PARK IS ‘ATTRACTIVE AND REALISTIC OPTION’ FOR CAR-BASED VISITORS SAY CHURCH CONSULTANTS
CRYSTAL PALACE PARK is “an attractive and realistic option for car-based visitors” to church services planned in the Granada cinema building, say consultants acting for KICC.
The consultants comments come in an updated transport report – AFTER News From Crystal Palace revealed that Bromley council have not even been asked by KICC (KIngsway International Christian Centre) if worshippers could park their cars there.
The report – made in response to requests for further information by officers at both Bromley council and TfL (Transport for London) – says: “The availability of parking provision and the significant reserve capacity of the car park during the periods when church services are proposed make Crystal Palace park’s car park an attractive and realistic option for car-based visitors to the site.
“Based on the observed low levels of demand at the park’s car park, there is a high probability that spaces will be available; which in turn increases the attractiveness of the car park to regular visitors, particularly as the alternative (i.e. local residential streets) have been shown to have limited reserve capacity during the times assessed.
“Parking surveys illustrate that a minimum of 211 spaces are available on a Sunday morning and 326 available spaces on a Tuesday evening at the times when church services are taking place; therefore the additional 130 vehicles can be accommodated within the local parking supply.”
(The addendum repeats that the proposed church services are expected to be approximately 2.5 hours in duration. A previous report stated: “Church services would be held on Sundays from 9 am to 11.30 am and Tuesday evenings from 6 pm to 9 pm )
Responding to Bromley’s request for more information on how minibus services will pick up and drop people off without causing delays on Church Road – the consultants addendum to the transport assessment says:
“I am not prepared to accept that worshippers are prepared to park in excess of 400m from the site. “This should also be addressed.
“Notwithstanding the above, the survey results show that, should attendances reach capacity, then the demand for on-street parking could well exceed availability locally.”
The response by consultants Royal HaskoningDHV says: “There is no evidence base which suggests 400 metres is a distance beyond which visitors to the application site will be willing to walk.
“It is considered by the applicant that all of the parking locations referenced within the transport assessment are located within an acceptable walking distance.
“In terms of the propensity to walk, it is considered that there is no significant difference between a car park and SAP (service access point) such as a rail or underground station, and therefore a walk distance of 960m should be considered acceptable.”
CONTINUOUS SERVICES: Bromley officer’s report: “The parking situation would be greatly exacerbated should continuous services occur at this site.”
RESPONSE: There are no proposals to hold continuous church services at this site.
MINIBUSES: “Minibuses dropping off/picking up will take place on Church Road causing delay and congestion” says the Bromley officer. “Information of how this would operate should be included.
“An informal parking area is located at the rear of the property providing space for up to two cars and two minibuses, but a parking layout plan is required.
“The applicant should also demonstrate that cars and mini buses can manoeuvre in and out the car park in a safe and convenient manner.”
In their comments on minibuses, a Transport for London officer says: “Currently it does not appear that this space could safely and effectively accommodate four vehicles and this should be clarified through the provision of further drawings.”
RESPONSE: submitting drawings in response, the consultants say 2.2.4 mini-bus access will be managed in the one-hour period before and after scheduled church services take place to ensure sufficient space to access, turn and exit the site in a forward gear.
“Mini-bus passengers will be provided with direct access to the building via the rear building access.
“It is recognised that a minibus would not be able to manoeuvre if a fourth vehicle was parked at the time; therefore it is noted that the four parked vehicle configuration would be for storage purposes only (e.g. outside of church service times), rather than during periods when minibuses are picking-up/dropping-off visitors.
“Traffic marshals will be employed to prevent visitors from parking along the access track to the rear of the building, thereby maintaining access at all times for residents with garages serviced from the track.
“It is envisaged that the travel plan and event management plan will be secured by the borough council by planning condition or planning obligation.”
PEDESTRIANS ON PAVEMENTS: “The need for all attendees to walk to the site as their final mode of travel means that the adequacy of the local footways to accommodate the number of attendees is relevant” says the Bromley officer.
“Although the submission touches on this by referring to approximate path widths in the surrounding streets, no real assessment of their adequacy for the likely volumes of pedestrians has been made.
“The widths of the paths vary, but are less than 2.0m in places. “This makes them less than ideal for high volumes of pedestrians such as could occur if continuous services were to be held on the site and/or if maximum capacity attendance is achieved.
“Pedestrian facility around the site should be discussed and how the additional pedestrian traffic can be accommodated where widths of the paths vary, but are less than 2.0m in places.”
“Whilst the applicant would welcome improvements to the public realm to improve the level of service for pedestrians, the applicant would neither be in a position to or be expected to fund such improvements.
“The transport assessment has outlined the case that the nature of trips, the modal split proportions (the percentage of travellers using a particular type of transportation) and the overall volume of trips generated by site if it operated as a place of worship would not be materially different to that of a D2 assembly and leisure use.
“The application site has a capacity to hold 1,150 people whether it is in use as a place of worship or as a place for assembly and leisure.
“It is reiterated that the building has an extant planning consent for D2 assembly and leisure; therefore the precedent has been established that this building, in this location, has the potential to (and is permitted to) hold events that would attract a large number of visitors.
“Accordingly, the principle is also established and should be accepted that the building will generate a certain level of parking demand when operating under its extant use consent.”