PEOPLE living in newly-built homes in the centre of Swindon shouldn’t expect to be able to park nearby – at least if new rules are approved.

Councillors on the borough council’s planning committee voted to let a new draft policy on parking standards for new constructions be put to public consultation over the next two months.

It would allow new homes to be built with no parking provision.

Highways officer Gerry Prodohl introduced the new standards, the first update since 2007, to the committee.

He said: “The previous parking standards pre-date the Swindon local plan and the national planning policy framework. They are not well presented or easy to use and not something we’re proud of.

“The new standards introduces more sophisticated zoning and are less prescriptive.”

One of the major changes concerns the enlarged 'central zone', where the existing standards say flats need not have parking provided but houses should. In the new standards, no domestic new builds in the central area need parking.

Councillor Nick Burns-Howell, elected in May for Old Town was not happy with the suggestion.

He said: “I’m very concerned about increased restriction in areas such as Old Town. This is a very negative and regressive measure and I won’t be able to support it in this form.”

Councillor Jane Milner-Barry was worried about the extension of the central zone.

She said: “It has been extended to include the area around the Corn Exchange, and that will have an impact on the future of it.”

Councillor Nick Martin asked whether it was the wisest thing to be sending the policy to public consultation during July and August:, adding “I understand you want to get on with it, but might it be better to wait until people are back from their holidays?” The committee voted to begin the consultation process, which will last for eight weeks.

Initial responses from residents was not overly enthusiastic.

Mark Harrison, 62, was parking his car near his house in the streets near Euclid Street .

He said: “I don’t believe it. They say that apartments don’t get parking, and then when people buy them they ask what parking there is, and they’re told to apply for an on-street permit, and they just get one.”

Environmentalist Tristan Strange said: “It would be great if everyone in the area used public transport, but that would need to be better. People will bring their cars and want to park. I fear that pedestrianised areas will be turned back into roads to allow for more on-street parking.”