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Appeal decision backs housing without cars

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A London borough has been forced to accept that homes can be developed without parking facilities, following a planning inspector's ruling. The inspector overturned a refusal of planning by Camden Council for the three- home scheme. It is a similar case to the larger Peabody/Hunt Thompson scheme, refused permission by neighbouring borough Islington, in spite of prevailing government thinking on inner-city regeneration issues (aj 5.11.98).

The Boisot Waters Cohen Partnership designed a terrace of three small family houses to be built near Finchley Road underground station as a replacement for a disused club building in poor repair. The architect had the support of its client in designing houses without garages in this heavily parked area, in view of the accessibility of the site to public transport.

Camden's reasons for refusal included non-compliance with udp parking standards. The inspector - whose decision was issued only 11 working days after a one-day hearing - acknowledged the appellants' suggestion that 'government policy and thinking is beginning to suggest that, where development is proposed which could benefit from high levels of accessibility to public transport . . . it may be acceptable or desirable not to require the provision of on-site parking spaces'.

He concluded that the proposal, judged alone, would add to parking pressure in the locality and would conflict with policies of the draft udp.

However, in considering other relevant material planning considerations he concluded that the parking impact of the resumed lawful use of the club would be 'greatly more profound than would vehicles associated with the proposed three dwellings.'

Brian Waters of bwcp said the decision showed that it was easier for the inspectorate than the local planning authority to treat new government thinking as 'other relevant material considerations' alongside the imperative of the local plan policy, although the balance still has to be considered decisive when the broader view is being taken.

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