Just say no

An inspector has declined to support a local authority in Warwickshire in its attempt to improve parking near a tennis club, pointing out that planning conditions should not be used to address pre-existing problems (DCS Number 400-010-723).

The tennis and croquet club sought permission for a new squash court. Planning permission was granted subject to a condition which stated that notwithstanding the details shown on the approved plans, no development should take place unless and until details of improved car parking within the site had been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority. The inspector recorded that one of the tests for planning conditions set out in paragraph 206 of the NPPF is that “A condition cannot be imposed in order to remedy a pre-existing problem or issue not created by the proposed development”. He did not doubt that local residents had longstanding concerns about on-street parking in the vicinity, which had obstructed private driveways, and possibly limited the opportunities for residents or their visitors to park conveniently close to their properties.  He acknowledged that it was very likely that at least some of the cars being parked at the roadside belonged to members or guests of the club. However, referring to the council’s parking standards, one squash court was required to provide two parking spaces and the planning application met this requirement. The inspector deleted the disputed condition and replaced it with a condition requiring the two parking spaces shown on the approved drawings.

The potential of new development to create or exacerbate parking congestion is often raised as a planning issue and it might be a matter of commercial judgement for developers as to whether or not to accede to overly demanding requests for parking provision. The case of the tennis club, where commercial considerations and time pressures might not have been its principal concerns, shows that sometimes a good strategy is to just say no.

The following DCP chapter is relevant: 4.1518

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