Policy I/EV: Parking and electric vehicles

DRAFT version for various committee meetings.

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What will this policy do?

This policy will set out the requirements for cycle and vehicle parking, including infrastructure for electric vehicle charging. 

Proposed policy direction

Cycle parking

Developments will be required to deliver, safe, secure, and convenient cycle parking at homes, businesses, and key destinations including travel hubs. It is proposed to continue to set minimum standards for numbers of cycle spaces.

Cycle parking areas will need to accommodate non-standard cycles, electric cycles, accessories, and should make provision for cycle maintenance. Where garages are intended to accommodate parking for both cars and cycles, they will need to be provided to a minimum size to ensure they are fit for purpose. Security is an important issue, and spaces should be internal where practicable and appropriate.

Larger developments and those within accessible locations will need to be able to accommodate space for dockless cycle hire schemes, such as at travel hubs and key destinations.

 

Car parking

The quantity and type of car parking provided at a development will be informed by the mix of land uses, location and accessibility of the development by walking, cycling and public transport, to ensure an appropriate level to accommodate local needs (including the need for disabled people parking) whilst avoiding a proliferation of car parking in locations with good accessibility.

The policy will require parking to be accommodated within the public realm to improve the quality of place, will encourage innovative and flexible solutions to reduce car parking in appropriate locations, such as through smart parking and the provision of car clubs and shared parking, including car barns on the edge of accessible larger developments, whilst avoiding displacement parking.

 

Electric vehicle charging points

Vehicle parking should include electric charging infrastructure (with appropriate grid reinforcement), which should be designed into the public realm, to address the national commitment to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel cars within the plan period.  Charging infrastructure should be able to accommodate other vehicles including mobility scooters, electric cycles and electrification of the bus fleet.

Where car parking is provided, it is proposed that electric car charging points (minimum of 7kW) should be included at all developments at the following levels:

  • Dwellings with private parking: 1 charge point per dwelling (100% active
  • Communal parking areas: 1 charge per parking space (50% active, 50% passive)
  • Employment: 30% with active charge points, and 30% with passive.
  • Retail: 20% of bays with active charge points, and 20% with passive.

Developers will be required to submit evidence of a management strategy for any communal charge points.

Why is this policy needed?

There is a higher propensity to cycle in Greater Cambridge than nationally and increased use of electric cycles is enabling longer journeys. The plan needs to support this sustainable mode of travel making the parking of all types of cycles secure and convenient, and avoiding the problems caused by insufficient spaces.

Car Parking is important so vehicles can be stored safely where they don’t cause highway problems. Parking displacement and inappropriate car parking impacts on quality of place, causes nuisance and can hinder emergency services. However car parking is land hungry, can be unsightly, undermines the quality of place, and can discourage travel by sustainable modes.

Local Plans can set parking standards, which specify the number of spaces that need to go with different types and scales of development. These can be set as maximum standards in certain circumstances, such as to manage traffic in town centres. Policies for Greater Cambridge need to address a wide range of locations, from very rural villages with limited bus services, to City centre areas where the car may actually be the least convenient way to make a local journey. One standard will not fit all of these locations.

The Cambridge Local Plan 2018 currently includes a set of maximum car parking standards, which restrict parking particularly in the central areas. The South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018 includes indicative parking standards, that respond to the more rural nature of the area. However, both plans acknowledge that a site by site design-led approach is needed with flexibility to respond to the local circumstances of each site.

As part of the response to climate change the Local Plan needs to support sustainable travel. Significant transport improvements are planned to public transport and cycle routes in Greater Cambridge by the Greater Cambridge Partnership and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership are also preparing an Integrated Parking Strategy looking at the management of on- and off-street car parking as part of wider ambitions for achieving modal shift away from the private car. As part of place making we need to make places where people want to move around by walking and cycling, so they are not car dominated, and where people access their destinations by public transport. Controlling parking levels in accessible locations is part of this.

When using maximum standards there is a tendency for them to become the default level, rather than respond to site specific circumstances. We are therefore proposing that we move to a more design-led approach, supported by indicative standards tailored to reflect different circumstances. These standards could be included within future design guidance or Supplementary Planning Documents. This would allow flexibility to adapt to changing patterns of car ownership and use through the plan period.

As well as the amount of parking, we want to support better design solutions. Cars are unused for the majority of time, with some people only require a car for occasional journeys, coupled with the trend for less young people to take up driving and own a car. We will seek to encourage innovative and flexible solutions to reduce car parking in appropriate locations, such as through the reallocation of spaces for car clubs (which should use electric vehicles and accommodate disabled users), and provision of shared parking including in car barns where vehicles are stored off-plot.

With Government seeking to phase out sales of new petrol and diesel by 2030 it is vital that new developments are ready to support electric vehicles. The recommendations proposed regarding charging points have been informed by the Greater Cambridge New Zero Carbon Study 2021. Acknowledging that take up will grow, some of the provision will be passive, able to be activated when there is demand, avoiding the need to retrofit. Accommodating charging will also have to be reflected in the design of places, for example minimise conflicts such as cables across pedestrian and cyclist routes. In major sites charging for other types of vehicles such as buses, may also be needed.

Charging infrastructure for cycles may encourage take up of electric cycles for some journeys previously considered too far to cycle. Appropriate charging infrastructure may also be required to enable the electrification of the local bus fleet.

What consultation have we done on this issue?

Respondents to the First Conversation supported measures to provide accessible and well-designed cycle parking at stations and public transport hubs, and suggested cycle parking standards need to be updated to provide for a range of cycles and provide maintenance facilities.

There were suggestions for car free zones and the replacement of parking spaces with tree planting, whilst ensuring availability of disabled parking. There is support for measures to reduce car parking including through smart parking, provision of shared spaces and community ownership of zero carbon vehicles.

There is support for electrification of buses and provision of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

What alternatives did we consider?

1. No policy – Not considered a reasonable alternative as national planning policy requires consideration of parking.

2. Set specific standards for car parking provision. - This is not the preferred approach as the flexibility provided by a design-led approach to car parking is favoured for the reasons given above, but we would welcome views on this approach.

3. Do not set requirements for vehicle charging - This is not the preferred approach given the need for developments to respond to climate change, and to adapt to changing vehicle types.

Supporting evidence studies and topic papers

  • Greater Cambridge Local Plan: Topic paper 8: Infrastructure

Existing policies in adopted 2018 Local Plans

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan 2018

  • Policy TI/3: Parking Provision

Cambridge Local Plan 2018

  • Policy 82: Parking management

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