Roehampton University answers questions about student car parking

Given the volume of objections to various Roehampton University planning applications based mainly around car parking impacts on local residents a Freedom of Information request was sent to the University.

According to the website when a question is asked “You should get the information within 20 working days. The organisation will tell you when to expect the information if they need more time”.

With regard to this timeframe this 20 day timescale was not achieved. The timings were:

  • 23 October 2016 – questions were sent to the University.
  • 16 November 2016 – a chaser was sent to the University asking for progress.
  • 22 November 2016 – a chaser was re-sent as the email of 16 November bounced.
  • 10 December 2016 – a further chaser was sent to the University.
  • 15 December 2016 – finally, a reply received and this also provided answers to the questions.

Was the delay so as to possibly not interfere with the planning applications which were in process, or was it for other reasons?

What the answers seem to be pointing towards is that student car parking is the Council’s responsibility via the planning application process. Does this seem a bit like the University is washing its hands of any responsibility for student car parking in the ward?

The questions and answers are below;

From: University

15 December 2016

Freedom of Information Request Roehampton University and car parking

With reference to your request made under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, dated 22 November 2016, I can confirm that the University holds some, but not all,  the information requested.

Your request was, in general terms, for the following information, which is set out in  full detail below: car parking arrangements for students.

Our response is as follows:

As a resident of the Alton Estate and the recent acknowledgement by the University  of Roehampton that it does “understand the pressure on parking cars in  Roehampton” (as stated as part of planning application 2016/5377 letter dated 14th  September 2016 signed by Dr Ghazwa Alwani-Starr) following queries are asked of  the University;

1.         What is the current maximum capacity of resident students in the Roehampton & Putney Heath ward that the University can accommodate?

The University has 2,053 rooms on-campus – including Mount Clare and  Whitelands.

2.         Has the University conducted any analysis of how many of these resident  students have a car?

No, we have not carried out an analysis as we don’t offer parking for students  unless they can demonstrate limited mobility which is then approved through  Disabilities Service. We keep a record of this.  A recent travel survey included  questions about modes of travel to the University, and to promote more  sustainable travel, not car ownership.

3.         If the answer to question 2 is yes, can the University share this analysis?

Although as stated above, the travel survey did not ask about car ownership, however the results showed that 75% of our students use sustainable modes of travel to get to and from the University.

4.         If the answer to question 2 is no, can the University explain the reason for not having done this?

This is because the University has no reason to undertake a survey for a  service we do not offer.

5.         If the answer to question 2 is no, does the University have plans to conduct such an analysis?

No, however students are invited to participate in University-wide travel surveys from time to time, as noted above.

6.         If the answer to question 5 is no, what is the explanation for not conducting such an analysis?

This is because the University has no reason to undertake a survey for a service we do not offer.

7.         Given that resident students are not permitted to park their cars on campus can the University provide an explanation of where the resident students park their  cars?

This information is not held.

However, heavily discounted rates are offered in the car park at Queen Mary’s Hospital.  After 4.30pm through to 8am and also at weekends students are  permitted to park on campus

8.         If the answer to question 7 is no, does the University intend to carry out such an analysis?


9.         If the answer to question 8 is no, then please explain the reason for not doing so.

This information is not held.   However, the comment in response to question 4 above is relevant; as the  University cannot monitor where students park (other than on campus or at  QMH) there would be no reason (or authority) for the University to conduct  such a survey.  Nor would there be a requirement on students to respond to  such a survey in respect of parking in roads without parking restrictions.

10.       Regarding the wording “we strongly discourage students from bringing their  cars on campus” it is asked that the University detail how it discourages students  from parking on campus.

In the accommodation handbook and on the web we discourage students from bringing cars due to the parking restrictions and the strong public transport links, as described below:

“Handbook:  Student cannot park on campus between 8:30am and 4:30pm (Monday to Friday) during term time.  The University advises resident students not to have a car.  Everything you need is available locally or is easily accessible by public transport.”

The University’s Travel Plan sets out other methods of transport, including bus routes and timetables.  There is significant on-going investment in provision for cyclists, including secure racking and shower facilities.  In particular, covered secure  cycle racking for 100 bikes has been provided at Elm Grove Hall, and the University  now has over 500 cycle spaces across the campus

11.      Regarding the wording “The University’s contract with resident students prohibits them from applying for a residents parking permit in the local area”, is the University aware that such permits are limited to a very small part of Roehampton as highlighted by the following Council webpage –

_zones/11 ?

This information is not held.

12.       Given that planning application 2016/1385 and 2016/4901 are connected to this planning application in that they involve car parking as a concern as expressed by residents. Will the University seek to address these concerns with residents?   The University will continue to discourage car use by its students, and the parking arrangements are not affected by the planning application.

13.       If the answer to question 12 is yes, then please explain how this will be done.

14.       If the answer to question 13 is no, then please explain the reason for not doing so.

In response to Question 12, as the planning application does not change parking arrangements, the University does not intend to seek to address any concerns with residents and relies on the planning application process.


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