We’re getting tired of reporting on this one. We’re certainly tired of wading through the nonsense that the applicant’s ‘transport consultant’ turns out. The Kingsbridge application to redevelop the old Pfizer cold store site at 32 New Lane might have seemed like a bright idea to somebody who doesn’t know the town, but for local residents it’s always been the thin end of a nightmare.
The root of the problem has always been ‘traffic’. The proposed development would generate it, the town already suffers from it and a national distribution hub operator needs to manage it. Wise players, like DPD, have already sited their distribution hubs at an edge of town site like Dunsbury Park, right next to the A3(M). Others have already made an intelligent play for ‘Brockhampton West‘, next to the A27, but Kingsbridge seem strangely convinced that New Lane is ‘the right place’. It isn’t.
(We’ve written about Havant’s traffic issues at length before so if you’re new to the subject or just want to catch up, take a look at this post. )
By managing the traffic we mean that the business needs to have a precise grasp of the number of vehicles needing site access, a thorough understanding of the constraints of the local road network, and an appreciation of whether or not the site would be giving delivery drivers the best chance of hitting their daily schedule target.
This isn’t rocket science. You don’t need a ‘traffic consultant’ to work this stuff out. If the first round of transport documents that were issued for this application in February had more holes than a Swiss cheese, then the latest set issued during July have certainly provided the crackers. The rushed publication on July 27th of the local bus timetables, apparently at the request of HBC, is just the latest.
(If you want to dive into the detail, the New Lane residents have already done it – click here to read.)
The national planning rules established by the government are clear. Transport Statements and Transport Assessments should declare the impact of all ‘trips’ generated by a proposed development. The problem is that the data apparently provided by the ‘proposed occupier’, clearly doesn’t include the traffic movements associated with the staff commuting to and from the site.
With the proposed three shift, 24 hour, 7 day operation, we’d expect around a couple of hundred vehicles to arrive at and depart from the site around midnight when the two largest shifts change over. However, according to Kingsbridge and their ‘consultant’, just EIGHT vehicles arrive, and NINE depart, between 11:00pm and 01:00am. (And those, in case you wondered, are all HGVs)
The Travel Plan suggests that the workforce will be using public transport. Just think about that for a moment…… It shouldn’t take a ‘consultant’ to realise that the local buses are tucked up in bed at that hour. This is not London, we don’t have ‘night buses’.
The UK Government (MHCLG) guidelines also state that the traffic statements made by the developer should also include “an assessment of trips from all directly relevant committed development in the area”. This latter point should clearly take account of the traffic expected to be generated by Kingsbridge’s own neighbouring ‘Spring Business Park’, the New Lane Colt site developments and the new residential developments to the north and south of Bartons Road.
The data which underpins the transport documentation is demonstrably incomplete and unsound and the transport documentation derived from it is riddled with mathematical and transcription errors. With this lack of accuracy, precision and completeness in the trip generation numbers, and with clear lack of adherence to UK Government MHCLG expectations, Havant Borough Council must reject this planning application.
If you agree that this application should be rejected, then you have until Wednesday August 4th to add your comments. Take this link to add your comments to the planning application.
(If you need a bit of guidance on how to comment on a planning application, read our post here.)
Kingsbridge should understand that local residents are not against the intelligent regeneration of the New Lane employment area. Havant needs quality employment and the New Lane estate is ideally placed for the creation of the right kind of employment. Work with us and we can bring a great deal of local knowledge to the party. All you need is the vision.