Parking permits in Gathorne Road: response to consultation

The owner of flats which obtained planning permission on condition that they were car-free has applied to have eligibility for Controlled Parking Zone permits restored for his tenants. This arises from a recent appeal case in which the planning inspector found in his favour.

A consultation has just finished on whether the Traffic Order for Headington Central CPZ should be altered to include eligibility for tenants in these flats for parking permits.

Altaf and Ruth have sent the following response as City Councillors for Headington Ward. The final decision on whether this change will be approved will be made by Cllr Yvonne Constance at her Cabinet Member Decision meeting on the 12th October at County Hall.

If the change is approved, there will be more local pressure on the planning authority to turn down applications in roads well-served by public transport due to insufficient space for parking or resultant harm to neighbour amenity from additional parking pressure.

Submission to consultation re change to Headington Central controlled parking zone order: Wingfield House (Flats 1-6)

As city councillors for Headington Ward, we are writing to object most strongly to the proposed changes to the (HEADINGTON CENTRAL) (CONTROLLED PARKING ZONE AND VARIOUS RESTRICTIONS) (VARIATION No. 32) ORDER 20 which seeks to restore the above Gathorne Road properties to full permit eligibility. We set out our concerns below.

  • We believe that the County Council should not be encouraging the use of cars in areas that are excellently served by frequent public transport, especially at a time when the Access to Headington project is facilitating better space for cyclists, and when concerns from our residents about air quality in the area are increasing. The advent of Rapid Transit buses will improve travel for Headington residents still further, and there is a successful car-share scheme currently in operation in the area.
  • Applications to intensify or change the use of flats and HMOs in this area have been permitted by the planning authority including councillors on East Area Planning Committee only on condition that these are car-free developments. Gathorne Road is close to excellent public transport routes in and out of Oxford, the airports and London.
  • There are currently only 18 dwellings in Gathorne Road; on-road parking spaces are already under pressure both from existing permit-holders, and from hospital and care workers seeking to access the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and a Gathorne Road property for tenants with special needs. The removal of some on-road parking spaces in Windmill Road as part of the Access to Headington scheme is likely to shift parking to adjoining residential roads including Gathorne Road. The restoration of permit eligibility to tenants in these six properties would reduce on-road parking availability for current Gathorne Road permit-holders, and potentially shift parking pressure to St Anne’s Road nearby, thus impacting negatively on permit-holders there too.
  • We are anxious that this proposed change arising from what we feel to have been a questionable inspector decision does not serve as a precedent for the Headington area, which contains a very large number of shared houses, HMOs and flats which have only received permission for build or change of use on condition that they are car-free. We recognise that it is most unusual for a local authority to challenge an appeal decision by a planning inspector, but we feel that the arguments for exempting these properties from eligibility for the CPZ are overwhelming.

We urge the Cabinet Member to oppose this change and ask her to continue to exempt these properties from full permit eligibility in the Headington Central CPZ.

Altaf-Khan and Ruth Wilkinson             29/09/17

Here is the submission from County Cllr Roz Smith, submitted 3/10/17

Submission to consultation re change to Headington Central controlled parking zone order: Wingfield House (Flats 1-6), Gathorne Road, Headington, Oxford


With advice from Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council planning committee put a condition on this property that it should be exempt from parking permits, i.e. a car free development. The condition was sensible given the proximity of regular public transport, local services within easy walking distance, (GP, Dental, library, schools etc.) plus an active car sharing scheme.

The owner has now appealed this condition and it seems an ill-informed planning inspector found in his favour. This was a shock, given the pressure on the few residents parking spaces within Gathorne Road, nearby St Anne’s and Margaret Roads. If allowed, we could see as many as 12 more vehicles competing for the 18 spaces in Gathorne Road and the few spaces in surrounding area.

Many homes do not have off road parking and the Access to Headington project will see even more pressure when residential spaces in Windmill Road are removed. The detailed work around removal of parking spaces in Windmill Road undertaken by county officers with consultation with residents and local councillors will be undermined by allowing parking eligibility for the Wingfield House development.

The stated aim of Access to Headington is to encourage use of sustainable means of transport. If this change to the eligibility for parking permits is allowed then I envisaged a raft of appeals for changes to parking conditions within the City’s controlled parking zones.

I concur with my city councillor colleagues that if this change is approved then it will be more difficult for the local planning authority, (Oxford City Council), to turn down applications and for the County Council to further its aim of reducing the high volume of vehicle movements within the City.

I recognise it will be unusual, but not the first time, that a local authority to challenge an appeal decision by a planning inspector. However, I feel the arguments for exempting these properties from the eligibility for parking permits in the Headington CPZ are overwhelming and I urge the Cabinet member to continue the exemption for this development.

Cllr Roz Smith

County Councillor for Headington & Quarry

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