8. TRANSPORT DEVELOPMENTS

8.1.

Introduction

Good accessibility within and between communities is vital. Hence, transport planning must be integral to effective land use planning. Integration is also important between different modes of transport, and should encourage more sustainable travel.

8.2.

Government sets out universally applicable objectives and policies through its planning guidance note – PPG13: Transport. These include reducing the need to travel, especially by car and promoting alternatives to the car - rail and bus travel, cycling and walking.

8.3.

The Regional Transport Strategy identifies as ‘Regional Spokes’ the road and rail corridors between Hastings and Tonbridge, Hastings and Ashford and Hastings and Brighton. Within Rother District these correspond approximately to the routes of the A21, the A259 east of Hastings and the A259 west of Hastings.

8.4.

Transport infrastructure

The overall spatial strategy (Policy DS2) takes account of existing and planned transport infrastructure and services. In addition, provision needs to be made for the transport infrastructure and facilities that will support sustainable travel patterns.

8.5.

The Local Plan cannot commit the respective transport authorities - the Highways Agency (for the A21 and A259), East Sussex County Council (for other roads) the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA), Network Rail or train operating companies – to expenditure. However, PPG13: Transport states that local plans should include a specific transport proposal that directly affects the use of land as a policy or proposal.

8.6.

South coast transport corridor

Improvements to both road and rail have recently been addressed through the South Coast Multi Modal Study (SoCoMMS). In its response to the Study, in July 2003, Government did not accept most of the recommendations for significant improvements in both rail and road infrastructure affecting the District. Rail investment in particular, such as in better links to Ashford, is heavily constrained for funding reasons, although the introduction of new rolling stock and some service improvements are being progressed by the local rail franchises. In respect of some A27 improvements to the west, more environmentally acceptable options are to be investigated.

8.7.

A key proposal that Government has asked East Sussex County Council to carry forward is a link road from Bexhill to St. Leonards/north Hastings. As well as relieving the congestion and serious environmental problems along the A259 at Glyne Gap and the Bexhill Road, it will open up vital development land and improve accessibility in other ways. The County Council has identified an ‘Area of Search’ for the Link Road, within which it has also since identified a preferred route. However, the actual route is still subject to statutory procedures. At this stage it is considered appropriate to protect the area of search from prejudicial development. The County Council anticipates that the Link Road will be the subject of a planning application later in 2006 and that it will open in the first half of 2010.

8.8.

The area of search shown on the Proposals Map relates to a route skirting north of the Site of Special Scientific Interest, as referred to in SoCoMMS, although this does not exclude the consideration of alternative routes by the County Council in working up the scheme.

POLICY TR1 View Map of this site ?

The area of search for the proposed Bexhill - Hastings link road, as shown on the Proposals Map, will be safeguarded from prejudicial development. The area protected will be reviewed as a scheme progresses.

8.9.

The Government also accepted a recommendation for safety improvements to the A259 between Pevensey and Brenzett. It is likely that this will be accommodated in highway land and not have any significant land use implications.

8.10.

Notwithstanding the SoCoMMS decision, there is considered to be a strong case to promote new railway stations at Glyne Gap, Bexhill and at Wilting Farm, St Leonards. These possibilities need to be investigated further. Safeguarding of land for a new railway station at Wilting Farm has been recommended by the Inspector at the recent Hastings Local Plan inquiry and, while the land requirement is not yet known and may not involve land in Rother District, a similar precautionary approach is warranted. This is already provided by Structure Plan Policy TR12 (c) (ii). It is anticipated that a new station at Glyne Gap would be accommodated within existing railway land, with car parking on the adjoining development.

8.11.

Links to London

Northward links are also very significant to the regeneration of the Hastings and Bexhill areas. The SRA is currently investigating service improvements in conjunction with the Hastings and Bexhill Task Force.

8.12.

The Highways Agency has recently published a draft strategy for improvements to the A21, along with specific schemes for the sections north of Robertsbridge. This proposes an overall upgrade with a dual carriageway from the M25 to Lamberhurst and a three-lane road with alternating climbing/overtaking lanes from Lamberhurst to Robertsbridge, including bypasses to Flimwell, Swiftsden, Hurst Green and Silver Hill. Along the remainder of the route, between Robertsbridge and Hastings, interim safety measures are proposed pending strategic improvements in due course.  

8.13.

The Council has previously recognised the need for significant improvements to the A21, mindful of the current adverse impacts on local communities astride the route and those living on “rat-runs” around it, as well as the implications of long and uncertain journeys times on the economic regeneration of the District and neighbouring Hastings.

8.14.

There is a need for great environmental sensitivity in any improvements in view of the landscape quality of the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty through which it passes and the very rurality of the heart of the District, as well as the proximity of properties, especially residential properties, fronting the existing road.

8.15.

Proper scrutiny of any significant improvements will need to follow publication of Draft Orders. None of the Local Plan’s proposals conflict with the consultation proposals published in Spring 2003, but this will be kept under review.

8.16.

Promoting sustainable transport

The motor vehicle will continue to be the principal means of transport in Rother for both freight and passengers, particularly in the rural areas, for the foreseeable future. But careful planning can help to reduce the need to travel, reduce the length of journeys and make it safer and easier for people to access jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services by public services, walking and cycling. If a shift from the motor vehicle to other modes of transport is to be achieved people must be encouraged and enabled to make sustainable transport choices. This means that opportunities for using modes of transport other than the car need to be improved and made safer as part of a balanced transport system.

8.17.

In furtherance of the above objectives, planning policies can (by way of a planning condition or legal agreement) require the developer to provide, pay for, or contribute towards sustainable transport measures that are reasonably necessary to serve the proposed development. These may be on-site or off-site and cover a wide range of infrastructure, facilities and services. For example, planning policies can support adequate provision for buses, bicycles and cars at or close to railway stations, as well as attractive links to key destinations, such as town centres. It is considered appropriate to elaborate, in this section, upon Policy GD2 which contains a general provision to ensure the availability of infrastructure and services required to service a development.

8.18.

It is recognised that the amount of new development that takes place in any year is small in comparison to the scale of existing development. It is important, therefore, that the measures required of new development are properly integrated with those measures being undertaken to promote sustainable transport generally. The Local Transport Plan produced by the East Sussex County Council has a central role in initiating and co-ordinating sustainable transport measures and in stimulating the partnerships between local authorities and public transport interests which are essential to promoting sustainable development. The County Council has recently approved strategies for cycling and walking and freight. Also important is good liaison and partnership working between the planning authorities, the highway authorities and those responsible for controlling, providing and operating public transport facilities and services such as trains and buses.

8.19.

All development in Rother will be expected to contribute towards promoting sustainable transport. Criteria applicable to all development, set out at Policy GD1, include making proper provision for walking, cycling and public transport. Policy TR3 establishes the framework for car parking provision. Policy DS1 supports more sustainable travel patterns by focusing new development in accessible locations. Policies for individual sites (e.g. BX3) contain site specific requirements. Policy HG4 deals with accessibility within residential developments. Freight is dealt with in the Structure Plan where PolicyTR29 contains a general provision encouraging the use of rail, sea and pipelines as an alternative to road transport, safeguarding rail sites and facilities and resisting proposals generating significant road freight where this would give rise to problems or where there is scope for non-road based alternatives.

8.20.

The Plan cannot, however, provide a detailed blueprint of all the measures necessary to properly promote sustainable transport. From time to time, Supplementary Planning Documents will be produced and adopted for such matters as car parking standards, development contributions, the requirements for individual sites or modes of transport and the circumstances in which Travel Plans and Transport Assessments will be required. Where developments will have significant transport implications, Transport Assessments and Travel Plans will be required with the relevant planning application. Planning conditions and legal agreements will be used to ensure the sustainable transport requirements for individual developments are delivered. Planning permission will be refused if inadequate provision is made for sustainable transport measures or if development will result in the loss of sustainable transport facilities.’

POLICY TR2 View Map of this site ?

All development shall, wherever reasonably practicable, be carried out in a location and manner which will promote more sustainable travel choice. Applications for planning permission may be required to demonstrate how the proposed development will promote sustainable travel choice.

Improvements in the availability, quality and efficiency of sustainable transport opportunities including quality bus routes, cycle networks, priority for pedestrians and related facilities will be sought, including through supplementary guidance and in the determination of planning applications.

In particular, development proposals will only be permitted where they provide, or contribute to, the new or improved transport facilities and services (including improved links to bus, cycle and footpath networks that connect to local services such as shopping centres and schools) that are necessary to make the development acceptable in sustainable transport terms, and do not result in the loss of sustainable transport facilities.

Where the provision of infrastructure, facilities or improved services are required, the provision will be secured by planning condition or legal agreement in respect of funding contributions, off-site works or phasing. 

8.21.

Car and cycle parking standards

Controlling car parking provision can also be a tool for managing use of the car. At the same time, it must also be recognised that the car is often vital to provide for a range of journeys especially for people in rural areas.

8.22.

At this time, with a limited public transport system and, if anything, declining bus frequencies and rural penetration, it is considered that the most appropriate approach to off-street car parking provision is to review standards so that they provide for the basic needs of development and avoid over provision, as well as provide discretion to the Local Planning Authority to seek lower standards where it believes accessibility to jobs and services by other means warrants it.

8.23.

In addition, standards for the parking of vehicles and servicing of development should be viewed alongside measures to minimise car use in accordance with Policy TR2 above and measures such as company “travel plans”.

8.24.

For all but smaller developments, particularly those that attract members of the public, provision should also be made for the secure parking of bicycles to promote cycle use. In appropriate cases, where a significant number of employees or visitors could cycle to work, shower and changing facilities should also be provided.

8.25.

The following policy, which accords with PPG13 and Structure Plan guidelines, is put forward as a framework for new parking standards that will be published as a ‘supplementary planning document following widespread public consultation. These revised standards should provide for lower levels of off-street parking than those currently adopted by Rother District Council.

POLICY TR3 View Map of this site ?

Planning permission will be granted for development where the provision for parking accords with the following principles which will be elaborated upon in the form of a Supplementary Planning Document. Proposed development shall:

  1. meet the residual needs of the development for off-street parking, having full regard to the potential for access by means other than the car and to any safety, congestion or amenity impacts of a reliance on parking off-site whether on-street or off-street;
  2. not exceed maximum parking standards adopted by the District Planning Authority unless a need for additional provision is identified in a transport assessment which includes the measures to be taken to minimise the need for parking;
  3. provide for reduced parking provision where requisite, accessibility to jobs, services and facilities exists or will be provided as a result of the development, including any offsite measures;
  4. have regard to travel plans, and transport assessments that will be required for developments that have significant transport implications;
  5. ensure that the approved parking provision is retained for the future where that would be necessary to prevent harm to the safety or free-flow of the highway;
  6. include an adequate number of parking spaces designed and signed for disabled people;
  7. maximise the potential for shared use of car parks and, in particular, not allow large single-user car parks in town centres and other locations where a more efficient use of parking space may be achieved;
  8. include consideration where appropriate to building above retained open car parks and to the re-development of car parks for other purposes if any residual need for parking can be replaced on-site or in a suitable alternative location or if improvements to non-car alternatives will maintain accessibility;
  9. include adequate and secure cycle parking provision;
  10. provide for commuted payments towards providing and/or managing off-site parking, including on-street parking, where this is justified to meet the needs of the development;
  11. be sited so to minimise the visual impact of parked cars, while having regard to necessary security;
  12. have materials, lighting and boundary treatments compatible with the character of the area, larger car parks and those in prominent locations shall incorporate trees and soft landscaping to reduce their impact.
  13. include a suitable turning area where necessary to avoid unacceptably hazardous or obstructive reversing movements on the highway.

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