A sign of things to come are the objections by TfL to parking provision proposed for a major new housing development in Charlton. That’s even before the limitations proposed in the London Plan for minimal parking provision on new developments with high public transport access levels (PTALs) have legal effect because the London Plan is still under consideration by a planning inspector.
The proposed development is one for 771 residential units on a site near the River Thames not far from the Thames Barrier on a former industrial estate (the VIP Trading Estate on Anchor & Hope Lane). The developers are proposing 210 parking spaces in a basement car park, i.e. 0.27 per residential unit so only a minority of residents would have a car parking space. But apparently, and based on a report in LTT, this is too many for TfL who suggest that car parking should be minimised in this location. This is one aspect of the Mayor of London’s Transport Strategy which is to restrict parking provision so that Londoners are deterred from owning a car.
Even if the local council (the London Borough of Greenwich) approve the planning application it could still be blocked by Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Comment: Although Charlton Station is not far away and there are bus routes on the Woolwich Road, there are few other local facilities. Residents of this location would be cut off from easy access to a lot of south-east London and would probably end up commuting into central London for employment via a relatively slow (25/30 min) and already overcrowded train service. Some people do need vehicles for their employment as some disabled people do.
The developers might also find that apartments without parking provision will be difficult to sell and hence they may pull out or delay the development. Charlton is not exactly a high-density city centre location so these objections to providing some parking provision seem unreasonable.
One question that readers need to ask is this: Is this a form of gerrymandering where with no provision for parking most of London will become inhabited by those who do not own a vehicle (i.e. the poorer section of the community that cannot afford one)? In effect the Mayor is ensuring that those who are likely to vote Labour (and for him) are likely to purchase the properties and become a part of his electorate, whereas the wealthier prospective buyer will look elsewhere – or simply give up trying to live in London. Only those who can qualify for “affordable” properties will be living in London the way things are going.
Is this not as big a political scandal as the selling of council houses to likely Conservative voters in Westminster, circa 1990? As in that case, the alleged justification for this policy may be different to the underlying motive.
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