Employment development Keswick: our response

2016/0764 | Outline Application for Proposed employment development. Land West of Ipswich Road Keswick Norfolk

Norwich Cycling Campaign notes changes have been made to the cycling provision in the proposed development. For clarity, Norwich Cycling Campaign restates the original objections it wishes to sustain in Appendix A below. Norwich Cycling campaign now adds to these the following comments and objections:

General comments

The recognition of a need for connectivity between the site and the Keswick bridleway, as argued for in the previous submission, is welcomed. Unfortunately, the connectivity proposed uses an on-road cycle lane that is only advisory, and the cycle lane could be a serious safety hazard. (See objection below).

The removal of the traffic lights at the B1113/A140 junction and the closure of the right turn and left hand turn access from the A140 into B1113 is welcomed. This goes part way towards Norwich Cycling Campaign’s recommendation of the closure of this section of the B1113 except for a small access road for servicing the existing properties.

The disappearance from the developer’s proposals of the off-road cycleway from the region of the Harford Park and Ride to the B1113/A140 junction is deplorable. Norwich Cycling Campaign had welcomed this link in the original proposals. It was seen as an important contribution to sustainable transport; and as a means of extending the Yellow Pedalway towards Swardeston and other outlying settlements, linking Norwich with its surrounding countryside, and emulating what is already being achieved on the Blue Pedalway in the direction of Wymondham.

Objections

The developer’s proposals do not meet the requirements of Policy DM 3.10 at (1) in the South Norfolk Local Plan Development Management Policies Document Adoption Version October 2015:
All development should support sustainable transport and development objectives, utilise all opportunities to integrate with local sustainable transport networks, be designed to reduce the need to travel and to maximise the use of sustainable forms of transport appropriate to the location.

The plans lack adequate provision for safe cycling connectivity between the site and Norwich

There is no safe connection for cyclists between the Yellow Pedalway to the north of Harford Bridge, and the advisory cycle lanes to the south on the B1113.
A three lane A140 (two northbound lanes only 3m wide, the other 3.5m) with traffic travelling at the national speed limit will be a serious disincentive to most cyclists wishing to commute between the new employment area, Tesco’s, and the Norwich area. The route will be used on a regular basis only if there is an off-road cycle link between the Yellow Pedalway and the cycling lanes on the B1113.

(The Norwich Yellow Pedalway has only recently been extended as an off-road route with a crossing point of the A140 from east to west immediately north of Harford Bridge. It appears this newly constructed crossing will be swept away by the proposed construction of three lanes on the A140 at this point.)

Failure to provide connectivity with the off-road cycle routes of Norwich, means the development does not “utilise all opportunities to integrate with local sustainable transport networks” as required by DM 3.10

Advisory Cycle Lanes on the B1113 are not safe

Advisory cycle lanes are normally used only on routes that are subject to speed restrictions (e.g. 20 mph) and/or traffic calming measures, and have low levels of traffic. The existing proposals for advisory cycle lanes on the busy B1113 road are inadequate on the following grounds:

  • No measures to limit speed
  • No traffic calming measures
  • Width of advisory lane has not been specified. On-road cycle lanes of inadequate width are seen by many cyclists as very dangerous, particularly as there is evidence to suggest that vehicles overtake cyclists more closely when lanes are present.
  • No measures to limit traffic density
  • Vehicles are permitted to enter and to park on an advisory lane.

Failure by the developer to provide a cycle route to Norwich that is safe, and perceived to be safe, means the development does not “maximise the use of sustainable forms of transport appropriate to the location”, as required by DM 3.10

What would meet the requirements of Policy DM 3.10?
An off-road cycleway (perhaps shared with pedestrians) along the B1113 to connect the development cycle path at the new roundabout, to the Norwich Yellow Pedalway, via a safe crossing point of the A140.

Appendix A

Norwich Cycling Campaign continues to support the following objections from its original submission:

Contrary to local plan

A large part of the Proposed development area is outside the allocated employment area KES2 in the local plan. The allocated area was agreed upon only after extensive consultation. Ad hoc developments outside of the agreed local plan can be expected to further increase the unsustainability of transport (and other service) arrangements in the Greater Norwich area.

Falls within the Southern Bypass Protection Zone

It falls within the southern by-pass protection zone, and is in close proximity to the Yare Valley River Corridor. The Yare Valley River Corridor has been recognised as an important feature of the local green infrastructure for recreation and wildlife conservation. The proposal would degrade the attractiveness of the Yare Valley Corridor, and so inhibit cycling in the Yare Valley Corridor as a means of healthy recreation.

An unnecessary junction

If the proposed link road were built to a sufficient standard to carry all the traffic between the B1113 and the A140 there would be no argument for retaining a junction at the Harford bridge. A small access road from the B1113/link road junction [now a proposed roundabout] could be retained for servicing the existing properties.
The resulting land released by closing the B1113 at the approach to the Harford Bridge junction could be used to:

  1. Provide an attractive cycleway/footpath link between the Keswick Bridleway and Harford Bridge and increase opportunities for healthy recreation in the Yare Valley.
  2. Provide planting and landscaping opportunities to enhance this pinch point of the Yare Valley Corridor for wildlife and recreation to provide some compensation for the development taking place in the immediate vicinity. Such enhancement could link well with the proposed attenuation pond.
  3. Enable land to be released from the vehicular highway on the east side of the A140 so that the present inadequate footpath could be replaced by a good standard pathway/cycleway.