Southam’s parking problems prompt councillors to refuse plans for two new houses on the site of old WWI hut
Southam’s parking problems have prompted councillors to refuse plans for two new houses in the town centre.
The scheme would have seen the semi-detached properties built on the site of Southam’s Welfare Hut which has stood in Craven Lane for more than 100 years.
But while councillors at yesterday's (Wednesday's) planning committee of Stratford District Council admitted that the existing building - used as a billet hut in Belgium during WWI before being shipped to Southam - was now an unloved eyesore, they were unhappy that the replacement homes had no off-street parking allocation with prospective owners expected to leave their cars elsewhere in the town or abandon the need altogether and use public transport or walk.
Cllr Andy Crump (Con, Southam South) outlined his opposition to the plans.
He said: “Under our SPD [supplementary planning document] a two-bedroom house should have two parking spaces so in this case we should have four off-street parking spaces and, bearing in mind the size of the plot, it should not be beyond the wit of anybody to design at least some spaces to make a token effort.
“The only reason in my opinion is that they could make more profit with properties that are bigger. It is very poor and needs to be addressed.
“We need to make sure that when people come into town there are spaces to park. If these spaces are taken up by residents because they have moved into a property where the developer couldn’t be bothered to put in any off-street parking spaces, then that is not good for the regeneration of the town centre in Southam which, like many others in Warwickshire, has taken a great hit by Covid.”
Southam Town Council also objected to the plans at this week's virtual meeting as did one of those living in a neighbouring property.
Planning officer Joseph Brooke explained hat parking provision was not always required and that the county highways team had raised no objection.
He said: “The SPD highlights situations where off-street parking is not suitable or viable. Also there are policies in the core strategy that are trying to promote sustainable travel and by doing that you don’t want to keep putting in more and more parking - you want to force people to use the bus service, walk or cycle. The applicant did a parking survey and decided that there was sufficient parking in the near vicinity of the site.”
But councillors were unconvinced and voted to reject the application.
Cllr Bill Fleming (Con, Bidford West and Salford) said: “I always think the idea of producing houses without parking to make people use public transport is a bit pie in the sky and fanciful. I live in the real world - especially living in a village myself - and know how much you have to use motor cars.”