12. Is the car parking well integrated and situated so it supports the street scene?

A mixture of soft and hard landscaping in Waterstone Park

PPS 3 (housing): Local planning authorities should consider if a development: ‘Takes a design-led approach to the provision of car-parking space, that is well-integrated with a high quality public realm.’

Car parking is one of the most difficult challenges in housing design. Discussions between planning authorities and developers should be influenced by a realistic assessment of likely patterns of car use as well as alternative options for parking. In many cases, a mix of parking will achieve the best results.

At roughly 30 to 50 dwellings per hectare, limiting parking squares and courtyards to 10 spaces will help avoid visual dominance. On-street parking can bring activity to the street and have a traffic-calming effect. Car parking should be designed into the scheme, making sure that the fronts of properties are not dominated by cars, and that there is a good relationship between houses and the street.

In denser developments, experience suggests that where commercial viability and conditions allow, on-street parking combined with well-managed below-building parking provides the most satisfactory solution. Where possible, below-building parking should be efficiently designed to free up more space for attractive streets and more shared public areas. Any development should avoid large areas of unsupervised garage court parking.

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The 20 Criteria

Environment & community
Streets, parking & pedestrianisation
Design & construction
Does the development provide (or is it close to) community facilities, such as a school, parks, play areas, shops, pubs or cafes?

Further reading

  • Better places to live: a companion guide to PPG 3 (DT LR and CABE, 2001); Chapter 5, pp55 to 58
  • Safer places, the planning system and crime prevention (ODPM and Home Office); p27