DESIGN | Parking On New Developments


5.3.1    Car ownership across Uttlesford is higher than the national average, reflecting its rural location and limited public transport network. At the Census in 2011 83% of households in Saffron Walden reported ownership of at least one car or van, compared to 75% of households across England as a whole. In Saffron Walden 78% of travel to work is by private car.

5.3.2    The 2005 Local Plan states “Uttlesford communities lack high quality public transport. In common with many other rural communities, using the car is the only practical way of getting to work, accessing services and making leisure trips. Car ownership levels are relatively high and existing car parking provision is well used. It is important that car parking for new development is adequate. Where there is a lack of off-street parking on older residential areas this results in a high level of on street parking. In some localities this results in obstruction of roads and footpaths, causing particular problems for those with limited mobility. The level of parking on new developments should neither exacerbate existing parking problems in communities nor create problems where they do not presently exist.” There is evidence that this is still the case, and car parking availability remains a contentious issue in the town [1].

5.3.3    Bus services in Saffron Walden are limited, with many services finishing mid-afternoon, so are not useful for commuters. They are even more limited on Saturdays and on Sundays there are no buses at all. Buses in Uttlesford are difficult to run as a commercial venture and therefore are largely subsidised. Services tend to run close to the point where the subsidy per passenger is at the limit of viability. Essex County Council funds are under pressure, and bus provision is not a statutory requirement, making it an obvious place for cost savings. Bus services are not forecast to increase in Saffron Walden and the use of private vehicles is not forecast to decline.

5.3.4    Saffron Walden residents tend to rely on the private car to access other services and facilities:

Healthcare:     Saffron Walden has two doctors’ surgeries, but one is on two sites, with one of the sites being in Great Chesterford, some 4.5 miles away and only accessible by car. Saffron Walden retains its community hospital which offers some specialised outpatient appointments, for example x-rays and audiology, and has geriatric in-patient wards. For more general round the clock healthcare, for example walk-in health care, A&E, maternity, surgery and general wards, Saffron Walden residents must travel to Cambridge.

Food shopping: Saffron Walden town centre has a mid-sized Waitrose. On the edge of the town to the east is a mid-sized Tesco store which also has a petrol station, and there is an Aldi on the edge of town to the south. The nearest supermarket in “superstore” format (including clothing and home goods) is 12 miles away in Haverhill.

5.3.5    Despite hopes that private car ownership and use will reduce over time, the SWNP must take a pragmatic approach to the reality that any change will not be immediate. Higher needs for private vehicles and long distances travelled by commuters will make initiatives such as car sharing clubs, for example, less immediately feasible in market towns and rural locations.

5.3.6    For the timescale of the SWNP, it is assumed that private vehicle use will remain more or less at current levels, and policies on parking reflect this.

5.3.7    It is anticipated that any surplus parking spaces generated by the policies below will be regularly used by delivery vehicles.

5.3.8    Good parking design is therefore an important part of urban planning in Saffron Walden. Poor design can very much detract from the overall street scene, whereas good design can promote the sense of the neighbourhood as a friendly space. Alongside the Essex Design Guide, the Essex Works Publication Parking Standards Design and Good Practice September 2009 sets out standards and examples of layouts which work well, and which are supported by the SWNP.

5.3.9    Tandem parking (where cars are parked one behind the other) is to be discouraged where the street layout might in reality encourage on-street parking instead for convenience. Where-on street parking is not possible, tandem parking works well.

5.3.10  Ownership of electric vehicles will increase throughout the plan period and beyond and housing must be designed with charging requirements in mind. Thus, all developments must provide either actual electric charging points or the ducting for future charging points, so as to avoid expensive and disruptive retrospective installation.

5.3.11  Bicycle parking needs to be secure and covered to encourage people to use bicycles regularly. High density developments characterised by smaller footprints and small storage space will not have enough space for bicycles to be stored within the home.

5.3.12  Delivery vehicles on tight time schedules and taxis dropping off or picking up passengers will always need to park as close as possible to the destination dwelling. The street layout of new developments should not be so narrow that these temporary vehicle parking manoeuvres block the whole street.

[1] For example, the 2019 campaign by residents of Museum Street to obtain additional residents’ parking spaces, after 19 resident permits were issued for 6 spaces.


1. All new developments must provide for parking spaces for residents and visitors as per the Essex Works publication Parking Standards Design and Good Practice September 2009 or later equivalent.

2. All new developments will demonstrate how they refer to the Essex Design Guide 2018, or later equivalent for layout of vehicle and cycle parking spaces.

3. All dwellings will include electric vehicle (EV) charging points, and the following provision is the minimum:

  • For dwellings with driveways, one EV charging point per house;
  • For dwellings with parking courts, half of the spaces in the parking court to have EV charging points; and
  • For commercial developments, EV charging points to be provided at 2% of the total parking spaces.

This policy supports the Neighbourhood Plan Objectives 2,3,4,5


Please use the relevant section numbers as reference markers when writing your comments.

2 Responses

  1. I am in agreement with every point in this policy. I live on a new Bloor Homes estate which has sufficient parking and although some is tandem parking which has encouraged some people to park on street. it works well on the whole. This is in contrast with older areas where pavement parking has become a real problem.

  2. I would recommend a minimum standard of charging points (7kWh). Otherwise developers might install the cheapest options which will take a whole day to charge a vehicle.

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Neighbourhood Plan Objectives

Objective 1

Saffron Walden will be an economically active and self-sustaining town, offering equal opportunities to all.

Objective 2

Saffron Walden’s residents will be able to live as healthily as possible.

Objective 3

Saffron Walden will be an environmentally sustainable town.

Objective 4

Saffron Walden’s heritage assets, high quality landscape and conservation areas will be protected or enhanced.

Objective 5

Saffron Walden will retain its market-town feel and community spirit.


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