City council slammed for ‘unfair’ parking policy

Cars parked in Lowther Road, Charminster

COUNCIL leaders have been criticized for their ‘totally unfair’ parking policy which has been called a ‘potentially class war at work’.

Two community groups have expressed condemnation of the BCP Council’s current zonal parking policy around housing estates.

The BCP Parking Standards Supplemental Planning Document, effective January 2021, sets minimum parking requirements for new housing developments. The council decided to set different standards for different parts of the conurbation.

This means that in all three city centers no parking is needed, regardless of the size of the accommodation and the number of properties on offer.

Councilor Philip Broadhead, Deputy Leader of the BCP Council, defended the zones, which he said were based on car ownership data as well as accessibility to local services.

The co-ordinators of the East Cliff and Springbourne and Lowther and Milton Homewatch Residents Group both denounced the Tory leadership at a full council meeting on April 26.

Mark Elkins, of the East Cliff and Springbourne Group, said: ‘Talbot and Branksome Woods represented by the Head of Council and Deputy Head of Council are placed in SPD Zone D with one parking space per apartment. At East Cliff and Springbourne the apartments require no parking space.

“Cabinet adviser Mike Greene claims justification for the current policy because East Cliff and Springbourne (with high-density housing without abundant on-street parking) are close to the city center and can therefore make better use of public transport .

“Yet the council leader’s affluent low-density residential area, with plentiful street parking just as close, has a completely different policy.

“It’s totally unfair and potentially class warfare at work.”

Ian Lawrence, from Lowther and Milton Homewatch, asked councilors to hold a vote to scrap the zonal parking policy.

‘Green zoning lights destruction of Bournemouth’s architectural heritage, cramped future slums, minimal parking, gardens, no additional facilities,’ Mr Lawrence said.

Lowther Road, a long residential road in Charminster, is in three different zones on the parking policy document.

Cllr Broadhead said car ownership is higher in areas where residents are less able to travel by modes other than car and lower where access to local services is higher.

“Later this year, we will have started work on the new local plan for the BCP region, where we will have further opportunities to adjust policies that we believe could help the issues we face regarding our needs. when it comes to housing,” said Cllr Broadhead.

“This will include plans for how much parking is needed in certain areas and what types of houses to build where. This is where we can sort out the big policies.

Councilor Broadhead said the BCP council area ‘just doesn’t offer enough affordable housing’, particularly for young people.

He said the zonal parking policy was “partly a reaction” to this – saying proposed developments in urban areas had either not been featured at all or had elements of affordable housing argued for by mitigating the viability.

Echo of Bournemouth: Councilor Philip Broadhead

Echo of Bournemouth: Councilor Philip Broadhead

Councilor Philip Broadhead

“That’s not good enough,” said Cllr Broadhead.

“Not requiring applicants to provide parking in these new developments, and bearing in mind that they are perfectly permitted to provide parking if they believe the market requires it, is a pragmatic way of approaching this issue, alongside the reality that in most of these areas almost half the people don’t have a car anyway.”

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