Following its headline report in February, the Department for Communities and Local Government today published its latest survey of English housing, English Housing Survey – Housing Stock Report 2009 . Amongst other issues, the report details the amount of parking available to households across the country.
The type of parking available varies significantly with the age, type, size and location of the property. For example, homes in rural and suburban areas are far more likely to have a garage than those in city centres. More than half of homes in village centres have garages whilst only seven percent of city centres residents could expect to own one. The report explains why on-street parking spaces are like gold dust in the centres of cities: more than a third of households there rely on inadequate street parking. Eleven percent have no parking provision at all.
The number of homes with private parking provision rose steadily from sixty-one percent in 1996 to sixty-five percent in 2003: there was no further increase noted before the English Housing Survey was completed in 2009. The increase was not as a result of garages being built but of other provision such as paving over front gardens and installing drives and car ports.
Such measures resulted in the proportion of households relying on on-street parking to fall from 38% to 32% between 1996 and 2009. But with an increase in the population and car ownership, the RAC Foundation believes that parking for residents’ cars still presents a problem in many urban areas. Local Authorities with responsibility for parking provision in our cities must look at initiatives to enable car use whilst reducing the need for car ownership.
The RAC Foundation discusses this issue in, ‘Accessing Cars: Different Ownership and Use Choices (2010) and in other reports on the Foundation website. Earlier in the year, the Communities and Local Government Minister wrote to all Local Authorities to explain the Government’s position on certain aspects of parking policy. He explained the Government’s position on parking standards is that local authorities are best placed to take account of local circumstances and are able to make the right decisions for the benefit of their communities.