Montagu Evans were delighted to sponsor The Voice of Authority’s event on Thursday 11 June looking at Car Parks, their future, and their potential for development.

I was joined by Rebecca Cunningham of Network Rail, Patricia Cazes-Potgeiter of Transport for London, Cllr Steve Curran, leader of Hounslow Council and Cllr Simon Miller, Cabinet member for Growth at Waltham Forest.

The lively session took on a number of big questions, with Patricia talking to several major outer London car park to residential development schemes that TfL are progressing. Steve spoke to the shift toward political acceptability of car free developments in places once considered too challenging for this type of scheme, as people’s travel patterns have evolved over the last decade, also noting that he was elected with a main remit to deliver housing rather than car parking.

Simon outlined Waltham Forest’s progressive approach to challenge the primacy of car use in their Borough, and the boost to the vitality of Walthamstow as a result. Rebecca highlighted the challenges around development of Network Rail’s parking to alternative uses, not least as a result of viability and value inherent in station parking, but also the customer experience. I went through a live example where Montagu Evans are working with Rebecca to look at multi-storey parking provision at Brighton Station whilst unlocking land for housing and other improvements to the customer experience.

Polls were taken throughout the event, and notably the number of people who thought Automated Vehicles could offer the opportunity to rationalise town centre parking in the UK doubled from the first poll taken early in the event to a second poll taken after I covered some ‘future gazing’. This included looking at examples from the US where the worlds of autonomous vehicles and car parks are colliding to free up significant amounts of space for other uses, and I discussed whether this could be applied in the UK.