Policy 22: Vehicle parking to improve sustainable transport

What we're trying to achieve

[3.22.01] We want fewer visitors arriving to and moving around the Lake District by private vehicle. We want people to park their vehicle for the day and use sustainable travel opportunities if they arrive in a private vehicle, to reduce visitor movement pressures and pollution.

Policy 22: Vehicle parking to improve sustainable transport

We will only support additional vehicle parking provision that helps to reduce the need to travel by private motor vehicle, and contributes to and improves sustainable transport and movement opportunities. We will achieve this by permitting:

1. additional public parking at Transport Interchanges, Gateways, or Rural Service Centres which function as Multi-Purpose Hubs (Figures 11–14), only where evidence demonstrates it is needed and it:

  • facilitates the transfer of people to sustainable transport and travel opportunities; and
  • links to or incorporates and improves links to existing sustainable travel
    opportunities; and
  • encourages long stay parking; and
  • does not introduce inappropriate levels of use to the location and is consistent with other policy criteria.

2. additional public parking at existing managed attractions or businesses only where evidence demonstrates it is needed for customer parking and where the applicant can demonstrate the proposal would deliver a modal shift in visitor travel by connecting with regular and scheduled public transport, ferry, boat services, or other forms of sustainable movement of people. Proposals must not introduce inappropriate levels of use to the location. We would normally expect improvements to sustainable transport to deliver this modal shift, including to walking and cycling infrastructure, and secured where necessary by developer contributions.

3. additional coach parking within Rural Service Centres, Showcase Areas and Travel Corridors, and at managed visitor attractions and accommodation where the local highway network can safely accommodate additional coaches.

Exceptionally, car parking proposals in locations other than those set out in 1 and 2 will only be permitted where it is demonstrated that proposals would:

  • resolve an unacceptable highway safety issue or hazard and all other relevant regulatory measures and enforcement have been exhausted; and
  • form part of a traffic management plan that integrates with other sustainable transport opportunities to manage traffic and would not lead to net increases in traffic accessing the location where it is proposed; and
  • not introduce inappropriate levels of use to the location and is consistent with other policy criteria; and
  • incorporate specific measures to manage traffic to the site through ‘smart’ parking information.

We will secure infrastructure improvements and developer contributions (Policy 08) for all new car parking, and a 7.5 per cent proportion of the turnover generated from additional chargeable public parking provision for a period of seven years to ensure the development contributes to and continues to contribute to the maintenance and improvement of local sustainable travel initiatives, services or infrastructure.

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Current Situation

[3.22.02] The provision of car parking is a controversial and critical issue in the Lake District. It is unsurprising that the demand for car parking is concentrated to times when visitor demand to come to the Lake District is at its highest – school holidays, weekends, bank holidays, and this is even more prevalent when the weather is good as more day visitors are attracted. There are many different types of car parking in the Lake District including on-street parking, off-street public parking in car parks, customer parking at visitor attractions, visitor accommodation parking, residential private parking, businesses customer and staff parking, and parking at retail units for customers and staff.

[3.22.03] We seek to reduce the need to travel by private vehicle to support climate change initiatives like the ‘Low Carbon Lake District’ project and address visitor pressure at peak times. We recognise opportunities are limited by the availability of public transport services, and by people’s behavioural habits. In the short to medium term we therefore recognise that the majority of people will continue to arrive by private vehicle.

There is a strong case that we need to provide car parking as part of sustainable transport measures given the number of people arriving to the Lake District by private motor vehicle. The transition from car to sustainable transport needs to be easy and convenient, and the offer for sustainable transport has to be attractive to the user. Parking is also required to support the local economy — particularly in town centres/ retail areas.

[3.22.04] Coach travel is a sustainable form of transport (based on carbon emissions per passenger) and is a significant part of the overseas visitor market. It is therefore important that there is coach parking available to enable and encourage this form of travel. There are currently 14 sites that provide coach parking and they provide 98 spaces, and there is a lack of coach parking in some locations.

[3.22.05] There are many public car parks spread throughout the Lake District providing in the region of 7,300 public car parking spaces. However, we estimate that there could be at least 8,000 ‘on-street’ spaces either in disc zones, in settlements and in other rural areas. There is also a considerable number of customer parking spaces associated with businesses including shops, visitor attractions or accommodation. On a single day in the school holidays there might be 75,000–100,000 visitors in the Lake District (82 per cent of whom may be day visitors and it is estimated 83 per cent of visitors arrive by private motor vehicle). Therefore there could be in the region of 17,000–22,000 visitors’ vehicles (if travelling as a family in a single car) moving around the Lake District. It is inevitable that demand for parking can exceed supply at peak times. Fly-parking is an issue at peak times and/or because of parking charges and this can affect landscape, safety and access for residents. Temporary parking which can provide additional capacity for up to 28 days often is not considered to be long enough to cover the peak season.


[3.22.06] This Policy only applies to the provision of new public car parks, including extensions to existing. It does not apply to new development proposals which will require specific standards of parking provision, such are residential developments, employment sites, retail, tourism attractions, or hotels and guest accommodation. Policy 08: Infrastructure and developer contributions, and The Cumbria Development Design Guide will be used to inform required parking standards.

[3.22.07] Parking means any parking available to the public whether it is a car park serving a town or village, or parking provided for the public at a managed visitor attraction or business for customers. Public car parking may be permanent or temporary. All proposals, whether permanent or temporary will be expected to meet the criteria identified in this policy, however temporary proposals may be considered more favourably if it would result in less landscape and environmental harm. A Travel Plan will be required for additional parking proposals to demonstrate how the development will transfer people to sustainable transport and travel opportunities.

[3.22.08] Visitor Movement Maps (Figures 11–14) identify settlements that are Transport Interchanges, Gateways, and Rural Service Centres which function as multi-purpose hubs. These settlements are: Ambleside, Bowness on Windermere, Broughton in Furness, Caldbeck, Coniston, Glenridding, Gosforth, Grasmere, Greenodd, Hawkshead, Keswick, Newby Bridge, Pooley Bridge, Ravenglass, Staveley, and Windermere.

[3.22.10] Evidence of need for additional public parking may include, but not be limited to:

  • the capacity and occupancy of all existing car and coach parks and parking spaces in the settlement/ relevant area;
  • the average length of stay in existing car and coach parks;
  • the need for additional parking all year round;
  • highway safety issues;
  • traffic volume trends;
  • highways authority and/or police have provided evidence of substantial  enforcement action and activity for at least a 12 month period; or
  • other evidence as deemed appropriate.

Each parking application will have different opportunities and local circumstances, including existing transport. Linking cycle and walking route potential, and user benefits will be taken into account. We will require applicants to implement measures to support the modal shift from cars to other forms of sustainable travel.

[3.22.12] These may include:

  • tariffs to encourage long stay and joint ticketing with public transport and/or cycle
    hire, such as Park and Explore;
  • information and marketing on sustainable modes of transport from the car park;
  • improvements to public realm, safety and environment at car park, surrounding
    areas and/or waiting facilities;
  • new secure cycle parking;
  • provision of electric vehicle and e-bike charge points;
  • creation or improvements to walking and cycle routes;
  • water transport infrastructure improvements, such as new public jetties;
  • consideration of roadside parking restrictions;
  • improvements to public or community transport services;
  • provide visitor incentives for arriving by sustainable means;
  • be a component of a park and ride scheme;
  • designated coach parking provision;
  • bus stops and associated infrastructure; or
  • investment in ‘smart’ technology that gives advanced information and helps to
    manage car park demand.

[3.22.13] Following the construction of a car park, a proportion of turnover from all forms of chargeable public parking will be secured by planning obligation to ensure that sustainable transport initiatives, services or infrastructure can be maintained for a reasonable period. This will be secured through legal agreements. Further guidance is provided by Policy 08: Infrastructure and Developer Contributions and associated Supplementary Planning Document. Worked example of charging mechanism:

  • 20 additional spaces (assuming turnover of £1,250 per space per year)
  • Build cost of car parking space estimated to be between £700–£1,200 per space
  • 7.5% turnover for a period of 7 years = (20 x £1,250) x 7.5% = £1,875 x 7y = £13,125

Visitor Movement Map: Western Lake District


Visitor Movement Map: Northern Lake District


Visitor Movement Map: Eastern Lake District


Visitor Movement Map: Central and Southern Lake District

Figure 14

Previous consultation responses

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