Planning Application 2017/00724/RES for Caerleon – Rod Harrod’s presentation 2 min Speech to Vale of Glamorgan Council Planning Committee December 7th 2017
I’ve got a rhetorical question. Why doesn’t this application Walk the Talk – or even Cycle it? Condition Five of the Reserved Matters requires compliance with the Transport Assessment.
In June 2015 the updated Assessment says the impact of the extra traffic that’s generated must be mitigated by a Travel Plan which would be:
‘…complemented by measures to enhance both pedestrian movement and the site’s connectivity to Eastbrook Railway Station.’
This was repeated in the Officers’ report to the January 2016 Planning Committee at which Outline Planning was granted providing all of 14 conditions were met.
In the same report the Highways Department said there was no feasible layout improvement the developer could do at the Murch / Cardiff Road Junction. Improvements the LDP has since deemed essential for all new developments.
Surely the development shouldn’t happen till mitigating measures are in place – namely a by-pass?
Officers considered the submission of a Travel Plan, and implementation of alternative public and other sustainable modes of transport, appropriate.
But the only suggestion made in the application is to upgrade a pedestrian link from the end of Caerleon Road to the footbridge at Eastbrook Railway Station.
But there’s no footpath from the new estate to Caerleon Road. Without a new link on the other side the walk to Eastbrook Rail Station is up to ½ mile.
Would you leave your car in the garage come rain, wind or snow to walk ½ mile to the Station with only 20 park and ride spaces? Then wait while three trains pass through packed from stations further down the line.
The Transport Assessment proposed traffic calming measures at:
- The site entrance,
- The Caerleon Road / Criccieth Court junction
- Along Caerleon Road.
Yet they’re not included in the Applicant’s submission, and so its not complaint with Condition Five.
Questions from Cllr Driscoll to Rod Harrod after his presentation.
Compliance with LDP
Cllr Driscoll: Can I get this right? Are you saying that despite not being able to comply with the Draft LDP regarding any development which adds to traffic congestion on the main highway – in this case the A4055 – the Highway Authority said they had no objection to the development proceeding?
RH: That’s correct.
VD: I find that incredible. It implies that, if a developer can’t comply with the LDP, it is given the green light regardless. In this case it was putting housing above the safety of small children at the Infants School.
Planning Application 2017/00724/RES for Caerleon Development – Roger Pattenden Speech
Condition 6 requires a detailed Travel Plan.
At the Outline Planning stage it was accepted that this development would adversely impact on the local highways and in particular the Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction.
The capacity of local roads cannot be increased to mitigate the impact of the extra traffic. This particularly applies to the same junction because, despite proposals to improve it, including in the LDP, the Highway Authority now considers that its geometry prevents any improvement.
A robust Travel Plan which would reduce the extra vehicles from the development was therefore called for. So, the submitted Travel Plan must demonstrate that it would significantly reduce the extra traffic.
But it does not do this. It target’s a reduction in the proportion of residents driving to and from work from 70% to 60% in 5 years. Even if it worked it would mean a feeble reduction of only around 10 fewer drivers on the roads. It would rely on soft persuasion through leaflets and the like. But without any incentive to change, or penalty for not changing, it cannot be relied on to achieve even this objective.
The unreliability of such a Plan is evidenced by the Travel Plan for the Health Centre at the top of Murch Crescent which was a condition of its approval. This has not resulted in a reduction in the traffic on Murch Crescent.
Like many of the documents produced by applicants to ‘persuade’ the Council that the predicted adverse impacts of their development will somehow not materialise, this Travel Plan is no exception. It is unlikely to mitigate the predicted adverse impact on traffic congestion at the Cardiff Road junction – only a by-pass will do that.
The submitted Traffic Plan is considered extremely weak and not fit for purpose. It is therefore not compliant with Condition 6.
Questions from Cllr Driscoll to Roger Pattenden after his presentation.
The Murch Road / Cardiff Road junction
Cllr Driscoll: Can you explain a little more why you understand the junction at the Murch Road traffic lights can’t be improved. I understood various reports to say improvements must be made to this junction.
Roger Pattenden: Yes, the LDP says it requires improvement but this conclusion comes from the Officers’ report to the January 2016 Planning Committee meeting considering the Outline Planning Application for this site. Under the Highways section it states that ‘there is little by way of geometric improvement that could be implemented at the signal junction that would improve its operational performance.’
The only Strategic Highway in the Vale without a by-pass.
Planning Application 2017/00724/RES for Caerleon – Cllr Andy Robertson presentation December 7 2017
I’d like to ask about what is being put in place for my constituents, the Council-tax-paying residents on the rest of the route and the off-shoots leading to Murch Road from this site?
The new Caerleon estate is designed to limit speeds to 20mph. A similar 20mph limit is imposed at the Castle Drive / Murch Road junction, with speed bumps and a Lolly-Pop man at school times. That’s because this junction is dangerous, particularly for small children, with the current amount of traffic, without any more.
But between Murch Road and this proposed estate there are no measures taken to protect the safety of residents that includes the senior citizens complex at Harlech Court. They’re expected to endure several hundred extra vehicles and construction traffic thundering through at 30mph. Yes, 30mph if they don’t rat-run.
Are houses more important than road safety and the care of the elderly and children?
Then there’s Condition 9 – the Construction Traffic Management Plan.
This condition comes out of the Council Highway Authority’s requirement which was included in the Officer’s report to the January 2016 planning committee meeting.
It states clearly that construction vehicles should not be allowed to travel to or from the site:
Firstly for half an hour either side of school starting and finishing times. Presumably this would have to be correlated with the Infant and Junior Schools, which have different times. In addition there are students gathering at the shopping area to walk to St Cyres School each morning, although that would probably be covered by the second condition.
That states that construction vehicles must not enter or leave the site at peak rush hour times. These times would need to be derived from actual traffic surveys.
But NOWHERE in the submitted Plan do the developers mention these requirements, far less detail the times involved which are necessary for it to be workable. They’ve omitted these commitments entirely. Ignored them completely.
Having been questionably allowed to add nearly 300 extra road trips a day to the already over-capacity junction and route the Developer now seems to want to run rough-shod over the commitments put in place by the Committee to help mitigate this concession.
Not only should the commitments be put in writing in a new submission but some form of penalty clause added if the developer ignores any of these commitments.
As this Plan fails to specify the no-go times it is therefore not compliant with Condition 9 and must fail.
Questions from Cllr Driscoll to Cllr Andy Robertson after his presentation.
Cllr Driscoll: Am I right that you are saying there’s a 20mph speed limit at each end of the route from the Site to the Castle Drive /Murch Road junction but 30mph limit in between?
Cllr Robertson: The development’s internal roads are designed for a 20mph speed but yes in between there is a 30mph limit.
Cllr Driscoll: Are you saying the Application doesn’t propose to comply with the undertakings in the Transport Assessment regarding traffic calming on Caerleon Road?
Cllr Robertson: As far as I can see, that’s correct.
Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns M.P. discusses details and proposals for the Dinas Powys By-pass with Rod Harrod and Roger Pattenden.