understand from County Highways that the Planning Authority is responsible for determining local planning policy regarding the loss on on-street parking and its mitigation.

What options for retaining, replacing or improving access to on-street residential parking are available to this Authority and what are the barriers and enablers to adoption?"

The initial reply was not encouraging. Apparently the Planners need more evidence that we have a problem. I have plenty. I expect you do too.

  • Hugglescote has lost two garage sites to developers, one off Forest Road and one between Wyggeston Road and North Avenue. Demolishing these garages and building houses has displaced over 20 cars onto nearby streets.
  • Access roads are being built off terraced streets to allow for new developments behind. Highways protect traffic leaving the new junction by putting down double yellow lines. These deprive nearby residents of on-street parking, making it even harder for them to park.
  • Coalville has gained a number of new housing estates where each house has 1.5 parking spaces. The lack of public transport in our area means many couples need a vehicle each just to get to work. Their visitors have to park somewhere too.

….there’s a way

Existing residents have a right to feel frustrated. New housing development should not be allowed to add to our existing problems. In Birmingham, when a new development is likely to create on-street parking problems, the Council are now able to ask the developer to help them fund parking controls and other creative solutions. This is not something that Councils are obliged to do. It is something that good Councils want to do.

If you have any evidence that will help NWLDC create its own local Parking Policy, contact your District Councillor. You can find their details on the NWLDC website.

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