SOMERSET INN, PAULTON Accessibility Comparison with other Consented Sites

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1 SOMERSET INN, PAULTON Accessibility Comparison with other Consented Sites Introduction Poulton Ltd has submitted a planning application for residential development of land to the rear of the former Bath Road,. The site is outside of the Housing Development Boundary but in the absence of a five year housing land supply within Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), planning decisions should be made against the policies of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The NPPF includes a presumption in favour of sustainable development. There have been a number of planning consents recently where development sites in village settings and outside of the respective Housing Development Boundaries have been allowed at Appeal. It is considered that the sustainability in transport terms of the Somerset Inn site at is better than that of the similar allowed sites elsewhere and that given the precedent this sets, a refusal on transport sustainability grounds could not be maintained. This accessibility comparison report identifies the non-car accessibility parameters associated with the site and compares these with those associated with four other similar sized sites which have been granted planning permission within B&NES villages. The other sites considered are: 38 units at Brookside Drive, ; 36 units at Maynard Terrace, ; 35 units at Stichings Shord Lane, ; and 41 units at The Batch,. Walking Distance to Day to Day Services and Facilities Locating a development site within appropriate walking distances of day to day services and facilities is a key component of ensuring sustainable development as the ability to walk to a local destination has the greatest impact in reducing the use of the private car. Guidelines quoted by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) state that a walking distance of 2,000m should be treated as a preferred maximum therefore services and facilities located beyond this distance are not included in the comparison tables which follow. 1

2 The Transport Statement for the application (to which this comparison report forms an Appendix) provides in Table 3.1 a list of the local services and facilities available in and their associated walking distances from the site. The key destinations are repeated in Table 1 below together with the walking distance to similar services and facilities (if present within a 2km walk) associated with the four other approved sites. In all cases the walking distances are measured from the centre of the respective site to the service or facility via the most direct publically available route. Service or Facility Pharmacy 1,550m X X X X Convenience Store 875m X 1,450m 410m 250m Dentist Surgery 1,100m X X X X Doctor Surgery 1,550m X 1,820m X X Local Hospital 1,630m X X X X Primary School 1,040m 250m 610m 350m 490m Leisure Centre or Swimming Pool 1,460m X X X X Post Office 1,090m X 600m 410m 250m Library 1,060m X X X X Village Hall 1,290m 970m 510m 420m 780m Table 1: Measured Walking Distances The above clearly identifies that benefits from a much wider range of services and facilities that are located within an appropriate walking distance than the approved sites in other similar villages. The previously approved sites maybe closer to some individual services and facilities than the site but will be predominantly dependent on the private car when accessing those that are not available locally. In order to rank each of the sites in walking accessibility terms, each site has been given a score according to its proximity to the various services and facilities. The scoring system is as set out in Table 2 below: 2

3 Service or Within 2km Within 1.6km Within 1.2km Within 800m Within 400m Facility Table 2: Pedestrian Accessibility Scoring System Applying the above scoring system to the walking distances identified in Table 1 allows a direct comparison between the walking accessibility of each of the sites to be made with this being identified in Table 3 below. Service or Facility Pharmacy 2 X X X X Convenience Store 3 X Dentist Surgery 3 X X X X Doctor Surgery 2 X 1 X X Local Hospital 1 X X X X Primary School Leisure Centre or Swimming Pool 2 X X X X Post Office 3 X Library 3 X X X X Village Hall TOTAL Table 3: Pedestrian Accessibility Scores The above identifies that the Somerset Inn site at is considerably more accessible on foot than the sites which have been approved at, and. As previously noted, the range of services and facilities that are available within an appropriate walking distance of the site are also much greater than all the other settlements therefore the opportunity for walking trips is much greater. 3

4 The above relates purely to the walking distance and does not take in to account the standard of the walking route between the respective sites and the services and facilities identified. The site does not currently benefit from good pedestrian facilities on the various walking routes but the development will bring with it a virtual footway along Bath Road between the site and Britten s Hill and a surfaced and lit pedestrian link to the public footpath that connects to Britten s. These enhancements are discussed in detail within the Transport Statement that supports the application and will enable safe pedestrian movements to and from the existing footways beside Britten s Hill and beyond towards the Village centre. Public Transport Accessibility The availability of public transport is also a key element of a development site s non-car accessibility and sustainability. The location of the nearest bus stops in the vicinity of the comparison sites has been identified together with the frequency of services to and from the main local centres of Bath, Bristol or Midsomer Norton/Radstock. Only services that operate at least one return journey every weekday have been considered with such services being combined to represent the total number of buses per weekday from the nearest stops. This information is presented in Table 4 below: Walking distance to nearest bus stops Total number of twoway weekday bus services to/from Bath, Bristol or MSN/Radstock 240m 410m 1,100m 220m 250m Table 4: Public Transport Availability The above identifies that the bus stops at and are within the 400m recommended walking distance identified by the Institution of Highways and Transportation while those at are generally at this maximum distance while those at are well beyond it. It should be noted that there are bus stops closer to the approved site but services only operate from these stops three days a week hence they have not been included in the above. 4

5 Levels of bus service vary between the sites with and have similar frequencies of service, having an excellent frequency of service and having a poor frequency of service. As before, a scoring system can be applied to the above information in order to allow the sites to be ranked in terms of public transport accessibility. The scoring system is identified in Table 5. Walking Within 600m Within 500m Within 400m Within 300m Within 200m distance to bus stop Total number of two-way weekday bus services Less than to to to 40 More than Table 5: Public Transport Accessibility Scoring System Applying the above scoring system to the public transport elements identified in Table 4 allows a direct comparison between the public transport accessibility of each of the sites to be made with this being identified in Table 6 below. Walking distance to nearest bus stops Total number of twoway weekday bus services to/from Bath, Bristol or MSN/Radstock TOTAL Table 6: Public Transport Accessibility Scores The above identifies that when the walking distance to the nearest bus stops is cross referenced to the level of service available there from, the site is more accessible by public transport than all four of the other approved sites. It should also be noted that the site is accessible to an additional 40 two-way bus services which can be accessed at the stops on Winterfield Road at a walking distance of 940m from the site. This further strengthens the public transport accessibility of the site in comparison to the other sites where approvals have been granted. 5

6 2011 National Census Mode of Travel to Work Data The National Census contains information on the method of travel to work of households and therefore allows the relative sustainability of various settlements to be compared. The census data for the site has been obtained together with that for the four sites that have previously been approved. This information is summarised in the following Table 7. It should be noted that the raw census data has been adjusted slightly in order to exclude those who work mainly from home and those who are not currently working. It has also been adjusted to reassign those who travel to work by train to the car mode as none of the settlements assessed have railway stations so any rail trips are first likely to involve a car trip to the nearest station. Mode of Travel Bus, Minibus or Coach 2.39% 4.49% 3.38% 1.27% 1.27% Taxi 0.32% 0% 0% 0% 0% Motorcycle, Scooter or Moped 1.48% 1.23% 1.73% 0.59% 0.59% Driving a Car or Van 82.17% 80.62% 83.00% 86.00% 86.00% Passenger in a Car or Van 5.35% 4.49% 4.34% 4.31% 4.31% Bicycle 0.96% 2.03% 1.21% 0.68% 0.68% On Foot 6.70% 6.34% 5.46% 6.56% 6.56% Other Method of Travel 0.64% 0.79% 0.87% 0.59% 0.59% Table 7: Census Method of Travel to Work In simple terms the lower the proportion of car driver mode the more sustainable the settlement can be considered to be in transport terms. In this context the above table identifies to be the best followed by, and finally. The total proportion of walking, cycling and public transport use is also important and identifies a total of 12.86% for, 10.05% for both and with only 8.51% for Bishop Sutton. 6

7 Conclusions The above report identifies the non-car accessibility and sustainability of the proposed Somerset Inn, site and compares this with similar sized and located sites in other villages within B&NES. These other sites are all located outside of the adopted Housing Development Boundaries in their respective settlements and in the acknowledged absence of a five year housing land supply have all been deemed to be in sustainable locations following Public Inquiries. As such all four of the sites have been granted planning permission. The above assessments of pedestrian and public transport accessibility identify that the proposed site is located in a more accessible and more sustainable location in transport terms than the four other sites that have previously been judged to be in a sustainable location. This position is also reinforced through the national census statistics which identify that more people travel to work in a sustainable manner from than do so from or. In light of the above evidence and the previous decisions made by four separate Inspectors at Inquiry, it is considered that in transport terms the site is in a sustainable location and fully accords with the requirements of the NPPF. FMW Consultancy Ltd September

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