2.105 The approach of the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan transport policies is focussed on making travel more sustainable by reducing car dependency and working towards making walking, cycling and use of public transport, the more attractive options for travel. This approach is embodied in the strategic objectives of the Core Strategy; the place-based strategy and policies of the Placemaking Plan; as well as the District-wide transport policies. This approach is also in line with national policy and has a number of benefits, including reducing carbon emissions, helping to improve air quality, helping to improve health and wellbeing, and creating more attractive, healthy and successful places to live, work and visit.
2.106 Since the adoption of the Placemaking Plan there have been some significant changed circumstances that need to be reflected in the transport policy framework. Primary amongst these is the Council’s Climate and Ecological Emergencies and the ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. This means that the current focus of policies on promoting sustainable travel must be further strengthened. Policies also need to be refocussed to ensure they support other transport initiatives of the Council and the wider sub-region. In summary changes to the transport policies will focus on:
- Increased recognition of the importance of location and design in the transport sustainability of development.
- Ensuring that development transport choices e.g. access strategy and mitigation, are required to place sustainable modes first.
- Increased emphasis on linkages between transport, health and wellbeing, equality and inclusivity, creating better places, climate and air quality.
- Embedding ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods’ measures and principles.
- Updating the current status of transport schemes and issues e.g. Park and Ride, Transport Interchanges, Mass Transit, Saltford bypass and Saltford Station.
2.107 Set out below are proposed changes in policy approach for each of the sustainable transport policies. Following consultation on these approach changes amendments to policy wording will be set out in the pre-submission Draft Plan.
Promoting Sustainable Travel (amendments to Policy ST1)
Consultation reference DM29
ST1: Promoting Sustainable Travel
It is proposed to strengthen this policy by adding the elements outlined below:
- Requirement for development to be located where there are opportunities to travel by alternatives to private car usage, and with opportunities to reduce travel distance
- Requirement for development design to support sustainable travel. This aims to enable schemes to be refused on the basis of poor transport design creating car dependency, rather than just not meeting highways design standards.
- Sustainable transport opportunities to be available for first occupiers – early delivery.
- Mitigation must maximise opportunities for mode shift before increasing traffic capacity.
- Opportunities for low-carbon, last mile goods deliveries – dependent on scale/location of development.
Sustainable Transport Route (amendment to Policy ST2)
Consultation reference DM30
ST2: Sustainable Transport Routes
The policy currently refers to former railway land being safeguarded for sustainable travel routes. It is proposed that the wording is amended to widen the scope to include other land to be safeguarded for this purpose and for the relevant land/routes to be shown on the Policies Map. E.g. North Keynsham multi-modal corridor. In addition the policy is proposed to be strengthened to require development schemes along the safeguarded route to contribute towards its delivery.
Recreational Routes (amendment to Policy ST2A)
Consultation reference DM31
ST2A: Recreational Routes
The policy currently refers to former railway land being safeguarded for sustainable travel routes. It is proposed that the wording is amended to widen the scope to include other land to be safeguarded for this purpose and for the relevant land/routes to be shown on the Policies Map. E.g. North Keynsham multi-modal corridor.
Transport Infrastructure (amendment to ST3)
Consultation reference: DM32
ST3: Transport Infrastructure
It is proposed to strengthen this policy by adding the elements outlined below:
- Infrastructure to be planned and designed promoting mode shift to sustainable transport as a priority over traffic capacity.
- Schemes which increase traffic capacity must demonstrate that opportunities to achieve mode shift as an alternative solution have been exhausted. Such schemes must incorporate commensurate sustainable transport improvements.
- Add LTN1/20 into the list of design guidance with which proposals should comply.
2.108 Transport infrastructure schemes that would facilitate greater use of sustainable modes of travel include the potential re-opening of Saltford railway station. The Placemaking Plan makes reference to the opportunity for re-opening a station at Saltford and discusses the 2013 consultation and 2014 Cabinet decisions. It is proposed that these references be updated to reflect the current position, which includes the October ’19 Full Cabinet resolution of support, inclusion within JLTP4 as a potential new station, and the feasibility analysis in the Greater Bristol Area Rail Feasibility Study (GBARFS). A key challenge to delivery of a station at Saltford is network capacity, which was examined through GBARFS and found that it was feasible to provide additional capacity to enable train stops at Saltford. Reference to MetroWest in the Placemaking Plan will also need to be updated to reflect the current status of the project.
2.109 Liveable Neighbourhoods are also an important aspect of proposals to tackle the climate emergency and to improve health and wellbeing across the area. The ambition is for Liveable Neighbourhoods to breathe new life into residential areas by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles. The Council is striving to reconsider how road space is utilised to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, enhance road safety and promote healthy lifestyles. The idea is to provide fairer access for those travelling on foot and by bicycle, creating healthier outdoor spaces for everyone to enjoy. This includes better walking and cycling routes, and vibrant local high streets where people can relax outside and connect with others. The creation of Liveable Neighbourhoods should be facilitated through planning policy.
Traffic Management Proposals (amendment to Policy ST5)
Consultation reference DM33
ST5: Traffic Management Proposals
It is proposed that this policy should be amended by adding requirements that reflect the Council’s Liveable Neighbourhoods Strategy. These additional requirements will:
- Create attractive places to enhance sense of community, health and wellbeing through re-balancing space towards people and away from vehicles.
- Achieve mode shift through discouraging short car journeys and prioritising walking and cycling.
- Support people with restricted mobility.
- Reduce on-street non-residential parking and provide opportunities for EV charging, car clubs, social spaces and improved walking and cycling routes.
- Retain vehicular access for residents and businesses, and
- Be implemented on a trial basis to enable changes to be made in consultation with the council and community.
2.110 The Placemaking Plan identifies that the Council is proposing to expand Park & Ride provision serving Bath as part of a wider strategy promoting sustainable means of transport and reducing the impact of vehicles in the city. It should be noted that since then the Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP4) has been approved which states that “In Bath the Council will explore and support options for increasing travel choices and reducing single occupancy vehicle use into our urban areas. The Council will investigate further expansion and improvement of the existing Park & Ride sites at Newbridge, Lansdown and Odd Down.” Policy ST6 sets out the criteria for determining planning applications for enhanced Park & Ride provision. These criteria should require that the most suitable and sustainable site has been selected and ensure transport benefits are assessed.
2.111 Park & Ride sites traditionally have solely provided parking on the edge of the city for bus services into the city centre. There is an opportunity for Park & Ride sites to act as a transport interchange proving opportunities to connect to wider areas through a variety of transport modes. In addition, there may be an opportunity for the Park & Ride sites to play other beneficial roles e.g. solar energy generation. These wider roles may require their removal from the Green Belt, subject to the demonstration of exceptional circumstances (see section 4).
Park & Ride (amendment to Policy ST6)
Consultation reference DM34
ST6: Park & Ride
It is proposed to change the policy to:
- Change the emphasis from ‘traditional’ park and ride to develop a new model of “interchange” a multi modal connection with opportunities for e-car hire, e-bike hire, access to the countryside, community gain such as solar canopy, alternative uses for social gain outside of peak usage e.g. farmers markets, cafés, pop up venues and festivals all to be explored. A multi modal site, not just car to bus.
- Add the requirement to demonstrate that the most suitable and sustainable available site(s) has been selected.
- To expand the requirement to assess traffic impact in order that it also includes assessment of transport benefits.
2.112 In addition to ensuring opportunities for sustainable travel are maximised through new development it is proposed that the parking standards currently defined in the Placemaking Plan will be removed from Policy ST7 and will be defined in a separate SPD. The parking standards will be reviewed in the context of the Climate Emergency declaration and subject to separate consultation, anticipated to take place alongside the pre-submission Draft Plan. Defining the parking standards in a SPD also provides greater flexibility to review them again in the future in response to changing circumstances.
Transport requirements for Management Development (amendment to Policy ST7)
Consultation reference DM35
ST7: Transport Requirements for Managing Development
It is proposed to change the policy by:
- Strengthening the requirement for development to offer genuine travel choice through opportunities to travel sustainably
- Requiring that transport improvements and/or mitigation maximise sustainable travel opportunities
- Removing Parking standards from the Policy and defining them in a new Parking SPD (which will be referred to in the policy)