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New car-free school in Leeds will have no parking spaces

“People stuck in cars don’t build great communities”

A new 420-place primary school in Leeds will have no parking spaces for staff or visitors if it is approved by planners this autumn. The project is part of a new zero-carbon neighbourhood called the Climate Innovation District that is already under development by the River Aire.

The Guardian reports that the developer, Citu, has already completed homes north of the river. Car access is limited within the area to encourage safe walking and cycling. Homes are instead surrounded by open, green, space connected by paths.

There is less than one parking space for each property with spaces in underground car parks costing buyers an extra £12,500.

“The Climate Innovation District is your ticket to an extra hour in bed when you used to be stuck in traffic,” says Citu in the blurb. “It means you’ve got more time to spend with your family. When you’re just a relaxing stroll away from everything Leeds has to offer, there’s suddenly a whole lot more fun to be had.”

The school will be part of a four-storey building which will also house a 70-room care home and a number of one- and two-bedroom flats.

Pupils will have access to a courtyard, which will become available for local residents during evening, weekends and holidays.

Council planners initially tried to push for parking at the school, but Citu didn’t budge.

Rob Allen said: “We want to change things and bring in walking and cycling routes to connect the school with housing and the river path, which will take residents all the way to Leeds central station in 20 minutes on foot, all without crossing a single road.”

Joe Irvin, the chief executive of Living Streets, commented: “We know that many parents are put off walking their child to school because there are too many cars around the school gates – a car-free school would certainly solve that.

“Cars round the school gate can create a dangerous environment, through unsafe manoeuvring and parking, speeding traffic and toxic air pollution. It’s fantastic to see these plans prioritise walking and cycling. Other local authorities should be making sure these healthier forms of travel are their priority, too.”

Earlier this year, a Sustrans survey found that almost two thirds (63 per cent) of teachers want a ban on parents dropping off and picking up their children by car outside school gates to help reduce air pollution.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been among those to advocate a ban on cars near schools.

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14 comments

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Moist von Lipwig | 4 years ago
1 like

Seems Leeds as a city actually having a go at tackling the dominance of cars. The LPTIP scheme putting in dedicated cycle infrastructure and attempting to make driving to the city less viable.

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Peter Scott | 4 years ago
0 likes

Every teacher I know has to drive to work. It is most unlikely that they will find the right people within walking or riding distance. And how would they carry books etc. They really are going to have trouble staffing that school.

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brooksby | 4 years ago
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When a small block of flats was built on empty land behind the car park of my old office building, the council in its infinite wisdom decided that the development could only go ahead if there were no car parking spaces.  The argument apparently went that the site was so close to the city centre and to shops and facilities/amenities that nobody living there would need a car.

After the site - six flats - was finished, we had no end of trouble with the residents parking in our office parking spaces, blocking access by parking in the lane that accessed the building, that sort of thing.

I'd imagine a flat-without-a-parking-space is cheaper than one with, and so many prople will but the cheaper flat and then just working out a way of chancing it for how to store their vehicle.

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tao24 | 4 years ago
1 like

The cynical part of me suggests that planners just want to increase the available space for building profitable homes. Of course they can also make more by charging for the parking spaces.
The people who buy the homes will park nearby and simply congest neighbouring streets as I've seen from previous flat complexes which heavily restrict parking.

Visitors will have real issues and the visitors/nurses etc will be told to park in adjacent streets. We know public transport isn't good enough in the vast majority of this country.
I want good cycling infrastructure, not planners suggesting that getting rid of parking completely in the pretence that this will encourage public transport.

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to tao24 | 4 years ago
2 likes
tao24 wrote:

The cynical part of me suggests that planners just want to increase the available space for building profitable homes. Of course they can also make more by charging for the parking spaces.
The people who buy the homes will park nearby and simply congest neighbouring streets as I've seen from previous flat complexes which heavily restrict parking.

Visitors will have real issues and the visitors/nurses etc will be told to park in adjacent streets. We know public transport isn't good enough in the vast majority of this country.
I want good cycling infrastructure, not planners suggesting that getting rid of parking completely in the pretence that this will encourage public transport.

 

That market incentives and the profit-motive might lead to the removal of parking spaces in favour of more housing is not necessarily a bad thing.  It, after all, just reflects that fact that the space wasted on cars could be used for something more useful.  And that car-use is partly driven by hidden-subsidies.

The problem is that it clashes with the non-market approach to on-street car parking.

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to tao24 | 4 years ago
4 likes
tao24 wrote:

The cynical part of me suggests that planners just want to increase the available space for building profitable homes. Of course they can also make more by charging for the parking spaces.
The people who buy the homes will park nearby and simply congest neighbouring streets as I've seen from previous flat complexes which heavily restrict parking.

Visitors will have real issues and the visitors/nurses etc will be told to park in adjacent streets. We know public transport isn't good enough in the vast majority of this country.
I want good cycling infrastructure, not planners suggesting that getting rid of parking completely in the pretence that this will encourage public transport.

 

Part of the reason (not the whole reason) public transport isn't good enough is that people are ecnouraged to have cars instead, which reduces the economies-of-scale of public transport, and reduces the political demand for it, and clogs up the streets so buses become unreliable.  Restrictions on cars increases the pressure for decent public transport.

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DrG82 | 4 years ago
0 likes

I can't see this happening, people just won't pay full price for housing without parking and the numbers won't add up for the financier.

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Deeferdonk | 4 years ago
2 likes

What not even a couple of disabled spots for students/staff with mobility issues? Cue Disability Discrimination case when a teacher in a wheelchair gets turned down for a job.

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Spangly Shiny | 4 years ago
0 likes

Good luck getting anything delivered to your door there.

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handlebarcam | 4 years ago
2 likes
Quote:

...if it is approved by planners this autumn.

"If" being the operative word. I can picture the meeting now. "This is really great work, really a lovely concept. Now we just need a few disabled parking spaces. And one for the head teacher. And his deputy. And the council's contracted cleaning provider won't operate at sites without at least five spaces for their staff. And what if we get the Queen to open it, there'll need to be ten spaces for her limo and the security detail. Also, do we really need this wing of the building devoted to music teaching? It is off the curriculum, so we can put a car park there."

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massive4x4 replied to handlebarcam | 4 years ago
0 likes
handlebarcam wrote:
Quote:

...if it is approved by planners this autumn.

"If" being the operative word. I can picture the meeting now. "This is really great work, really a lovely concept. Now we just need a few disabled parking spaces. And one for the head teacher. And his deputy. And the council's contracted cleaning provider won't operate at sites without at least five spaces for their staff. And what if we get the Queen to open it, there'll need to be ten spaces for her limo and the security detail. Also, do we really need this wing of the building devoted to music teaching? It is off the curriculum, so we can put a car park there."

This is based on attending how many planning meetings?

 

Local government planning is based predominantly on development control and creating top level district plans which respond to local needs and national targets e.g. home building.

 

They mainly consider negative externalities, the pretty big negative externality of this scheme is that without any parking all those services and users of this facility are likely to be displaced onto nearby streets degrading the amenity of those residents.

 

The planners will not themselves mandate any solution but they will require credible solutions to any negative externality identified.

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Jem PT | 4 years ago
3 likes

Brave design. I hope it gets built and is successful, then it can be an example for others. But if it fails....

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giff77 | 4 years ago
4 likes

This is fantastic. It almost makes me want to move to Leeds! 

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nortonp replied to giff77 | 4 years ago
1 like
giff77 wrote:

This is fantastic. It almost makes me want to move to Leeds! 

I urge you to reconsider....I was born and raised there, but it would take an awful lot more than this to make me live there again. Much of Leeds is a toilet.

 

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