Notes of a meeting of the Transport working party held on 19th September 2016 at 10am at Roffey Millennium Hall
Purpose:- one of three working parties appointed as part of co-ordinating a full response to the outline planning application recently submitted for development north of Horsham (DC/16/1677). The application includes housing (up to 2,750 dwellings), a business park (up to 46,450 m2), retail, community centre, leisure facilities, education facilities, public open space, landscaping and related infrastructure and has reserved matters except for access.
Remit:- to put forward comments relating to transport including cycling, pedestrian access and viability of public transport. To comment on areas identified by the other working parties where there is overlap.
Working Group Members:- Nicholas Butler, Roland Knight, Richard Millington, Helen Ralston* Ray Turner* and Roger Wilton*. Resident Mr Laurie Holt was welcomed as part of the group.
Ray Turner is the appointed co-ordinator of the group.
This meeting was a follow on from the meeting on 16th September. The notes from 16th September have been expanded to cover additional items raised at the meeting on 19th September and to add additional points and clarification to the original notes. New and expanded points have been added in red and in italics.
• Further information was required on vehicle movements.
• Consideration was given to engaging a consultant to challenge the evidence on vehicle movements cited by the developer that led them to put forward the road structure proposals and to look at the phasing structure (Design and Access Statement pg 144; 08. – see ‘Phasing’ later in the notes)
• Mole Valley and Crawley Borough Council have expressed concerns regarding the additional traffic on smaller peripheral roads in a wide area surrounding Horsham and there is evidence to show that the building of Kilnwood Vale has already slowed traffic on the A264.
• The stretch of the A264 from the Great Daux Roundabout to the Moorhead Roundabout forms a significant strategic part of the route from the south coast to London and is heavily used. Concern was expressed about impeding traffic along this route.
• This development has a huge impact on the residents of Horsham and its surrounding communities and the developer has a duty to offer appropriate solutions to challenges within the highway infrastructure.
The proposed road system
Proposed new roundabout on A264 at Langhurstwood Road
• The proposed roundabout at Langhurstwood Road was considered to be ill conceived, relying on existing infrastructure that was not intended for significant traffic flows and is therefore not fit for this purpose. In particular, Pondtail Drive was never intended as a through road. It is narrow and it leads onto a local road structure that is already at capacity during peak times.
• The distance between the roundabout on Pondtail Road and the proposed new roundabout is relatively short. The impact of the restricted length is that traffic travelling north onto the A264 is likely to back up at peak times and spill out of Pondtail Drive causing congestion on Pondtail Road. Traffic coming off the A264 travelling south along Pondtail Drive at peak times could back up causing congestion on the A264.
• There was considerable concern for those residents on Pondtail Drive who would lose significant amenity and be subjected to increased noise and vibration from traffic including buses and lorries should the proposal go ahead.
• The option in DC/16/1677 would increase traffic back towards Horsham within the existing road infrastructure along Pondtail Road. There would be increased risks to the safety of road users because Pondtail Road narrows to enable traffic to navigate the bridge under the railway line and this is an area where there has been a history of flooding. Buses travelling along the narrower part of Pondtail Road would especially pose a danger to oncoming traffic.
• A roundabout slowing traffic at Langhurstwood Road would lead to congestion further along the A264 and on the A24, but it was considered acceptable to have a vehicular access onto and leaving the new development only at this point.
• There is potential to provide a bridge to enable cyclists and pedestrians to cross to and from Langhurstwood Road/ Pondtail Road over the A264.
This must be grade separated to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, to provide good non motorised access to and from the new development and to ensure that the flow of traffic on the A264 is not impeded.
Northlands Road to Old Holbrook
• This could become an access for pedestrians and cyclists between the existing settlement in North Horsham and the new development as an alternative to Pondtail Drive. This access allows more direct access to North Heath Lane.
• The diagrams within the planning application did not reflect reality.
• In order to access the town centre and residential areas to the east of Horsham, traffic exiting the A264 from the Rusper Road roundabout is likely to encounter the railway crossing at Littlehaven station which causes significant congestion and tailbacks and therefore is not suitable as the main access for the new development for all traffic. However, this was the favoured route for buses as it links with Littlehaven Railway Station and leads to the main Horsham station.
• As the Rusper Road roundabout is shown currently as the access point on the new development for schools and Littlehaven Station it would be logical instead to install a two level system (graded) whereby only cyclists, pedestrians and buses could cross the A264 from Rusper Road at this point without impeding the flow of traffic on this major route for those travelling from the south coast to Gatwick and areas where employment opportunities are more prevalent.
• Concern was raised regarding the proximity of proposed road expansion to an archaeological feature (Motte and Bailey) in Lemmington Way owned by Horsham District Council. It is incumbent on HDC to ensure that this local heritage feature is protected. The rampart of the Motte and Bailey, which is very close to the A264 boundary fence and an existing dwelling which is on the site of the proposed road works calls into question whether significant expansion of the roundabout is appropriate, especially when coupled with other concerns raised locally.
• A better solution would be to include a left hand filter from the A264 into Rusper Road (south) and a left hand filter from Rusper Road (south) onto the A264.
• Concern was raised at the impact to residents who live on Rusper Road and the surrounding area as noise and vibration from traffic is likely to increase.
New junction between Rusper Road roundabout and the Moorhead Roundabout (Crawley Road) currently shown as Left In Left Out
• It was felt that this would be a better place for a roundabout to access the new development (but no access south into the existing residential areas off Bartholomew Way) as this would give more direct access to sports pitches, leisure facilities, railway station, schools and business park. It would also avoid traffic from the East having to travel on the A264 as far as Rusper Road roundabout and traffic exiting from the business park and railway station having to exit left and double back at the Moorhead roundabout.
• Improvements are required to increase the potential capacity for traffic travelling along the A264 without deviation from the west northwards and vice versa at this roundabout. This could include dedicated left turn carriageways on the A264 to enable traffic to turn from the north into Crawley Road and from Crawley Road west onto the A264. There have been numerous incidents of lorries travelling west towards the Great Daux roundabout on the A264 from Crawley tipping over on the Moorhead roundabout and ways of designing out that possibility need to be considered to improve safety.
• Concern was expressed regarding traffic turning in and out of Earles Meadow from the Moorhead roundabout and the dangers posed by vehicles turning across fast moving traffic near a blind corner. A small roundabout may offer a solution.
• The unsuitability of Wimlands Road as the emergency route for evacuating the carriageway on the A264 in case of an emergency and accessing the new development was again questioned (see notes from Environment and Infrastructure Group 15th September 2016) due to the level crossing.
Cycle and pedestrian access additional to that included above
• In general, existing pedestrian and cycling routes should not be cut off but additional more prominent visible routes encouraged to reduce dangers.
• Provision of access routes will involve making breaks in the tree lines that run along the south side of the A264. The trees were originally installed as a buffer against noise for residents south of A264, therefore an alternative buffer zone may be required.
• It should be noted that North Horsham PC are proposing pedestrian and cycle access using grade separated routes at Langhurst wood Road, Old Holbrook and Rusper Road. In addition, there is an access route near the football pitch at Shottermill across the A264 which appears to be included as part of a footpath route within the new plans.
• To improve the spinal route within the application to enable pedestrians and cyclists to travel unhindered from Roffey to Wimlands Road or to Warnham Station, it is considered that a footbridge that runs opposite the Earles Meadow turn on Crawley Road across the A264 to link in to the proposed ‘east /west spinal route’ would encourage more people to use it effectively. This could link in with the underpass close to the railway line in some way (see next bullet point). This could address the current lack of access for pedestrians and cyclists from the East/ Roffey and improve the internal linkages for pedestrians and cyclists from the business park and railways station so that they are not forced on to either a circuitous route to access crossing points or on dark, exposed paths across fields and parks to retail and residential areas.
• The underpass close to the railway line requires improvements including lighting to allow for pedestrian and cyclist access to the proposed railway station.
Internal Road Design
• This was considered by the Environment and Infrastructure working party. The Transport Working Party raised additional concern about potential access from the A264 being routed through a new access road through a residential area. A zone of landscaping may help to reduce impact on residents to give some distance and segregation, but careful design is imperative if housing is to be built in this area. This includes consideration of dust and pollution from emissions which could have an environmental/health effect on residents
• Concern was raised regarding the width and design of internal roads especially that linking to the business park.
Viability of public transport
• Is there potential to improve Warnham station – what would the impact be on Warnham residents?
• There would need to be significant ‘buy in’ from the franchises that run rail networks to facilitate any changes to use the Dorking line.
• What will happen if the railway station is not built – does the finalised transport layout still work?
• The land allocated for the railway station should be used as a terminus for a Park and Ride facility in phase 1 of the development to encourage residents on the new development to access Horsham without using their cars.
• It has been stated that if a new station is to be built in North Horsham another one between Horsham and Crawley has to close. Kilnwood Vale has been promised a station and improvements have recently been made at Littlehaven Station, therefore in reality, the station at North Horsham appears to be reduced in priority. What evidence is there for the viability of the station?
• If the station isn’t built, then reassurance would be required to confirm that the money allocated for this would be invested in highways infrastructure and not more dwellings.
• It was observed that Littlehaven Station may need further improvements as usage increases as it currently has a limited capacity and there are areas where the access is not safe.
• A good public transport system with ideal walking distances to bus stops (400 metres) from the start of construction to minimise the impact on the new residents and on existing infrastructure.
• A Park and Ride facility adjacent to the proposed new station to incorporate into existing bus routes. Existing bus routes 23, 98 and 200 could easily link to the facility and provide improved connectivity between the new development Crawley and Horsham.
• Buses to be routed down Rusper Road to connect to railway stations to reduce the use of cars.
• The DAS indicates that phasing has been carefully considered and takes account of early delivery of key infrastructure, including the education and education elements. Liberty pledge early delivery of infrastructure where possible and in consultation with key stakeholders to ensure that infrastructure is delivered in an appropriate and timely manner. A programme of delivery for the highway infrastructure will be agreed and the sequence of works, including the delivery of the new junctions on the A264. (DAS Pg 144 S8) However, there appears to be no information on the phasing of the business park which is vital for the viability of the development. Further information and commitment on the phasing structure is required.
Recommendation to Planning Committee 29th September 2016
It is recommended that the Clerk approach a list of consultants compiled from those which have been used by other Parish Councils locally to ascertain costs and capacity.
It is further recommended that delegated responsibility be given to the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Planning Committee to formulate specific questions and agree concise areas of investigation which will assist the Parish Council with their response to the application.
Further to this to engage a consultant to review information regarding phasing within the application and to scrutinise evidence regarding vehicle movements. A time frame of one week was suggested.
The Council to be kept informed at all stages.
• The working party considered that additional professional help was required to provide evidence to support the issues which raised most concern. (see vehicle movements, phasing and recommendation to Planning Committee 29th September 2016)
• The transport system be integrated with the rest of Horsham.
• Will the new development be part of North Horsham Parish?
• Will the facilities on the new development complement those already existing in Horsham?
• Concern was expressed regarding how the development will impact on the A264, the network of roads within the parish and the knock on effect into the town centre through north Horsham. (Covered by the examination of each access point strategically within the notes)
• How will the large development west of Horsham be impacted by the development in North Horsham and will the impact reach to Kilnwood Vale and Southwater?
• It is disappointing that the developer has chosen to hold its public exhibition in Horsham (Park Barn on 30th September 2016 and 1st October 2016) rather than in North Horsham Parish. The venue for the public exhibition is away from the town centre with limited paid parking which could restrict the ability of some local residents to attend.
• It would appear that the road layouts proposed are based on reducing financial outlay rather than on providing good infrastructure solutions for the benefit of North Horsham. A precedent has been set by the development west of Horsham (Broadbridge Health) and it is important that the best solutions are sought and financial investment is maximised for the benefit of local residents.
• Additional school places are vital to cope with the increased need from all of the development around Horsham. This will be even more urgent when the development north of Horsham is built. This point is included in the notes from the Affordable Housing working party but will be strengthened.
Conclusion and further meetings
A meeting of all working parties is scheduled for 10am on Monday 26th September 2016 to review all notes and start to bring a response together.
A working party meeting is scheduled on Wednesday 28th September 2016 at 10.30am. Ian Gledhill, Principal Planner (Highways) for West Sussex County Council will join the meeting and this will be specifically to look at Transport.
A further working party meeting is scheduled for Thursday 29th September 2016 between 6pm and 7.30pm at which David Lowen, the Horsham District Council case officer will be present. This will be to discuss ways of moving forward and to gain advice and guidance
An update of notes so far and any information from the additional working party meetings will be put to the Planning Committee Meeting on 29th September 2016 at 7.30pm and recommendations regarding consultants will be put forward for consideration. This may be subject to change following the working party meetings w/c 26th September 2016.
As agreement was given to spend up to £8,500 (EMR) and £4,000 from Revenue at the PCM on 1st September 2016 it is considered that the Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting scheduled for 6th October 2016 is not required, Instead it is proposed to hold an Extraordinary Parish Council Meeting on 27th October 2016 at 8pm at the Tythe Barn to agree a response to Horsham District Council.
A meeting of the Horsham Association of Local Councils to which Ian Kershaw (Prinicpal Planner Highways – WSCC) will be invited to speak is scheduled for 6th October 2016 in Pulborough. This would be an opportunity to hear the views of surrounding communities. The Chairman and Clerk are invited to this meeting. Should anyone else wish to attend, please contact the Clerk so that enquiries can be made.
There being no further business the meeting closed at 11.45am.
Notes taken by the Clerk (Pauline Whitehead)