First Draft Watford Local Plan 2020-2036

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Chapter 3: Supporting Sustainable Transport

3. 1. Introduction

3. 1. 1. At the core of the National Planning Policy Framework is the aim to achieve and promote sustainable development. Supporting sustainable transport is essential to this. Transport policies can facilitate a shift not only to greater sustainability but also work towards a better quality of life and improved health and wellbeing.

3. 1. 2. Hertfordshire County Council is the local highways authority in the Watford area. In accordance with the Transport Act 2000, as amended 2008, and working with the Hertfordshire districts and boroughs, the county developed and approved the Hertfordshire Local Transport Plan (2018). This provides the strategic context for future transport investment by focusing on people, place and prosperity. The document seeks an integrated approach to transport and land-use planning by moving away from car dependency to more sustainable transport options including walking and cycling, and improving connectivity between neighbouring towns. To support the Local Transport Plan 4 strategy, a set of lower documents is being produced including the South West Herts Growth and Transport Plan Prospectus (2019) which identifies a number of sustainable transport interventions and packages in and around Watford.

3. 1. 3. In land-use planning terms, providing infrastructure that will support sustainable transport such as public transport, walking and cycling is integral to meeting both the wider national and local objectives. From a Local Plan perspective, this includes:

  1. Providing secure cycle parking and storage which is accessible; this is pivotal to creating confidence for people wishing to have a secure place to store their bicycles;
  1. Identifying a proportionate approach to on-site car parking which is essential to avoid building at low densities; to help alleviate pressure on the road network; and encourage greater use of public transport; and
  1. Ensuring proposals for new development are supported with Transport Assessments and Travel Plans as appropriate which encourage sustainable public transport use and help mitigate the highways impacts of development proposals.

3. 2. Cycle Parking and Storage

Why is this policy needed?

3. 2. 1. There are generally two key barriers to cycle use. Firstly, there is safety (actual and perceived) during the journey, and secondly, secure cycle storage or parking at both the point of origin and destination. The National Planning Policy Framework prioritises pedestrians and cyclists as part of the need to make a transition to healthier lifestyles and non-car based forms of travel. There is considerable potential to achieve this with greater cycling in urban areas like Watford. Every opportunity should be taken to promote cycling, and how new development can prioritise cycling is critical to achieving this.

3. 2. 2. Secure cycle parking is required for all new development. For residential uses, long term overnight secure cycle storage is essential while cycle storage for non-residential uses needs to be secure for the duration of stay at that destination. It is particularly important in sustainable locations where 'car-lite' developments are provided. All proposals for new development throughout the borough will be required to set out how they have provided adequate and secure cycle storage space that is easily accessible.

3. 2. 3. Without adequate and well-designed cycle parking for residential and non-residential development, those considering cycling as an alternative travel option to a private vehicle for commuting, shopping or leisure trips will be placed at a significant disadvantage.

What is the policy intended to do?

3. 2. 4. The aim of this policy is to ensure that cycling is considered early in the design process when new proposals are conceived. This is to mitigate the impact of traffic associated with new development on the road network and environment and improve public health. It emphasises the need to provide the necessary infrastructure to ensure that more people feel comfortable to use cycling as a means of commuting, leisure and convenience trips, and to provide greater confidence that bicycles are securely stored when left alone.

3. 2. 5. The policy sets minimum standards for cycle parking based on the sustainability zones identified on the Policies Map. It seeks to provide further prescriptive direction for designing cycle storage into new schemes. Key issues to consider when schemes are being designed include how many cycle parking spaces are required, how easily accessible they are and how secure the facility is. This policy should be read in conjunction with the Cycle Parking Supplementary Planning Document[7], and subsequent updates.

3. 2. 6. The manner in which cycle parking is provided on a site will depend on characteristics of the development. In large apartment complexes, a single large communal storage may not be sufficient security. Multiple cycle storage areas or individual large site storage areas (storage compartments located outside the apartment within the blueprint of the building which are capable of taking bikes, prams and other large items) can be a substitute in these cases. Where large item storage areas are provided, this may enable the removal of internal storage requirements for individual dwellings and can be counted as two cycle spaces.

3. 2. 7. The conversion of existing buildings into apartments often results in poor or non-existent cycle storage. Therefore, suitable and secure storage needs to be provided at the front of the building. In cases where this is not possible, contributions will be sought to deliver off site storage solutions (e.g. bicycle hangers). Terraced properties or town houses without back access to the garden need storage on the front elevations (potentially part of internal storage to the front of the house) or have an access point to the rear provided.

3. 2. 8. Non-residential uses need secure cycle storage depending on the duration of the stay. These include destinations such as places of work, education, leisure, transport hubs and retail. To support commuting to employment and education destinations, security is particularly important. These tend to be longer stays, while retail and leisure uses often require shorter visits. Longer stay employment uses should have employee only access storage areas that are covered, along with showering and changing facilities within the building. For primary schools and nurseries, where cycle storage facilities are provided these should be located and designed to accommodate at least two parental bicycles that have a child carrier attached.

3. 2. 9. Public cycle parking places and stands are located in the town centre and in neighbourhood centres. For new proposals in these locations, a financial contribution will be sought to enhance existing public cycle parking rather than providing new facilities.

Policy ST3.1 Cycle Parking Storage

All development proposals will be required to provide on-site cycle parking facilities in line with the cycle parking standards detailed in Figure 4.

Cycle parking facilities should be designed in accordance with the Cycle Parking Supplementary Planning Document, and subsequent amendments.

Residential uses

  1. Development of 20 units or more should provide cycle storage within the footprint of the building;
  2. External cycle stores need to be secure with resident only access, be sensitively designed, well-lit and easily accessible;
  3. Short term cycle parking facilities for visitors should be conveniently located in relation to the public realm with natural surveillance and be safe to use;
  4. For developments over 50 units, multiple storage areas or large item storage will be required. Single large communal cycle storage areas will not be considered acceptable;
  5. For homes with gardens, access to rear sheds or garages should be designed into the scheme, or suitable storage sensitively designed to the front elevation of the house.

Non-residential uses

  1. Employment and education uses should have employee access only covered storage. Appropriate changing and showering facilities should be provided on site;
  2. For proposals which benefit from existing cycle parking a financial contribution will be sought for enhancing existing facilities;
  3. For developments where no cycle parking standard is set out, including new transport hub infrastructure, the number of cycle parking spaces should be determined on a case-by-case basis.

All of these requirements should be annotated on the relevant plans and detailed in the Design and Access Statement or Planning Statement.

3. 3. Figure 4: Cycle Parking Standards

Use Class[8]

High Sustainability Zone

Medium Sustainability Zone

Low Sustainability Zone

Minimum

Minimum

Minimum

Residential

C1 Hotels

1 space per 50 bedrooms

1 space per 50 bedrooms

1 space per 50 bedrooms

C2 Residential Institutions[9]

1 space per 3 staff

1 space per 5 staff

1 space per 5 staff

C3 Dwelling House 1 Bed

C3 Dwelling House 2 Bed C3 Dwelling House 3+ Bed

1.25 spaces per unit

2.00 spaces per unit

2.50 space per unit

1.25 spaces per unit

1.75 spaces per unit

2.25 spaces per unit

1.25 spaces per unit

1.75 spaces per unit

2.25 space per unit

C4 Houses and Multiple Occupation

1 space per 2 bedrooms

1 space per 2 bedrooms

1 space per 2 bedrooms

Non Residential

Staff

Visitors

Staff

Visitors

Staff

Visitors

A1 Shops

1 space per

100 sqm

n/a

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

1 space per

200 sqm

n/a

A2 Financial Professional Services

1 space per

100 sqm

n/a

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

1 space per

200 sqm

n/a

A3 Restaurants and Cafes

1 space per

100 sqm

n/a

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

1 space per

200 sqm

n/a

A4 Drinking Establishments

1 space per

100 sqm

n/a

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

1 space per

200 sqm

n/a

A5 Hot Food Takeaways

1 space per

100 sqm

n/a

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

1 space per

200 sqm

n/a

B1a Business

1 space per

100 sqm

n/a

1 space per

125 sqm

n/a

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

B1b Business

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

1 space per

200 sqm

n/a

1 space per

250 sqm

n/a

B1c Business

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

1 space per

200 sqm

n/a

1 space per

250 sqm

n/a

B2 General Industrial

1 space per

150 sqm

n/a

1 space per

200 sqm

n/a

1 space per

250 sqm

n/a

B8 Storage and Distribution

1 space per

250 sqm

n/a

1 space per

300 sqm

n/a

1 space per

350 sqm

n/a

Schools and nurseries[10]

1 space

per 5 staff

1 space

per 10 students

1 space

per 5 staff

1 space

per 15 students

1 space

per 10 staff

1 space

per 15 students

Universities and colleges

1 space

per 5 staff

1 space per

8 students

1 space

per 5 staff

1 space

per 15 students

1 space

per 10 staff

1 space

per 15 students

D1 Non- Residential Institutions

Health centres and dental clinics

1 space

per 5 staff

n/a

1 space

per 10 staff

n/a

1 space

per 10 staff

n/a

Other uses (including community facilities, libraries, religious institutions etc.)

1 space

per 5 staff

n/a

1 space

per 10 staff

n/a

1 space

per 10 staff

n/a

D2

Assembly and Leisure

Cinemas, theatres etc.

1 space

per 8 staff

n/a

1 space

per 10 staff

n/a

1 space

per 10 staff

n/a

Sports facilities, gymnasiums etc.

1 space

per 8 staff

n/a

1 space

per 10 staff

n/a

1 space

per 10 staff

n/a

3. 4. Car Parking, Car Cubs, and Electric Vehicles

Why is this policy needed?

3. 4. 1. Watford is strongly influenced by London and the economy of the south east. Development and growth bring challenges and as a result there is considerable traffic congestion in the area. Traffic modelling has identified points of stress on the road network. Providing more car parking on site throughout the borough will not aid the reduction of car use and is likely to add further pressure to the road network, exacerbating congestion, air quality and carbon emission issues.

3. 4. 2. Car related infrastructure such as roads and car parking is one of the dominating factors of the Watford built environment. This often results in a significant amount of land used. There is limited space available to support new development and new schemes will be expected to make the most efficient use of the land available for redevelopment. Continuing to provide car related infrastructure including overgenerous parking will exacerbate existing issues associated with the transport network and the environment.

3. 4. 3. Vehicle emissions contribute towards climate change and air pollution is a significant issue in the borough, primarily around areas where there are high volumes of traffic. Currently there are four air quality management areas in the borough; all of these are associated with vehicle emissions. A move towards electric vehicles will contribute towards lower air pollution. To meet emission reduction and air quality targets, the use of electric vehicles is increasing. There is a need to ensure that the developments that are built are future proofed to achieve this. Sufficient electrical capacity in new developments for current and future demand for charging points is needed.

3. 4. 4. Electric vehicles still require space and continued generous provision for car infrastructure can directly impact on the effectiveness of public transport and how many people will use it, thereby not providing greater incentive for people to change their travel habits. There is a need to move away from a car reliant society. In line with the Hertfordshire Local Transport Plan, demand management in relation to parking restrictions is the most effective way of addressing this.

3. 4. 5. To reduce car use and the need for car spaces, car clubs are important. Coinciding with changing population demographics, there is a recognition that the desire to own a car is reducing and access to a vehicle for occasional use is beginning to be seen as increasingly favourable. To support this change, people need to have a choice of transport options on a daily basis to best meet their circumstances and enable them to easily and conveniently travel to their intended destinations.

What is the policy intended to do?

3. 4. 6. Managing on-site parking is the key intention of this policy. It seeks to ensure that new development in all areas of the borough provide car parking that is reflective of its sustainability and encourages greater proportion of people using alternative transport modes to the private vehicle in the long term. This policy is intended to establish proportionate on-site parking provision across the borough.

3. 4. 7. For all new developments, the standards set out a requirement for a proportion of parking spaces to be unallocated. This will ensure that parking areas are effectively used and reduce to risk of spaces being left vacant for any period of time.

3. 4. 8. The standards are based on the Sustainability Zones as defined on the Policies Map. With the exception of the High Sustainability Area, where car-lite schemes are supported, a minimum and maximum range for car parking is provided.

3. 4. 9. There is a recognition that for low on site car parking to work most effectively, it needs to be combined with on street parking restrictions. This is particularly important for the High and Medium Sustainability Areas in Watford. Controlled Parking Zones will be kept under review as part of the council's approach to traffic management.

3. 4. 10. Within this requirement there is an allocation for electric vehicles and car club spaces. For the purposes of this policy, an electric vehicle is considered any road vehicle with a battery that is intended to be charged from mains electricity. 'Active provision' requires fully wired and connected 'ready to use' charging points at parking spaces. "Passive provision" requires the necessary underlying infrastructure (e.g. capacity in the connection to the local electricity distribution network and electricity distribution board, and cabling to parking spaces) to enable simple installation and activation of a charge point at a future date.

Policy ST3.2 Car Parking, Car Clubs and Electric Vehicles

Development proposals will be required to provide car parking which complies with the car parking standards set out in Figure 5 and the following requirements. Where these standards are met, the parking element of the proposal will be supported.

  1. For schemes of 10 units or more, 20% of all car spaces should be unallocated;
  2. 10% of spaces should be dedicated for car club use only. Applicants will need to demonstrate commitment to providing car club spaces with a provider;
  3. 20% of car spaces should have active provision for electric vehicles. All spaces should have passive provision;
  4. For schemes of 10 units or more, ensure that at least one designated disabled persons parking bay is provided for every 10 dwellings;
  5. If no standard is provided for a particular use, the level of parking should be determined on a case-by-case basis taking account of this policy, and the sustainability and accessibility of the site.

Only where exceptional circumstances are clearly demonstrated will deviations from the standards be considered acceptable. All of these requirements should be annotated on the relevant plans and detailed in the Design and Access Statement or Planning Statement.

3. 5. Figure 5: Car Parking Standards

Use Class

High Sustainability Zone

Medium Sustainability Zone

Low Sustainability Zone

Min

Max

Min

Max

Min

Max

Residential

C1 Hotels

n/a

Car free

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

C2 Residential Institutions

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

C3 Dwelling House (Space per Unit)[11]

n/a

0.3

0.3

0.7

0.7

1.4

C4 Houses and Multiple Occupation

n/a

0.5

0.4

1

0.6

1.4

Non Residential[12]

A1 Shops (space per 100sqm)

n/a

Car free

n/a

1

n/a

n/a

A2 Financial Professional Services (space per 100sqm)

n/a

Car free

n/a

0.5

n/a

n/a

A3 Restaurants and Cafes

n/a

Car free

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

A4 Drinking Establishments

n/a

Car free

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

A5 Hot Food Takeways

n/a

Car free

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

B1a Business (spaces per 100 sqm)

n/a

0.5

n/a

1

n/a

n/a

B1b/c (spaces per 150sqm)

n/a

0.5

n/a

1

n/a

1

B2 General Industrial (spaces per 1500sqm)

n/a

0.5

n/a

1

n/a

1

B8 Storage and Distribution (spaces per 1500sqm)

n/a

0.5

n/a

1

n/a

1

D1 Non- Residential Institutions

n/a

Car free

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

D2 Assembly and Leisure

n/a

Car free

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

3. 6. Travel Plans and Transport Assessments

Why is this policy needed?

3. 6. 1. How people commute to and from destinations is dependent on a number of factors including travel choices. Some uses generate more traffic than others (trip generating uses). It is important to understand potential impacts on the road network from each of these uses. There is a need to ensure that proposals are designed with access to sustainable transport and increasing walking and cycling in mind.

3. 6. 2. Travel Plans and Transport Assessments seek to assess the impact of a development. They identify mitigation and specific interventions to reduce traffic generation. This can be achieved by encouraging walking, cycling, greater use of public transport and journey sharing and car-pooling through the provision of specific facilities and incentives for employees such as reduced-cost rail or bus passes and cycle allowances. Cumulatively, these can help reduce the need for car travel and parking.

What is the Policy intended to do?

3. 6. 3. The policy sets out the requirements for Transport Assessments. All developments that will generate significant amounts of movement are required to provide a Travel Plan, and the application should be supported by a Transport Assessment.

3. 6. 4. All Transport Assessments, Statements and Travel Plans should follow the Transport User Hierarchy as outlined in Hertfordshire' Local Transport Plan, including any updates. The design of any scheme should provide for:

  • Opportunities to reduce travel demand and the need to travel
  • Vulnerable road user needs (such as pedestrians and cyclists)
  • Passenger transport user needs
  • Powered two wheeler (mopeds and motorbikes) user needs
  • Other motor vehicle user needs

Policy ST3.3 Access, Travel Plans and Transport Assessments

Transport Statements, Transport Assessments, Travel Plans are required to support planning applications for all developments that are likely to generate significant amounts of movement or travel in accordance with national guidance[13]. They should set out:

  • How the development has been designed in line with the Transport User Hierarchy;
  • How the development has been designed to facilitate greater use of public transport;
  • The overall impact of the development on the road network.

All proposals including redevelopment proposals should ensure that access/egress and arrangements for emergency and servicing vehicles are designed fully into the scheme's layout. Proposals include the design needs of all public and private highway improvement schemes.


[8] Use classes are defined in the Town and Country (Use Classes) Order 1987, as amended

[9] Visitor parking for C3 uses requires 1 space per 40 units

[10] Secondary Schools will require double the amount of spaces identified

[11] The standards provided are universal across all unit sizes.

[12] The starting point for parking demand for non-residential uses in the medium and high sustainability zones should be public car parks.

[13] www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-plans-transport-assessments-and-statements

To take part in these consultations, you will first need to register as a user by clicking on the link at the top right of this page. Once you have registered, select a document, then comments can be given by clicking on the pen icon and writing in the form that appears. For further assistance please read our help guide.
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