Developer allowed to increase housing on site as Milton Keynes Council admits it can’t stop tandem parking

Councillors have admitted that they do not have the planning policies to be able to stop developers including tandem parking spaces on sites in Milton Keynes.

Tandem parking is where one car parks behind another one, making it more inconvenient to get the blocked-in one out and is already used by residents across Milton Keynes.

“Parking standards are okay but need to be put in a real-world situation,” said Cllr Mandy Taylor, of Walton Community Council, who was objecting to a scheme being considered by an MK Council committee.

“Under these proposals there will be eight properties along the stretch of road, again with two car parking spaces each, and now into tandem parking. Although it meets the standards, it doesn’t work in real life.

“We know that people don’t use tandem parking because it’s inconvenient. Visitor spaces will be taken up by the residents or on the verge, causing obstruction to service and emergency vehicles.”

Yesterday’s (Thursday) meeting of the borough council’s development control committee was considering an application from developer Crest Nicholson Chiltern to increase the number of houses it already has permission to build in Towergate, Milton Keynes.

The company already had the go-ahead to build 240 houses on the site south east of Elmswell Gate, but they found the space to slot in another seven homes.

A company representative said it would be a high quality development and the extra homes were needed to meet demand for properties. Around 130 of the homes have already been built.

Recommending approval for the plan Gemma Davies, a senior planning officer at Milton Keynes Council, said they don’t have the policies in place to prevent this form of parking. It has also already been approved across other parts of the same site.

And although more car trips would be added to the local roads, the council’s highways experts had considered the impact to not be significant enough to justify refusal.

Councillors making the decisions found themselves unable to find the policies they need to reject the plan.

Cllr Andrew Geary (Cons, Newport North and Hanslope) said: “We need to look at tandem parking in terms of policy as soon as we can and get it amended.

“Whilst it is used all over Milton Keynes it’s used to detriment and we need to get shot of it as soon as we possibly can.”

He also said he didn’t like a developer gaining permission for a number of properties and the coming back to “squeeze a few more in.”

Cllr Paul Trendall (Lib Dem, Campbell Park & Old Woughton) said he is “not a fan of tandem parking because we tandem park around my house.

“It’s not great but it is a fact of life in Milton Keynes. If we can change it one day, perhaps, but we can’t today.”

Councillors held their noses and voted unanimously to approve the scheme.