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A Glimmer of Hope for Residents' Parking Problems?

June 26, 2009 9:01 AM

When planning permission was given for a student accommodation block in the centre of Epsom, some of the "developer contribution" to the council has been earmarked to help the parking problems of residents living nearby.

Developer contributions are now a formal part of the process of giving planning permissions and are set against various categories in specific amounts , e.g. £40,000 for transport, £10,000 for libraries, etc. etc. However, money in some categories goes to the county council rather than the borough council, the transport element being one such category. At June's Planning Committee meeting, concerns about parking associated with a new 70-bed student block to be built adjacent to the University for the Creative Arts, had been raised in letters of objection from local residents. On-street parking of commuters and the lack of parking for residents is already a major concern of residents and local councillors in the immediate area. Visually impaired residents from Swail House, which is located directly opposite a pedestrian entrance to the new student block, addressed the planning meeting and voiced concerns over noise and safety.

Details of the amount of developer contributions on this particular planning application can be viewed by visiting www.epsom-ewell.gov.uk, clicking on Council Committees and Agenda, and moving to the Wilberforce Court agenda item for the Planning Committee on 18.6.09.

Cllr Anna Jones (Lib Dem, College) secured agreement that monies from the developer for transport would go specifically toward measures to help parking. Cllr Jones will now take the matter of a scheme to help residents' parking problems in and around Epsom onward to the Local Committee (the joint borough/county highway authority).

Cllr Jones said "This is a very small step toward what has become a hugely important issue for local residents who live in or near Epsom and it's astonishing that the borough council has simply washed its hands of parking problems and has no parking strategy at all. We all know that the county is the highway authority but the borough council has adopted plans on other topics, also not its responsibility, so why not parking?"