Monday, 3 January 2011

Why Greg Clark is wrong on parking

Just been interviewed on Radio Kent about Greg Clark MP's announcement that he is to scrap central government restrictions on the number of parking spaces for new developments.

While I welcome the devolvement of powers generally, this mustn't be done in a way that is detrimental to the wider society. Greg Clark talked about the frustrations of home owners having to drive around trying to find somewhere to park after a long day at work and while I often share that frustration as I don't have any parking at home, increasing the supply of parking is the wrong thing to do.

More parking will lead to more cars, more congestion in towns and on major road. It will be a short term fix for our long term problem of how we get around. Pump prices are at an all time high and set to go higher with the VAT increase. The supply of oil cannot increase globally as we reached peak supply in 2006. The cost of personal transport using oil will continue rise and continue to pollute. Building more parking spaces does not help.

There is a further problem with increasing the number of spaces per house as it encourages councils to build bigger houses. In Kent we have complete Tory control of our councils and they are generaly more keen on building lower density / bigger houses than meeting the needs of poorer people. Affordable housing is more dense and smaller, yet we will see prices rise further if bigger houses are built.

Devolution of powers must have limits or we will end up with anarchy and vested interests ruling the day.

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