Letter of Objection on “Report on Car Park Counts in the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall & Grove Road Car Parks in March 2012”

Sent to Mole Valley District Council on 13th May 2012

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: Planning Application no. MO/2012/0234/PLAMAJ
Proposal for Tesco Metro, Ashtead Village

Please find attached SAVE’s third Objection to the above development.

The Objection consists of a ”Report on Car Park Counts in The Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall and Grove Road Car Parks in March 2012″ by Quentin Armitage and Michael Butler. The Report has 3 Attachments:

  1. APMH Peak Short-Stay Daytime Parking Demand March 2012
  2. Moving Long-Stay Parking from APMH to Grove Road
  3. APMH User Groups March 2012

SAVE objects on the grounds that the Car Park Counts carried out in March 2012 and the Parking Analysis prepared by Quentin Armitage (which was submitted as our first Objection on 29th March 2012, and which will shortly be re-sent as a revised and expanded Analysis) combine to demonstrate that the parking figures included in Tesco’s current planning application lack credibility and also very significantly under-estimate the parking demand and the adverse parking impacts which would result in Ashtead village from Tesco’s proposed store.

With kind regards,

Gillian Russell BA, M.Sc. (Oxon.), M.Phil.(Town Planning)
Judy Smale B.Sc. MBA
Quentin Armitage BA (Oxon.) (Maths)
Spokespersons for SAVE – “Save Ashtead’s Village Environment”

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Report on Car Park Counts in the Ashtead Peace Memorial Hall & Grove Road Car Parks in March 2012

Written by
Quentin Armitage BA Maths (Oxon.)
Michael Butler FCA

The views in this Report and the 3 Attachments are those of the authors alone, Quentin Armitage and Michael Butler, on behalf of SAVE – “Save Ashtead’s Village Environment”.  SAVE does not represent the views of any other organisation or group, including The Trustees of the APMH.

Summary of results

SAVE (through the efforts of various volunteers) carried out car park counting in the APMH and Grove Road car parks during the month of March 2012.  Counting was carried out on 20 weekdays from Monday 5 March to Friday 30 March inclusive, with counts carried out at various times but concentrated in mid-mornings (10.30 and 11.30am) and mid afternoons (2.30pm).  There were also evening counts.

Due to lack of available volunteers, counts were not able to be carried out at the exact times indicated above on every day.

There are 84 short-stay spaces in the APMH car park (including 6 disabled bays), 71 spaces in the APMH long-stay car park and 46 spaces in Grove Road car park.  All short-stay spaces can be used for long-stay parking but at a significantly higher cost than the designated long-stay spaces.

The counts showed that:

– there were 8 times during the 4 week (i.e. 20 weekday) counting period when 75+ short-stay spaces were occupied in the APMH short-stay car park and thus the APMH short-stay car park was effectively full,

– there was only one morning, and only 8 afternoons during the counting period when there were sufficient short-stay spaces in the APMH car park to fully meet Tesco’s own peak estimates of customer parking demand from the proposed store (i.e. 57 spaces in the morning and 45 spaces in the afternoon, both excluding the 20% reduction) when there was no event at the APMH,

– there were only 7 mornings during the counting period when there were sufficient short-stay spaces in the APMH car park to fully meet even Tesco’s own lower peak morning estimate of customer parking demand from the proposed store (i.e. 43 spaces, including the 20% reduction),

– the peak weekday occupancy of spaces in the APMH long-stay car park was 47 spaces (on 7 March), and

– the peak weekday occupancy of spaces in Grove Road car park was 20 spaces (on 14 and 23 March).

Car park counts + customer demand from the proposed Tesco store

As it is peak parking demand levels which are most relevant, Attachment 1 shows peak short-stay parking demand in the APMH car park (counted during the daytime in March 2012 when events were taking place at the APMH) aggregated in tabular form with:

Table 1 – Tesco’s own lowest estimates (including the 20% reduction) of customer parking demand from its proposed store, and

Table 2 – SAVE’s estimates of customer parking demand from Tesco’s proposed store taken from the Parking Analysis prepared by Quentin Armitage. (Please see separate Report).

It will be readily apparent from the tables that there are insufficient short-stay parking spaces available in the APMH car park even to meet Tesco’s own customer parking demand estimates and that there will not be sufficient available spaces in Grove Road car park to meet the shortfall in the APMH car park.  Quentin’s higher estimate of customer parking demand obviously shows a considerably worse position.

The regularity and extent of the excess demand for short-stay spaces in the APMH car park mean there will inevitably be cars waiting for available spaces. This then raises the very real possibility of cars queuing in Woodfield Lane, possibly back on to the A24 as they wait to turn into Woodfield Lane in order to enter the APMH car park.

As explained in Note 3 on Attachment 1, the tables do not include the additional demand for long-stay parking in short-stay spaces arising from the projected shortfall in long-stay spaces at the APMH car park.  This shortfall was recognised and accepted by the Planning Inspector when he determined 74 long-stay spaces are needed in addition to the short-stay spaces that are available for expensive long-stay parking.  This additional demand will further increase the overall shortfall of parking spaces in the village as demonstrated on Attachment 2 (see below).

Moving long-stay parking to Grove Road – No Solution

It has been suggested (not least by Tesco) that moving all long-stay parking to Grove Road would solve any parking problems.  Whilst it is obvious, given the overall shortage of parking spaces in the village, that this will not solve the parking problems, Attachment 2 clearly demonstrates this fact.

As explained in Note 2 on Attachment 2, the tables include the additional demand for long-stay parking in the short-stay spaces arising from the projected shortfall in long-stay spaces at the APMH car park and illustrate the impact this additional demand for parking spaces will have on the village.  The Planning Inspector clearly recognised this, which is why he determined 74 long-stay spaces are needed in addition to the short-stay spaces that are available for expensive short-stay parking.

Users of the APMH in March 2012

Attachment 3 lists the various groups which actually used the APMH in March 2012, some of them on more than one occasion.

The list clearly demonstrates the number and diversity of APMH user groups and the very important, central role the APMH performs in the community life of Ashtead village.  The ready availability of parking is clearly crucial to APMH users.

How does Tesco show there are always parking spaces available?

It is worth noting that, in simple terms, Tesco only makes the parking figures in its application appear reasonable by:

(i) significantly underestimating store customer short-stay parking demand levels (demonstrated in Quentin Armitage’s Parking Analysis),

(ii) omitting the daily long-stay parking demand from its own store staff and from the new/projected developments at Hascombe House/Curry House (included in Quentin Armitage’s Parking Analysis and also recognised and accepted by the Planning Inspector) and then assuming the resulting ‘empty’ dedicated long-stay spaces are available for short-stay parking (they are neither empty nor available for short-stay parking), and

(iii) using peak parking demand figures from APMH events at times which do not coincide with peak store customer parking demand, thus underestimating the combined peak daytime short-stay parking demand in the village (demonstrated in the car parking counts carried out in March 2012).

Conclusion

The car park counts carried out in March 2012 and the Parking Analysis prepared by Quentin Armitage combine to clearly demonstrate that the parking figures included in Tesco’s current planning application not only lack credibility but also very significantly underestimate the parking demand, and the adverse parking impacts, in Ashtead village arising from Tesco’s proposed store.

Quentin Armitage BA Maths (Oxon.)
Michael Butler FCA

 

If there are any questions on the above or the Attachments, please contact the authors of this Report using the form below:

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