New guidance has been drawn up for developers on how much parking space new factories, offices and housing estates should have.
And today (Monday July 14), Buckinghamshire County Council Cabinet agreed to carry out a wide consultation on the proposals, which cover cars, bikes, motorcycles and blue badge holders. Cabinet Members will review the proposals again in the light of consultation feedback.
Buckinghamshire currently doesn't have county-wide parking standards, and relies on those developed by the four districts. These vary and were written under old, more restrictive national planning policies, and in some cases led to insufficient provision of parking space.
The new 2012 National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) gives councils more flexibility in developing parking standards. County Council officers have been working closely with district councils to make sure the new guidance:
• Accounts for variations across the county between urban and rural communities,
• Is realistic about demands for parking and ensures the right number of parking spaces are provided,
• Recognises that every development is unique and 'one size doesn't fit all',
• Encourages 'sustainable' travel by including provision for bikes and motorcycles.
Ruth Vigor-Hedderly, Cabinet Member for Transport, said in the past decade or so the way people travel had changed, car ownership in Buckinghamshire had risen by 7% between 2001 and 2011.
'We need to reflect what's happening in the real world,' said Ruth. 'There are now more than 300,000 private cars and vans in the county and we've the highest percentage of three-plus car households in the South-East. We need to help our residents and visitors to park well.'
Ruth said the new standards would help councils to make better decisions about parking provision: a valuable contribution to help Buckinghamshire's economy to continue to grow, while keeping the county special.
She invited people to take part in the consultation to gather views from residents, community groups, parishes, businesses, blue badge users and those with an interest in cycling and motorcycling. The consultation will run through the late summer and into the autumn.