Policy 6.13 Parking



A    The Mayor wishes to see an appropriate balance being struck between promoting new development and preventing excessive car parking provision that can undermine cycling, walking and public transport use.

B    The Mayor supports Park and Ride schemes in outer London where it can be demonstrated they will lead to overall reductions in congestion, journey times and vehicle kilometres.

Planning decisions

C    The maximum standards set out in Table 6.2 in the Parking Addendum to this chapter should be the basis for considering planning applications (also see Policy 2.8), informed by policy and guidance below on their application for housing in parts of Outer London with low public transport accessibility (generally PTALs 0-1).

D    In addition, developments in all parts of London must:

a ensure that 1 in 5 spaces (both active and passive) provide an electrical charging point to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles

b  provide parking for disabled people in line with Table 6.2

c  meet the minimum cycle parking standards set out in Table 6.3

d  provide for the needs of businesses for delivery and servicing.

LDF preparation


a  the maximum standards set out in Table 6.2 in the Parking Addendum should be used to set standards in DPDs.

b  in locations with high public transport accessibility, car-free developments should be promoted (while still providing for disabled people)

c  in town centres where there are identified issues of vitality and viability, the need to regenerate such centres may require a more flexible approach to the provision of public car parking to serve the town centre as a whole

d  outer London boroughs wishing to promote a more generous standard for office developments would need to take into account in a DPD

  • a regeneration need
  • no significant adverse impact on congestion or air quality
  • a lack (now and in future) of public transport
  • a lack of existing on or off street parking
  • a commitment to provide space for electric and car club vehicles, bicycles and parking for disabled people above the minimum thresholds
  • a requirement, via Travel Plans, to reduce provision over time.

e  outer London boroughs should demonstrate that they have actively considered more generous standards for housing development in areas with low public transport accessibility (generally PTALs 0 -1) and  take into account current and projected pressures for on-street parking and their bearing on all road users, as well as the criteria set out in NPPF (Para 39).

Supporting text

6.42  Parking policy, whether in terms of levels of provision or regulation of on- or off-street parking, can have significant effects in influencing transport choices and addressing congestion. It can also affect patterns of development and play an important part in the economic success and liveability of places, particularly town centres (see Policy 2.8 for further detail on the outer London economy). The Mayor considers it is right to set car parking standards in the Plan given his direct operational responsibility for elements of London’s road network, and the strategic planning importance of ensuring London’s scarce resources of space are used efficiently. Boroughs wishing to develop their own standards should take the standards in this Plan as their policy context. But he also recognises that London is a diverse city that requires a flexible approach to identifying appropriate levels of car parking provision across boundaries. This means ensuring a level of accessibility by private car consistent with the overall balance of the transport system at the local level; for further advice refer to the Housing SPG. In line with the Duty to Cooperate boroughs adjoining other regions must also liaise with the relevant authorities to ensure a consistent approach to the level of parking provision. Transport assessments and travel plans for major developments should give details of proposed measures to improve non-car based access, reduce parking and mitigate adverse transport impacts. They will be a key factor in helping boroughs assess development proposals and resultant levels of car parking.

6.42i   In developing their residential parking standards in the context of London Plan policy, outer London boroughs should take account of residents’ dependency on the car in areas with low public transport accessibility (generally PTALs 0-1). Where appropriate in these locations Boroughs should consider revised standards (which could include minima) and permitting higher levels of provision there than is indicated in Table 6.2, particularly to avoid generating unacceptable pressure for on-street parking.  This may be especially important in ‘suburban’ areas and for areas with family housing.

6.42j   In outer London a more flexible approach for applications may also be acceptable in some limited parts of areas within PTAL 2, in locations where the orientation or levels of public transport mean that a development is particularly dependent on car travel.  In doing so, authorities should take account of the criteria set out in paragraph 39 of the NPPF.  Further advice is provided in the draft Housing SPG and forthcoming TfL guidance on parking design.

6.42k In deciding whether or not more generous standards are to be applied, account should be taken of the extent to which public transport might be provided in the future.  Consideration should also be given to the implications for air quality and the impact of on-street parking measures such as CPZs which may also help reduce the potential for overspill parking and congestion, and improve safety and amenity.

6.43  Public Transport Accessibility Levels (PTALs) are used by TfL to produce a consistent London wide public transport access mapping facility to help boroughs with locational planning and assessment of appropriate parking provision by measuring broad public transport accessibility levels. There is evidence that car use reduces as access to public transport (as measured by PTALs) increases. Given the need to avoid over-provision, car parking should reduce as public transport accessibility increases. TfL may refine how PTALs operate but would consult on any proposed changes to the methodology. At a neighbourhood level TfL would also recommend making use of the ATOS (access to opportunities and services) tool in order to better understand what services are accessible in a local catchment area, by both walking and cycling.

6.44  This policy recognises that developments should always include parking provision for disabled people. Despite improvements to public transport, some disabled people require the use of private cars. Suitably designed and located designated car parking and drop-off points are therefore required. Boroughs should take into account local issues and estimates of local demand in setting appropriate standards and should develop monitoring and enforcement strategies to prevent misuse of spaces. Applicants for planning permission should use their transport assessments and access statements to demonstrate how the needs of disabled people have been addressed[1].

6.45  The Outer London Commission[2] has found that developers view the lack of on-site car parking for offices in outer London, when compared to the more generous standards outside of London, as a disincentive to develop offices in London.  The Mayor supports further office development in outer London, but would not want to see unacceptable levels of congestion and pollution – which could also be a disincentive to investment there. Policy 6.13 enables flexibility in setting office parking standards; if outer London boroughs wish to adopt a more generous standard this should be done via a DPD to allow TfL and the GLA to assess the impact of such a change on the wider transport network (see Policy 6.3) and on air quality. Likewise, the policy takes a similar approach to outer London town centres, providing local authorities with the opportunity to implement a more flexible approach to town centre parking where there is a demonstrable need. Guidance on implementing parking policy for offices and town centres is set out in the Town Centres SPG, including the importance of improving the quality of provision.  This also addresses the need for sensitively designed town centre parking management strategies which contribute to the Mayor’s broader objectives for town centres and outer London. The Mayor continues to encourage a restraint based approach to parking across all land uses in Inner London and other locations which benefit from good access to public transport.

6.46  The Mayor, through TfL, and working with the London boroughs, car club operators, and other stakeholders, will support expansion of car clubs and encourage their use of ultra low carbon vehicles. More than 2,200 car club vehicles are used by 120,000 people in London, with vehicles including plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. Each car club vehicle typically results in eight privately owned vehicles being sold, and members reducing their annual car mileage by more than 25 per cent.

6.47  Park and Ride schemes can help boost the attractiveness of outer London centres and as such are supported. They must be carefully sited to ensure they lead to overall reductions in congestion and do not worsen air quality. Further advice on Park and Ride is set out in the Land for Transport SPG.

6.48  Operational parking for maintenance, servicing and deliveries is required to enable a development to function. Some operational parking is likely to be required on site and should be included in the calculation of total parking supply.

[1]     Mayor of London. Accessible London: Achieving an Inclusive Environment Supplementary Planning Guidance.  GLA, April 2004.

[2]     Outer London Commission. http://www.london.gov.uk/olc

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