Review of parking pressures to be undertaken as town centre homes continue to increase

Cllr Helen Crittenden

As shops are increasingly replaced by homes in Thanet town centres there are growing pressures on parking spaces for residents and visitors.

National policy and Thanet’s Local Plan do not require parking facilities to be included with planning applications for town centre properties, the theory being shops and services are available on the doorstep. But this does not take into account those who may need easy access to their vehicles due to disabilities or jobs in caring and key worker professions and seems to miss that the residential growth  reduces ‘traditional’ town centre facilities.

This is particularly true of Ramsgate in areas such as King Street. At one time the entire stretch was filled with shops and businesses but as units became vacant, residential use expanded.

Changes to the town include the 2014 purchase of the former Carpet Heaven site at 69-73 King Street and conversion to 13 flats. The site had been vacant since 2009.

More recently, as part of its social housing build programme, Thanet council created 26 new build units: a mixture of houses and apartments, on parcels of land which had been blocks of garages in King Street.

Housing is also being created at the former Swiss Cottage pub site which has been empty for more than a decade and had become a dumping ground, attracting rats. That site  is to be twelve, 2 bed flats and two, 1 bed flats, which will put further pressure on parking in surrounding areas.

The issue was raised in January by Ramsgate councillor Helen Crittenden who put forward a motion asking that Thanet council undertake a district wide assessment of increased pressures on both on and off street parking in  town centres arising from the expansion of town centre residential development.

The review is now due to be discussed by council Cabinet members on Thursday (April 28).

Cllr Helen Crittenden

Cllr Crittenden said: “It (the request) was really prompted by the way areas of  (Ramsgate) town centre, particularly King Street, have become more residential and the impact that’s had on residents in King Street and surrounding areas. As people move into the areas more and more residents are saying they can’t park near their homes anymore and this goes out as far at St Luke’s.

“National legislation and the Local Plan mean we do not need to provide (residents) parking  in the town centre because there is access to shopping and transport but a number of people living in the town need independent transport if they have jobs as carers or in the caring and key worker professions or have disabilities. Although this is also part of the green agenda I think we still need to recognise that some people living in the town need their transport.

“We have new buildings including social housing, which I very much welcome, and a number of those properties are designed to accommodate people with disabilities. We need to recognise the needs of these people.”

Cllr Crittenden says resident parking schemes are unlikely to be suitable for the town area and she hopes the review will come up with solutions to help ease the pressures.


Documents for the meeting state: “Thanet District Council recognises these challenges and commits to undertake a district wide impact assessment of increased pressures on both on and off street parking in our town centres arising from the expansion of town centre residential development, taking into account relevant factors such as access to electric vehicle charging, public transport links, cycle storage and pedestrian safety (especially at night), in consultation with KCC, ward councillors, other stakeholders (e.g. public transport providers) and the public, in order to develop solutions that support the community, recognising the need for some groups to have access to safe personal transport due to work conditions or disadvantage.”

It adds: “A review will include engagement activities with key stakeholders including the local community, service users, Joint Transportation Board and councillors. This will ensure that those who are interested in the parking strategy development and the impact it will have on their town have the opportunity to find out and where possible influence the process.

“A strategy should not only address the motion but also support economic growth and recovery, identify parking pressure and prioritise opportunities, flex between the differing seasonal, day and night economies as well as align with climate change commitment, Thanet Local Plan and Government legislation and policy changes.”

Cabinet members are expected to approve the parking review.


    • TGC has granted planning consent for all this residential development without parking provision in accordance with legislation that no longer requires there to be a minimum parking availability per residential unit.

      TDC cannot change national planning policy – or it faces further appeals to the planning inspector if it turns down applications on the grounds of insufficient parking provision.

      In this particular instance perhaps TDC needs to turn over part of Staffordshire Street car park to residents’ parking ?

  1. Residents in Hardes Street used to be able to park outside their homes but parking enforcement was made 24/7 resulting in empty bays and residents having to park as far as St Luke’s. If the bays were made residential it would free up space in other areas. The council aren’t making money from these bays so seems pointless and should be offered to residents.

    • I don’t understand what you mean. One side of Hardres has parking all the way along the north side.

      • Yes, with a parking meter. I think Realistic Girl was suggesting a residents permit scheme so people don’t have to use a meter to park outside their house. I would appreciate a parking permit to park within a 10 minute walk of my house in the Tien centre, but unfortunately no scheme exists

  2. When the green light was given to develop Westwood X , no thought was given to the fact that our towns would suffer and shops and businesses would become unviable. Parking is free at Westwood X and it would only seem fair and reasonable to allocate free parking to town residents paid for by a levy or grant from the huge business rates collected from Westwood X shops. Our towns which once thrived have suffered because of Westwood X and have become virtual no go areas. That is shameful !!!

    • Most residents of Ramsgate can use local buses , walk or cycle to the town centre. The town is not all that big.

      • We know you are a committed walker Marva which is great, but you seem to be ignoring the issues that Cllr Crittenden is raising on behalf of numerous residents whose lives, 24/7 multiple jobs not serviced by public transport, schooling, people with disabilities, carers, travelling to and fro villages etc. require access to a motorised vehicle that they can park close to where they live, why should this just be the privilege of suburban dwellers who take up an enormous footprint of land and expensive infrastructure? In a capitalist society the future dependency on people using networks of roads, will not only continue, but probably increase. As you say, Ramsgate is a small town, but in 30 years it will probably be a congested urbanised island. Not only do we need provision for stationing vehicles close to residents, but we’d better start building bridges from Thanet to the mainland. Planning guidelines for urban areas are just that and do not reflect real life need.

        • A shortcoming many people have in making an argument is to conflate the specific with the general.
          Just because a very, very small number of people really do need (as opposed to find convenient) a private motorcar is not a justification for us all to have them.
          Most of us are not bakers or drivers of the first train out of the depot. Most of us live and work during more “social” hours, when public transport is available.

          And the reason that the villages are increasingly cut off from public transport is that more and more people are using private cars, requiring more and more residential parking places and provision at places of employment and retail. Great, if you’ve got a car, but if you can’t drive, then for many people living in the villages (Tilmanstone springs to mind – its bus service was completely withdrawn some years ago) they are effectively marooned.
          Private cars are the problem. Public transport is the solution.

          • Society has moved on from the 50’s and people lead very different lives and want to be able to do what they want when they want. For huge numbers these freedoms revolve around personal transport. Public transport is never going to be able to offer a service that suits the modern world.
            The eco zealots seem happy to make society ever more divided into haves and have nots, taking away the ability of many to have cars will exclude them from many activities and need them to change their lifestyles. Those wealthy enough to afford motoring of the future will carry on as they wish, it’ll be the new dividing line.

    • Which Ramsgate are you talking about?
      Mine has:
      Post Office
      The Haberdasher’s
      Fishing Tackle Shop
      Shoe repair shop
      Newspaper shop(s)
      Kwik fit
      Green Grocers x2
      Carpet shop
      Furniture shop
      Cafes and pubs by the score.

      Where’s your Ramsgate, the one with nothing?

      I think the problem with car parking is avoiding the elephant in the room. There are just too many cars. Almost every household now at least 1, often 2 or 3, and there simply isn’t the space to accommodate them in our old, cramped town.
      The OP refers to “we still need to recognise that some people living in the town need their transport.” Fair enough. There is a small handful of people who really do need their private cars. But the rest of us can manage with public transport, and could manage even better if there was a better service.
      Given the findings of COP26 and so on, pandering to the needs of motorists, whilst ignoring the benefits of a comprehensive public transport system, is not the way to go.

      • Ramsgate has no HSBC, Rooks, McDonalds , Argos, M & S , Sports Direct ( closing down ) Paynes , New Look, Travel Agents in town centre ( gone ) just to name a few , but plenty more will follow.

        • Sports Direct is going?! It will be impossible to buy any sort of footwear in Ramsgate soon, do the locals walk around with bare feet?! Fortunately prabably Thanet’s best shoe shop is down the road in Dumpton (Pavers).

        • In order for “plenty more will follow” to happen, there must be, at the very least, plenty there at the moment.

  3. Town centres are better without the chain shops and cafes, leading to more individual shops with much more character.

  4. The “Swiss Cottage” development will provide 14 households, each with at least 1 car. There is a bus stop in King Street at that point, so no cars could park there. And even if there wasn’t, there’s not enough frontage to provide parking for 14 cars. King Street is narrow, and a bus route, too. Street parking will lead to the road being difficult to navigate for larger vehicles such as buses, bin lorries and delivery trucks, leading to delays and missed deliveries.
    To keep on increasing provision for more and more cars just isn’t sustainable. It will become a much bigger problem if people turn to electric cars – where will all the charging points be?
    The “Loop” bus takes up the road space of two cars, and holds up to 80 passengers. Imagine how much road space 80 cars take up.
    The only practical solution is to wean ourselves off our addiction to the private car, and use more town-friendly solutions such as train, bus, bike or walk.

    • Agreed Phyllis, I have gone electric, its a Mobility Scooter, called a Lupin, and I can get anywhere in Thanet on it. One drawback though is the pavements, which I have found unbelievably are in a worse state than the roads, and thats saying something! And don’t get me started on pedestrians who can’t hear my (Bike) Bell when I want to overtake them, because they have things in their ears! And please don’t leave your rubbish bins out on the pavements, bring them in once the Bin men have been! And please cut your hedges and don’t let them grow over the pavements, so they hit us scooterists in the face, Duurh!

    • Agreed Phyllis, I have gone electric, its a Mobility Scooter, called a Lupin, and I can get anywhere in Thanet on it. One drawback though is the pavements, which I have found unbelievably are in a worse state than the roads, and thats saying something! And don’t get me started on pedestrians who can’t hear my (Bike) Bell when I want to overtake them, because they have things in their ears! And please don’t leave your rubbish bins out on the pavements, bring them in once the Bin men have been! And please cut your hedges and don’t let them grow over the pavements, so they hit us scooterists in the face, Duurh! As far as I know I have never commented on this before, but its worth repeating if I have, because Mobility Scooters have improved, and my one could be lugged up the stairs to a flat!

  5. No one has mentioned the environment: and it’s a fact that the continued over-use of private petrol/diesel cars by the majority cannot continue if we are to tackle Climate Change. Thanet seems to be obsessed with private ownership of vehicles and most people I know in Thanet have never been on a bus, let alone use public transport regularly. This normalisation of cars and parking cannot continue: we must think of our children and their future…

    • And the answer is? I’m asking this as a non-driver myself (my other half has a car, but we very rarely use it, preferring buses and trains in Thanet’s rather good public transport network). Yes, more/cheaper public transport would help, but people can’t be forced to use them.

    • Simple let our children choose not to use cars and instead rely on public transport and taxis. I rather expect they’ll choose to have cars.

      • Regarding lifestyles- a lot of people probably should change their lifestyles. If public transport becomes a lot better and cheaper, and cars more expensive to run -then why wouldn’t people choose to use it?

        • Because public transport doesn’t go to/from outside peoples’ front doors 24/7. Like it or not Marva, people enjoy convenience. This is why individual shops in a high street suffer, as the vast majority would rather (a) buy everything from one big store, and (b) park right outside.

        • It takes longer to complete journeys, those who transport sports / activity equipment for their passtimes are unlikely to be interested, lots more planning, travelling with kids and relatives hardly convenient, huge numbers no longer work close to home and the days of regular shifts is long gone.
          Then the old chestnut laziness, plus how many of the obese will claim they can’t walk anywhere. So thats 28% of the population who’ll be expecting exemption from walking too far.
          Lets have personal carbon budgets and choose how we use them.

  6. Last time I checked there are still more pavements for enjoying the walking then parking spaces in Thanet 🙂
    I used to use public transport all the time then had accident and I rely on my car now. I would like to do my shopping in my town centre but I can’t carry shopping up the hill and there is already nowhere to park in town centre in ramsgate without paying – not even for 30min to pick up shopping. So unfortunately I use Westwood x which I don’t like. New builds should accommodate parking, at least one per apartment and all new builds should have green roof. By not insisting on those 2 points with developers we damaging environment and create more mental stress for anyone with vehicles. I used for leisure few times bus from Ramsgate and the smell on the bus was horrible, its not like used to be and ticket was expensive.
    Whoever thinks the solution is to stop people from buying cars is wrong, solution is to provide people with attractive alternative to having car.
    There is not enough bicycle paths and if there are some its often used by people walking.
    Parking permits are for specific car only in thanet – you can’t purchase permit and use for different vehicles so even if you would only rent a car when you need it you wouldn’t be able to use parking permits by your house – and please don’t mention those insulting 20 permits per house per year.
    Its all about making people paying more money, aggravate them and then be surprise about antisocial behaviour between the naigburs.
    Whoever gave permission to build houses on King street in Ramsgate surly knew that there is nowhere to park there.
    Solution – sort out public transport/ make it public friendly and make sure it not costing arm and leg for 15min drive

    • I agree with some of your points, but regarding costs, I know of many pensioners with free bus passes who still never use buses (I for one would love free bus travel, but at 59 I’ve a while to wait yet!).

    • “The smell on the bus was horrible”?! If that’s meant to be funny- it’s not. I have used public transport all my life and never noticed any unpleasant small on a bus.

  7. We need to ask ourselves whether we wish to design our towns for the people who live there, or for the automobile.

    If the former, we should be building more low-car neighbourhoods and looking over the water at how our Dutch friends live their lives.

    With towns and cities built for people, we increase the numbers of people choosing to use transport methods other than the private car which means that people become part of the local community – rather than simply driving through it.

    This also means that people are more likely to pop into local stores etc as they will be walking or cycling alongside the store and can just run in to grab something.

    The fact that in 2022 we are still having people trying to justify providing yet more infrastructure to cars when we know the environmental, health and societal damage caused is just unbelievable…

  8. The downturn in trade in Ramsgate town was entirely due to TDC granting permission for Westwood X. As TDC s decision killed trade in Ramsgate , plus Margate etc surely it would be fair and reasonable for TDC to create a sensible plan for the towns that have suffered from that decision. Permits and free parking for town residents would be a start . Free limited time parking for shoppers may help

  9. Thanet needs a parking permit scheme similar to Medway. Thanet residents get a discount while commuters pay the full rate. This scheme allows you to park in any council car park 24/7. It worked well when I was commuting to Medway each day. It’ll make use of empty car parking spaces, provide additional income to the council and allow residents to actually park near their homes rather than competing for places on the few roads without double yellow lines.

  10. What about people who need a car for getting to work because of no other alternative? I live 8 miles from work,start at 07.30, finish at 17.00. There is no public transport in my locality that supports my needs!

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