Borsetshire Issues and Options

Cliftonville DPD - Preferred Options Report

Issue 7 - Traffic Managment

Public consultation has revealed concerns regarding traffic issues, namely lack of parking spaces, and the flow of traffic within the area, and the council has also received a number of complaints about traffic in Cliftonville.  Despite the fact that Thanet has one of the lowest car ownership levels in Kent, parking and circulation is clearly an issue for Cliftonville residents and the answer may be a mixture of positive action coupled with appropriate control.

The council is currently in the process of reviewing the yellow lines within the area, with the objective of reducing them to provide more on-street parking spaces.  This is being carried out in conjunction with the Fire Brigade to ensure there is adequate access for emergency vehicles. 

The flow of traffic, including the allocation and direction of one-way streets, is a matter dealt with by Kent Highways Services.  However they have no current plans for the Cliftonville area.  The Council will work closely with Kent Highway Services to ensure coordinated action to try and resolve the issues identified by residents.

It is government policy to promote alternative modes of transport to the private car, ie walking, cycling and public transport.  Cliftonville West is within easy reach of the Northdown Road shopping area, and is a walking distance of about a mile from Margate town centre.  It is also well served by local bus routes. In these circumstances one option could be to allow developments as ‘car-free' schemes and this would support government policy.

The encouragement of walking is largely outside planning influences in such urban areas but ensuring new development encourages accessibility on foot and that streets are designed with safety for pedestrians in mind is important. Cycling could be encouraged by providing either communal, secure cycle storage facilities, or facilities for bike storage in new developments.

At present the parking requirement of the existing use is taken into account when assessing the need that will be generated by proposals for conversions and for extensions to former hotels. This can result in quite large developments being allowed with little or no parking. While this would seem equitable where a property is simply being converted, it may be inappropriate where an extension to provide additional units is involved. It may therefore be appropriate to develop policy requiring the full on site requirement of car parking for any extension to an existing building involving additional residential units.

A key issue for improving the area is ensuring that its appearance is maintained and improved.  It is noticeable that in parts of the area where front gardens are of a reasonable size, some front walls have been removed, or partially removed to facilitate on site parking.  This is a result of increases in car ownership and intensification of use of buildings, and has had a number of consequences:

  • It is to the detriment of the physical appearance of the street scene, giving rise to a run-down, sterile appearance due to large expanses of bland, hard surface; removal of vegetation, and the presence of the parked vehicles themselves.
  • It potentially reduces the area available for the proper storage of refuse containers
  • It decreases the amount of on-street parking in the whole area

While consent is not always required for such works it may be appropriate where control can be exercised to prevent such on-site parking.

Options - Traffic Management

Option 7.1
To require the provision of secure cycle storage within all new development, or a communal cycle storage facility

Option 7.2
To require provision of additional car parking spaces per additional residential unit created by extensions to properties

Option 7.3
To refuse applications for development providing parking in front garden areas (and where necessary to remove permitted development rights for such development)

Option 7.4
To allow development without the need for on site parking

Option 7.5
To do none or only some of the above policies.

Preferred Options and Reasoned Justification
Cliftonville West already has a relatively high crime rate, and there is concern that a communal cycle storage facility for this area would more likely encourage crime and anti-social behaviour, rather than encouraging people to store bicycles. However a policy requiring the provision of secure and accessible cycle storage within every new development would seem appropriate.

Based on current Kent County Council standards and the application of those standards many extensions to hotels do not currently require additional parking spaces for additional accommodation units, or for additional dwelling units if the property is being converted.  Given the parking situation within the area a policy requiring on site parking provision for any units created by an extension to the property would be appropriate.   Where on-site parking cannot be provided, extensions to existing properties would not be permitted.  (Consideration for such a policy could be extended to investigate whether  permission for extensions resulting in additional residential units should not be granted if it would result in the loss of garden areas, and unless adequate refuse storage facilities for the additional units can be provided).

Conversions to properties have, in some instances, resulted in parking being provided within the front garden areas. Not only does this look unattractive but it also reduces on street parking by two spaces to enable access and  also prevents on-street parking even when the garden parking space is not being used. The council therefore takes the view that it would be appropriate to implement a policy for new development in this area preventing the use of front garden areas for parking where control can be exercised.

Actions

Accept Option 7.1 Develop a policy to require a secure cycle storage facility to serve each new residential unit

Accept Option 7.2 Develop a policy stating that extensions to provide residential accommodation will be refused unless a parking space can be provided for each additional residential unit

Accept policy 7.3 Develop a policy restricting (where feasible) the provision of car parking spaces at the front of a property.

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