There is a case to be made to revise the current WBC Parking Standards to accommodate HMO’s and enlarged family homes.
- There is ample visible evidence of the increase in on-street parking in residential areas. The problems that arise are, damage to grass verges, plus safety factors such as reduced visibility and parking on pavements. Two-way roads often become single lane in which traffic comes to a standstill in busy times, often prompting heated exchanges between drivers.
- The residential parking standards for houses currently applied are those laid out in the MDD (Managing Development Delivery) for the current Local Plan adopted in 2014, which states in para 1.12.4 of Appendix 2 ‘Car Parking Standards’, that it applies to assessment of parking requirements for ‘new development’.
- There is no specific provision in the Car Parking Standards for existing houses which are converted to HMO’s [Houses of Multiple Occupation, i.e.3 or more tenants renting]. HMO’s typically accommodate more adults than when previously used as a family home. Every HMO tenant may own or aspire to own a car.
- Enlarging a residential property by means of extensions increases the footprint of the property, and thereby frequently reduces the potential for additional allocated parking.
- The result in both cases is overspill parking for the additional cars, commonly outside neighbouring properties. This is the norm for enlarged family homes and HMO’s.
- There needs to be a parking standard covering established residential houses as they evolve.
- A simple and realistic assessment is to require allocated parking for each bedroom in a residential house, less one space if parking on the road directly outside the property frontage is feasible. This should be the absolute minimum standard as it does not allow for visitor parking or two car-owning adults occupying a double room. This would mean no change for most existing 3 bed family homes.
- In the case where a house is being used as an HMO, there must be allocated parking for each tenancy plus one visitor/service vehicle space. The visitor space can be on the road outside the property frontage, if this is feasible. The only exception to a tenant’s allocated parking requirement, is where a tenancy is not allowed to have a car in the Borough. This has to be a condition of the tenancy agreement, to prevent parking in a nearby street.
- Any addition to allocated parking must comply with the need for soft landscaping and permeable surfaces in compliance with local and national standards.
ACER, The Whitegates Residents Association