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News  »  Parish Council response to Transport Consultation 2018



   Parish Council response to Transport Consultation 2018    January 23, 2018

HERTFORDSHIRE’S LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN

LTP4 (November 2017)

 

 

Consultation Response by Eastwick & Gilston Parish Council (E&GPC)

Eastwick & Gilston Parish Council fully endorses the comments made by Hunsdon Parish Council

 

E&GPC fully recognises the challenges and issues faced by the County during and beyond the Plan period, in particular the demands of a massively increasing population with ever higher proportion of elderly, the need to support sustainable economic growth, the need to control damage to our environment and quality of air and the year on year financial constraints.

 

As mentioned in the Key Issues section the travel corridors in Hertfordshire are predominantly North – South and the lack of rail services and poor bus services East – West mean a significant volume of East -West private car travel with poor / unreliable journey times across the county which are impacted hugely whenever there is an incident on any of the major roads within the county (A1, A10, M11 & M25) leading to severe congestion.  E&GPC ask the council to review the traffic problems already experienced and ensure improvements to all modes of transport within the county are implemented prior to any significant housing development takes place.

 

We agree with the key strategy to encourage and support modal transfer and the framework of policies that endorse this.  However, it is likely the inclement and unpredictable weather in the UK will always have a limiting impact on the degree to which the community will be willing to move to cycling and walking.  Therefore, it is important the ambition to improve the public transport system is realised in order to make any significant change in preferred modes of transport (away from private cars).  The ambitious proposal to initiate an East West Rapid Bus system is to applauded but hope the council will consider extending it beyond Hertford to Harlow.

 

We are concerned that most of the ‘daughter’ documents are not expected to be published before 2019 and wonder how this will impact on the speed at which the LTP4 plan is delivered.

 

Regarding issues that impact on our parish directly, we would like to register the following comments: -

 

Policy 2: Influencing Land Use Planning. The Gilston Area, located within Hunsdon and Eastwick and Gilston Parishes, is allocated for housing under Policy GA1 of the Section 19 District Plan. A total of 10,000 dwellings are proposed with approximately 3,000 homes within the Plan period (upto 2033). Under the Policy the development will be integrated with sustainable transport links in Harlow, chiefly bus priority and cycling links across the Stort to Harlow Station and the shops and businesses of Harlow. If approved we feel it is imperative that the sustainable transport infrastructure should be in place from the day the first property is occupied. Failure to secure this will lead to a habit of increased car usage which will be very difficult to reverse. We therefore suggest you augment Policy 2 to ensure that sustainable transport facilities for major developments such as Gilston are funded and implemented before occupation of the development and if necessary subsidised to ensure security of service.

 

Policy 3: Travel Plans and Behaviour Change

E&GPC fully endorse the plan’s ambition to significantly change travel behaviour from the private car to walking, cycling and public transport but are concerned how effective this can be taking into account the example of Stevenage where good walking & cycling routes were installed yet have poor utilisation.  As stated in our opening comments this is possibly due to the inclement and unreliable weather in the UK as well as purpose for journeys (eg carrying heavy shopping when walking / cycling is unlikely).  The council should not over estimate the % change.

 

Policy 4: Demand Management

Whilst car park charging, limiting parking, etc may be effective in reducing private car travel to areas where this is implemented the council should consider the potential detrimental impact this could have on foot fall to retail outlets in such areas.  When communities find it difficult to get to a retail area / difficult to get their shopping home they soon turn to alternative retail areas for their shopping – potentially leading to retail closures.

 

Policy 5: Development Management. In two clauses d) and g) the impacts are defined as ‘severe’. Whilst we support the inclusion of these clauses and indeed think they are fundamental to safeguarding the environment and safety of our villages, the use of the word ‘severe’ to describe the impacts of development is insufficient to guarantee the desired effect. We believe the interpretation of ‘severe’ should be defined by way of a footnote. We wonder what % increase in vehicle movements on our lanes over the Plan period and beyond is acceptable. We also wonder at what point do HGV movements on our lanes severely affect the character of the lane and/or severely affect road safety. Is that number or size or both? We imagine that the community’s interpretation of ‘severe’ is very different from the county officers’.

In regard to clause d) we welcome the ambition to ‘secure developer mitigation measures to limit the impacts of development on the transport network’ but ask that this statement be strengthened to ensure appropriate measures are taken prior to any development happening (it is acknowledged in this Plan that the network infrastructure is already under considerable stress).

It is noted that the Section 19 District Plan provides for a minimum growth of 10% dwellings in Category 1 villages such as Hunsdon. Whilst a 5-year housing supply deficit persists in East Herts, not only Category 1, but all villages are subject to a development free for all. Thus, it is vital that cumulative impacts of development are investigated and controlled through this clause. At present we are faced with housing development consents in Hunsdon, Widford and Much Hadham cumulatively impacting on the village centre and our connecting roads. An assessment of what is reasonable needs to be made and agreed and thereafter used to control development.

We welcome the statement ‘any new development proposing to have access onto these types (primary and main distributor) roads will only be considered in special circumstances.’  This is vital to mitigate impact on already congested roads.

We further welcome the statement ‘Where new development occurs, the related transport infrastructure should be designed and implemented with the aim of maintaining the existing character of the area, avoiding instances of community severance and maintaining residential and community characters.’  We suggest this should be included in planning obligations associated with new developments.

 

Policy 6: Accessibility and Policy 9: Buses. A significant number of villagers in Eastwick and Hunsdon, particularly elderly, do not have access to a car and are therefore dependant on public transport and family/friends. In short, they are deprived in this respect. Hunsdon is served by a basic bus service to Bishops Stortford, Ware and Hertford but no longer a direct service to Harlow. We therefore support the objective of Policy 6 clause a). Consequently, we think Policy 9 should be amended to recognise that bus services should not only be promoted to reduce car usage but also to provide a social facility to rural communities and the county council should be more proactive in this respect.

Improvements to technology are to be welcomed but should not be seen as a means to encourage the community from travel.  This is particularly important for the older members of the community who are may already be feeling cut off and lonely.  Ensuring members of the community do now feel increasingly lonely is seen as very important to our Government and Herts CC’s Transport Plan should not be seen to endorse further isolation.

 

Policy 7 & 8: Active Travel.  Whilst we agree with the barriers to walking detailed on Page 60 we suggest additional barriers include: weather conditions, purpose of journey (eg. weight of shopping, required time to travel) and health.

When reviewing speed limits (eg 20 mph limits) the county should take due note of assessments of similar schemes that have been applied across the country. 

It should also be noted that many rural roads do not easily accommodate powered vehicles, cycling and walking together due to width constraints and lack of green edges.

We endorse the Plans ambition to maintain and improve the Rights of Way and ask that sufficient funding be assigned to this task.

 

Policy 10: Rail. We are pleased to see the council intend to lobby the rail industry for additional capacity, etc.

 

Policy 15: Speed Management. We are pleased to see the council are considering traffic calming measures but urge it to take note of analysis which shows speed calming such as speed humps do not improve the environment but often increaser pollution.  Any traffic calming measures should be carefully considered and appropriate.

 

Policy 17: Road Safety. The Parish Council believes that the Plan should include specific policies aimed at speed reduction in villages and on country lanes and calming and control measures should not be determined by accident rates but by the need to encourage walking and cycling in a safer environment.

 

Policy 23: Growth and Transport Plans. We are concerned that the provision of A414 improvements at Gilston necessary to support the Gilston Area development currently under consideration with East Herts, Essex CC and the developers, will become entangled with the GTP for South East Herts and the A414 Corridor 5 Study resulting in unnecessary complication and delay. The Gilston proposals which would be part of the proposed GTP are already at Stage 4 and moving onto Stage 5.

 

Chapter 7 – Major Schemes and Corridor Commentary.

Corridor 5: Hemel Hempstead & Watford – St Albans – Harlow. E&GPC is surprised that the Plan suggests housing growth has been agreed for the ‘new Garden Town at Gilston north of Harlow’.  The EHDC District Plan is still at the Enquiry in Public stage as no report has yet been issued by the Inspector.  Whilst we support the ambition to improve the A414 between Hertford and Harlow this is a requirement needed now due to existing congestion and not due to possible development.

Corridor 8: Stevenage – Stansted.  We are surprised no ‘significant investment and improvements’ are felt necessary and suggest a further analysis of routes travelled using the A414 near Harlow be conducted to determine how much of this traffic is a result of poor alternative routes.

 

A414 Bus Rapid Transit. E&GPC support this ambition but ask the Plan to consider early extension to Harlow.

 

In general, the Parish Council feels that the draft Plan is quite rightly strong on overall strategy but lacks specific policies to deal with the problems we currently experience in rural areas which should not be left to daughter documents. We feel that the Plan fails to acknowledge there are also real problems in rural areas as well as congestion in the urban areas and on the primary road network. We would like to see policies on speed management and appropriate traffic calming in villages, the provision of public transport for villages to hospitals, surgeries and shops, the control of development leading to increased traffic on the minor road network and a policy opposing all development requiring the operation of HGV’s on village streets and the rural minor roads network.

 

It appears the Plan is dependent on significant funding from CIL and S106 budgets and hope sufficient monies will be realised to deliver the Plan.

 

We trust you find the above comments of assistance but in any event, we would ask you to confirm if these points will be addressed and if not, why.

 

 

 

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