Midlothian councillors allow small Mayfield driveway for man's small car
A car owner has won a planning appeal with the council to keep a short driveway after arguing his own vehicle was small enough to squeeze into it.
The newly built parking space is just 4.3 metres long compared to a normal six metres. It was originally refused planning permission by Midlothian planners who felt it would cause vehicles to overhang onto a pavement.
But it got the go-ahead after the resident was urged to parallel park.
A meeting of the council’s Local Review Body was told owner George Burnett’s Mazda, which would be parked on the Mayfield driveway, was just 4.2 metres long, with photographs showing it sitting within the space.
Peter Arnsdorf, the council’s legal adviser, told a virtual meeting of the review body that paving slabs on the driveway “show the direction of travel which the vehicle if parked on the site would sit. It would come directly onto that driveway which is 4.3 metres deep.”
However, councillors who visited the site on Poplar Street, Mayfield, said the slabs had been removed before their visit. They argued that a vehicle could be parked parallel on the driveway which is 7.7 metres wide.
Councillor Peter Smaill told the meeting: “A reasonably dexterous driver would be able to park parallel to avoid an overhanging bonnet.”
Cllr Smaill expressed concern at the costs that would be incurred if the homeowner had to remove the driveway, which was built at the end of his front garden after he removed his boundary fence and a shed.
And he said while the review body could not enforce a condition over how any vehicle is parked on the drive, a measure of “good faith” could be applied.
He said: “In the particular circumstances of this quite quiet street with quite wide pavements it would be disproportionate to stop the appeal from succeeding.
“We could perhaps ask for a personal undertaking, I realise these things are difficult to enforce, that there will be no overhanging onto the pavement however the site is approached. It probably means a proper dropped kerb, quite a long one, to allow parking at 90 degrees and also parking parallel.”
Cllr Colin Cassidy also expressed concern at dismissing the appeal and the impact on the owner. He said: “I think we are limited with our options on where we can go with this and we need to be quite pragmatic about this."
And Cllr Jim Muirhead pointed out the irony of cars being parked on pavements across the county while the driveway freed up a parking space. He said: “We are having a debate here about a vehicle sticking six inches out onto a pavement yet if you look all over Midlothian there are vehicles parked on pavements and pavements being blocked.
“Just me going to my front door and further down the road you cannot get a buggy past because people park on pavements.”
The review body granted planning permission for the drive with a condition that a dropped kerb running the length of the owner’s house would be introduced and fencing put up at the end of the drive is stained to a suitable colour. An advisory note was added to the permission urging the owner to parallel park on the drive.