The ‘Wichelstowe Design Code’ — part of the planning permission for East Wichel — imposes restrictions beyond those normal in most housing estates built in the same period. Two features of this are the requirement for most houses to have a different external appearance to their neighbours and the banning of external TV aerials and satellite dishes. A more contentious feature is that street parking is heavily restricted in the streets of East Wichel.
At the time East Wichel was being planned, government town planning guidance aimed to encourage use of public transport by discouraging the use and ownership of cars. This resulted in East Wichel having relatively little parking space allocated to each property and roads that are too narrow to allow both parking and safe passage of vehicles.
Swindon Borough Council issued a statement on the proposed restrictions in 2010, having become aware that not all the house builders in East Wichel were making prospective residents aware of the intention to restrict parking.
The council began a consultation on the proposed restrictions in July 2014. The Restricted Parking Zone was confirmed in February 2016 and enforced from October the same year.
Enforcement of the restrictions was relaxed from late December 2016 following protest from many in East Wichel, though the issue remains controversial with strongly held views both for and against the restrictions.
East Wichel Restricted Parking Zone
The East Wichel Restricted Parking Zone covers all tarmacked roads within East Wichel (PDF map). Parking is only permitted in marked parking bays. Elsewhere, although there are no yellow lines marked, parking is not permitted. This restriction applies to all vehicles, including blue-badge holders.
Loading and unloading is not affected by the restrictions. Tradesmen can apply for Contractors’ permits from Swindon Borough Council Parking Services. Without a permit, they must also abide by the parking restrictions.
Although described as ‘visitor parking’ there are no limits on who can use the parking bays, nor on how long vehicles can be parked.
The restricted parking zone is enforced by Swindon Borough Council civil enforcement officers. Any vehicles parked in contravention of the restrictions may be issued with a fixed penalty charge notice.
Although included in the original proposals for a Restricted Parking Zone, the so-called mews areas — areas with stone paving — are not covered by parking restrictions. However space in the mews is often limited and most parking space within them is privately owned by the adjoining properties. The boundary between the public and private areas is usually marked by a narrow line of concrete within the paving. Public parking spaces within the mews areas are marked by blue ‘P’ signs.
The car park off Barbrook Road for visitors to the lakes and the car park on East Wichel Way in front of the shops are not covered by the parking restrictions. The car park at the Bayberry pub and the car park shared between East Wichel Primary School and the Community Centre are both private property.