Too Much Parking Says Mayor

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.

Roger Lawson



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Mayor of London and Parking Control

The Mayor of London, via the GLA and TfL, are asking for an amendment to the Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill that is currently going through Parliament. He is asking for new powers over the installation of electric charging infrastructure and parking bay designations on local borough roads as well as the TfL controlled roads. Currently local boroughs have sole control over all roads other than the main ones designated as TfL controlled roads. But the Mayor and TfL feel they are not moving fast enough with installation of charging points. Perhaps they are put off by the high costs and low level of use?

The new powers would enable TfL to not just bypass the local authority but also the planning process and associated consultations and would give them powers to create and re-designate parking bays.

London Councils which represents the boroughs are objecting and surely quite rightly. This is yet another attempt by the Mayor to take more powers and erode the independence of the boroughs. Dictators always seem to want more power it seems.

Petition on election of the Mayor.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is going to have a devastating impact on many people who live outside London if he manages to push through his Transport Strategy. After all many people use the road network to visit parts of London, or travel through it, even though they live outside the GLA area. A petition has been launched suggesting that everyone should have a chance to vote for the Mayor of London as he has just a wide influence. To sign it please go here:

Roger Lawson



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Opposition to London Plan on Parking Levels

A report in Local Transport Today (LTT) has highlighted how some London Boroughs are strongly opposed to Mayor Sadiq Khan’s London Plan which is currently the subject of a public consultation. The main concern is the proposed new controls on parking provision in new housing developments. These have been substantially reduced such that many developments in central London will have exactly zero provision for parking (and that would be legally enforced). Even outer London where public transport access is high (PTAL levels 5 and 6) would also be covered by the zero rule, and even where PTAL levels are much lower parking provision will be severely restricted.

This is of course part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to drive car usage out of London altogether. In addition he is reducing the ability of local Boroughs to make their own decisions on what is most appropriate for their boroughs, thus increasing the centralised dictatorship or the Mayor and TfL. This is what Lisa Fairmaner of L.B.Kingston had to say to councillors “[It is] a direct challenge to local government in London with the mayor taking over a detailed planning policy role that should be carried out by local authorities through their local plans”. She suggested the Mayor was exceeding his powers.

The Leader of Bromley Council, Councillor Colin Smith, issued a statement in December which criticised the housing targets and impossibility of providing the necessary infrastructure to support many more residents. The maximum parking provision was also criticised by Bromley in the LTT report, including the inability of councils to set minimum parking provision standards.

It is surely no surprise that outer London boroughs, and their residents, are not happy with the Mayor’s proposals which are as usual developed with a mindset that cycling, walking and public transport are the only transport modes that should be used in London. This simply takes no account of the needs and desires of many residents, particularly the elderly and disabled of which there are enormous numbers in London. Restricting parking provision does not stop people owning cars but just causes the roads to be clogged up by parked vehicles with obstructive parking becoming commonplace. Parking provision should be dictated solely by market demand for it, as we said in our submission to the London Plan consultation.

Roger Lawson.


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