Policy I2: Supporting the Department for Transport’s “Road Investment Strategy”

GBC Policy

Policy I2: Supporting the Department for Transport’s “Road Investment Strategy”

Guildford Borough Council is committed to working with Highways England to facilitate major, long-term improvements to the A3 trunk road and M25 motorway in terms of both capacity and safety, as mandated by the Department of Transport’s “Road Investment Strategy”. As such, proposal sites adjacent to the A3 and M25 and other large sites will need to take account of any emerging proposals by Highways England or any other licenced strategic highway authority appointed by the Secretary of State under the Infrastructure Act 2015.

GGG Response

Summary

We OBJECT to this policy as it stands.  This policy is concerned only with the strategic road network – the A3 and M25 for which the responsibility and decision-making lies with Highways England. It is only reasonable that the council will work closely with Highways England to ensure that the Local Plan does not utilise land in a way that limit the scope for future improvements.

However, the proposals for the A3 are undecided and the council has suggested a very expensive tunnel proposal that, even if HE decided to go ahead with it, is unlikely to be delivered until the end of the plan period. Less expensive alternative A3 improvements would not be delivered before implementation of the current draft Local Plan and would deliver a massive growth in traffic. The road improvements are likely to lead to significant disruption to traffic during the construction phase on top of an already overloaded road network. It would be folly to make matters worse by committing to such a large housing number and the only logical conclusion is that a very significant traffic constraint should be applied to the OAN for this Local Plan.

Detailed response:

Funding for prospective road improvements has not been secured.

The wording of this policy is far too vague. Terms such as “working with” Highways England, to “facilitate” improvements, “to take account” of “emerging proposals” mean that this policy is, in effect, meaningless.  Typographical errors – such as the misspelling of “licensed” – must also be corrected.  

The Road Investment Strategy phase 2 (RIS2) for the period post 2020 is currently in the research stage. Until the research is completed it is impossible to prejudge what impact this will have on the Strategic Road network. However, the Strategic Transport Assessment does state  “4.8.6 It should be noted that despite these improvements, Figure 4.7 shows the A3 is still operating overcapacity with resulting impacts on congestion.” and “4.5.10 Currently it is unclear why some minor roads in or just outside Guildford town centre are showing increases. These include roads such as Nightingale Road, Denmark Road and Tormead Road. However, it could be related to re-routing occurring as a result of the improvements to the A3 through Guildford attracting drivers to both join the A3 and remain on the A3 at Guildford and weaving through local streets.” Also, at 4.8.3 “At the same time, average vehicle speeds increase not just on the A3 but across the network within the borough as a whole. However, despite this it should be noted that although the average speed across the network in Scenario 5 is higher than in Scenario 1 (the Do-Minimum), there are differences within the network with average speeds on A roads and minor roads lower than in Scenario 1.” In other words, traffic congestion on the local road network is predicted to be worse under this draft Local Plan.

It is possible or indeed probable that no further funding will be available, or that any funding will not meet projected full costs.  If this funding is unavailable in full, then this policy should clearly state that projects cannot be developed.

RECOMMENDATION:

We propose that unless guaranteed public funds are available to cover costs in full , there should be no development of any individual sites of more than 10 homes outside the urban areas.

 

 


2017 Guildford Local Plan

Guildford’s NEW local Plan has just opened for consultation. PLEASE RESPOND before 24th July 2017.  GGG has published its responses to Local Plan Policies here 


GGG Latest

Catch up on the latest news, issues and events from Guildford Greenbelt Group


Useful links

Find your way to the web sites of planning commentators, local residents' groups and much more