Planning guidelines for developers: transport issues

Planning guidelines for developers:

Facing up to the transport issues

Over the last two years, members of the Faversham Society have observed with increasing concern the proposals for road layout and traffic management submitted by developers in their planning applications for residential developments in the area, and their likely impact on the level of road traffic congestion, noise and pollution.  Many of these have been approved by the County Council as the highway authority responsible for roads in the affected area.  At its meeting on 20 November, the Society’s Board endorsed the following recommendations drafted by a team drawn from the Faversham Future Forum for consideration by the County Council.

 

1 Vehicular traffic generated by a new development should not erode the environment, threaten people’s safety, or worsen congestion.  Since small traffic increases can have a disproportionate effect on a congested network, the impact should be assessed not in isolation but in conjunction with other schemes approved or under consideration.

 

Relevant to ‘The value of good design’, Section 1.6 Movements and Connections, and ‘Creating the Design’, Section 2.1.2: Movement Appraisal.
2 To prevent ‘enclaves’ of isolated housing, the layout should incorporate road and footway connections to neighbouring developments, and allow for connections to future developments around the perimeter.

 

‘Creating the Design’, Section 2. 2: Generating the layout
3 By means of a comprehensive, joined-up network incorporating routes for buses, pedestrians and cyclists, the development should allow and indeed encourage residents to use modes of travel other than the car.  The network should provide safe crossings not only within the perimeter but across potential barriers around the periphery such as busy traffic routes and rail lines.

 

‘Creating the Design’, Section 2.3: Designing for movement
4 Residential roads should be configured with a design speed of 20 mph.  Compliance should be encouraged with imaginative design rather than mandatory signs and road markings.

 

‘Creating the Design’, Section 2. 2: Generating the layout
5 Developers should assess the impact of the traffic generated by the proposed development on the levels of exhaust pollution and other particulate emissions over the wider network, and adopt measures for mitigating any negative effects.  No development should be permitted to add to pollution on the wider network in places where existing levels are at or above the safe limits recognised by the World Health Organisation and the European Union.  ‘Making It Happen’, Section on Sustainable Solutions

 

Faversham Society Board of Trustees, 28 November 2018

Affordable Housing in the new NPPF

The government has published a new National Planning Policy Framework.

The Campaign for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE)  has published research on affordable housing:

60,000 houses being planned for land that will be released from the Green Belt, while the percentage of ‘affordable’ homes built continues to fall

The Green Belt remains under severe pressure, despite government commitments to its protection, according to a new report from the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE).

CPRE’s annual State of the Green Belt report [1] highlights that there are currently 460,000 homes being planned to be built on land that will soon be released from the Green Belt [2]. Moving Green Belt boundaries when reviewing local plans makes it easier for local authorities to release land for housing, but is only supposed to take place under ‘exceptional circumstances’. This strategic shrinking of the Green Belt, as a way of getting around its protected status, is as harmful as building on the Green Belt itself.

The report also demonstrates that building on the Green Belt is not solving the affordable housing crisis, and will not do so. Last year 72% of homes built on greenfield land within the Green Belt were unaffordable by the government’s definition [3].

Of the 460,000 homes that are planned to be built on land that will be released from the Green Belt, the percentage of unaffordable homes will increase to 78%.

CPRE warns that this release of land looks set to continue, as one-third of local authorities with Green Belt land will find themselves with an increase in housing targets, due to a new method for calculating housing demand. The London (Metropolitan) Green Belt will be the biggest casualty [4].

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Choices for housing growth in Swale

Swale Borough Council engaged Peter Brett Associates to provide a starting point for developing a longer-term vision for how Swale might deal with choices about the type and location of housing growth.

None of the current represents an agreed political position or
policy in Swale. The views presented are those of the consultant
team only.

This study was commissioned for two reasons

  1. because the planning inspector for the current adopted plan had concerns that the current plan might not be able to support sufficient homes over the plan period. And required an early plan review.
  2. national government is consulting on a new method of calculating housing targets. Emerging numbers suggest that Swale needs to provide more housing permissions – equivalent to around 35% more every year, on top of the number already in the local plan. This is equivalent to 7,500 additional homes by 2037/38.

Choices for housing growth suggests scenarios which could accommodate 15,000 new houses in Swale. Faversham emerges as one of the likely options for very substantial house building.

It provides the context for the Future Faversham meeting on March 8th

 

Society welcomes Neighbourhood Plan examiner’s report

The Faversham Society broadly welcomes the report on the Faversham Creek Neighbourhood Plan by the independent examiner, Mr Timothy Jones. The report recognises the value of the heritage and archaeology of the Creek, both for its own sake and as an asset for the town, and strengthens the protection and conservation of some of the most sensitive heritage sites. We particularly welcome the examiner’s comments on Swan Quay and the Purifier Building, and although we are disappointed that residential development has not been ruled out for Ordnance Wharf, we welcome the added protection to its heritage assets and setting.

While he has found it appropriate for the plan to allow some development, not all of which the Society would fully endorse, the examiner was impressed by the level of local interest in and commitment to the area’s built heritage, and found this reassuring for the future of those sites that most merit preservation.

The Board wishes to thank Dr Pat Reid, who represented the Society at the examination hearings in October 2015, and whose contribution is clearly reflected in the report, with its many references to archaeology and the addition of a new policy. We would also like to thank Ray Harrison, whose character appraisal highlighted the importance of Swan Quay as a particularly sensitive heritage site, and whose architectural and conservation expertise is noted with respect by the examiner.

The Faversham Society accepts all of the proposed amendments, with thanks to Mr Jones for his sensitive and thoughtful approach.

The report can be seen here.

 

An invitation to members to nominate possible Local Green Spaces

Are there green spaces in Faversham that members would like to see protected from development?

Within Local Plans, it is possible to protect areas of land from development by designating them as Local Green Spaces. These are areas that are important to a community (eg, sports or recreation grounds, allotments, open spaces in a built-up area) which are not already protected in some other way (eg, as town or village greens). They can be in private or public ownership.

In the draft Swale Local Plan, only one area in Faversham was listed as a Local Green Space (Woodland at the Knole and stream). At the Inspector’s hearing at the end of 2015, several representatives from Faversham and elsewhere complained that communities had not been asked to submit suggestions for Local Green Spaces. The Inspector accepted the criticisms and said that the process should be revisited.

This means there is an opportunity for more areas to be put forward for consideration as part of the revision of the Swale Local Plan. The Society is considering whether there are any spaces we should propose, and we would be interested in hearing from any member who would like to nominate an open space that they think should be protected. Please tell us by 15 April at the latest where it is – marked on a map if possible – and also who owns it, if you know.

Alternatively, you can make nominations directly to Swale Borough Council directly – see http://www.swale.gov.uk/nominate-local-green-spaces/ for more details.

Bearing Fruits – the Inspector’s Interim Report

The Faversham Society welcomes the final report on the Inspector’s interim findings on the Swale Local Plan. We are pleased to see that, although housing targets have been increased from 540 to 776 per year, the much higher numbers demanded by some developers have not been accepted.

We are also pleased that the Inspector acknowledges the distinctive character of Faversham, and has confirmed the soundness of the plan’s two-area settlement strategy, with higher levels of development in the former Thames Gateway area and more modest development in Faversham and rural areas.

We are however concerned about the effect of any new developments on traffic in and around the town, and have written to Kent County Council to call for a road traffic plan for Faversham. We note that the impact of the higher housing target has yet to be tested against highway infrastructure models.

The Inspector says that Swale Borough Council has undertaken to prepare a heritage strategy, which she considers necessary to ensure that heritage policies are soundly based and consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework. I have written to Swale Borough Council to ask that the Society should be closely involved in the development of the heritage strategy.

Response on planning application for 12 Market Place

Planning application:- 16/501352/full
re Change of use to exhibition space with ancillary retail use on the ground floor and Bl office use on the first floor
12 Market Place Faversham Kent ME13 7AE

The Faversham Society wishes to comment as follows:-

The trustees of the Faversham Society, the owners of 10-13 Preston Street, have been consulted, and initially expressed support for the scheme of the acquisition of exhibition space by the Town Council in principle, without access to any notice of the proposed change of use of 12 Market Place or subsequent planning application, at that stage. A majority of trustees voting on receipt of the notification of application have no objection to the proposed change of use of 12 Market Place, from the information currently provided, but would support several others who have expressed their opinion  that the period for consultation has not been long enough and that they would need further information during the period of public consultation and from Swale Borough Council to be satisfied that all the implications of the proposal have been fully presented to all interested parties.