Cars are being banned from many new-homes schemes across London, creating car-free communities.
Parking spaces are not provided on site and occupants are prohibited from applying for regular residents’ permits. Instead, they are offered cycle parking and free or subsidised membership to a car share club.
Camden council has pioneered car-free housing. By March this year, it had granted permission for 6,345 car-free homes on individual schemes.
Camden calculates that when all the properties are occupied the initiative will save more than 5,000 car trips a day, cutting pollution and carbon emissions.
The vogue for car-free living is spreading. Issigonis House (Westpoint W3), a Shepherds Bush Housing Association scheme in W3, has no car park and residents can’t apply for a street permit. Instead, they get free membership to a car club and bicycle stores.
While some developments have absolutely no car parking for residents, other developers are cashing in on a limited number of spaces.
Barratt East London will earn more than £800,000 by selling off the 41 parking spaces at its Dalston Square scheme in Hackney (which has 550 flats) for £20,000 each. Half have already been snapped up. Inspace Homes’ Harmony scheme in Isleworth is also labelled car free but has a handful of parking spaces on sale from £5,000.
However, not all boroughs back car-free developments. Rosemarie MacQueen, Westminster council’s built environment chief, says: “We believe in offering people choice and while we agree in theory that car-free schemes sound like a good idea, they are not ideal for residents who are elderly, unwell or have young children.”
* Barratt East London (Dalston Square, Hackney): www.barratthomes.co.uk
* Issigonis House (Westpoint, W3): www.westpointw3.com
* Inspace Homes (Harmony, Isleworth): www.inspacehomes.co.uk