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Car Free Development

28A CRESCENT ROAD BRIGHTON 28B 28C 28D 28E

BH2021/04390 | Application to remove condition 12 of planning permission BH2018/00433 which states 'The development shall be implemented in accordance with the scheme for the restriction of resident's parking permits in accordance with the approved application'.

Click here for full wording of car-free condition accompanying approval of the Crescent Road development on 18th October 2016.

Shaded text on this page is drawn from the Appeal decision (15th October 2019) on the last attempt to remove car-free condition on Crescent Rd development.

Click here for comments & documents

What is car-free housing?

How is parking stress measured?

Did all local residents trust the survey submitted on behalf of the Crescent Road developer?

What did the planning inspector observe on his site visit of 23rd September 2019?

What are the Council’s policies justifying the existence of Car Free Development?

How common is car-free development in Brighton and Hove?

When was the car-free condition imposed on the Crescent Road development?

On what basis are the residents (28B 28C 28D 28E) making their challenge BH2021/04390 to get the car-free condition removed?

Would the success of the challenge BH2021/04390 cause massive upheaval?

What is car-free housing?

Car free development occurs where planning permission is subject to a condition removing residents' eligibility for an on-street parking permit.

A typical context is new housing, especially on backland with no provision for parking on site, where there is insufficient capacity on the highways without increasing parking stress to unacceptable levels (over the recommended maximum of 80%).

How is parking stress measured?

"In support of the appeal, the appellant submitted a TN (Technical Note) and a Parking Beat Survey, based on the Lambeth Methodology, which relates to the number of vehicles parked and the number of empty parking spaces within a reasonable walking distance of the site. This survey was taken on Wednesday 12 December 2018 between the hours of 01:30 and 03:00, when most residents would be expected to be at home. The Parking Beat Survey data indicates that on average, the parking stress of the surveyed streets is very high at 95%. The TN predicts that the approved new dwellings would be likely to result in an increase in parking demand by four spaces. Based on this, the TN states that the approved development would further increase parking stress in the surveyed area to 97%."

Did all local residents trust the survey submitted on behalf of the Crescent Road developer?

No. See Crescent Road Bullets which uses the Lambeth Methodology to calculate "the true level" of parking stress in Crescent Road as 110%.

Notwithstanding this, the planning inspector based his decision on the 95% figure, which he thought was already high enough. However, he did observe that "Furthermore, the Parking Standards within SPD 14 states that the maximum level of parking for the proposal is one space per dwelling plus one space per two dwellings for visitors, which equates to a maximum of six spaces for this development. Based on this, the parking stress figure would be further increased above the 97% stated in the TN. "

What did the planning inspector observe on his site visit? (23rd September 2019)?

"I also observed during my site visit, which included a walk around the area on a Sunday evening when most residents would be expected to be at home, that there was a very high occupancy of parked vehicles on Crescent Road and the surrounding street, with few spaces available. The proposal would be likely to generate additional on-street parking demand in the vicinity of the site, in an area which already suffers from on-street car parking stress, to the further detriment of the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers by making parking more difficult. Furthermore, the resulting combination of circulating traffic and overspill parking would be likely to increase vehicle movements in the area and obstructive parking, to the detriment of the free flow of traffic and highway safety."

What are the Council's policies justifying the existence of Car Free development?

"Policy CP9 of the Brighton & Hove City Plan Part One, 2016 (City Plan) seeks to deliver sustainable transport and the benefits that this brings in terms of reduced congestion, improved health, safety and quality of life by providing measures to transfer people onto sustainable forms of transport. Amongst other measures, this includes establishing clear criteria for car-free housing.

"(Supplementary Planning Document) SPD 14 on Parking Standards states when considering applications for car free housing, the impact of potential overspill parking needs to be considered. These impacts may include localised increases in demand for on-street parking which can cause highway safety risks and can have a negative impact upon the amenity of existing residents in the vicinity of the site, as competition for on-street spaces in a particular area may increase. SPD14 further states that car free housing will be approved having regard to a number of factors which includes the scale of development, sustainability of location and the capacity for on-street parking in the surrounding area, and that this should be demonstrated by the applicant through an on-street parking survey."

The Crescent Road site falls within what are defined as "key public transport corridors" in SPD 14. The site is within easy reach of buses 26 46 50 79 and trains (London Road Brighton Station). This helps to establish that the car-free condition is reasonable.

Policies TR7 Safe Development and QD27 Protection of Amenity establish that the car-free condition is necessary, which relate to what the planning inspector observed on his site visit and the on-street parking survey.

How common is car-free development in Brighton and Hove?

See the list Car free roads and properties in Brighton and Hove - there is a massive number of such developments.

When was the car-free condition imposed on the Crescent Road development?

From when it first obtained planning permission on 18th October 2016. Decision document for (BH2016/00862 see point 13 or the foot of this page for the full car-free condition).

On what basis are the residents of the Crescent Road development (28B 28C 28D 28E) making the latest challenge BH2021/04390 to get the car-free condition removed?

Going by the supporting document in application BH2021/04390, their case rests on revision of government guidance on Use of planning conditions (revised 23rd July 2019). The latter contains a paragraph beginning "A negatively worded condition limiting the development that can take place until a planning obligation or other agreement has been entered into is unlikely to be appropriate in the majority of cases."

The following paragraph, misquoted by the applicants' planning company, reads "However, in exceptional circumstances a negatively worded condition requiring a planning obligation or other agreement to be entered into before certain development can commence may be appropriate, where there is clear evidence that the delivery of the development would otherwise be at serious risk (this may apply in the case of particularly complex development schemes). In such cases the 6 tests should also be met."

The six tests are that the condition should be:
1. necessary;
2. relevant to planning;
3. relevant to the development to be permitted;
4. enforceable;
5. precise; and
6. reasonable in all other respects.

The delivery of backland developments such as Carelet (6 houses) and the Crescent Road development (4 houses) would have been at serious risk - i.e. they would not have got planning approval - without the car free condition.

The compexity of the backland scheme affecting many neighbours in the densely populated Round Hill conservation area is reflected in three refusals and one withdrawn application before the development was granted in 2016 subject to the car-free condition.

Would the success of the challenge BH2021/04390 cause massive upheaval?

The planning inspector who dismissed the Crescent Road developer's appeal would have been fully aware of Use of planning conditions (revised 23rd July 2019) in making his decision on 15th October 2019. He makes reference to the 6 tests as well as recognising local planning policy on the delivery of car free housing by stating: "I therefore find on the basis of the evidence before me, and having regard to the criteria of SPD 14, the car permit free restriction is relevant to planning, necessary and a reasonable requirement for this development in the interests of the living conditions of neighbouring occupiers and highway safety."

CMK's supporting document misquotes government guidance by adding a new phrase and removing brackets. It seeks to interpret Government Guidance on the use of planning conditions (revised 23rd July 2019) in its own way and to apply it retrospectively. This is in spite of the vast number of Car free roads and properties in Brighton and Hove.

If application BH2021/04390 is approved and the Crescent Road car-free condition is removed because of retrospective use of revised government guidance, the same argument could then be used to remove all the existing car-free conditions in England. This would cause massive highways upheaval in cities like London and Brighton where there are very many car free developments. Planning policies aimed at encouraging the greater use of public transport (less use of the car) would be weakened or scrapped. Safety and amenity in residential areas would suffer accordingly. This would constitute a large step back from liveable neighbourhoods.

Click here for comments & documents

The full wording of the planning condition accompanying approval of the Crescent Road development on 18th October 2016.

The development hereby permitted shall not commence until such time as a scheme has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority to provide that the residents of the development, other than those residents with disabilities who are Blue Badge Holders, have no entitlement to a resident's parking permit.

Reason: This pre-commencement condition is imposed in order to allow the Traffic Regulation Order to be amended in a timely manner prior to first occupation to ensure that the development does not result in overspill parking and to comply with policies TR7 & QD27 of the Brighton & Hove Local Plan and CP9 of the Brighton & Hove City Plan Part One.

This page was last updated by Ted on 24-Jan-2022
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