In exercising their planning functions local planning authorities are required to have regard to the Government's overarching planning policy on parking which is set out in Planning Policy Guidance note 13: ‘Transport’ (2001), one of the key objectives of which is to reduce the need to travel, especially by car. PPG13 is clear that local authority policies in preparing their development plans should set maximum levels of parking for broad classes of development, including residential and non-residential development, and that there should be no minimum standards for development, other than parking for disabled people.
In relation to residential development, Planning Policy Guidance note 3: ‘Housing’ (2000) advised that car parking standards that resulted in development with more than 1.5 off-street car parking spaces across a local authority area on average were unlikely to reflect the Government's emphasis on securing sustainable residential environments. This advice has subsequently being replaced by Planning Policy Statement 3: ‘Housing’ (2006), which gives local planning authorities the flexibility, consistent with the objectives of PPG13, to set their own residential parking policies taking account of the expected levels of car ownership, the importance of promoting good design and the need to use land efficiently.
In terms of non-residential development, PPG13 sets out national maximum car parking standards. Again, within the context of reducing the need to travel by car required by PPG13, draft PPS4: ‘Planning for Sustainable Economic Development’ (2007) proposes to devolve responsibility for setting non-residential car parking standards to local authorities so that they can reflect local circumstances. We are currently working to finalise the policy.