Parking standards shakeup to improve provision across area

North Somerset Council buildings in Weston

Parking standards shakeup - Credit: Google

Plans to put parking in the 'right place at the right time' would have prevented issues at developments in Weston and Portishead. 

North Somerset Council is raising its expectations on parking to ensure the district is not left behind on electric vehicle charging, spaces are big enough for modern cars and there is safe parking for bikes. 

It is scrapping its one-size-fits-all approach to reflect the fact that households in Winsford have three times as many cars as in central Weston. 

The changes will allow developers to build higher density, lower car developments if the locations are suitable. 

Councillor Mark Canniford, the executive member for placemaking, told the full council meeting on November 9: “A lot of people now who live in the middle of towns might not even have a car so they’ve got spaces sitting empty. 

“In my ward, at Knightstone House, almost all the parking spaces are empty because they had to build spaces but they’re not getting used.

“If we’d had this parking needs assessment in place when the developments in parts of our district took place, such as Locking Castle and Port Marine in Portishead, we wouldn’t have the parking issues that we are suffering from today. 

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“This policy deals with all those problems that many of us have grumbled about over the years and gives us an opportunity to make sure the right parking is in the right places at the right time.” 

Garages and rear parking court spaces have fallen out of favour because only half are used – pushing vehicles to park on-street in inappropriate locations Locking Castle and Port Marine. 

A report to the meeting said: “By not counting these spaces, we will ensure that where a reduction is permitted, spaces remain usable and vehicles are not pushed into parking in appropriate locations such as on footways or near junctions.

“The various changes proposed will contribute towards the council’s ambition to be carbon neutral by 2030 by providing sufficient EV charging infrastructure at new developments, by promoting the use of car clubs, facilitating higher density development in accessible locations, and by ensuring adequate levels of cycle parking are provided.”

Cllr Phil Neve suggested introducing a workplace parking levy to discourage car use and raise additional revenue to help fund active travel, public transport and electric car charging points. 

He said a scheme in Nottingham had reduced congestion, increased use of public transport, raised money for investment in electric buses and cycleways, and boosted businesses. 

Cllr Robert Payne said it could be considered in the long-term parking strategy alongside other measures so drivers are not pushed from their employers car parks to roads nearby. 

He added: “We must firstly understand the implications and the impacts it would have on people and businesses across North Somerset."

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