Garendon Development Plans
Although the high level decisions have been taken relating the the Garendon development, the detail is only now being set out, and the Borough Council has now received the first plans. Our member Anthony Kay has submitted a response on behalf of the Campaign, an edited and summarised version of which is set out below.
We object to cycle routes being classified as “Recreational Routes”. Cycle routes should be regarded as a vital part of the transport network in view of the need to promote sustainable transport and active travel to improve public health. Although a few of the routes may be used primarily for recreation, the majority of routes will be needed for journeys to shopping, employment, education, etc.
On more specific issues:
- Cycle paths must be given priority where they cross minor streets, e.g. by the use of raised tables, road markings and signage to ensure that drivers on the street know that they need to give way to people on the cycle path. Journeys need to be made at least as convenient for cycling as for driving, and having to stop each time a cycleway crosses a minor street would negate this.
- There needs to be provision for seamless journeys for cyclists emerging from routes R10 or R11 towards both Loughborough and Hathern. This will require the provision of a cycle path on the south-west side of the A6; there is plenty of space to provide this, given how much of the carriageway is currently hatched.
- Proposed bridleway R5 is shown as having two footpath links to Ravensthorpe Drive and to Booth Wood. As bridleways are available for cycling, these paths should be joint use paths.
- There is obvious scope for improved permeability for pedestrians and cyclists. Links which make journeys on foot or by cycle shorter than by car are an important way to encourage and promote active travel.
- It is not clear from these drawings what provision will be made for cycle storage for residents. We recommend that every house be required to have covered, secure cycle spaces close to the front door; the number of cycle spaces equal to the number of bedrooms plus one. Convenient access to cycles is important for encouraging their use for short journeys.
- The principles set out in Children’s and Young Persons Strategy are generally good, but whether the aims will be achieved depends on detailed design. Safe routes to school are of particular importance in this context.
One disappointing aspect is the hesitant attitude to Home Zones, e.g. in para. 5.5 of the CYP Strategy, “there may be opportunities for Home Zones . . .”. A better approach to providing a healthy environment for residents would be to make Home Zone the default for designing all new residential developments.
Development South of Terry Yardley Way
Plans have been submitted for a further development to the south of Loughborough. A summary of the submission by Anthony Kay on behalf of the campaign is set out below.
The location of this proposal is beyond the 2km preferred maximum walking distance from the town centre and major employment areas in Loughborough but it is within the 5km cycling distance, so it is important to get provision for cycling right.
This should start with cycle storage in the houses. As well as being secure and under cover, this should be located so that it is more convenient to take out the cycle than the car, to engender a cycling culture. We recommend that the number of cycle spaces should be equal to the number of bedrooms plus one.
While there is no need for cycling-specific facilities on Woodthorpe Main Street if traffic speeds are kept down to 20mph, there need to be major improvements at the roundabout. Crossing any of the arms of this roundabout on foot or on a cycle can be difficult due to the design which allows for high vehicle speeds into and out of the roundabout. The roundabout needs to be completely remodelled to one of the designs in LTN1/20, Section 10.7. This would be worthwhile because of the importance of the roundabout on cycling routes and it is also on the route to school for many pupils at Rawlins Academy.
It is normally recommended that the distance from housing to the nearest bus stop should be no more than 400 metres. The nearest bus stop to this proposal is at 650 metres distance, so public transport access will not be adequate unless a new bus route is instituted along Allendale Road.
Another member, Neil Parr, has submitted this response on behalf of the Quorn Community Action Group for Walking and Cycling.
This proposed development is within the Quorn Parish Boundary, therefore, it would be reasonable to expect that walking, cycling and public transport links to Quorn and its facilities would be an important consideration to encourage active travel and to discourage new residents from using their many cars. Unfortunately this is not the case:
Cycling to or from Quorn - Cycling infrastructure across Quorn is limited, inadequate and poor. The cycle route between this proposed development and the main facilities namely, schools, health centre, Station Street shops, Stafford Orchard Park and the many pubs and restaurants, has many unresolved dangers and concerns.
- the Allandale road roundabout has no facilities to slow traffic and allow cyclists or walkers to cross safely.
- the One Ash roundabout cycle lane crossing, next to the lay-by on Loughborough road, has no traffic control provision and the central reservation is too small for a bicycle. The speed limit on the road at this point is too fast at 50 mph and there is no physical barrier to segregate the on road cycle lane from the traffic.
- the on road cycle lane finishes at a line of parked cars in Quorn approximately 300 metres before Rawlins School and 600 metres before the centre of the village. These are some of the busiest areas in the village for traffic during school start and finish times and rush hours.
In summary, the option to cycle to the centre of Quorn Parish and its facilities is compromised by the existing infrastructure provisions. This will result in high car dependency.
Walking to and from Quorn - There are 2 potential routes which could be chosen for walking to Quorn:
- the long way along the busy Terry Yardley Way. This route is approximately 2.5km from the proposed development to the centre of Quorn. It is unlikely to be used by schoolchildren and will result in further car dependency, adding to the congestion in Quorn.
- the short, quiet route using the footpath identified in the development plan as K35. It is approximately 0.5km shorter. Without major investment in drainage, lighting and surfacing this path is not a sustainable year round route as it is subject to waterlogging and often impassable.
Public Transport - There are no bus stops near to the proposed development and no nearby bus routes.
Without major improvements to the existing inadequate walking and cycling infrastructure and the provision of a nearby public transport option, the new residents are most likely to use their cars to visit Quorn and drop off school children. This will serve to exacerbate the traffic congestion and parking problems identified in the Quorn Neighbourhood plan.
Bike Sheds and Planning Laws
As highlighted in our responses to planning applications, if people are to make full use of cycles for transport, they need to be easier to access than their cars. As more and more people get on their bikes during the pandemic, cycle sheds have been popping up in front yards and gardens, but some of the structures are falling foul of the law and causing planning problems. Councils in England are under pressure to change their planning rules to make it easier to have cycle sheds in front gardens.
Some councils are trying to remove the cycle stores because they are classed as an outbuilding or shed - and in order to fit national permitted development rights, outbuildings cannot be constructed in front of a house. A family in Leicester won a planning case to keep their structure after the council asked them to take it down.
However this was after the intervention of the Leicester City Mayor, Peter Soulsby, who stated:
“As Mayor, I do not and will not decide planning applications but on this one I believe that the officers have got it wrong. The shed is well screened from the road and much less of a problem than if the residents tarmacked the garden and parked a car on it. Providing a space to store bikes is going to be increasingly important. I know the planning officers were doing their job to protect the conservation area and very much support that work, but this time they've got the balance wrong. As the elected representative of the residents, I will be asking for this decision to be taken to the Planning Committee where Councillors can have an opportunity to reach their own independent conclusion.”
In Scotland, the rules changed in April to allow homes to put up cycle stores up to 1.5m in height without applying for planning permission.
The Local Government Association, which represents councils in England, says the sheds should be "suitable and appropriate for their environment".
National Travel Attitudes Study
The Department for Transport published the results from the National Travel Attitudes survey on 27 May. Over 2,500 people answered questions on a range of subjects related to cycling and walking. The summary figures indicate a continuing discrepancy between genders, with 74% of men often feeling confident to cycle compared with 43% of women. However, two-thirds of the sample support the creation of dedicated cycle lanes in their local area, even if this means less road space for cars.
New media guidelines: reporting road collisions
Media guidelines for reporting road collisions in the UK media were launched this month. Author Laura Laker worked with the University of Westminster's Active Travel Academy, and the guidelines state journalists should avoid using words such as 'accident' – which imply chance or bad luck – and to acknowledge the role of motorists in collisions.