Draft Thanet Local Plan - 2031 - Pre-Submission Publication, Regulation 19

6 - Transport Strategy

Safe and Sustainable Travel

6.1 The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that transport policies have an important role to play in facilitating sustainable development and in contributing to wider sustainability and health objectives. Key messages include that the transport system needs to be balanced in favour of sustainable transport modes, giving people real choice about how they travel. Local Plan policies are expected to aim for a balance of land uses to encourage people to minimise journey length for employment, shopping, leisure, education and other activities.

6.2 Transport is a critical factor to Thanet's aspirations for sustainable economic regeneration. Thanet's residents need to go to work, school, shops and to access other services as part of their daily lives. Goods need to be moved to support employment and economic growth. Thanet does not at present suffer significant levels of congestion, traffic noise, pollution and delays such as experienced in urban centres elsewhere in Kent. A high proportion of Thanet's population has no access to a car. However this has potential to change and some traffic congestion already occurs at certain junctions at peak times. Thanet has an attractive environment and is a pleasant place to live and work. Its environment is also a potential asset in attracting investment. The intention is to maintain that situation while attracting and accommodating appropriate development in support of regeneration. Accordingly, key actions will be to manage mobility by putting in place an efficient and effective, sustainable transport system.

6.3 With Port Ramsgate, Thanet has a potentially significant international Gateway function important for economic development across the region. The introduction of high speed trains connecting Thanet with the High Speed 1 (HS1) service has reduced journey times from Ramsgate to London by over 30 minutes. Manston Business Park is a location of strategic importance. A travel plan will be required alongside planned growth to promote sustainable travel, particularly by the workforce.

6.4 Kent County Council's Local Transport Plan (Delivering Growth without Gridlock, 2016-2031) identifies strategic transport projects to support Kent's sustainable economic growth. One of the identified strategic priorities is journey time improvements and Thanet Parkway Railway Station. It also identifies a number of local priorities for Thanet:

  • Inner circuit of new and improved highway routes, including improved links to Westwood Cross
  • Bus priority measures
  • Improve sustainable transport options in Westwood
  • Westwood Relief Strategy - Westwood Road to Margate Road Link
  • Margate junction improvements
  • Ramsgate Port investment
  • Public realm improvements in the coastal towns

6.5 The Council is also working with Kent County Council to prepare a Transport Strategy for the district which supports the development proposed through the draft Local Plan.

6.6 The draft Transport Strategy is informed by transport modelling of the draft Plan proposals, and seeks to address key transport issues, including those related to the development identified in this Plan. It includes proposals for cars, public transport, walking and cycling. The key new road infrastructure is set out under Policy SP46.

6.7 Thanet's services and most employment sites are clustered in and around the coastal centres and Westwood. These are close to Thanet's existing communities, including the deprived neighbourhoods, and highly accessible by public transport including the frequent "Loop" bus.

6.8 An efficient and convenient public transport system and direct walking and cycling routes need to be at the heart of the transport network to reduce the risk that growth may cause traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, or isolate disadvantaged communities.

6.9 Within the context of an established development pattern, the most significant change likely to generate demand for travel will result from new housing development. It is necessary, therefore, to consider the location of development in areas accessible to a range of services on foot and by public transport, preventing urban sprawl and improving local high streets and town centres. Methods such as providing showers and changing facilities in employment related development and locating cycle parking close to town centres/entrances will also help reduce the need to travel by car.

6.10 Thanet and Kent County Council are jointly preparing a Thanet Transport Strategy to help increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the transport system, achieve a shift to more sustainable travel patterns and modes and to identify the transport infrastructure and improvements required to support implementation of the Local Plan. The following sections address challenges identified in the draft Strategy.

Policy SP41 - Safe and Sustainable Travel

The Council will work with developers, transport service providers, and the local community to manage travel demand, by promoting and facilitating walking, cycling and use of public transport as safe and convenient means of transport. Development applications will be expected to take account of the need to promote safe and sustainable travel. New developments must provide safe and attractive cycling and walking opportunities to reduce the need to travel by car.