Epping Forest Draft Local Plan Consultation Report published

Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) has published its Draft Local Plan Consultation Report, which looks at the responses to the Local Plan consultation held last year.

The report is up for discussion at next week’s EFDC Cabinet meeting, Tuesday 11th July, 7.30pm at the council offices in Epping. If you’d like to go along to observe the meeting please note that the last bus back to Waltham Abbey, the 213, leaves at 17.55, 1hr 35mins before the meeting starts.

We’ve reproduced the the Transport section of the report below. The full report is available as part of the papers for the EFDC Cabinet Meeting, 11th July 2017: Draft Local Plan Consultation Report (.pdf. 8.4MB)

The original consultation document is available on this site: Planning Our Future.

10 Transport

10.1 Introduction

Chapter 10 considers the responses received to Draft Policy T 1 Sustainable Transport Choices and Draft Policy T 2 Safeguarding of routes and facilities. This includes analysis of responses received which specifically reference the approach taken within Draft Policies T 1 and T 2 from all letters, emails, plus all sections of the online and hardcopy questionnaires. However, further reporting has been undertaken to
highlight the number of individual comments which reference transport in general.

Please see Section 17.6 of the Appendices for the ten most frequent classifications captured from all forms of feedback regarding transport and Draft Policies T 1 and T 2.

10.2 Transport

Transport and the impact of the new development proposed by the Draft Local Plan was a common concern amongst many respondents to the consultation. These particularly related to the impact of additional road
users associated with the future new development, and the impact on parking provision within the District.

Concern over the impact on public transport was not as frequent but still ranked highly amongst the concerns over infrastructure provision more widely. This included comments relating to overcrowding on the Central Line and references to infrequent and restricted times of local bus services. There was also a general theme that there is felt to be inadequate provision of local public transport in Epping Forest District.

10.3 Draft Policy T 1 Sustainable Transport Choices

From all forms of feedback received, which includes the open text comments to the letters, emails and questionnaire, 167 classified comments in total were recorded which discussed the approach in Draft Policy T
1. Within this, 58 disagreed with the approach, 51 agreed and 58 did not provide a clear position.

Amongst those who supported the proposals in Draft Policy T 1 Sustainable Transport Choices, there was recognition about the sustainability of the District due its proximity to London and the transport links it is
afforded because of this. The desire to seek a sustainable transport network was also welcomed. There were also responses that indicated support for enhancements of the existing infrastructure, as well as support for
development around Harlow on the basis of its strong public transport links.

Those disagreeing with Draft Policy T 1 were of the view that the Draft Policy would do little to promote cycling and much needed cycle paths, cycle parking spaces, and an improvement in road design to improve safety for cyclists. There was also some concern that the Draft Local Plan made ‘unrealistic’ assumptions about the impact new development would have on the public transport and highways networks.

A number of the classified comments referred to the impact on the road and public transport network around the District, and there were also comments the Draft Local Plan is too focussed on a desire to promote
sustainable and public transport modes and therefore fails to consider the public’s use of cars.

10.4 Draft Policy T 2 Safeguarding of Routes and Facilities

The number of classified comments relating to Draft Policy T 2 Safeguarding of routes and facilities was low. From all forms of feedback received, which includes the open text comments to the letters, emails and
questionnaire, 24 classified comments were recorded which discussed Draft Policy T 2. Within this, six disagreed with the approach, eight agreed and 10 did not provide a clear position.

Among the comments received in favour of the approach taken in Draft Policy T 2 was support for the recognition of the increased pressure that the M25, M11 and A120 could be put under as a result of new
development in the District.

Those who disagreed did so arguing that there should be more emphasis on improving public transport provision over accommodating additional road traffic. This included support for safeguarding the Epping-
Ongar railway. It was also commented that there should be a local Cycling Action Plan created.

10.5 Comments received from Statutory Consultees and local organisations

Draft Policy T 1 Sustainable Transport Choices

A total of 10 Statutory Consultees and local organisations made comments in relation to Draft Policy T 1. Town and Parish Councils and Local Organisations raised the concern that commuter parking is a common
problem in the district, and did not feel that the policy adequately addressed parking issues. Pressure on the Central Line was also frequently raised, with Epping Town Council stating support for the extension of the
oyster system to Harlow to ease the demand.

  • Stanford Rivers Parish Council expressed concern over the decline in rural bus routes.
  • Essex County Council supported the policy and suggested further emphasis on encouraging a modal shift towards sustainable transport methods in the district.
  • Transport for London confirmed that on the basis of current modelling data, capacity on the Central Line should not act as a deterrent to growth in the District. Transport for London stated that the allocations in the plan would likely result in incremental growth, through which developer contributions could be used to improve the capacity of the tube stations in the district as this has been highlighted as an area of improvement. Along with Essex County Council, Transport for London expressed the view that the district should aim to minimise car trips and encourage sustainable transport modes.
    Highways England supported the reference to improvements in public transport and sustainability of transport systems in the Draft Policy and Draft Local Plan in general.

Draft Policy T 2 Safeguarding of Routes and Facilities

Four responses commented on Draft Policy T 2. Epping Ongar Railway, Transport for London and Highways England all supported the inclusion of this Draft Policy in the Draft Local Plan. Essex County Council advised that the Draft Policy make specific reference to key transport interventions located within the district in order to properly provide for their implementation.

10.6 Comments received from site promoters

Draft Policy T 1 Sustainable Transport Choices

A comment was received regarding parking standards, stating that proposed parking standards should have been included in the Draft Local Plan at this stage in order to inform the density and unit numbers for the propose allocation sites. Another comment suggested that EFDC make use of on-street parking controls in order to manage parking.

Draft Policy T 2 Safeguarding of Routes and Facilities

One comment was received suggesting that the policy be amended to state that in the first instance the Council will engage with landowners to deliver identified infrastructure schemes rather than opting for safeguarding that may prove unnecessary.

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