Granting planning permissions to applications with insufficient parking has become a big issue in recent years. The picture above shows office parking which could soon become gardens for four-bedroomed houses – leaving little space for parking cars.
Although I have campaigned on this since becoming a borough councillor, it has taken me a while to persuade my Conservative party colleagues that has the power to stop such developments if it chooses to do so.
The convention was that as Surrey county is the highway authority for Elmbridge if county decides that a planning application has no significant impact on transport and if that was the only reason for refusal then the borough would have to permit the development.
My contention is that Surrey county only considers two aspects: highway safety; and, impact on congestion. The third aspect: parking is considered by county to be a borough concern.
Yet my committee often voted to permit planning applications that clearly had significant, if not severe, impact on the availability to park locally.
Recently two planning applications have come before the borough’s south area planning sub-committee (which serves Weybridge) which, if permitted, could create further demand for on-street parking in areas of particular parking stress. The first application was for a reduction in off-street parking for the conversion offices into four proposed four-bedroomed houses in Thames Street; and the second was, again, the conversion of offices into flats in Baker Street. In both cases I proposed that the applications be refused on parking grounds and fortunately my colleagues agreed.