Consultation response guide: Local Plan First Proposals

A range of different local authorities want to hear your views on transport in Cambridgeshire this month. We know that many Camcycle members and supporters appreciate our help in guiding their responses, so this is the first in a series of posts looking at the surveys you are invited to fill in. This blogpost gives a summary of all the current consultations, including the deadlines for responding.

Name of consultation: Greater Cambridge Local Plan – First Proposals

From: Greater Cambridge Shared Planning (Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council)
Time to complete:
From a few minutes (for a single comment) to a few hours. This is a big document!
Format: Complete the quick questionnaire (anonymous) or give more detailed feedback online (log in required) using the comment boxes on each section of the plan. A downloadable Word document is provided to help you prepare your responses. Comments via email or post are possible, but not encouraged.
Deadline: 5pm, Monday 13 December

Cover of the Local Plan First Proposals consultation documentThe Local Plan is a legal document that councils are required to prepare, setting out land use and planning policies up until 2041. It looks at the number of new homes and jobs that should be planned for, the services and infrastructure needed to support this change and which areas to prioritise for new development. Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council are working together for the first time and are consulting on their ‘First Proposals’ for the Greater Cambridge area, following the ‘First Conversation’ on themes and challenges for the plan in early 2020.

Response guide: Quick Questionnaire

Question 1: Do you agree that we should plan for an extra 550 homes per year, so that new housing keeps up with the increase in jobs in our area?

Question 8: We think we should be very limited about the development we allow in villages, with only a few allocated sites in villages with good public transport connections and local services. Which villages do you think should see new development of any kind?

Question 10: Are there any sites which you think should be developed for housing or business use, which we haven’t got on our map so far?

Question 11: What kinds of home do you think you will need in the next 20 years? Choose as many as you think may apply to you.

Please answer these questions about growth, housing and the location of development according to your own personal views.

Question 2. Do you agree that new development should mainly focus on sites where car travel, and therefore carbon emissions, can be minimised?

We recommend that you answer Strongly Agree.

Questions 3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 ask about the housing, jobs, facilities and open spaces which should be created around proposed new developments at:

  • Cambridge East, on the current airport site
  • North East Cambridge (including the site of the current sewage works)
  • Cambridge Biomedical Campus (including Addenbrooke’s)
  • Cambourne
  • The cluster of villages near the railway line and business parks south of Cambridge

 You may wish to include some of the following points in your answers:

  • All new development should focus on the need to build true ’15-minute neighbourhoods’ so that those who live and work there do not have to be dependent on car use and can access the majority of their destinations including jobs, education, shops, services, open space and leisure amenities within a short walk or cycle ride. Therefore, any significant development must have a mix of uses to give people a chance to access everyday needs without travelling far.
  • All housing, employment, entertainment, shopping and community facilities should be easily accessed by cycling and have accessible parking for all types of cycle.
  • All buildings, parks and public spaces must be fully integrated with the cycling network and all new and refreshed cycle infrastructure must be designed and built in line with Local Transport Note (LTN) 1/20, the government’s standards for inclusive cycle infrastructure design.
  • It is important that sustainable transport is not only considered within the site but also the connections to the transport network and other sites.
  • Reducing the amount of road and parking space needed for cars will provide more space for greenery and green corridors in proposed developments. Parks should be linked up with safe and convenient walking and cycling routes to each other and to all the residential neighbourhoods surrounding them. Parks within the built-up area should be overlooked by houses and shops, with a welcoming design that encourages interaction with the surrounding community, and which feels safe throughout the day. Every child should be able to easily access their local parks on foot and by cycle.

Question 12: What should we prioritise when planning homes for the future? Choose 4 from the following:

Camcycle suggests the answers most supportive of active travel would be:

  • Secure cycle parking
  • Safe streets where children can play outside
  • Accessibility and adaptability for wheelchair users
  • Compact development that uses less land

 Question 13: Is there anything else you would like to tell us about what Greater Cambridge should be like in 2041?

You may wish to include some of the following points:

  • Local Plan strategies for walking, cycling and public transport must assume a radical shift away from cars well before 2041. All new developments must prioritise sustainable transport over private cars (including electric cars). They must be planned around dense walking and cycling networks and local transport hubs (not car-reliant Park & Rides) and these sustainable networks must be in place before buildings are occupied.
  • Housing should be on quiet neighbourhood streets that are good for cycling because they have very low levels of car traffic.
  • Schools should never be on major roads.
  • Any significant development must have a mix of uses including accommodation, amenity, education, and employment to give people a chance to access everyday needs within a short walk or cycle ride.
  • The amount of land devoted to car parking and roads should be reduced in favour of more space for trees and plantings, which will help to absorb carbon and make our streets nicer places. They will also help keep us cool and shaded as temperatures rise. Having shady trees to cycle under in the summer will make cycling a more enjoyable experience and will encourage more people to cycle.
  • New communities should be inclusive; accessible transport is a vital part of achieving this and important for health and wellbeing. Making walking and cycling accessible for people with mobility issues will enable many more people to improve their physical health through active travel and improve their mental health and wellbeing by reducing isolation.
  • Transport and cycling infrastructure must not just be designed for work commutes but for all types of uses and all types of users. Making walking and cycling safer and more accessible will allow children to travel independently from their parents at an earlier age and older people to continue to travel independently as they age. Properly designed cycling infrastructure can also be well utilised by people on mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs, wheelchairs and other mobility aids.
  • New developments should feel safe, clean and well maintained. This includes secure, convenient and attractive cycle parking.

Response guide: detailed answers on Policy I/ST: Sustainable transport and connectivity and Policy I/EV: Parking and electric vehicles

Policy I/ST: Sustainable transport and connectivity

This policy will seek to deliver sustainable and inclusive communities by minimising the need to travel and reducing travel distances, whilst ensuring there is effective and sufficient sustainable transport mode choice and improved connectivity for everyone of any ability. It will require development to be located and designed to reduce the need to travel, particularly by car, and promote sustainable travel appropriate to its location.

Developers will be required to submit a Transport Statement, and for larger developments (integrating a Low Emissions Strategy) and, to demonstrate how many trips will be generated by the development, their impacts (including on health, environment and cumulative impacts), and how they will be accommodated and addressed, maximising opportunities for sustainable travel.

Innovative and flexible solutions will be sought to internalising trips and reducing vehicle use, including through measures such as digital infrastructure and last mile deliveries. New developments should be designed around the principles of walkable neighbourhoods and healthy towns to encourage active sustainable travel; the policy will ensure priority is given to people over vehicular traffic (with low speeds), to make journeys by walking and cycling more direct and convenient than by car. They should also protect and enhance the public rights of way network.

Developers will be required to contribute to improvements to public and community transport and deliver new and improved sustainable active travel connections for non-motorised users including for equestrians appropriate to the scale and nature of the proposal. Additional guidance for developers on the quality of provision is being prepared in an Active Travel Toolkit. Improvements will include enhancements to existing routes to break down barriers to use and improve safety and capacity, as well as providing high quality new routes to improve connections to nearby communities, services and facilities. Planned infrastructure schemes (such as, improvements to the A428, and schemes planned by the Partnership and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority) will provide significant and wide ranging improvements for active travel modes; to maximise their benefits high quality local connections will be needed to integrate them into the wider network and with local communities.   

This policy will require developments, appropriate to their scale and location,  to deliver opportunities for seamless interchange between different modes, for example at travel hubs, and address the whole journey including the first/last mile. This includes accommodating new forms of mobility, innovative solutions, and future proofing technological changes, such as micromobility (including scooters/e-scooters), e-bikes and cycle hire, autonomous vehicles,

Developments which would have unacceptable transport impacts will not be supported.

You may wish to make the following points:

  • Policies in the Local Plan must protect existing walking and cycle routes from being harmed by development, both during construction and after completion of the development. Where works to the highway cut through an active travel route and degrade its quality or accessibility, it must be fixed. Landowners, leaseholders or statutory undertakers must not be allowed to install barriers or obstacles into cycle routes such as fences, poles or electric charging infrastructure.
  • The cycling network is just as strategic as the public highway network and must be protected in the same way. Transport Assessments and Travel Plans should include commitments to clean, clear, de-ice and maintain the safety, usability and accessibility of walking and cycling routes.

Policy I/EV: Parking and electric vehicles

Cycle and mobility parking

Developments will be required to deliver, safe, secure, and convenient cycle parking at homes, businesses, and key destinations including travel hubs. It is proposed to continue to set minimum standards for numbers of cycle spaces.

Cycle parking areas will need to accommodate non-standard cycles, mobility scooters, electric cycles, accessories, and should make provision for cycle maintenance. Where garages are intended to accommodate parking for both cars and cycles, they will need to be provided to a minimum size to ensure they are fit for purpose. Security is an important issue, and spaces should be internal where practicable and appropriate.

Larger developments and those within accessible locations will need to be able to accommodate space for dockless cycle hire schemes, such as at travel hubs and key destinations.

Car parking

The quantity and type of car parking provided at a development will be informed by the mix of land uses, location and accessibility of the development by walking, cycling and public transport, to ensure an appropriate level to accommodate local needs (including the need for disabled people parking) whilst avoiding a proliferation of car parking in locations with good accessibility.

The policy will require parking to be accommodated within the public realm to improve the quality of place, will encourage innovative and flexible solutions to reduce car parking in appropriate locations, such as through smart parking and the provision of car clubs and shared parking, including car barns on the edge of accessible larger developments, whilst avoiding displacement parking.

Electric vehicle charging points

Vehicle parking should include electric charging infrastructure (with appropriate grid reinforcement), which should be designed into the public realm, to address the national commitment to phase out the sale of petrol and diesel cars within the plan period.  Charging infrastructure should be able to accommodate other vehicles including mobility scooters, electric cycles and electrification of the bus fleet.

Where car parking is provided, it is proposed that electric car charging points (minimum of 7kW) should be included at all developments at the following levels:

  • Dwellings with private parking: 1 charge point per dwelling (100% active
  • Communal parking areas: 1 charge per parking space (50% active, 50% passive)
  • Employment: 30% with active charge points, and 30% with passive.
  • Retail: 20% of bays with active charge points, and 20% with passive.

Developers will be required to submit evidence of a management strategy for any communal charge points.

You may wish to make the following points:

Title: Policy I/EV: Parking and electric vehicles
We would recommend that this is changed for ease of reference to ‘Parking and electric charging for cars, motorcycles, cycles and other micromobility vehicles’

Cycles and micromobility vehicles include:

  • Standard cycles
  • Tricycles
  • Tandems and triplets
  • Cargo cycles
  • Cycles with trailers and trailer bikes/tag-alongs
  • Recumbent cycle
  • Hand cycle
  • Electric-assist versions of all the above
  • Mobility scooters
  • Push-scooters, including electrically powered
  • As-yet-undefined micromobility devices

Overall points:

  • The Local Plan needs to contain detailed, quantified standards for all sizes of developments, with higher standards for car-free developments, and explicit guidance for mixed-use developments where facilities (e.g. for visitor car and cycle parking and deliveries) are likely to be shared between site occupiers.

CYCLING AND MOBILITY PARKING

Policy text

We would recommend that an extra sentence is added to the middle paragraph to ensure that cycle and mobility parking is accessible at all times, including when larger vehicles are occupying garages or parking spaces. It should therefore read:

Cycle parking areas will need to accommodate non-standard cycles, mobility scooters, electric cycles, accessories, and should make provision for cycle maintenance. Where garages are intended to accommodate parking for both cars and cycles, they will need to be provided to a minimum size to ensure they are fit for purpose. The design should ensure that all types of active travel, micromobility, and mobility, devices (including non-standard cycles and mobility scooters) can be easily accessed, and without obstruction by vehicles in garages or parking spaces. Security is an important issue, and spaces should be internal where practicable and appropriate.

Other points

  • Standards on parking for micromobility vehicles should set a:
    • Minimum ratio of secure cycle parking spaces per resident (not per bedroom) – ideally aiming for one-to-one in car-free developments and where possible elsewhere to ensure that lack of a secure cycle parking space is never a deterrent to taking up cycling.
    • A proportion of inclusive cycle parking spaces for disabled cyclists. Inclusive cycle parking spaces are spaces that are best located for disabled people to use. Some of these spaces will also be off-gauge for tricycles and other larger disability-adapted cycles, but we note that some disabled cyclists use ordinary bicycles as well.
    • A proportion of cycle parking for off-gauge cycles – especially necessary for families living without a car.
    • Proportion of space allocated to other micromobility vehicles, including mobility scooters and e-scooters.
    • Provision of secure charging facilities for micromobility vehicle batteries.
    • Provision of secure storage lockers for accessories (helmets, panniers, waterproof clothing, detachable lights, etc)
    • Maximum proportion of two-tier cycle parking – recognising that a person’s height and upper-body strength determines whether they can use an upper-tier rack. There should be strict requirements for two-tier cycle parking where it is permitted: the upper tier must have gas-struct lifting assistance, each space must have a welded locking loop for securing the bicycle, there must be a minimum spacing between stands, the aisle width must meet a minimum standard, and absolutely under no circumstances are developers allowed to use models of two-tier stands that have Sheffield stands on the bottom tier – they don’t function correctly and cause the upper tier to become inaccessible.
    • Standards for the incline of ramps to access cycle parking – recognising that some people who cycle have restricted mobility that may make cycling or walking up a relatively steep ramp or walking up a large number of steps impossible.
    • Standards for accessibility – access routes must be designed to ensure that all types of cycles, including non-standard cycles, mobility scooters, electric cycles can be easily accessed without assistance. Particular attention should be paid to occupied parking bays potentially blocking access; doorways that have to be held open to pass through; lifts that are too shallow to accommodate longer cycles; ‘airlock’ doorways that are too close together to fit longer cycles; right-angle corners that impede movement of longer cycles; narrow passageways that cannot fit wider vehicles in opposing directions.
    • Standards for the security and surveillance of cycle park entrances – recognising that natural surveillance is the best deterrent to would-be thieves.

CAR PARKING

  • New developments must be designed to prevent parking on pavements and to ensure minimal car traffic near homes, schools and places where people gather.
  • Developments should be required to plan for at least 40% of short/medium-distance trips to be taken by pedal cycle or electrically-assisted pedal cycle, comparable to role-model cities in the Netherlands. Planned levels of car parking should take this into account.
  • The use of shared vehicles, including car clubs, should be strongly encouraged.
  • Standards on car and motorcycle parking should include guidance on
    • The ratio of short-stay (up to 20 minutes), medium-stay (up to 4 hours) and long-stay (over 4 hours) parking provision per unit for visitors, deliveries and service providers (carers, doctors, cleaners, boiler service people, etc).
    • Acceptable methods of controlling use of these bays where they are not on the public highway – recognising that in a Residents Parking Zone or where no on-street parking is available, free off-street parking is likely to be occupied by non-visitors, and potentially by commuters and shoppers.
    • The number of club car bays in car-free developments, including to serve residents in the surrounding area.
    • The proportion of bays allocated to motorcycles.

ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING POINTS

  • Any electric car charging infrastructure that is provided in new and existing developments must not undermine walking and cycling accessibility.

Have your say today at tinyurl.com/LocalPlan2021.
The consultation closes at 5pm on Monday 13 December.