The following has been submitted to the Council, by HAG, on your behalf with regards to Transport:
Objection comment on outline planning application reference 17/04923/OUTMAJ – specifically the Transport Assessment & Travel Plan supporting this application
Hampsthwaite Action Group has seen the Transport Assessment (TA) & Travel Plan (TP) submitted by the applicant to support their application and we believe these 2 documents contain a number of significant deficiencies, therefore the information cannot be relied upon by any party, including the highway authority, to be confident in the proposals developed within the TA and TP.
Our conclusion is that the proposed development inadequately identifies safe pedestrian and cycle access to the site and is contrary to the Local Plan. In addition, the proposed development falls significantly short in enabling sustainable access and will consequently result in social exclusion contrary to government guidance
The sustainability appraisal relating to this site in Harrogate Borough Council’s (HBC) Draft Plan made the following observations (extracts in italics):
- 6 – Can local needs be met locally? Some accessibility to local services but poor accessibility to rail service, secondary school and employment
- 7 – Are there education and training opportunities which build on the skills and capacity of the population? Local primary school at or near capacity likely to require expansion
- 10 – Is there a transport network which maximises access whilst minimising detrimental impact? Significant transport and/or accessibility problems although the developer can address these issues, increased public transport provision and extension of services cannot be predicted at this stage, poor connectivity to cycle routes, lack of pavements does not encourage pedestrian access to services, severance can be overcome;
Referring to the TA and TP as appropriate (extracts in Italics)
- The TA does not review relevant national and local transport planning policies for this site. In addition, there is no reference to any scoping with North Yorkshire County Council to consider the development proposal in terms of transport and highways.
- Site Accessibility by foot – several boundary connections with the existing highway network to facilitate trips in all directions
- It would appear that all access points are onto Elton Road to the North of the site so any trips into the village and beyond will need to be via this channel before being able to head off in all directions.
- The developer states the Elton Lane footpath will be improved. Observations on site show a tarmac surface footpath narrowing down to only 3 metres width at a blind bend and then the footpath continues a short distance to where the public footpath/pavement appears to end as it enters the forecourt of the W Bowers Funeral Directors. Given this blind bend in the road where Elton Lane becomes the High Street with limited road width it is very unclear how a satisfactory safe footpath can be achieved. Large vehicles often have to utilise the footpath if vehicles are passing in both directions. Is this a safe pathway for people who might be able to visit the proposed medical centre on foot, mothers with pushchairs for example?
- Site Accessibility by Cycle
- Vehicular access to the site is via one entrance on the Birstwith Road located some distance from the closest existing buildings within the village. There is no reference as to how cyclists should leave the site to travel to the village. Elton Lane/Birstwith Road is a narrow country lane with inadequate width to accommodate a cycle path. Also, there is no reference to lighting required for safe cycling but creating such urban lighting would cause light pollution in a rural environment close to the AONB
- Cycling further afield – 4.3.1 in the TP states an acceptable and comfortable distance for general cycling trips is considered to be up to 5 km, however the same guidance also refers to commuting cycle trips of up to 8 km (5 miles).
- Cycling re Schooling -The reports state the closest secondary schools (Harrogate Ladies College, Harrogate High School and St John Fisher Catholic High School) can be cycled to within 25-35 minutes. A quick analysis of possible routes via Google Map Apps suggest the Sustran 67cycle route via Ripley, the A59 or Penny Pot Lane into town with times being in some instances above the 35 minutes quoted. Of more concern is the safety aspect of this proposal, that 11-16-year olds would be asked to cycle to school on unlit cycle paths through woods or on major roads without cycle paths. In addition, Hampsthwaite is situated within a dale, to exit the dale requires a steep climb if travelling north (to the Sustran cycle path) or south to the A59. It is unrealistic for the developer to conclude that this site forms a suitable base from which to commute from and too by bicycle.
- Cycling re Work The report states Harrogate Town Centre and Railway station is within a 30-minute cycle ride of the site opening up a range of local services, facilities and employment opportunities beyond the local area to the north and west of Harrogate – including the opportunity to “bike and rail”. Google App suggests 30 minutes is optimistic for the Railway Station.
- Site Accessibility by Bus
- The developer acknowledges (TP) that not all of the dwellings built on the site will be within 400 metres of the nearest bus stop.
- In the TP point 4.4.2 Travel times on the number 24 bus to various locations are listed:
- Birstwith and Killinghall Primary Schools (perhaps they are aware of Hampsthwaite school being full) are located on the number 24 bus route and can be accesses within a 7-minute ride. Sounds great on paper but how will this work if a parent wants to take their 5-year-old to school then come back home given the service runs at best once per hour. Pick up will involve a couple more bus journeys later in the day. Or are the developers suggesting that it is okay for 5 – 11 to travel independently to school on a bus? If a parent takes their child to and from school experiencing the excessive waits for buses they would spent £8.80 on bus fares for themselves each day in addition to the £2.95 payable for a return ticket for each child. If this not social exclusion?
- Harrogate Bus Station 22minute journey. They are very few jobs today that have hours of 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday – The number 24 bus does not accommodate the requirements of the majority of commuters, shop assistant who may have to work any day of the week, nurses working 12hour shifts, hospitality workers working late into the evening.
- Looking at proposed additional employment sites in the draft local plan the majority do not fit into the “bike and rail” category.
- Point 2.8.4 of the TP states a number of new developments are located along the No.24 Bus route within both Hampsthwaite and Killinghall. It is anticipated that the service will experience a rise in patronage which will make the service more commercially viable and allow the service frequency to increase. This statement is in direct contradiction to the guidelines provided by HBC in its draft local plan – see point 10 of the sustainability appraisal previously mentioned.
- The cost of buses services on the No 24 bus route will also result in social exclusion with ticket prices to/from Hampsthwaite far in excess of those charged in the Harrogate Plus Zone (Inc. Wetherby, Harewood, Ripley and Knaresborough).
|Harrogate Local Zone||£46||£46|
|Harrogate Plus Zone||£58||£58|
Source: The Harrogate Bus Company
- Site Accessibility by Car
- Based on the poor site accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists we can only assume that each new dwelling on the site will have at least one car leading to increased traffic flows through the already busy village centre causing further pollution
- Traffic Flows within the village
Members of HAG undertook traffic flow surveys on Tuesday 19th and Thursday 21st of September 2017 at four different locations around the centre of the village. The numbers relate to vehicles having at least 4 wheels. The AM surveys were between 7.00am and 9.30am. The PM surveys were between 3.30pm and 6.30pm.
|Average Flow per hour|
|Hollins Lane – N.W. of junction with Brookfield||AM||97||139||236|
|High Street – N. of junction with Rowden Lane||AM||80||73||152|
|Birstwith Road /Elton Lane – N.W. of Village Green||AM||54||92||146|
|Church Lane – N.E. of Village Green||AM||68||33||101|
Taking these results in the whole and identifying the traffic flow pinch point for the village centre on the High Street between the Joiners Arms and Sophie’s Coffee Shop gives an average traffic flow of 263 per hour
- The Traffic Flows included in the TP purport to be realistic given they are based on 101 rather than the 82 dwellings included in 17/04923/OUTMAJ. There are no traffic flow assumptions taking into account the building of a medical centre on this site.
- Further afield on the road network the TA acknowledges villagers have expressed concern regarding safety issue at the Rowden Lane/A59 crossroads. The TA quotes accident records for the junction for the period between 1st January 2012 and 30th June 2017 – 10 accidents. The report then goes on to state Whilst any accident is regrettable, having received the accidents in detail there is no evidence to suggest that any of the accidents can be attributed to problems with the junction or highway layout based upon the information available”.They make no proposals whatsoever to mitigate impacts at the Rowden Lane/A59 crossroads suggesting that increased traffic flows can be accommodated within the capacity of the road without any adverse impact. The hundred plus extra cars during commuter periods at the crossroads will create stacking problems and risks. We use the words “hundred plus” to reflect the other existing and proposed housing developments in Hampsthwaite and the cumulative impacts. It is not good enough for the consultant to state: “traffic accidents are regrettable but…” there is “no safety issue”. Access on to the A59 from Hampsthwaite is not easy. Residents know they must be patient at busy times and wait for fast moving vehicles on the A59 to clear but, with all these extra cars, the driver delayed at the end of a queue is more likely to take that extra risk and pull out.
- The Travel Plan (TP) provided by the developer does not state who will be responsible for the TP. It does not state who will be responsible for the Travel Plan Co-ordinator. This suggests this document is merely a desktop exercise showing no value or commitment to NYCC’s Travel Plan Process.