There has been a big rise in the amount of development coming through the planning system, certainly for large housing sites. Many of these are predicated on new roads which inevitably lead to more traffic and congestion, while swallowing up huge amounts of public funding or developer contributions. This often leaves very little over for sustainable transport and other community infrastructure, or for improvements in local amenity, such as planting more trees. Sometimes these new roads are written into the Local Plan, which can make them harder to fight, but even then you should insist on high quality sustainable transport links alongside or on the road.
That’s why we are working with Transport for New Homes to support groups where we can who are concerned about the traffic impact these new developments will create because of the focus on roadbuilding and the often paltry investment in sustainable alternatives. Transport for New Homes have created a new housing development checklist that you can use to assess a new development proposal to see how car-centric or sustainable it is. Other organisations active in this field include the Chartered Institute for Highways and Transportation (CIHT), the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Transport Planning Society (TPS). The RTPI also runs a free planning, Planning Aid England advice service for individuals and local communities which can be helpful when faced with a seemingly impenetrable planning system. For those in Wales, you should contact Planning Aid Wales.
If you are facing a sizeable new development on your doorstep and are worried about the lack of sustainable transport included in the proposals or the emphasis on a new road, please get in touch and we’ll do what we can to help and advise.