Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options) October 2010

Draft Core Strategy (incorporating Preferred Options)

Modal Shift for Yeovil

5.59 With some key transport corridors already under significant pressure particularly at peak times it is important to ensure that Yeovil delivers its growth in a way that is as sustainable as possible and reduces the need for reliance on car movement in order to access vital goods and services. Sustainable access to the retail centre in town as well as to strategic employment sites and health/leisure opportunities will be crucial if this expansion is to be achieved without further adding to the pressures that are already faced by the town, including issues of air quality, severance and congestion at strategic junctions.

5.60 With an additional 8,200 dwellings envisaged for Yeovil and with the current highway network already close to capacity at peak times there is a strong case for delivering sustainable transport alternatives to avoid the need for costly highway infrastructure improvements. Similarly there is huge potential to deliver health benefits.

Active and Low Carbon Travel a Transport Vision for Yeovil

5.61 The University of the West of England have recently completed a report on behalf of the Department of Health South West - "Active and Low Carbon Travel a transport vision for Yeovil" (May 2010). The report advocates an innovative approach to integrated transport planning aimed specifically at Yeovil. The report recognises that local stakeholders do not alone have the capacity to act and that national and regional resources would need to be redirected to make this project a priority. At the same time it demonstrates that such investment can deliver a very high ratio of benefit to cost, which if implemented would be distributed across a wide range of objectives including improved access, social inclusion, health & well-being, economic development, traffic reduction, climate change, minimising pollution (noise & emission exposure), and biodiversity.

5.62 The report proposes 8 'seed' projects:

  1. 'Winning Hearts and Minds' - an initial project with a high profile physical works programme and marketing campaign focussing on a core walking and cycling network aimed at convincing key organisations and residents that Yeovil will become a healthier and more positive place to live, work and visit.
  2. 'Park and Go' - focuses on reducing congestion in the town centre. The report advises that this needs to be seen in tandem with Project 3 ('Public transport figure of 8') and differs from traditional park and ride.[1] 
  3. 'Public transport figure of 8' - seeks to provide a frequent and reliable public transport route providing links between residential areas and key local destinations achieving short journey times and actually "going where people want to go".
  4. 'Safe and Liveable Residential Streets' - aimed at ensuring that the programme of active travel reaches deep into neighbourhoods.
  5. 'Green and Complete' - the establishment of green corridors to complete the walking and cycling network. The project switches from easy wins to the important desire lines and routes not yet catered for.
  6. 'Lysander Road improvements' - aims at achieving a better balance between car drivers, cyclists, pedestrians and public transport users along this key Yeovil radial road.
  7. 'Active Access over the A30' - looks at reducing the severance between the residential areas to the Northwest and Northeast and the town centre caused by the A30.
  8. 'Journey to work' - a programme of education and direct intervention designed to encourage employees to use alternative modes of travel to the car when travelling to work.

5.63 The report recommends that a feasibility study be undertaken specifically focusing on determining the wider social benefits of implementation. It also calls for the creation of an adaptable funding plan to implement the projects over a 10 - 15 year period from a variety of sources, including regional and national sources.

5.64 Prior to such feasibility studies being carried out it is difficult to factor these projects into the Core Strategy. However, there is a very strong link for building some of these projects into the Eco Town and the Urban Extension. In particular the concepts of projects on Park & Go, public transport for journeys to work, Safe and Liveable Residential Streets and Green and Complete (a walking and cycling network) have the potential to be included in the modal shift options for the Eco Town. These measures form an integral part in the delivery of the permeability, infrastructure and routes/services required to deliver modal shift.

5.65 The Eco Town modal shift policies will require feasibility and transport assessment work in any case and it would be desirable for this work to be carried out in tandem.

5.66 The Yeovil Transport Strategy Review 2 (YTSR2) will consider the feasibility of Park and Ride. Any eventual project needs to be costed and, a means of securing money established. The YTSR2 will look at these measures and the outcome will be fed into the Core Strategy Publication Plan for submission for Examination.

1. Yeovil Transport Strategy Review 2, Paragraph 5.8 [back]

Measures to Encourage Modal Shift

5.67 In addition to the generic policies that support modal shift throughout the District, the urban nature of Yeovil means that further measures can and should be in place to offer greater choice and ability to use more sustainable transport modes and reduce the desire to use the car. These measures include:

  1. The encouragement of cycling and walking by:
    a. Providing cycle and pedestrian routes to link the new development with new/existing routes. These routes should permeate the site to ensure ease of access around the development. Developments should seek to protect and improve existing cycling and pedestrian routes within 400 metres of the site to facilitate links to and from the site to the wider network. The requirement for the provision of walking and cycling routes should apply to all residential developments of 10 dwellings or more and employment sites with a floor space greater than 1000 sq m; and
    b. Providing facilities for cycle parking within the new development commensurate with the levels and standards designated in the SCC cycle parking strategy.
  2.  
  3. Promoting improvements in public transport by providing bus stops, where a bus route exists or can be provided within a reasonable distance, dependent on the scale of the development and existing provision.
    All new residential developments of 20 dwellings or more and employment sites with a floor space greater than 2400 sq m should provide a bus stop and each stop should include a bus shelter with timetable information.
    Smaller residential developments with less than 20 dwellings and employment sites with a floor space less than 2400 sq m should contribute a set figure per dwelling or employee respectively towards this provision. Planning obligations will be sought for such infrastructure where this is required for smaller developments in accordance with Policy SS7.
    A reasonable distance for the provision of bus stops would be:
    Within 400 metres of the development
    Or in the case of larger developments of greater than 50 dwellings or with a floor space greater than 3600 sq m within 400 metres of each dwelling or unit in the development.
    However care should be taken to ensure bus routes are not distorted to satisfy this criterion as direct and simple bus routes are more important than walking distances a little more than 400 metres for a few passengers.
  4.  
  5. Further encouraging car share by providing preferential and quality spaces in car parks for car sharers at employment sites. This should apply to all employment sites with a floor space greater than 1000 sq m.
  6.  
  7. Supporting the integration of transport modes to ensure ease of interchange (e.g. walking and cycle links to public transport and ease and reliability of interchange between various bus, rail and express coach routes, enabled by ‘through ticketing’ and ‘off-bus ticket’ purchase [to reduce load times] with Smartcard technologies, real time information etc.)
    This can be achieved by development contributions to sustainable transport interchanges within the town. The prime interchange sites currently are at Yeovil Borough and the Bus Station, and reference to the Bus Station interchange is shown on the Proposals Map (relevant Inset Map) reflecting aspirations to provide such an interchange. All residential and employment developments should contribute to the improvements of transport interchange on a cost per dwelling basis. The measures to improve transport interchanges are dependent on the County Future Transport Plan (FTP) & YTSR2. These need to be costed and the business case can then be made and a contribution based on per dwelling (and for employment floorspace) based on a proportion of the additional residents travelling sustainably.
  8.  
  9. Direct contributions commensurate with the scale of the development to either enhance existing public transport services (frequency and standard) or in the case of larger developments consider new routes or for larger employment sites consider bespoke works’ buses or demand responsive works’ buses. Additionally it will be necessary to generate greater passenger numbers on local bus services. This can be accomplished by delivering more frequent and higher quality bus services that serve the town centre, employment health and education establishments through Quality Bus Partnerships (QBP).
    The QBPs should also include improvements to the routes themselves through bus priority measures, real time passenger information at stops, and improved accessibility at stops. Similarly the QBPs should provide real time passenger information at health, employment, leisure and shopping facilities, and 'through tickets' using enhanced Smartcard technologies.
    Contributions to QBPs should apply to all residential and employment developments. The measures to deliver QBPs in Yeovil need to be costed and are dependent on the outcomes from the County Council FTP and the YTSR2. Subject to those outcomes, the business case can then be made and a contribution based on per dwelling (and for employment floorspace). In some cases this will be specific to site where they are major developments and either new or major enhancements to routes are required. In other smaller developments it is more appropriate that they contribute to the general improvements to the town network.
  10.  
  11. Personalised Travel Planning has been very successful in achieving modal shift in other areas. Schemes in Brighton, Bristol, Darlington, Peterborough and Worcester have delivered significant modal shift typically reducing car driver trips amongst the targeted population by around 11% and the distance travelled by car by 12%. Individuals (residents and employees) are specifically targeted to ensure complete awareness of travel choices and respective benefits. This would include a personal consultation to assess the individual’s travel needs and opportunities. This should be carried out on all new residential and employment developments in Yeovil. It requires a specific Personalised Travel Plan Coordinator to deliver the service, (development in both Yeovil & Chard will potentially contribute) and be funded on a per dwelling (and for employment floorspace) basis.
 
Policy YV4 Modal Shift for Yeovil
 
In addition to the generic policies that support modal shift throughout the district all new residential and employment developments in Yeovil should:
i. Provide facilities for cycle parking within the new development commensurate with the levels and standards designated in the SCC cycle parking strategy.
ii. Contribute to sustainable transport interchange within the town.
iii. Contribute to either:
  • The improvement of existing public transport services; or
  • New services and the establishment of a Quality Bus Partnership (or enhancement an existing QBP) to ensure frequent and high quality routes serving the development.
  • Developers would be required to provide funding for the general provision of public transport.
iv. Contribute to funding the resource needed for Personalised Travel Planning
 
New residential developments of 10 dwellings or more and employment sites with a floor space greater than 1000 sq m should:
v. Provide cycling and pedestrian routes both to and permeating the site and protect and improve existing cycling and pedestrian routes where necessary within 400 metres of the site to facilitate links to and from the site to the wider network.
 
All new residential developments of 20 dwellings or more and employment sites with a floor space greater than 2400 sq m should:
vi. Provide bus stops, bus shelters and timetable information, dependent on the scale of the development and existing provision, within 400 metres of the development or in the case of larger developments of greater than 50 dwellings or with a floor space greater than 3600 sq m within 400 metres of each dwelling or unit in the development where a bus route exists or can be provided within that distance. Planning obligations will be sought for such infrastructure where this is required for smaller developments less than 20 dwellings and employment sites with a floor space less than 2400 sq m in accordance with Policy SS7.
 
All employment sites with a floor space greater than 1000 sq m should:
vii. Provide preferential and quality spaces in car parks for car sharers at employment sites

Modal Shift for Yeovil Eco Town and Urban Extension

5.68 The proposals for the Eco Town and Urban Extension offer additional opportunities to deliver modal shift by further reducing the need and desire to use the private car. Government guidance seeks 50% of travel originating in Eco Towns to be by sustainable means. Measures to achieve this level of modal shift include:

  1. Through intrinsically linked well-designed infrastructure for footpaths and cycle ways ensuring separate sustainable transport routes from those used by the car within the site, with journey times that are better or more comparable to those by car. These should be in place from first occupancy.
  2.  
  3. Reducing the need to use a car for bulk shopping journeys (e.g. the weekly grocery shop) by ensuring free deliveries by low emission/electric vans. This also alleviates the need for large car parking areas adjacent to the Eco Town’s shops and associated costs.
  4.  
  5. Car parking at Eco Town facilities, employment sites and shopping centre including the supermarket should incorporate car park management measures including charging ensuring that priority is given to electric vehicles and car use for these short journeys is further discouraged due to parking costs. Charges also need to be set at low rates to discourage the perverse incentive of travelling further by car to access these services within town centre. 
  6.  
  7. Offering a traffic-free environment immediately adjacent to housing at designated secure locations with limited residential parking separated from the residential areas. This will need to overcome the anti-social behaviour issues common with 1970’s style peripheral parking in garage courts. One way forward could be to ensure that car parks are secure by design with access/egress using smartcard technology and with the cars being easily visible. The cars also should be easily accessed by the owners on foot, whilst any actual journey by car to access facilities both in the Eco Town and in the town centre and the daily commute should take a longer route. The object is to reduce the desirability of using the car for those short journeys, rather than restrict car ownership in itself. The thresholds for car parking should be no greater than those designated for town centre sites.
  8.  
  9. Set up an Electric Car Pool scheme (with provision for on-going management) to reduce the need for car ownership and its associated costs. The Electric Pool cars can give the flexibility required for those infrequent journeys that practically can only be carried out by car.
  10.  
  11. Providing low emission bus routes separated from private motor traffic to deliver segregated routes including designed in bus gates to establish quicker end-to-end journey times in comparison with the private car. Similarly these need to be in place and operational from first occupancy.
  12.  
  13. Providing real time public transport information (bus and train) in-House, in-Workplace, in-shops/shopping area, and at transport nodes.
  14.  
  15. Designing sustainable links (walking, cycling & bus routes) beyond the site to enable easy access from the Yeovil Eco Town and urban extension to the town centre, main employment sites, transport interchanges, health and educational establishments.
  16.  
  17. Establishing a high quality bus service through a Quality Bus Partnership (QBP) to offer a frequent low emission bus service throughout the day with a demand responsive (‘Nippybus’ type) bus service to operate during the evenings at off-peak times. With the critical mass delivered with the Urban extension there is likely to be a strong business case for the operation of these routes on a commercial basis – However initial contributions will be required from the development in order to kick start and ensure induced travel habits from the outset. These measures will need to be fully costed and tested for viability through a Transport Assessment (TA). Subject to outcomes of the TA, all residential and employment sites within the Yeovil Eco Town & Urban Extension would then be required to implement these policies.

5.69 In addition to the generic policies that support modal shift throughout the District, Yeovil Policies YV4 and YV5, possible schemes within the proposals for the Eco-town and Urban Extension could include transport policies to ensure that an even greater number of journeys are by sustainable means.

5.70 These specific policies could incorporate projects from the UWE’s “Active and Low Carbon Travel a transport vision for Yeovil” study. (The 8 seed projects referred to in the Modal Shift for Yeovil Section). Similarly, as envisaged in the UWE study, these major sustainable transport projects will be dependent on national funding through the prioritisation of low carbon transport schemes.

Policy YV5 Modal Shift for Yeovil Eco Town
 

(To deliver 50% of travel by sustainable means)

In addition to the generic policies that support modal shift throughout the district and Yeovil the Eco Town developments should provide:

  • Intrinsically linked well-designed infrastructure for footpaths and cycle ways ensuring filtered permeability that deliver journey times that are better or more comparable to those by car.
  • Free deliveries for bulk shopping journeys using low emission/electric vans
  • Car parking management at Eco Town facilities, employment sites & shopping centre including the supermarket, which gives priority to electric vehicles, low emission and shared vehicles and non car modes and which discourages car use for these short journeys.
  • A traffic-free immediate environment with limited residential parking separated from the residential areas.

In addition the Yeovil Eco Town developments should contribute to:

  • An Electric Car Pool scheme, with provision for on-going management.
  • Low emission bus routes that are designed to establish end-to-end journey times that are better or more comparable to those by private car.
  • A comprehensive network of real time public transport information for bus and train travel.
  • A Quality Bus Partnership to deliver modern desirable bus routes with a frequent service and clean vehicle technology.

Planning obligations will be used to ensure proper phasing of transport provision to maximise provision prior to first occupation of individual elements of the development.

These sustainable links shall be designed to enable easy access from the Yeovil Eco Town and urban extension to the town centre, main employment sites, transport interchanges, health and educational establishments and other community facilities.