Car Parking Statement

Updated 17th September 2019

Introduction

Car Parking remains an important part of the successful operation of the University. A balance needs to be struck however between providing spaces to meet the demands of those unable to use public transport, and meeting wider environmental and sustainable development aspirations of the University. Parking has been an emotive issue across neighbourhoods adjacent to the University. The University manages its parking areas through the application of parking permits for eligible staff and students and advanced visitor booking. Students who reside in Halls on site are prevented from bringing a car onto site.

Historic parking distribution across the campus

Figure 1: Campus car parking distribution as at 2014

 

Car parking and the Campus Estate Plan

At the time of the submission of the outline planning application (January 2014), the illustrative masterplan for the Main Campus highlighted an “end state” distribution of c1,205 car parking spaces by 2031.

The Masterplan, known within the university as the “Estate Plan”, included the retention and expansion of at-grade car parking areas and the erection of new multi-storey car park close the Piggery Gate junction. Parking was provided both within the Main Campus and on land north of the A30, with a number of enhanced crossing points across the A30 to aid pedestrian permeability between the two areas. The number and distribution of car park spaces was supported by a Travel Plan and Transport Assessment prepared by Transport Consultants Mayer Brown, acting for the University.

Figure 2: Campus car parking distribution as set out in the Jan 2014 Estate Plan / Outline application

A key change to the location of campus car parking was the removal of car parking around Founders. This resulted in heritage benefits necessary to achieve the new library and student services building. That has now been provided and parking reduced, but not entirely removed, from around Founders.

Revised Campus Masterplan (January 2015)

When the outline planning application was presented to Planning Committee for determination in October 2014, Elected Members of Runnymede Borough Council called for the decision to be deferred pending a review of car parking provision. Councillors asked that RHUL re-considered the number of car parking spaces available for staff and eligible students, increasing provision within the Main Campus. The intent was that by increasing the number of spaces on site, this would reduce the demand for on-street parking within neighbouring residential areas.
As requested, RHUL amended the illustrative masterplan and sought an increase in the total number of spaces provided within the Campus to 1,505 spaces: the net additional 300 spaces being provided in a larger multi-storey car park (700 spaces) and an increase in parking capacity resulting from the introduction of a basement level of parking at the Tennis Court Parking site on the exit from the Campus onto Bakeham Lane.
The outline planning application (Ref: RU.14/0099) and illustrative masterplan were subsequently presented to Planning Committee in January 2015, along with an Addendum to the Transport Assessment prepared by Mayer Brown. The Committee resolved to grant outline permission, subject to conditions and a s106 obligation. The decision notice was issued on the 7th April 2015.

Condition 15 of the permission required that no additional permanent car parking on the main campus south of A30 Egham Hill be accessed from Piggery Gate until the new all-movements Piggery Gate Junction has become operational. Condition 16 requires that subsequent full or reserve matters applications for development for each phase of development shall include details of parking provision made, including details of total car parking numbers within the masterplan site and the management of the car parking spaces.

Changing the distribution of Car Parking across the Campus (Post January 2015)

The new Library adjacent to Founders was progressed in tandem with the determination of the outline planning application, but secured under a separate full planning application (Ref: RU.15/0187) granted on 2nd June 2015. In a similar way, it was necessary to expedite the delivery of the expansion of Car Park 14 (into what we see today) by means of a full planning application (Ref: RU.15/0368, granted on the 13th May 2015) rather than a reserved matters submission: at the time of the planning submission 27th January 2015, the outline planning application had not been granted by Runnymede Borough Council as a result of their wish to see an increase in parking across the Campus.

The delivery of the New Library in 2015/16 resulted in the loss of car parking spaces close to Founders. By expanding Car Park 14 from c50 to 172 spaces, it was possible to retain car parking numbers across the campus. Whilst the Transport Assessment accompanying the outline planning application demonstrated that there was overall a surplus of parking throughout the campus, it is clear that the planning authority would not wish the numbers to be reduced overall as a result of the library development.

In 2016 Stride Treglown was asked to look at alternatives to the parking strategy to reduce the multi storey car park provision for financial reasons. Expanding car park 14 by means of a two deck extension to provide c 400 car parking spaces (an additional c.225 spaces) was considered from a planning and operational perspective and discussed informally with highway and planning officers.

Changes in the design and traffic management along Harvest Road (linked to the delivery of the new George Elliot Halls and the expansion of Car Park 14) have been delivered since the outline planning permission was secured.

The delivery of the Beatrice Shilling Building (Electronic Engineering) did not materially affect the number of car parking spaces across the Campus.

In 2017/18 the University commissioned consultants to undertake initial masterplanning feasibility exercises for the proposed reconfiguration of academic buildings at Piggery Gate. This resulted in a change to the arrangement of buildings / multi storey car park.

September 2019 Update Statement (Construction Programme)

The progression, during 2018 and into 2019, of the new Enterprise Centre and a new academic building for Music, Media, Arts and Centre for Digital Creativity (now known as the Eastern Gateway Building) both close to the Piggery Gate junction, results in the loss of approximately 172 car parking space in Car Park 4. This is smaller reduction that was originally envisaged in July 2019. The upper tier of Car Park 4 (which has a capacity of approximately 100 spaces) is now planned to remain operational during the construction of the adjacent Enterprise Centre and Eastern Gateway Building.

In order to retain as many car parking spaces as possible, the university’s anticipated construction programme (assuming all planning permissions are in place by that time) results in the hand-over of the enlarged Car Park 14 occurring in or around November 2020. Once Car Park 14 becomes operational, the construction programme for the Eastern Gateway Building will commence. The plan therefore will achieve an increase in parking from November 2020: while spaces will then be removed in the lower tier of Car Park 4, there will be an overall net increase in parking provision from November 2020 compared to current parking levels – see below.

Subject to a current funding bid, the relocation of the Handa Noh Theatre is proposed to a site outside the Green Belt and to the north of the A30 on a site close to the Glasshouses and Sutherland Lodge. Although a modest building, the replacement Handa Noh Theatre is anticipated to be sited on what was planned (in the 2015 Masterplan) to be a car park delivered as part of the realignment of an internal access and movement network. Approximately 46 spaces projected to be provided in accordance with the Masterplan would not be delivered in this location if the Theatre is relocated.

As such, the expansion of Car Park 14, in the form of a multi-storey car park, is proposed firstly, in order to comply with condition 16 and, secondly, to add resilience to the overall parking provision across the Campus. Design development of the Car Park 14 scheme since July has resulted in a scheme comprising 468 car parking spaces, a net increase of 296 above existing.

Combined, the reduction in the number of spaces against a future (target) Masterplan provision (minus 228: 172 at Car Park 4, 10 at the Enterprise Centre and 46 in the event that the Handa Noh Theatre is relocated) is therefore more than off-set by the increase in the capacity of Car Park 14 (plus 296). With the Enterprise Centre proposing to provide 6 disables spaces within the scheme, there will be a net increase of approximately 74 car parking spaces in the northern part of the Campus.

Rusham Park Car Park (from 2021)

In accordance with its current lease, Proctor and Gamble will vacate the Rusham Park site in 2021. At that time, the land shall be controlled by the university (as freehold owner). The intention is that the university will retain the decked car park at Rusham Park and that this will be managed alongside other university car parks across its wider estate. The decked car park has a current capacity of approximately 408 spaces: there are 551 spaces distributed across the site, including surface parking.

It is important to note that at the time of the 2015 outline planning permission, the university did now own the Rusham Park site. By taking control of the Rusham Park and retaining the decked car park, these spaces are net new car parking spaces available for the university. The use of the car park to serve the university will be discussed with Runnymede Borough Council as Local Planning Authority.

The Rusham Park Car Park will therefore add to the total number of spaces, but the emerging student accommodation scheme for the site will not add to the highway impact as the total number of spaces at Rusham Park (551) will reduce to around 400 in total as the university does not intend to retain areas of surface level car parking across the site. The resultant total number of car movements at Rusham Park will therefore be lower than the levels experienced at the full occupation of the site by Proctor & Gamble.

The management regime will be developed prior to the car park becoming available for university use and will have regard to the management approaches being considered elsewhere. The university is in the early stages of further technical investigations relating to the design and delivery of the Southern link road. This route will have the potential to also influence the nature of the car parking and movement strategy between Rusham Park and the core areas of the Campus.

Car Park Management

Following discussions with local residents at the July 2019 engagement event, and an analysis of representations received in the subsequent returned surveys, it is clear that the linked issues of car parking numbers, distribution and management are central to many.

The university is committed to updating its Travel Plan in the Autumn of 2019. As part of this process, the university will undertake a detailed car parking survey and begin the process of identifying options to manage the impact of car parking changes as a result of the recently updated construction programmes. This review will identify temporary (as necessary) and permanent management options to optimise the efficiency of the car parks and, where possible, reduce the impact of car movements accessing and egressing car parks in neighbouring residential areas.

 

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