Minor Amendments to the Draft New London Plan – What are the implications for transport?
The London Plan is the statutory Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London prepared by the Mayor of London. The Draft London Plan in its current form is now a material consideration in planning decisions, gaining more weight as it moves through the process to adoption.
On 13th August 2018 the draft version of the New London Plan was updated to take into account the Mayor’s minor suggested amendments. These have been prepared following a review of consultation responses, and consist of clarifications, corrections and factual updates to the draft Plan that will help inform the Examination in Public. Consultations on the draft New London Plan took place between 1st December 2017 and 2nd March 2018. Upon adoption, the New London Plan will replace rather than alter or update the current Plan which was first published in 2011.
The amendments regarding transport are mostly minor clarifications where the original wording may have left room for interpretation. However, there are also more significant additions concerning cycle and car parking which must be examined in further detail in all forthcoming planning applications within London.
With regards to cycle parking the amendments present a mixed picture. On one hand, the requirements for adaptable cycles have tightened. Development proposals are now required to demonstrate how cycle parking facilities will cater for larger cycles, including adapted cycles for disabled people, with proposals that require more generous provisions of cycle parking based on local evidence being supported.
Conversely, whereas in the previous draft London Plan a one-bedroom dwelling was required to provide 1.5 long-stay cycle parking spaces, this has now been relaxed to 1.5 spaces per two person one bedroom dwelling. This slight alteration follows feedback from multiple London Boroughs that 1.5 spaces for all one-bedroom dwellings was excessive, particularly in areas with low levels of cycle accessibility.
Making provision for folding cycle spaces as part of the long-stay cycle parking quota is now allowed in office developments in the Central Activities Zone (CAZ), in situations where the location of rail termini lends itself to greater levels of folding bicycle use, the provision is for up to 10% of long-stay spaces and where the full provision could otherwise not be provided. Previously, spaces for folding cycles were not permitted to form part of the long-stay spaces quota.
Generally, with regards to car parking, the amendments emphasise providing disabled parking, Electric Vehicle (EV) and Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) charging points and further parking restrictions in the vicinity of new developments.
The revisions clarified that although a car-free development may be so in name, parking for disabled users must still be provided in line with Policy T6 Part D.
An amendment was made to Policy T6B (Car-Free Development) detailing that an absence of local on-street parking controls should not be a barrier to these developments, and Boroughs should look to implement these controls wherever necessary to allow existing residents to maintain safe and efficient use of their streets. This is considered to highlight concerns, especially from Local Authorities, on overspill parking from new developments with no or limited car parking into surrounding areas. Developers implementing a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) for a new development may wish to consider supporting additional CPZs on surrounding streets if considered appropriate.
The revisions specifically and repeatedly emphasise all new operational parking being required to provide EV charging points. Where these are provided on-street, physical infrastructure should ideally be located off the footpath. Where EV charging points are located on the footpath, it must remain accessible to all those using it including disabled people. This emphasis on EV parking provision likely reflects the recent focus on emissions from petrol and diesel-fuelled vehicles and the subsequent impact on London’s air quality
The revisions add that residential parking spaces should be leased rather than sold to ensure the land they take up is used as efficiently as possible over the life of a development. This includes enabling disabled persons parking bays to be used by those who need them at any given time and ensuring enlarged bays are available to be converted to disabled persons parking bays as required. Leasing allows for spaces with active charging points to serve electric or other Ultra-Low Emission vehicles, and can more easily support passive provision becoming active. Leasing also supports parking provision to be adaptable to future re-purposing, such as following changes in transport technology or services. Leases should be short enough to allow for sufficient flexibility in parking allocation to reflect changing circumstances.
Car clubs count towards the maximum parking permitted because they share many of the negative impacts of privately owned cars. However in some areas, car club spaces can help support lower parking provision and “Car-Lite” lifestyles by enabling multiple households to make infrequent trips by car. Any car club spaces will now be required to provide active charging spaces for electric vehicles.
Future Parking Management Plans and relevant sections of Transport Assessments/Statements will need to reflect changes to ownership of residential parking spaces and car club spaces.
Finally, the Revisions state that where Development Plans specify lower local maximum standards for general or operational parking, these should be followed. This allows individual London Boroughs increased flexibility to vary parking requirements should they feel more stringent standards are required.
Overall, the majority of the revisions discussed are relatively minor clarifications, with the exception of updated cycle parking standards and car parking guidance. Nevertheless, the relevant planning documentation will need to consider the amendments discussed going forward as the draft New London Plan moves towards the Examination in Public stage.
A copy of the amended draft New London Plan is available online from here. If you would like further information on how transport policy may impact on your development, please get in touch with Chris Denton on firstname.lastname@example.org.