Draft Thanet Local Plan to 2031 - Preferred Options Consultation

A) Thanet Preferred Option Draft Local Plan

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Transport

Transport Assessments and Travel Plans

18.1 Development proposals may need to be accompanied by and judged against transport assessments or statements to assess the impact of development on the highway network and what improvements to transport infrastructure may be needed to accommodate them. Proposals likely to have significant transport implications will also require submission of a travel plan indicating measures to improve accessibility and promote sustainable and low carbon emission travel, such as electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Where feasible, development schemes should incorporate links to walking and cycling networks and/or contribute proportionately to their extension, rationalisation and improvement. Proposals should have regard to the route networks promoted in the walking and cycling strategies and integrate with them and with public transport routes and services. Many people will still choose to travel by car, and development may also need to provide or contribute to improvements to the road network to reduce congestion and improve pedestrian movement and safety.

Policy TP01 - Transport assessments and Travel Plans

Development proposals which the Council considers would have significant transport implications shall be supported by a Transport Assessment and where applicable a Travel Plan. These should show how multi-modal access travel options will be achieved, and how transport infrastructure needs arising from the expected demand will be provided.

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Walking

18.2 Walking and cycling generally improve overall health and fitness levels, can reduce the number of cars on the network, reduce congestion, improve air quality and save money for the individual. Creating active street frontages, with more people walking and cycling, also reduces crime levels and can act as a catalyst for more people to become active. The quality, safety and convenience of access by foot, bicycle and public transport are all key factors in encouraging people to select alternative modes to the private car.

18.3 Thanet has a road network which largely accommodates footways on both sides, not only in the main towns and seaside settlements but also along the distributor routes connecting them. In the rural areas the Public Rights of Way network offers walkers (and sometimes horse riders and cyclists) a good connection across open countryside to the coast, rural settlements and end destinations, with some circular walks offering superb views of both coast and countryside combined. The Thanet Coastal Path follows the longest stretch of chalk coastline in the country, the route having been set up in the 1990s. The Viking Coastal Trail is good for beginner walkers, offering good views out to sea. There are other signposted walks in Thanet, including the Turner and Dickens Walk linking Margate and Broadstairs.

18.4 In 2005 “Feet First,” a local walking strategy for Thanet was published. This identifies barriers to walking in the district and aims to promote and enable walking, for example by specifying a network of routes for improvements.


Policy TP02 - Walking

New development will be expected to be designed so as to facilitate safe and convenient movement by pedestrians including people with limited mobility, elderly people and people with young children.

The Council will seek to approve proposals to provide and enhance safe and convenient walking routes including specifically connection to and between public transport stops, railway stations, town centres, residential areas, schools and other public buildings.

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Cycling

18.5 Cycling can provide an alternative to the private car for short trips and form part of longer journeys by public transport. Popularity of cycling as a healthy, enjoyable, efficient, pollution-free and cheap means of transport is dependent on safe, continuous, direct and attractive cycleways, together with facilities for secure cycle storage at interchange points and destinations.

18.6 The Viking Coastal Trail roughly encircles the former island Isle of Thanet providing connections between the towns, leisure and heritage attractions. It forms part of the National Cycle Network and connects to the Oyster Bay Trail to Whitstable. Other routes have designated facilities to make cycling more attractive, such as the shared use footway/cycleways adjacent to New Haine Road. Provision of toucan crossings and facilities such as cycle parking at stations, shopping centres and other key locations, also help to improve the attractiveness popularity of cycling in the district.

18.7 The Council has published a Thanet Cycling Plan, (developed in association with local cycling groups), and, in conjunction with the County Council, will seek provision of a network of cycle routes using existing routes and where appropriate extensions to the primary route network. This includes part of the “Sustrans” national cycle network, which runs through Thanet, together with priority links between residential areas, places of work, schools, stations and town centres. The Council will seek every opportunity to introduce cycle routes in accordance with Thanet Cycling Plan

18.8 Thanet Cycling Plan aims to establish a comprehensive safe network of cycle routes catering for all journey purposes, and features existing and proposed routes. The Cycling Plan may be updated periodically to reflect the evolving network, and its proposed cycle routes are not therefore featured in this document.

18.9 New development generating travel demand will be expected to promote cycling by demonstrating that the access needs of cyclists have been taken into account, and through provision of cycle parking and changing facilities. Secure parking facilities and changing/shower facilities will encourage use of cycling. Cycle parking provision will be judged against the standards set out in the cycle parking standards appendix E.

 

Policy TP03 - Cycling

The Council will seek the provision at the earliest opportunity of a network of cycle routes. Development that would prejudice the safety of existing or implementation of proposed cycle routes will not be permitted.

New development will be expected to consider the need for the safety of cyclists and incorporate facilities for cyclists into the design of new and improved roads, junction improvements and traffic management proposals.

Substantial development generating travel demand will be expected to provide convenient cycle parking and changing facilities.

New residential development will be expected to provide secure facilities for the parking and storage of cycles.

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Bus and rail

18.10 Public transport has a major part to play in the realisation of a sustainable lifestyle by reducing car usage and pollution. Thanet has the lowest level of car ownership in Kent, which means that public transport is vital for personal mobility. A good public transport network is therefore important so that both these issues are addressed.

18.11 The Council has no direct control over the provision of bus and rail services. However, in its planning and other functions the Council will support the continuation and improvement of an effective public transport service for both bus and rail. Developer contributions will be used to facilitate implementation of such improvements. In addition the Council will expect new developments to take into account the needs of public transport. This could include various measures such as designing in waiting areas or the provision of sign posting and bus shelters.

18.12 Thanet is served by seven railway stations and has direct services to London, Canterbury, Ashford and Dover.

18.13 In December 2009 High Speed One services commenced from Ramsgate to London St. Pancras reducing rail journey times to 1 hour and 16 minutes. For purposes of comparison, the mainline journey time to London Victoria is around 2 hours and to London Charing Cross up to 2 hours and 30 minutes.

 Map 22 - The High Speed One Network

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The High Speed One network

 

The three principal stations are Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate with routes in three directions:

  • London via Faversham and Chatham
  • London via Canterbury and Ashford
  • Dover and Folkestone via Sandwich

Buses

18.14 Buses have an important role to play in providing a flexible alternative to the private car. This Plan supports development that will facilitate greater use of and improvement to bus services. New development will be expected to provide or contribute towards appropriate improvements.

18.15 In 2000 a Quality Bus Partnership (QBP) was formed between Stagecoach, Thanet District and Kent County Council with the aim of increasing local bus patronage. The formation of the Partnership has seen investment in roadside infrastructure and new vehicles as well as other initiatives to improve services, such as the high frequency LOOP and STAR services. However, there are still areas of congestion and inefficiencies on the highway network that prevent the bus services running as well as they might. The QBP will continue to work to remove these restrictions.

18.16 The introduction of the “Thanet LOOP” in October 2004 was an immediate success and the existing Margate and Ramsgate local services the “Thanet STARS” were upgraded as a result. Bus patronage has steadily increased year on year and continues to do so with more Thanet residents recognising the convenience of bus use for accessibility within Thanet. PLUSBUS tickets are available at all Thanet stations enabling passengers to combine their train and bus tickets for unlimited travel around the district.

18.17 Stagecoach also operates direct routes to Canterbury and Dover. In these towns passengers can join connecting services to the remainder of East Kent, including Folkestone, Faversham and Ashford.

 

Policy TP04 - Public Transport

Development proposals will be expected to take account of the need to facilitate use of public transport. The Council will seek to approve proposals consisting of or incorporating:

1) improvement of passenger and waiting facilities

2) measures to improve personal security

3) improved accessibility for people with mobility limitations

4) bus/rail interchange facilities

5) secure cycle storage

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Coach parking

18.18 Tourism in Thanet depends to a large extent on coach business. Coach travel is to be encouraged as an acceptable alternative to car based visitor travel. Dedicated sites to park coaches are therefore required. Sites at Palm Bay, Dreamland and Vere Road in Broadstairs are currently used for such purposes. Replacement provision for coach parking, displaced by development at the Rendezvous, Margate is needed; a potential alternative site being within Barnes Avenue car park, Westbrook.

18.19 Ramsgate has no designated coach park, and Broadstairs has limited provision which may prove to be insufficient at peak times. The Council will seek appropriate solutions to accommodate demand on a temporary basis until such time as a specific site may be justified and identified.

Policy TP05 – Coach Parking

Land at Vere Road, Broadstairs and Palm Bay, Cliftonville, as identified on maps 24 and 25, will be retained for use as coach parking to serve the tourist trade.

Within Barnes Avenue Car Park Westbrook, as identified on map 26, land will be identified and safeguarded and retained for use as coach parking to serve the tourist trade.

The Council will consider the need to identify a site to accommodate demand for coach parking at Ramsgate.

Map 23 - Vere Road, Broadstairs

Coach Parking - Vere Road

 Map 24 - Palm Bay, Cliftonville

 Coach Parking - Palm Bay

 

Map 25 - Barnes Avenue Car Park, Westbrook  

Coach Parking - Barnes Car Park

 

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Car parking

18.20 The availability of car parking is a major influence on choice of means of travel. This Plan recognises the need to maintain some car parking provision, for example to provide choice of travel to urban centres, while restricting provision in new development in order to optimise site development potential, and promote sustainable transport choice.

18.21 The Council will expect new development to make efficient use of sites and optimise site development potential. Accordingly it will encourage well designed schemes that correspondingly minimise the proportion of the site used to accommodate the appropriate level of car parking.

18.22 Dreamland Heritage Amusement Park and other prospective developments are expected to draw increasing numbers of visitors. It is anticipated that during peak periods demand for off-street car parking in Margate and potentially other coastal towns may exceed current capacity. The Council will proactively seek and encourage suitable opportunities and solutions to manage and accommodate demand for car parking.

Policy TP06 – Car Parking

Proposals for development will be expected to make satisfactory provision for the parking of vehicles.

Suitable levels of provision will be considered in relation to individual proposals taking account of the type of development, location, accessibility, availability of opportunities for public transport, likely accumulation of car parking, design considerations and having regard to the guidance referred to below:

1) In considering the level of parking provision in respect of proposals for residential development (use class C3), the Council will refer to the guidance provided in Kent Design Review: Interim Guidance Note 3 - Residential Parking.

2) In considering the level of parking provision in respect of proposals for other development, the Council will refer to the indicative guidance in Appendix E.

Where the level of provision implied in the above guidance would be detrimental to the character of a conservation area or adversely affect the setting of a listed building or ancient monument then a reduced level of provision may be accepted.

Within the town centres of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs (as defined on maps 27,28 and 29) new development proposals will not be required or expected to provide onsite car parking spaces. Where feasible such proposals should consider measures to encourage occupiers to make greater use of public transport.

Map 26 - Car Parking in Margate Town Centre

 

Town Centre Parking - Margate

Map 27 - Car Parking in Ramsgate Town Centre

Town Centre Parking - Ramsgate

Map 28 - Car Parking in Broadstairs Town Centre

Town Centre Parking - Broadstairs

Additional policy provisions in respect of car parking at Westwood are addressed in Policy TP09.

 

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18.23 The attractiveness of town centres for business, shoppers, residents and tourists depends amongst other things on an adequate level of car parking and effective enforcement of traffic regulations to prevent illegal parking on the highway and on public footpaths. In town centres the objective is to reduce the dominance of the private car in favour of walking, cycling and public transport, and to maximise site development potential. Accordingly the approach is to make better use of parking facilities that already exist, rather than providing more, and to apply charging and enforcement policies designed to encourage use of town centre public car parks for short term parking, and to prevent displacement of parking pressures beyond the immediate town centre area.

18.24 In district centres including Birchington and Northdown Road, non-car transport and optimum use of existing public and on street provision for short stay will be encouraged through appropriate charges and enforcement.

18.25 Outside the areas referred to above, the Council will monitor the situation, and consider appropriate measures and mechanisms to address any problems identified.

Policy TP07 - Town Centre Public Car Parks

In the town centres of Margate, Ramsgate and Broadstairs the existing level of off-street public car parking will be retained. Development resulting in the loss of space at such car parks will be refused unless:

1) the proposal includes satisfactory replacement provision as part of the development or on an alternative site considered appropriate and compatible with the operational requirements of the Council’s parking service, or

2) exceptional release would enable provision at an alternative location for which there is greater demand and which is compatible with the operational requirements of the Council’s parking service, or

3) evidence demonstrates that the car park is under used and/or loss of spaces would be compatible with the operational requirements of the Council’s parking service.

 

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Freight and service delivery

18.26 Effective delivery of goods and services is essential to the health of Thanet’s town centres, local business and economic regeneration. Road freight traffic needs to be directed to routes fit for the purpose. The airport, Thanet’s business parks, industrial estates and the Port of Ramsgate are directly accessible through the primary road network. However, town centre roads are generally unsuited to accommodate large vehicles, and off-street servicing facilities are limited. Proposals for new development in town centres will therefore be expected to include adequate off-street servicing. Where feasible, off-street loading areas, enabling goods to be delivered to shops in smaller loads, will be encouraged in new developments.

 

Policy TP08 - Freight and service delivery

New development proposals will be expected to demonstrate adequate off street servicing.

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Car parking at Westwood

18.27 Due to its historically ad hoc pattern of growth, Westwood has a number of large, free car parks in locations which encourage shoppers to drive between them to visit its various retail stores. As a multi-purpose destination, Westwood is collectively over-provided with car parking. The Council will seek to encourage non-car travel to Westwood. Within the area shown on the map below, it will restrict parking provision, and encourage developers to work with the Council to reduce existing parking provision, develop better access, services and facilities for customers who wish to walk, cycle or arrive by public transport. The Council will seek to achieve this through cooperation with developers and in determining development applications to extend existing or build new commercial development.

18.28 A key objective of the Westwood Relief Scheme is to remove private vehicles from the area around the A256/A254 intersection in favour of a pedestrian friendly public realm enabling safe and convenient movement on foot between various commercial destinations and a smoother flow of through traffic passing around the area. Delivery of the scheme will require some reconfiguration of the road network and land use in the vicinity including potentially locating and rationalising car parking so that access by vehicle is from outside the pedestrian friendly area.

Policy TP09 - Car parking provision at Westwood

At Westwood, new commercial development proposals will be expected to demonstrate specific measures to encourage at least 20% of customers to arrive at the site by means other than car. Such measures will include restricting total levels of car parking provision as follows and will be the subject of a legal agreement.

1) Car parking provision in new development exceeding 90% of the indicative maximum level set out in the guidance at Appendix E will require specific justification.

2) Where new development is proposed at sites with existing car parking then shared use of car parking will be expected and total provision, assessed on the basis of resultant total floor space of existing and new development, shall not exceed the maximum levels of provision referred in Clause 1.

Where extensions to premises are proposed then no new car parking provision will be permitted. Replacement of any car parking lost as a result of such development will not be permitted unless special justification can be demonstrated.

Proposals for development that may impact upon demand for car parking will be considered in light of compatibility with the Westwood Relief Scheme.

Map 29 - Car Parking at Westwood

 Westwood parking area Oct 2014

 

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Traffic Management

18.29 The emerging Transport Strategy identifies a range of issues to be addressed, and which may require traffic management based solutions. Such issues include the need to address deficiencies in the highway network or junction capacity affecting efficient running of bus services, causing congestion or affecting air quality and the need to improve connectivity and address barriers to walking and cycling.

 

Policy TP10- Traffic Management

Development required to implement traffic management measures designed to realise the best use of the highway network in terms of safety, traffic capacity and environmental conditions will be approved.

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