The Sawyers Close RBWM planning application 23/01090 is looking to create a cycling & walking utopia but to my mind, this is a little naïve at this time? And if they do go ahead then parking wardens will be needed 24/7 to ensure residents on Smith’s Lane, Burnett’s Road, Whiteley and the surrounding area are not inconvenienced.
There is talk of expanding on the current bus provision which is hourly and doesn’t run in the evenings because, I assume, there is limited demand. This is not going to change dramatically unless the buses are far more frequent.
At the end of March I was advised by Abri that currently there are 216 parking bays & garages for 198 flats. They estimate 60% of residents have a car.
Residents say the car park is full and cars & vans spill out onto the driveway area which has double yellow lines and obviously no-one gets fined or they’d not do it. Fair to assume, the double yellows were installed pre Abri and now traffic wardens have limited, or no powers to police on “private” land.
The new provision will facilitate 0.8 parking space per property plus additional for visitors, making for 357 bays for 415 homes. 128 x 1 bed flats, 248 x 2 bed flats, 32 x 3 bed houses, 7 x 4 bed houses.
The Parking SPD (Special Planning Document) was last updated in 2004 which is way out of date but then it fits with future environmental policies around minimising car usage. Essentially allowing a maximum of 0.5 parking spaces per bedroom because we know that if two people living in a flat tend to share a car with neighbours rather than having a car each, per person!
The problem with the utopian world of planning officers is that it is not in keeping with reality and so the theory will fall flat on its face as cars & vans are likely to be parked all over Smith’s Lane, Burnett’s Road, Whiteley and the surrounding area. To be fair, these policies are pushed on them by the Government.
If RBWM are going to only allow very limited parking then they need to build some management elements into the process. Local non residents of Sawyers Close need consulting on the following:
- Firstly, the new tenants who move into Sawyers Close need to be interviewed and have strong environmental concerns that mean they prefer not to drive a private vehicle. In this way they will balance with those already living there to give 0.8 parking spaces a much better chance of being viable. This needs to be part of any contract between RBWM, Abri and tenants.
- There needs to be an appropriate number of traffic wardens employed to manage these residential streets that are not in Sawyers Close. Abri has responsibility for managing the site but what about the roads not directly on the estate that are shared with other residents? Smith’s Lane, Burnett’s Road, Whiteley and the surrounding area needs 24/7 coverage as we know most of the parking is done at night.
- Smith’s Lane, Burnett’s Road, Whiteley and the surrounding area needs to become a Permit Parking area. Most of the homes around there have ample off street parking and so of minimal inconvenience if they want to avoid their streets being full of Sawyer’s Close residents 2nd cars which are not required all the time and need a home.
- The east side of Smith’s Lane needs the double yellow lines extending towards Harcourt Road.
If over 50% of residents agree then RBWM has to deploy more double yellows and resident permit parking.
Reading the current documents on the planning portal both WNP and Windsor & Eton Society identify lack of parking as a real problem. You can refer to the planning portal for more detail on any of the documents listed below.
Active Travel England
Active Travel England said they couldn’t be bothered making an individual response for such a small site! Advised to read their documentation and JFDI…
Windsor Neighbourhood Plan
Vehicle parking and provision for cycling – The conclusion that residents will use alternative modes of transport seems more hope than reality. Windsor train stations are not “within a few minutes’ walk of the Site” but over 2kms and 30 minutes walk away, bus services are intermittent at best, and public transport access overall is therefore poor. It is considered that the parking provision will be inadequate and lead to informal parking on both the estate and surrounding roads where there is no additional capacity. Many existing Sawyers Close residents need vans for work, and if these vans are unable to park in the podiums they will be parked in the surrounding roads. Drivers will park in the most convenient place and this will not always be in the car parks under the podiums. This is contrary to WNP Policy PAR.01: “New residential development should respect local character and provide for safe parking, having regard to the WNP parking design standards and, where relevant, Area Design Guides (as set out in Appendix 2)”. WNP Para 7.2.9 amplifies this: “All new developments should provide enough spaces for residents and visitors, including disabled, and anticipate parking demand, taking into account location availability and frequency of public transport and car ownership locally. Sometimes developments have provided insufficient spaces which are not well designed or practical to use, which increases the impact of developments on the amenity of nearby residents as it increases the need to park nearby. The use of design solutions is suggested in research such as “Space to Park” (URBED).” Cycle parking will need to be secure, accessible and well designed. Internal roads within the development should be sufficiently wide to accommodate a designated cycle lane in each direction to provide safe infrastructure for cycles and vehicles, and should link straightforwardly with the surrounding road network to encourage cycling as a natural transport choice.
Windsor & Eton Society
Inadequate parking – It is considered that the parking provision will be inadequate and lead to informal parking on both the estate and surrounding roads. The conclusion that residents will use alternative modes of transport seems more hope than reality. To describe the Windsor train stations as “within a few minutes’ walk of the Site” seems wildly optimistic. There is no certainty that bus services will improve or residents will use cycles or other forms of sustainable transport more. If vans are unable to park in the podiums they will be parked in the surrounding roads. Height restrictions are not given. Drivers will park in the most convenient place and this will not always be in the car parks under the podiums.
Car Parking Management Plan
Following the results of the parking surveys and discussions with RBWM, it has been agreed that a ratio of approximately 0.8 parking spaces per dwelling will be provided as part of the development to ensure there is both sufficient parking, but also encourage sustainable travel. As such a total of 357 parking spaces will be provided for the development comprising 199 podium spaces, 24 Blue Badge podium spaces, 107 on-street spaces, 3 delivery bays, 20 visitor spaces and 3 car club spaces. On-site parking is to be located within undercroft car parks (allocated for general parking to each block rather than per tenant) and on the internal site roads. 5 additional parking spaces will also be provided on Smiths Lane. EV charging points will be provided to comply with RBWM standards. Secure designated motorcycle parking will be provided in line with the Borough’s motorcycle parking standard which is currently set at a ratio of 1 to every 20 car park spaces and will comply the IHE Motorcycling guidelines
The Management Company (Abri Group Ltd) for the residential development will manage the 16 Blue Badge parking spaces for the development and will allocate the spaces as demand occurs to each of the wheelchair accessible units. The Management Company will be responsible for monitoring use of the parking spaces and any potential enforcement measures which may be required.
In order to ensure that the use of the car park is operated correctly and efficiently, it must be monitored and enforced appropriately. This will be undertaken by the Management Company (Abri Group Ltd). The Management Company (Abri Group Ltd) will be responsible for taking the appropriate enforcement action in the event that any non-compliance is observed and recorded.
Policy ASF7: Public Transport Network In partnership with bus operators and neighbouring local transport authorities, the Council will work towards a commercially viable public transport network that links communities within and beyond the Royal Borough, enabling residents and visitors to access key destinations such as town centres, business parks, schools, hospitals, leisure facilities, visitor attractions and events
Policy SEG2: Smarter Choices A programme of Smarter Choices initiatives designed to influence travel behaviour and encourage a modal shift from private car use to public transport, walking and cycling, will be implemented to complement investment in new transport infrastructure.
“The Council has suggested as a short-term measure a trial of more frequent services with at least one operator, in addition to more evening and weekend services using funding from the DfT over three years. Working with an operator(s), we believe that this will entice current non-bus users to using the bus as it would become more convenient, particularly at weekends and evenings where people are more likely to be looking at alternatives to the car. This is with the aim of eventually phasing out the support and operators continuing the routes if they are commercially viable.”
It is therefore likely that bus services surrounding the proposed new development Site will be subject to improvement.
The public transport provision, along with the existing cycle routes on the public highway, and secure and covered cycle parking within the Site will encourage residents and visitors to use an alternative mode to the private car.
Sustainable Transport g. provide cycle and vehicle parking in accordance with the Parking SPD (or the parking standards set in Made Neighbourhood Plans if these are applicable), including disabled parking spaces, motorcycle parking and cycle parking as well as provision of electric vehicle charging points where appropriate. Prior to adoption of the Parking SPD, the parking standards in the 2004 Parking Strategy will be used as a guide for determining the appropriate level of parking provision, with consideration also given to the accessibility of the site and any potential impacts associated with overspill parking in the local area.
If you would like help putting forward any comments, for or against, then Cllr.Price@rbwm.gov.uk says she is happy to help.