Just what is Lewisham Council's strategic policy on cars? Let's look at their Unitary Development Plan, Chapter 6, Sustainable Transport and Parking.
Briefly, the policies are:
To co-ordinate land use and development with the provision of transport
and car parking, so as to minimise the need for car travel; provide
good access to premises, especially in Town Centres; and safeguard the
environment and amenities of residential areas. (STR.TRN 1)
To seek improvements to the public transport provision in the Borough,
which benefit residents and minimises any adverse impact on the
• To ensure that adequate and
safe provision is made for cyclists, pedestrians and people with
disabilities in new development and to improve access and facilities to
and within existing land uses for people using them with particular
reference to safety issues. (STR.TRN 3)
• To adopt an
integrated car parking strategy which contributes to the objectives of
road traffic reduction while protecting the operational needs of major
public facilities, essential economic development and the needs of
people with disabilities. (STR.TRN 4)
Generally it says let's keep cars to a minimum, let's expand our public transport networks.
has seemingly generous parking facilities. It sometimes appears more so because
some people insist on parking in non-parking spaces to
avoid getting bird shit on their paintwork, leaving even more free spaces
which are then used by those employed on Faircharm, who would otherwise
have to pay for a parking bay on the trading estate.
is an ample car park there, but as well as charging for it, owners
Workspace intend to build a tower block of luxury apartments on it.
Workspace have no plans to include underground parking (like there is at
Creekside Village). At a TRA meeting earlier in the year, they said,
"Lewisham Council's policy is to reduce car use in the area." In this
instance, the UDP is working very much in the developer's favour, since
without the luxury flats, Workspace say they cannot finance the
redevelopment of the business centre (even though they are turning quite
a few of their business centres into luxury home developments). There
is little likelihood that the businesses and their employees will stop
using their cars; they will instead be forced to use the surrounding
area – Crossfields. Car-owners on the estate may find themselves
subjected to a permit scheme.
Down at Convoy's Wharf,
it is planned to have 2,300 car parking spaces. No sign of the UDP in
operation here then. The high-rise blocks are designed to have two
floors of parking (1800 spaces for residents). It is obvious to anyone
who lives round here that the last thing we need is more cars on Creek Road and Evelyn Street, when traffic is often gridlocked.
Deptford Is... points out that "the recent granting of outline planning permission to the massive
redevelopment of the Surrey Canal site around Millwall's stadium was
inextricably linked to improvements in transportation at the site."
After a long local residents' campaign backed by Joan Ruddock, which
hit the rocks when the Department for Transport refused to provide the
funding to build the station, the developers finally agreed to stump up
the cash. Deptford Is... says the transport improvements agreed are
quite comprehensive in order to mitigate the impact of 2,400 new
However, at Convoy's Wharf, no such
comprehensive proposals are in place. Apart from a lack of new transport
routes to and from the site to service 3500 homes, the proposal to
accommodate 2300 cars can hardly be seen to fulfil Lewisham's objective
to reduce road traffic. Nevertheless, Deputy Mayor Alan Smith is pretty
gung ho about the development. Estates Gazette reports that "the
deliverability of the scheme remains questionable for some, such as
Joan Ruddock...But Lewisham Council's Smith is more upbeat. He says: 'I'm pretty sure it will deliver. As far as I can make out, the finance
is in place and it is getting its figures to stack up.'"
deputy Mayor has said off the record that Hutchison Whampoa paid over
the odds for the site, and need the 3500 flats to return a minimum of
profit. Conversely, he also has said the only reason HW were continuing
with the project was because they are an extremely cash rich company
that doesn't have to service a debt (the fate of some other developers).
is now very little time for Hutchison Whampoa to consider sufficient
provisions for improved transport in the area before their proposals go
before committee. If Lewisham were serious about their sustainable
transport policies, the
answer would be simple: build fewer flats to relieve pressure on the
roads, increase the PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) rating
to free up more space to improve the environment and increase green
public spaces, which in turn will increase the value and profitability
of the development.