COUNCIL leaders have been slammed for their “totally unfair” parking policy which has been labelled “potentially class warfare at work”.

Two community groups have expressed their condemnation for BCP Council’s current zonal parking policy around housing developments.

The BCP Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document, which came into force in January 2021, sets the minimum car parking requirements for new housing schemes. The council decided to set varying standards for different parts of the conurbation.

This means in the three town centres no car parking is required whatever the size of the homes and number of proerties proposed.

Councillor Philip Broadhead, BCP Council deputy leader, defended the zones, which he said were based on car ownership data alongside accessibility to local services.

Coordinators for the East Cliff and Springbourne Residents’ Group and Lowther and Milton Homewatch both hit out at the Conservative leadership at a full council meeting on April 26.

Mark Elkins, of the East Cliff and Springbourne group, said: “Talbot and Branksome Woods represented by the council leader and deputy council leader is placed in SPD Zone D with one parking space per flat. In East Cliff and Springbourne flats require no parking spaces.

“Cabinet councillor Mike Greene claims justification for the current policy because East Cliff and Springbourne (with high density housing without abundant street parking) is near the town centre so can make better use of public transport.

“Yet the council leader's affluent low density housing ward with abundant street parking just as close has a completely different policy.

“This is totally unfair and potentially class warfare at work."

Ian Lawrence, of Lowther and Milton Homewatch, asked councillors to hold a vote to scrap the zonal parking policy.

“Zoning green lights Bournemouth's architectural heritage destruction, cramped future slums, minimal parking, gardens, no extra facilities,” Mr Lawrence said.

Lowther Road, a long residential road in Charminster, finds itself in three different zones on the parking policy document.

Cllr Broadhead said car ownership is higher in areas where residents are less able to travel by modes other than car and lower where access to local services are higher.

“Later this year, we will have started work on the new Local Plan for the BCP region where we will have further opportunities to adjusting policies which we believe may help issues we are facing around our housing needs,” said Cllr Broadhead.

“This will include plans around how much parking to require in certain area, and what types of home should be built where. That’s the place where we can get the big policies sorted.”

Councillor Broadhead said the BCP Council area was “simply not providing enough affordable housing”, especially for young people.

He said the zonal parking policy was “partly a reaction” to this – stating that proposed developments in urban areas had not come forward at all or were having affordable housing elements argued out through viability mitigation.

Bournemouth Echo: Councillor Philip BroadheadCouncillor Philip Broadhead

“That’s not good enough,” said Cllr Broadhead.

“Not forcing applicants to provide parking in these new developments, and bearing in mind that it is perfectly allowable for them to provide parking if they think the market requires it, is a pragmatic way of addressing this issue, alongside the reality that in most of these areas almost half of residents do not have a car anyway.”

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