Issue and Options 2023

Ended on the 6 March 2023
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10: A well-connected South Warwickshire

Chapter 10 sets out various options regarding physical and digital connectivity. Your views are sought on the following issues:

The way settlements are laid out can impact on people's travel choices. For settlements to be sustainable, it is beneficial to maximise any opportunities for people to be able to meet their regular day to day needs within a reasonable walking distance of their homes. This concept is frequently referred to as the '20 minute neighbourhood'. As well as being able to meet day to day needs, there should be the option for people to be able to travel sustainably outside of their settlements to access facilities by providing a good range of sustainable travel choices.

As well as the physical connections of new settlements, digital connectivity including broadband and mobile, are of increasing importance to people and businesses in South Warwickshire. Fast and reliable connections are vital for effective communication across businesses, education, entertainment, and social users. For the purposes of the Part 1 plan, it is proposed that digital connections are included as part of a policy on broader infrastructure requirements.

Further detailed policies on this topic will be explored in a Part 2 plan.

Issue T1: 20-minute neighbourhoods

What you said:

  • Support was given for 15/20-minute neighbourhoods.
  • Support for mixed use developments ensuring that key infrastructure is located close to where people live including GP surgeries, jobs, open space, schools, and community centres/hubs.
  • Joined up layout is important with emphasis on walking and cycling.
  • Connectivity should include the concept of reducing distance and time, such as the 20-minute neighbourhood.

Within settlements, it is considered beneficial to maximise opportunities for people to meet their regular day-to-day needs near to where they live (and/or work), and to do this within a reasonable walking distance of their homes (and/or workplace). This affords the choice of walking (or cycling) wherever possible as a realistic alternative to the private car. Principles associated with this theory are often referred to as 'the 20-minute neighbourhood'. The 20-minute neighbourhood is being utilised internationally based on a core assumption that most day-to-day needs should be met within a reasonable walking distance of home – a 10-minute walk there, and a 10-minute walk back. Both the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Scotland and the Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)1[1] have published research and guidance papers on the merits of this approach, citing multiple health and climate change benefits which arise from it. This supports the three pillars of sustainable development identified in the NPPF (paragraph 8 – social objective, economic objective, and environment objective), and aligns with the overarching objectives of the SWLP.

The principles of the 20-minute neighbourhood have underpinned the development of the 'settlement design analysis' undertaken on some settlements across South Warwickshire with a view to this informing the evolution of the spatial strategy options. There is a case that this might form the basis of a policy within the SWLP.

Current policy context

There is no specific policy in either the Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy or the Warwick District Local Plan which directly refers to 20-minute neighbourhoods. Some principles of 20-minute neighbourhoods are however touched upon within different policies throughout both documents, and references to other design approaches such as Building for a Healthy Life (the update to Building for Life 12) broadly cover similar principles.

(175)Q-T1: Please select all options which are appropriate for South Warwickshire

Issue T2: Sustainable transport accessibility across South Warwickshire

South Warwickshire is predominantly rural in nature, although there are several densely populated urban areas which are connected by main roads. The predominant form of transport across South Warwickshire is private car, however this will need to change in order to address climate change and create more sustainable communities. If there is a gradual move away from residents relying on the use of a private car it will bring significant benefits such as improvement to health including improved mental health and wellbeing, improvements to obesity levels, air quality improvements and reduced levels of isolation and loneliness.

The current Local Transport Plan runs up to 2026 and is in the process of being updated by Warwickshire County Council Warwickshire Local Transport Plan . A consultation on the draft Local Transport Plan is currently being undertaken and is due to end on the 20th November 2022. This sets out the needs, challenges, priorities, and objectives for transport throughout the County. The South Warwickshire Local Plan should look to align with these key transport strategies and priorities.

What you said:

  • Priority should be given to infrastructure to enable active travel modes and sustainable transport.
  • Focus should be on large towns that have links to sustainable transport options including the use of very light rail.
  • Transport links between growth sites in Warwickshire and neighbouring authorities are important, especially with new sustainable transport advances such as very light rail.
  • Measures such as reallocation of road space for sustainable transport and innovation are important and should be explored further.
  • Promoting all forms of sustainable transport should be the strategic focus of the SWLP.
  • Promoting better and more sustainable connectivity for shorter trips.
  • Make walking and cycling infrastructure safe and integrate with new developments.
  • Complete network of cycle lanes should be created.

Public transport provision which includes bus and rail is limited across South Warwickshire which can make accessibility to key services difficult, however due to the rural nature of South Warwickshire, there are specific areas that are poorly accessible by public transport and therefore, communities are reliant on the use of the private car. Responses to the Scoping Consultation in 2021 suggested that public transport needs to be improved in terms of frequency and reliability of services as well as affordability.

Active travel options such as walking and cycling are also limited in some areas and often severance occurs which means that not all places are easily and well connected by these modes of travel. It is important to try and persuade residents to use alternative modes of transport if they have previously relied on the use of private car. Well planned green and blue infrastructure can create active travel links, as well as serve as a wildlife corridor for nature. The importance of Active Travel has gained increased traction and importance over recent years, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic. Active Travel (which incorporates walking and cycling) is known to have significant health and wellbeing benefits and is also a good way to work against climate change by reducing the use of private vehicles. Green and Blue infrastructure corridors can encourage active travel by providing pleasant routes to various places. These routes can include greenways, canal towpaths and footpaths through nature.

There are several other reasons as to why it is important to improve sustainable travel across South Warwickshire, for example younger people who can't drive find it difficult to access opportunities to develop skills and employment opportunities. Further, public transport options are limited for those residents who need to access more specialist types of healthcare facilities and emergency treatment, for example hospitals, specialist cancer treatment centres without a car. For example, University Hospital in Coventry is the major trauma centre for South Warwickshire. If residents need to visit family members and they do not have access to a car it can make accessibility difficult.

There is a need to acknowledge that not all active and public transport options work for everyone as it very much depends on individual circumstances. There are several alternative options to consider alongside the everyday sustainable transport modes of cycling, walking, bus and rail including options for e scooters, car sharing schemes, technology driven demand responsive transport and car clubs. These alternative options may help those families to travel more sustainably where traditional public and active travel modes are difficult. There are also options to look at park and ride schemes across South Warwickshire which could act as wider hubs for sustainable travel.

Consideration should also be given to low traffic neighbourhoods, streets where schools are located and the restriction of motorised vehicles during drop off and pick up times and ensuring that there is a good network of sustainable transport options including connections to and between rail and bus stations.

Current adopted policy

Policy document

Policy reference

Page no.

Policy Summary

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

CS.26

213

Policy wording requiring consistency with priorities set out in the LTP and encouraging modal shift to more sustainable modes of transport. Specific wording in relation to new development and ensuring mitigation against unacceptable transport impacts.

Warwick District Local Plan

TR1 – TR5

90-95

TR1 is quite generic in terms of requirements as it covers a range of things such as design, providing suitable access for all transport modes and EV as well as taking into account needs of people with disabilities by all modes of transport. TR2 relates to health impacts from transport and links to Air Quality. The remaining policies are specific relating to infrastructure, safeguarding of sites and aerodromes.

(130)Q-T2: Please select the option which is most appropriate for South Warwickshire

Issue T3: Road travel, employment, and freight

What you said:

  • SWLP should allocate housing and employment growth near existing sustainable transport infrastructure.
  • Acknowledge that sites for commercial/employment development may need to be situated near to the SRN due to the need for quick transport of goods and being close to consumers and the supply chain.
  • Car transport is needed for the economy and commuting.
  • Acknowledge that car travel will still be an option for people and various activities so rather than completely aim to eradicate it, should promote low emissions vehicles such as EV.

Active travel and public transport should be given high importance and be prioritised in terms of available space on the road network and influencing new development, however there is still an acknowledgement that there will be a need for people to travel by private car for several reasons. Walking and cycling are good means of sustainable transport but predominantly for shorter journeys. Where journeys are likely to be longer (10km and above) and for purposes such as employment, weekly food shopping, childcare commitments, alternative modes of transport may be more appropriate including travel by car. It is important to acknowledge this but to encourage a shift away from fossil fuel powered cars.

Road travel will continue to be important for employment use and transport facilities that will support efficient freight journeys through and within Warwickshire will need to be provided. There is currently a large amount of work being undertaken to upgrade the A46 in order to bring it in line with expressway standards and improve traffic flows.

There are several ways in which travel by private car and freight can be more sustainable. Electric vehicles or the use of low and zero emissions vehicles should be encouraged which includes making the necessary infrastructure to support this easy and readily accessible. Further, there could be the introduction of low emission zones, workplace parking levies and the possibility of looking at active travel for 'last mile' freight journeys (the very final stage of delivery) or driverless delivery pods whereby battery powered autonomous vehicles will be used to deliver goods.

Current adopted policy

Policy document

Policy reference

Page no.

Policy Summary

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

CS.26

213

Policy wording requiring consistency with priorities set out in the LTP and encouraging modal shift to more sustainable modes of transport. Specific wording in relation to new development and ensuring mitigation against unacceptable transport impacts.

Warwick District Local Plan

TR1 – TR3

90-95

TR1 is quite generic in terms of requirements as it covers a range of things such as design, providing suitable access for all transport modes and EV as well as taking into account needs of people with disabilities by all modes of transport. TR2 relates to health impacts from transport and links to Air Quality. The remaining policies are specific relating to infrastructure, safeguarding of sites and aerodromes.

(94)Q-T3: Please select the option which is most appropriate for South Warwickshire

Issue T4: Smart Cities

"Smart Cities" refers to a broad range of data-led and automated processes which aim to help cities and towns work more smoothly. The aim is to provide citizens with social, economic, and environmental benefits, whether in urban or rural areas. Some smart cities ideas are already in operation in parts of the UK, for example:

  • Traffic light timings which respond to traffic flows to ease congestion
  • 'Live' timetable information at bus stops
  • Streetlights which adjust their brightness according to the activity around them

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology (POST) has published a note which summarises some of the key drivers and barriers to smart city implementation.

It is anticipated that smart cities ideas will become more widespread and integrated in future. This is likely to bring with it a greater demand for data and communications infrastructure. There are also challenges balancing the benefits with concerns about data security and privacy.

The SWLP will seek to enable and foster the delivery of smart cities ideas, where practical. In particular the aim is to 'future-proof' new development, to avoid inadvertently constraining new technologies.

Current adopted policy

Policy document

Policy reference

Page no.

Policy Summary

Stratford-on-Avon District Core Strategy

-

-

No policy

Warwick District Local Plan

-

-

No policy

(219)Q-T4: Please provide suggestions for how smart cities technologies could be supported in South Warwickshire

Q-T5: Please add any comments you wish to make about a well-connected South Warwickshire


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