The draft Epping Forest Local Plan has been published and contains some encouraging proposals around Sustainable Transport, including:
- considering existing and future sustainable transport opportunities as part of the criteria when identifying sites for housing and employment;
- ensuring the provision of facilities and services in new strategic developments to provide high levels of ‘self-containment’; and
- securing the provision of, or financial support for, bus services, and walking and cycling facilities.
This marks a shift towards achieving one of our own campaigning priorities of making public transport and safer streets bigger considerations during planning application decisions.
Of course, funding could continue to be a problem, particularly as much of the responsibility for highways, footways, cycle paths and bus service budgets rests with Essex County Council rather than our District Council. However, it’s a promising position to start from.
We expect the Local Plan to be a major topic for discussion at our meeting on Wednesday 12th October (details here).
From the introduction to the Transport section:
This section of the Draft Local Plan sets out the Council’s Preferred Approach to managing growth in car travel and its linked impacts including on the local economy and on the environment and communities. The draft policies seek to widen the choice of travel opportunities using public transport, walking and cycling.
These are the Sustainable Transport proposals from the draft Local Plan in full:
Draft Policy T 1: Sustainable Transport Choices
A. The Council will work in partnership to promote a safe, efficient and convenient transport system which will:
i) build on the District’s strategic location, through improvements to strategic road and rail connections to the wider area;
ii) promote transport choice, through improvements to public transport services and supporting infrastructure, and providing coherent and direct cycling and walking networks to provide a genuine alternative to
the car and facilitate a modal shift;
iii) promote improved access to the two town and four district centres and rail stations by all modes of transport and ensure good integration between transport modes;
iv) manage congestion and provide for consistent journey times;
v) promote and improve safety, security and healthy lifestyles; and
vi) improve the efficiency of the local highway network.
B. Development should seek to minimise the need to travel, promote opportunities for sustainable transport modes, improve accessibility to services and support the transition to a low carbon future.
C. Development proposals will be permitted that:
i) integrate into existing transport networks;
ii) provide safe, suitable and convenient access for all potential users;
iii) provide an on-site layouts that are compatible for all potential users with appropriate parking and servicing provision; and
iv) do not result in inappropriate traffic generation or compromise highway safety.
D. Development proposals that generate significant amounts of movement, as identified in the Council’s Planning Application Validation Requirements Checklist, must be supported by a Transport Statement or Transport Assessment and will normally be required to provide a Travel Plan.
Development proposals which generate a significant number of heavy goods vehicle movements will be required to demonstrate by way of a Routing Management Plan that no severe impacts are caused to the efficient and safe operation of the road network and no material harm caused to theliving conditions of residents.
E. Development should be of high quality, sustainable in design, construction and layout, offering maximum flexibility in the choice of travel modes, including walking and cycling, and with accessibility for all potential users.
F. Development will be permitted where it:
i) does not have a severe impact on the operation, safety or accessibility to the local or strategic highway networks;
ii) mitigates impacts on the local or strategic highway networks, arising from the development itself or the cumulative effects of development, through the provision of, or contributions towards, necessary and
relevant transport improvements, including those secured by legal agreement;
iii) protects and where possible enhances access to public rights of way;
iv) provides appropriate parking provision, in terms of amount, design and layout and storage arrangements, in accordance with adopted Parking Standards; and
v) ensures that all development proposals provide a co-ordinated and comprehensive scheme that does not prejudice the future development or design of suitable adjoining sites.
G. In order to encourage the use of low emission vehicles to support improvements in air quality the Council will be working in partnership with Essex County Council, and through the development of its own residential car parking standards, to achieve the appropriate provision of electric vehicle charging points, particularly on strategic housing and large scale commercial and retail developments.