Local Plan to 2030 - Main Modifications September 2018

Main Modifications to Ashford Local Plan

Policy TRA2 – Strategic public parking facilities (MM78)

Amend supporting text and policy wording to read:

5.245 In light of the above, the Study recognised that a flexible approach to parking was needed, one which can best respond to development as it comes forward in a way that caters for both the needs of long stay and short stay users. This strategy is very much a part of the overall spatial aspiration for Ashford Town Centre, providing a net-increase in parking provision, in the right places and with the avoidance of further land-take, while providing opportunities for the redevelopment of less sustainable public parking land.

Multi Storey Car Parks

5.247 In Ashford town centre, delivering new multi-storey car parks (MSCPs) has been a long held aspiration of the Council and it remains a valid one. New MSCPs will provide the opportunity to redevelop some of the Town Centre’s existing surface level car parks – highly accessible and sustainable brownfield sites - through the decanting of spaces to new MSCPs while obtaining a net gain in useful spaces. In order to be successful, MSCPs generally need to be located in accessible locations near to shops and leisure facilities and in doing so tend to cater for the shorter term parking demand. They also need to be clean, attractive and provide a sense of safety for their users.

5.248 In the Ashford Town Centre Area Action Plan (2010), land was allocated to deliver two MSCPs by 2020. These were both required to meet the needs generated by significant levels of planned retail and leisure development, envisaged to come forward by 2020. Additional car parking facilities of between 700-900 spaces are estimated to be required in the town centre over the Plan period in order to accommodate the levels of growth envisaged in this Plan and support the vitality and viability of the town centre.

5.249 This Local Plan is not proposing to deliver such large scale of development in the Town Centre. Nevertheless, Surface car parking is recognised as being relatively land-hungry and therefore MSCP provision is still seen as an important component of meeting parking needs in the longer term to respond to development coming forward, and remains a key Council aspiration. To avoid excessive land-take in the town centre for parking related to new development, it may be possible to deliver additional parking space (e.g. that required in TRA3b) by extending or decking existing public car parks, subject to a proportionate financial contribution (as per Policy IMP1). Early engagement with the Council should be a priority when considering any development in the town centre that is likely to require parking. Similarly, there may be an opportunity for joint working to deliver a MSCP as part of redevelopment proposals in the town centre.

5.250 Although MSCPs tend to best serve short stay users, it is highly likely that they will also partially meet long stay demands, especially as new commercial development starts coming forward in the town centre, until such time that a new park and ride facility is operational viable which can cater for this demand in a more sustainable way.

5.251 Should a MSCP be delivered, the Council may then wish to pursue the redevelopment of some its existing car parking stock in the town centre. These proposals will need to demonstrate that there is spare capacity in existing public parking stock serving the town centre, that is currently operational or which will be provided elsewhere as part of the redevelopment.

Policy TRA2 - Strategic Public Parking Facilities

The Council will prioritise an aspiration for the delivery of two new multi-storey public car parks in Ashford Town Centre, one of which will have an indicative capacity of 300 spaces, and at the other with an indicative capacity of 400 – 600 spaces.

Proposals which would enable the delivery of these facilities on the site of an existing town centre car park in a sustainable location and on a viable basis will be supported. Likewise, major town centre development requiring parking in line with Policy TRA3b may be required to provide proportionate financial contributions towards the delivery of these facilities. Such provision could be in lieu of on-site parking provision for a proposed development.

Proposals which would involve the removal or capacity reduction of a publicly-available car parking facility in the town centre, or which prejudice the ability to deliver multi-storey car parking, these facilities on a viable basis will be refused unless it has been agreed with the Borough Council that the facility is either no longer required or the alternative provision of the same amount of parking spaces can be delivered in a suitable location.