Detailed car park design flaws

There are a number of flaws in the design of the proposed car park that make it not fit for purpose. The table below consolidates our concerns which have been entered in the planning system.

Issue Comments
Parking spaces are too small

  • The spaces are smaller than the NNDC recommended car park space size
  • why hasn’t this design taken into account the council’s own standard?
Take a look at the scale plan of the car park and the way car images are placed in the spaces. It would not be possible to open the doors if two cars park side by side.The results will be:

  • bad parking, such as across spaces;
  • risk of car damage from cars manoeuvring close to other cars;
  • risk of car damage from knocked doors;
  • drivers will park elsewhere
No pedestrian routes

  • NNDC policy is that pedestrian routes should be clearly defined and not restricted by vehicular movement requirements, but there are no separate pedestrian routes in the proposal
  • why hasn’t this design taken into account the council’s own standard?
After parking a car the passengers and their bits and bobs need to alight and move from
the car park. As a beach car park in summer this will include lots of children and lots of bits and bobs. In the summer there will be cars constantly moving round the car park looking for spaces. The result will be:

  • risk to children waiting for their family to be ready to move on
  • conflict between pedestrians, wheelchairs and cars with a risk of injury
  • drivers, especially with children and pushchairs/strollers will park elsewhere to minimise risk
No pedestrian access to Overstrand Road

  • the only justification for the car park is to improve the vitality and viability of the east end of Cromer
  • if this really is the justification why hasn’t this been given priority?
The only pedestrian exit from the car park is at the north-west corner into the Park, from where pedestrians will walk through the Park and into town missing the east end of the town.

  • The design is not fit to match this justification.
Pedestrian access to Park

  • exit from the car park is via a small opening at the north west corner, much too small to cater for the expected flow of pedestrians, wheelchairs and cycles.
Take a look at the scale plan of the car park and look at the only pedestrian exit and ask why no-one has thought about how to accommodate the flow of pedestrians to and from the car park.

A narrow exit such as proposed would cause pedestrian, wheelchair, pushchairs to ‘tail back’ into the car park causing further unnecessary risk to pedestrians.

Car Park entrance

  • a new entrance from Overstrand Road is proposed
Take a look at the scale plan of the car park and look at where the entrance to the car park is, just to the west of the exit lane; without clear signage (not just a bodpave insert) drivers could easily enter on the exit lane causing holdups.
Whilst the ‘sweep analysis’ shows cars entering from the east and leaving to the west (which they can’t do on the current road system), there is no sweep analysis for car circulating, and the plan suggests this could be difficult
Bodpave surface

  • Bodpave is a reinforced plastic grid that can be infilled with gravel to provide a durable surface


Bodpave as installed in the NNDC Overflow car park

Bodpave as installed in the NNDC Overflow car park

Take a look at the NNDC overflow car park, behind the Police Station on Holt Road in Cromer, which was made with this system and is currently unusable because it is coming apart.Whilst Bodpave can be successfully used in parking bays, on traffic routes where vehicles turn sharply (as in a car park) it can be problematic (as is seen from the NNDC overflow car park).

The gravel surface isn’t really suited for a conservation heritage site where a more
formal look is more appropriate.

The gravel surface isn’t ideal for wheel chair use.

Bodpave signage

  • limited space in the car park will result in on ground signage using plastic inserts
Take a look at the NNDC overflow carpark, behind the Police Station on Holt Road in Cromer, which was made with this system and see if you can see the plastic inserts that mark out the spaces and think about how significant direction arrows will be.

The design of the car park is such that there is not space for other signs so the only way drivers will know there is a one way system is through the plastic inserts.

Other signage / street furniture

  • there is nothing in the design to indicate where signs and bins will be
There will be a need for other signs in the car park, such as to indicate to pedestrians how to get out of the park, where the pay meters are, and where the cycle park is. Additional furniture such as waste bins are proposed for the planted areas, ie behind where the cars will be parked so impossible to use
Pay meters

  • the pay meters are planned to be at the end of the planted area in the middle of the car park
The pay meters will be placed opposite the entry point to the car park where pedestrians waiting to pay will be most at risk
No motorcycle spaces

  • NNDC standards state: Parking for motorcycles, mopeds and scooters should be provided in all new non-residential developments at a rate of 1 space per 20 car parking spaces with a minimum of one space
  • why hasn’t this design taken into account the council’s own standard?
Entrance 6ft barrier

  • to stop commercial vehicle and camper vans a height restrictive barrier is to be installed across the entrance
The barrier will be a heritage design, spanning about 6 metres, about 8 feet from the ground (ideal height for people to swing from)

  • How long will it be before a roof-box or roof-cycle will accidentally knock into this requiring expensive repairs
Restrict vehicles to Park

  • the proposal will encourage more cars onto Overstrand Road looking for parking
The park driveway will be mistaken for the car park and vehicle numbers in the park will increase.

There is already a problem with unauthorised vehicles, driving too fast, parking in odd places and turning where children are playing. There is no proposal in this design for how this will be addressed.

NNDC standard on cycle parking is that it should:

  • be secure, under effective surveillance and conveniently located to the entrance … with safe and direct routes to the surrounding road network;
  • it is difficult to see how this standard has been adhered to
The cycle parking has been moved in the latest design to be adjacent to the pedestrian exit from the car park into the Park

  • why is the cycle parking at the back of the car park which will encourage cyclists down the Park drive rather than through the car park (the Bodpave surface isn’t good for cycles)
  • what is there to separate cyclists from pedestrians exiting the car park?
Excavations near trees

  • NNDC policy: a Tree Survey/Arboricultural Implications assessment is required where there are trees within the application site, or on land adjacent to it that could influence or be affected by the development (including street trees). Information will be required on which trees are to be retained and on the means of protecting these trees during construction works.
  • why hasn’t this policy been enforced?
The proposal is to excavate the current surface and replace with a Bodpave and gravel covering. This will require excavations of at least 500mm less than a metre from mature trees in the Park. An independent arboricultural assessment would determine the impact of this on the trees and influence the design.
Entrance to new toilets

  • sloped access to toilets should be at least 1:20 for a ramp to rise to the necessary height
Unfortunately there are no measurements on the plan but an estimate shows the ramp to the toilets to be too steep.
The lower end of the ramp is in the middle of pedestrian exit to the car which will
cause risk to wheel chair users, and pedestrians.The small turning area at the bottom of the ramp would make it difficult to turn wheelchairs and mobility scooters safely.
Potential of bats in building

  • Legislation states: local planning authorities must fully consider a proposed development’s impact upon protected species as they are a ‘material consideration’ in the determination of planning applications. In the context of bat surveys, where there is a reasonable likelihood of protected species being materially impacted upon by a development, surveys must be carried out before a planning application is determined. 
NNDC acknowledge bats fly around the Park but, contrary to legislation, no independent bat survey has been completed, although a planning officer has stated: “it is recommended that the removal of the roof covering (felt) be executed under a Method Statement to ensure that, on the small chance a bat is discovered, proper procedure is followed.

There has been no independent assessment of the impact of cars, their lights, noise and pollution on the bats in the Park.
Disturbance of bats and their habitats is illegal.

Assessment of noise and pollution

  • Government advice is: Noise needs to be considered when new developments may create additional noise and when new developments would be sensitive to the prevailing acoustic environment.
Creating a car park in a quiet park in a residential area will increase traffic,
particularly slow moving traffic which causes the most pollution and noise.Increased pollution in a recreational area, particularly where children are playing, is a major consideration and an assessment of this should be undertaken to, at least, see if there are any mitigating design features that could alleviate the impact.
Lighting assessment

  • the lighting is all placed within the planted areas lighting will be behind parked cars or hidden by plants
There has been no assessment of the effectiveness of the lighting plan, nor the
impact on local residents, or wildlife (including protected species such as bats).Lighting schemes can be costly and difficult to change, so getting the design right up front is critical; there is no independent assessment (other than a manufacturer’s proposal) that the planned lighting scheme is
Traffic analysis

  • there are no details about proposed traffic movement around Cromer as a result of this proposal
  • Why wasn’t NNDC Property Services asked for a traffic assessment before the application was validated?
Traffic flow around Cromer is difficult in the summer; this proposal is for a car park on a route where traffic is discouraged so there will need to be a significant change to traffic flow to facilitate use of this car park:

  • how will carsget to and from the site, and onto other car parks?
  • What will the impact be on current on-street parking (for example, how many (free) on street spaces will be lost to enable the car park?)
  • What additional street furniture will be needed round Cromer?

Answer to these questions are a key part of the decision process and should have
been part of the original submission.

Highways have stated that “no works shall commence on site … until a detailed scheme for the off-site highway improvement[s]…



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