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Chapter 5 - Transport

Introduction

5.1 This Chapter sets out the policies and proposals that will be applied to encourage the development of sustainable transport in the District. The emphasis will be on public transport, cycling and walking, but in a District such as Braintree with its extensive rural areas it is recognised that for many people the car will remain an important form of transport.

5.2 As planning authority the District Council is only one of many players in transport provision. Those involved include the Highways Agency (A12 and A120 trunk roads), the County Council (all other roads, traffic management, road safety, and passenger transport support), bus and train operators, Network Rail, and taxi companies. Close working between all partners is essential if common objectives are to be achieved. To this end the Council has established a Transport Partnership Board to develop and progress transport policies and proposals in the District.

Policy Context

5.3 The policy context for the transport policies and proposals of this plan is principally provided by the Essex and Southend-on-Sea Replacement Structure Plan, the Essex Local Transport Plan, and the Transportation Strategy for Braintree District. The Structure Plan covers the period to 2011, whilst the Local Transport Plan and District Transportation Strategy are more detailed and cover the period t0 2011 and 2006. The strategic policy context is provided by Policy CS5 of the Structure Plan. This emphasises the importance of achieving an integrated and sustainable transport system, promoting a choice of travel options, particularly by means other than the car, a reduction in the need to travel, accessibility for all sectors of the community, and a safe, efficient and environmentally acceptable network. The Transportation Strategy for Braintree District was approved in March 2000, following public consultation. Those issues and proposals in the Strategy which have land use implications are carried forward into this Plan.

Aims and Objectives

5.4 The aims and objectives of this Plan are based on Council’s Corporate Strategy (approved in 1999) and the Transportation Strategy for Braintree District.

Aim

5.5 The overall aim is to develop a sustainable, integrated transport system for the District, which provides necessary access to facilities, services and goods with less dependence on cars and less impact on the environment.

Objectives

5.6 In planning for the future provision of transport the Council is seeking to achieve the following objectives:

1. To promote public transport, cycling and walking, Safer Journeys to Schools, and transport packages for the urban areas.

2. To protect sensitive urban and rural environments from the adverse impact of transport, including the use of appropriate materials and street furniture.

3. To improve safety for all road users.

4. To seek improvements to infrastructure to unlock the economic potential of the District.

5. To promote accessibility to everyday facilities for all, especially those without a car.

6. To encourage employers, major retailers and leisure operators to implement travel plans.

7. To promote the integration of all forms of transport with land use planning, leading to a better, more efficient transport system. Further details of these objectives are set out in the Council’s District Transportation Strategy.

The Strategy

5.7 The development strategy for the District is to concentrate development in Braintree and Witham, which contain the main sources of employment in the District and have the widest range of shops, services and community facilities. The strategy seeks to maintain Halstead’s character as a county market town, and to limit development in the rural areas in order to protect the countryside.

Encouraging Sustainable Development and Travel Patterns

5.8 The Council will seek to reduce the need to travel and to promote public transport, cycling and walking through the strategy and policies contained in this Plan and through the determination of planning applications.

5.9 Travel plans will be required for all major developments and will be encouraged for existing businesses. Similarly, travel plans will be promoted for schools. A supplementary planning document will be prepared to advise on the contents of travel plans.

5.10 Where developments will have significant transport implications, transport assessments should be prepared and submitted, alongside the relevant planning applications for development. The coverage and detail of the transport assessment should reflect the scale of development and the extent of the transport implications of the proposal. For small schemes, the assessment should outline the transport aspects of the application. For major proposals, the assessment should illustrate the accessibility of the site by all modes and the likely modal split of journeys, to and from the site. It should give details of measures to improve access by public transport, walking and cycling, to reduce the need for parking associated with the proposal and to mitigate transport aspects.

5.11 The strategy also seeks to promote Safer Journeys to School initiatives, encouraging parents and children to walk and cycle.

Creating an Inclusive Transport System by Providing Choice and Accessibility

5.12 It is an important part of the Council’s strategy to promote alternatives to the car and wherever possible, to make it easier to use public transport, cycle or walk.

5.13 For buses, the Council in partnership with Essex County Council will work with bus operators to improve bus services in urban and rural areas of the District. Essex County Council will investigate the possibility of quality bus partnerships in Braintree and on the inter-urban route between Colchester and Stansted airport. Particular attention will be paid to bus performance and reliability with improvements to highway infrastructure at bus stop locations including information, publicity and passenger shelter provision.

The District Council will also seek to ensure that any development proposals that are likely to generate significant levels of travel demand will only be permitted where:

- Direct public transport services exists, or there is potential for the development to be well served by public transport.

- The layout of the development has been designed to ensure that the existing, or potential public transport routes, lie within easy walking distance of the entire site.

- Bus services are introduced at first occupation of the development.

Consultation with public transport operators will also be undertaken at an early stage.

5.14 For rail, the Council will work with train operators to improve the frequency of services at Hatfield Peverel and Kelvedon, and on the branch lines. The Essex and South Suffolk Community Rail Partnership has been established to enhance patronage and the long-term future of branch lines.

5.15 The Council will complete its review of the cycleway networks in Witham and Braintree and will carry out phased implementation of the networks, as funds permit. This will include the provision of cycle parking at key destinations. Cycleways will be constructed as segregated footways and cycleways separated by a raised white line or kerb,thereby helping to make walking a more attractive option. The District Council will also commission a study to identify pedestrian and cyclists needs in Halstead and following this, implement improvements as identified in the study.

5.16 The Council, in partnership with Essex County Council and other authorities, will also continue to develop its community transport to serve areas and people not otherwise served. This comprises three main elements: A social car scheme; a brokerage scheme for vehicles owned by community groups and organisations; and minibuses available to community organisations and groups. Braintree Community Transport is participating in an initiative to provide services in the Haverhill area, as part of the Three Counties Transport scheme. Other initiatives such as dial-a-ride and commuter services to railway stations are also being explored. The Council will promote and support proposals for community transport.

5.17 Through its development control policies, the Council will promote the design and layout of new developments to include facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, and for public transport. These will be secured by Section 106 agreements in new developments where appropriate. Guidance will be issued on the design and layout of footpaths and cycle ways to minimise their visual impact and to ensure that they are sympathetic to their surroundings. Standards for cycle parking will also be prepared.

5.18 To provide choice and accessibility in transport the following policies will be applied:

Policy RLP 49 Pedestrian Networks

Development proposals will only be permitted where the needs of pedestrians are fully incorporated in the design and layout. This will include the need to provide appropriate links to other land uses and developments, by securing safe, direct, convenient and fully accessible pedestrian networks. Improvements to existing pedestrian routes will be sought through planning obligations, where appropriate.

 

Policy RLP 50 Cycleways

Development proposals will only be permitted where the design and layout incorporates routes for cyclists in accordance with the existing and proposed networks of cycleways, as defined on the Inset Maps and in the Cycleway Strategies. New cycleways should be segregated, convenient and safe and fully integrated into new developments.

 

Policy RLP 51 Cycle Parking

Development proposals will only be permitted where they include cycle parking facilities, in accordance with the standards set out in Appendix 3.

 

Policy RLP 52 Public Transport

The District Council will support and encourage measures aimed at improving public transport and providing new public transport routes, including:

- improved waiting facilities, shelters, cycle parking and information at bus stops

- bus priority measures

- improvements to Witham Railway Station, including improved interchange with buses

- improvements for bus passengers at Fairfield Road, Braintree

- continued development of community transport initiatives

- encouraging interchange between bus, rail and coach at Braintree Freeport Station

- improvements to secure full accessibility for people whose mobility is impaired

- concessionary fares.

 

Policy RLP 53 Generators of Travel Demand

Major new development proposals that are likely to generate significant levels of travel demand will only be permitted where:

- direct public transport services exist, or there is potential for the development to be well served by public transport.

- the layout of the developments has been designed to ensure that access to existing or potential public transport lies within easy walking distance of the entire site, normally a maximum of 400 metres from the centre of the development.

Note: Major refers to housing sites of 1 hectare, or 30 dwellings or more, retail and leisure uses of 1,000sq.m or more, business uses, higher and further education uses of 2,500sq.m or more and stadia of 1,500 seats or more.

 

Policy RLP 54 Transport Assessments

All proposals for major new development will be required to be accompanied by a Transport Assessment in order to determine the effect of the proposal on traffic congestion, public transport, cycling and walking.

 

Policy RLP 55 Travel Plans

The District Council will require applicants for major new commercial or community developments to formulate and implement travel plans. These will be secured by a Section 106 Agreement. Travel plans will also be required for smaller developments, which would otherwise have a detrimental effect on local traffic conditions and for proposals for new and expanded schools. Proposers of major developments should demonstrate how all transport modes will be catered for. Sustainable modes should be facilitated through the development.

Note: ‘Commercial or community developments’ refers to new, or extensions to existing, developments such as industry, offices, leisure uses, educational establishments, hospitals and other health facilities.

Note: Major has the same meaning as para. 89 of PPG13 (i.e. Retail and leisure uses 1000sq.m and over, business uses, higher and further education 2,500sq.m and over, stadia 1,500 seats and over).

Management of Overall Travel Demand and the Transport Network

5.19 Given the geographical nature of the District, the scope for managing overall travel demand is considered to be limited. There is only limited scope for bus priority measures in Braintree and Witham. There is some scope for influencing travel demand through the application of car parking pricing and controls. In particular through its application of development control policies, the Council will introduce maximum parking standards for new developments. These are set out in supplementary planning guidance, which is included in Appendix 3. Parking charges in town centre car parks can also be kept under review to discourage unnecessary travel to work in town centres by car. There will be a need to continue to provide for car parking at railway stations to encourage the use of rail for longer journeys, particularly to work. There are also specific parking requirements for the Freeport Designer Outlet Village in Braintree. These issues are considered further below, but specific car park allocations are proposed for the existing car parks in the vicinity of railway stations and at Freeport, Braintree.

5.20 In town centres, off-street parking is mainly provided for by a mixture of public car parks and supermarket car parks. The current assessment is that the level of provision is generally adequate in Braintree and Witham, but further off-street parking is required in Halstead. A site for a shoppers car-park has been identified on land to the east of the High Street, which is part of the Comprehensive Development Area shown on the Proposals Map.

Policy RLP 56 Vehicle Parking

Development will be required to provide off-street vehicle parking in accordance with the Council’s Adopted Parking Standards (in Appendix 3).

The existing car parks at the following locations are allocated on the Proposals Map for car parking and will be protected for that purpose.

Braintree Freeport Designer Outlet Village

Braintree Station Approach Bures Railway Station

Hatfield Peverel Railway Station

Kelvedon Railway Station

Witham - Cut Throat Lane, Easton Road and White Horse Lane

A site for a shoppers car-park is also proposed on land to the east of the High Street, Halstead.

 

Expanding Transport Capacity

5.21 Braintree District has grown rapidly recently, and the provision of transport infrastructure and employment has not kept pace. This has led to high levels of commuting out of the District, which in turn has led to capacity problems, particularly on the inter-urban network. There is a need to improve both the road and rail networks in the District to cater for this recent growth.

5.22 This strategy will seek to secure the completion of the current programme for the strategic road network in the District, namely the dualling of the A120 between Braintree and Stansted Airport.

5.23 For rail, the single-track Witham to Braintree branch line limits the frequency of trains that can use the line. A Rail Passenger Partnership Bid has been submitted by the County Council to the Strategic Rail Authority for funding for a passing loop at Cressing. For the longer term, the merits of investigating a rail link between Braintree and Stansted Airport have been accepted by both the Regional Plan and Replacement Structure Plan Examination in Public Panels. The County Council, BAA, and Railtrack are sponsoring a study of rail options in north-west Essex. Ways of improving services on the Sudbury branch line will also be explored with the train operator, Essex and Suffolk County Councils, Babergh District and Colchester Borough Councils.

Protecting and Enhancing Rural and Urban Environments and the Communities

5.24 The need to control amounts and speed of traffic was one of the key issues that emerged from the consultations on the Council’s Quality of Life Plan. There are also a number of areas where safety improvements are required. Speed reduction schemes will be introduced through the Local Transport Plan and the District’s Locally Determined Programme as resources permit.

5.25 The Council will also press for ways of reducing through traffic in Kelvedon and Feering and these can be explored as part of the London to Ipswich (LOIS) multi-modal study, being carried out on behalf of the Government Office for the East Of England. The Council will also support the introduction of traffic management measures in Hatfield Peverel following the construction of the new link road to Witham.

5.26 Ways of reducing vehicle damage on country lanes will also be explored, for example, through the use of heavy goods vehicle restrictions and the establishment of ‘Quiet Lanes’.
Implementation

5.27 In order to achieve the aims of the Strategy, a number of transport proposals and schemes are proposed below. Where appropriate these are also shown on the Proposals Map.

Urban areas

Braintree

5.28 Braintree is the largest town in the District, with a population of approximately 37,000 and has experienced rapid growth over the last ten years. The A131/A120 Braintree By Pass and A131 Great Notley By Pass have removed through traffic from the town and provide an opportunity to travel from one part of the town to another, without passing through the town centre. However, traffic volumes are now such that congestion occurs at key junctions on the Braintree By-Pass in the peak hours, particularly at the Galleys Corner roundabout.

5.29 The restricted road network in the town itself means that there is localised congestion at peak hours, particularly in and around the town centre and high levels of traffic in residential and other sensitive areas. There are also problems of non-residential parking in the streets around the town centre.

5.30 The town is served by the Great Eastern Railway, with stations in the town centre and at Freeport, but the limited capacity of the branch line means that the frequency is restricted to 40 minutes in the peak hours, with an hourly service off peak. One of the proposals for the plan period is to construct a passing loop at Cressing Station and extend the length of platforms along the branch line from a capacity of 8 to 12 cars. This would improve the capacity of the line and enable the frequency of trains to be increased. It is hoped that this will increase the attractiveness of the services on the branch line and lead to a reduction in car journeys to other stations, such as Witham and Chelmsford, which currently have a better level of train service. In order to maximise the benefits to be obtained from the improved capacity on the branch line, it will be necessary for complementary measures to improve accessibility to both Braintree and Braintree Freeport Stations by public transport, walking and cycling and to improve car parking at the stations. To this end, it is proposed to construct a new pedestrian and cycle bridge at Braintree Freeport Station. There is also an opportunity to encourage greater interchange between bus, rail and coach at Braintree Freeport Station and this is shown as a special policy area on the Proposals Map. The existing car park, which serves the Freeport Designer Outlet Village, is also allocated on the Proposals Map.

Policy RLP 57 Freeport Special Policy Area

(Policy expired 24 July 2008)

The area adjacent to Braintree Freeport Railway Station is shown as a special policy area on the Proposals Map. This area is to be used as a public transport interchange to serve the development.

 

Galleys Corner and Panners Roundabout

5.31 The area around the Galleys Corner roundabout on the A120 to the south of Braintree has been developed for transport related uses to serve users of the A120. This site forms part of the gap between Braintree and Tye Green and special controls are required to limit the type and extent of development and prevent the coalescence of the two settlements.

Similarly, land between Panners Roundabout and King William Roundabout adjacent to the A120 to the south-west of Braintree has planning permission for a motorist service area to include petrol filling station, car wash, motel and restaurant. This site makes an important contribution to the gap between Braintree, Great Notley and White Court and therefore special controls are necessary.

Both these sites are therefore shown as a special policy areas on the Proposals Map and the following policies will apply.

Policy RLP 58 Galleys Corner Special Policy Area

An area at Galleys Corner between Braintree and Tye Green is shown as a special policy area on the Proposals Map. Very strict control will be exercised over development in this area, in order to limit the spread of the built up area of Braintree and to prevent the coalescence of Braintree and Tye Green. Within this area development will be restricted to the following categories of uses:

1. Transport related development - motorists’ cafe/restaurant, overnight accommodation, petrol filling station

2. The existing garden centre and ancillary uses

3. The existing established haulage depots at Long Green

Buildings will not be permitted to cover more than 20% of the site area. The improvement of this area by substantial planting and landscaping will be a requirement of any permission that is granted.

 

Policy RLP 59 Panners Roundabout Special Policy Area

Land to the east of Panners Roundabout between Braintree and Great Notley is shown as a Special Policy Area on Inset Map1. Within this area, development will be restricted to transport related uses such as a petrol filling station, motel and restaurant. This land makes a particularly important contribution to the physical separation of Braintree and Great Notley and in allocating it as Special Policy Area, development will not be permitted to cover more than 20% of the site area. Substantial planting and landscaping will be required of any permission, with particular attention to be paid to the eastern half of the site and the frontages with the B1256, London Road and A120.

5.32 The town has a reasonable level of bus services during the day on Monday to Saturdays, most of which are commercially operated. Sunday and evening services are more limited and are generally run under contract to Essex County Council. Route information and waiting facilities for passengers and interchanges with other modes of transport are generally poor.

5.33 The strategy for the town will be to promote the use of public transport, cycling and walking, implementation of schemes to improve road safety, and to relieve the worst areas of traffic congestion. The following measures will form the basis of the transport package for the town:

- The development of quality bus partnerships for the town bus services to include better waiting facilities, better information about services, and regular and frequent bus services.

- The introduction of bus priority measures.

- The phased implementation of the footpath/cycleway network in the town, together with improved cycle parking.

- Improved capacity on the Braintree branch line.

- More use of the Braintree and Braintree Freeport Railway Stations; improved accessibility to the stations by public transport, cycling and walking, and improved car parking at these stations.

- Galleys Corner roundabout improvements.

- Residents’ parking schemes in the streets around the town centre.

- Speed reduction schemes in residential areas.

Witham

5.34 Witham is the second largest town in the District with a population of approximately 24,000. It is situated on the main London to Colchester railway line and is by-passed by the A12. The B1018 provides connections to Braintree and Maldon. Because there are no direct links between these B roads and the A12, Braintree and Maldon bound traffic, including heavy goods vehicles, has to pass through the town. There is localised traffic congestion, particularly at peak times around the town centre and the station.

5.35 The town has a reasonable level of bus services during the day on Mondays to Saturdays. Evening and Sunday services are mainly limited to the Chelmsford to Colchester service, which passes through the town. Witham is generally flat and is suitable for cycling, and a number of segregated cycleways have been constructed.

5.36 The proposed strategy for the town is to remove extraneous traffic from the town centre, particularly HGV’s, to encourage the maximum use of public transport, cycling and walking, whilst maintaining as far as possible the level of accessibility by car and commercial vehicles necessary for the commercial well-being of the town. It will also include schemes to improve road safety within the town.

5.37 As a result of a Rail Passenger Partnership Bid, the Strategic Rail Authority has made funds available to improve Witham Station. New lifts have been installed and improvements to the station forecourt have recently been completed. It is proposed to extend the station footbridge to the car park on the south side of the station, which will improve access to the station for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as car users.

5.38 Increased rail use has led to increased demands for car parking around Witham Station, including on-street parking in residential streets. Most of the car parks serving the station are in private ownership. There is only limited opportunity for increasing surface level car parking. Any substantial increase in car parking capacity is only likely to be achieved through adding decks to existing surface car parks. The increasing levels of car traffic that this would generate will only serve to add to congestion around the station at peak hours. There may be some reduction in demand for parking if the capacity of the Braintree branch line is increased and there is less railheading at Witham for passengers from that area. There may also be scope for reducing parking demand by improving accessibility to the station by public transport, cycling and walking. An accessibility study for the station is therefore proposed to examine the problems and options to deal with them. The existing car park at Cut Throat Lane is allocated for car parking on the Proposals Map.

5.39 The following measures will form the basis of the transport package for the town:

- The development of quality bus partnerships for the town bus services to include better waiting facilities, better information about services, and regular and frequent bus services.

- The introduction of bus priority measures.

- The continued implementation of the footpath and cycleway network in the town, particularly to link residential areas with key destinations such as the railway station, employment areas and the town centre, including a new footpath/cycleway bridge across the railway at Motts Lane.

- Improved cycle parking.

- Improvements to Witham Railway Station, including improved interchange with buses, and extension of the footbridge to the station car park.

- A study to examine access to Witham Station by all modes of transport and the need for additional car parking.

- Improvements to the Colchester Road/Eastways junction.

- Measures to reduce the number of HGV’s travelling through the town centre.

Halstead

5.40 Halstead has a population of approximately 10,700 and is the third largest town in the District. The A131 Braintree to Sudbury, and the A1124 Colchester to Hedingham routes pass through the town. Bus services are generally restricted to those provided by inter-urban services that terminate in or pass through the town, supplemented by local services to nearby villages. The nearest railway station is in Braintree.

5.41 There are localised traffic problems as a result of traffic passing through the town, and a shortage of off-street car parking in the town centre.

5.42 The Essex Replacement Structure Plan includes the A131 Halstead By-Pass within the County Council’s longer-term programme, although it is acknowledged that schemes in this programme may not be constructed within the period covered by the Structure Plan up to 2011. A route for the by-pass has been identified, but no further work is being carried out at present. The scheme does not fall within the five-year funding period of the Essex Local Transport Plan.

5.43 There is only limited scope in Halstead for promoting sustainable transport measures, and the strategy for the town will therefore be based on improving conditions for pedestrians and cyclists, and schemes to improve road safety and provide localised traffic relief. The following are the key proposals for which funding is sought:

- Measures to encourage cycling and walking.

- Improved parking in the town centre.

- A study of the traffic problems in the south east of the town.

- Improved bus information and bus stops.

Rural Areas

5.44 Braintree District includes a large rural area comprising some 60 parishes. A number of villages lie on the main road routes, which cross the District, whilst many are more isolated being served by a network of country lanes. Through traffic is a problem in a number of villages, particularly Hatfield Peverel, Kelvedon, Feering, Earls Colne, Sible Hedingham, Bradwell and Gosfield. Recent surveys have also identified structural weaknesses in a number of bridges that serve the rural areas. Restrictions on their use may cause problems for local residents and services.

5.45 There are a number of railway stations in the rural areas; with Kelvedon and Hatfield Peverel on the main London to Colchester/Ipswich line, White Notley and Cressing on the Braintree branch line, and Bures on the Sudbury branch line. Only those villages lying on the main inter urban routes have regular and frequent bus services. Services to other villages are more irregular or non- existent. There are a number of opportunities in the rural areas to create long distance cycle routes that could form part of the National Cycle Network.

5.46 The strategy for the rural areas is to accept that for many people and journeys there is no realistic alternative to the car. However not everyone has access to a car for all or part of the time and alternative ways of meeting their transport requirements need to be sought. The following measures are proposed for the rural areas:

- Continued development of community transport through provision of minibuses for use by community groups, a transport brokerage, and a social car scheme

- Support for increased frequency of train services at Hatfield Peverel and Kelvedon, and on the Sudbury and Braintree branch lines

- Support for measures to relieve Kelvedon/Feering and Hatfield Peverel from through traffic

- Investigation of options for managing traffic growth on the A120 between Braintree and Marks Tey

- Creation of long distance cycle routes as part of the National Cycle Network, improvements to the Flitch Way and the investigation of links into Haverhill and Sudbury.

- Introduction of speed reduction and road safety schemes in villages

- Investigate the establishment of ‘Quiet Lanes’

- Production of a strategy for dealing with HGV movements, and implementation of identified schemes

- Examination of solutions for structural weaknesses in bridges

- Roadside footways

Inter-Urban Schemes

5.47 There are a number of Central Government and County Council inter-urban schemes proposed for this District, as follows: Central Government Schemes:

i) Hatfield Peverel to Witham Link Road: A safety scheme to provide a new local road between Witham and Hatfield Peverel, parallel to the A12. This will also include new slip roads to the A12. Compulsory purchase orders were published in January 2001.

ii) A120 Braintree to Stansted Improvements: A new dual carriageway between Braintree and Stansted Airport and the M11. The contract for the construction of this road was awarded in July 2001, and completed in 2004.

5.48 The LOIS multi-modal study has included an evaluation of options for improving communications between Braintree and Marks Tey along the A120 corridor. The District Council is neutral on improvements to the A120 East of Braintree. The Council wishes to see an examination and environmental assessment of all options, including an on-line improvement of the existing route and improvements to public transport, before reaching a view.

Note- This section of the Local Plan Review has been replaced by Core Strategy Policy CS7 Promoting Accessibility for All and Table CS7.

County Council Schemes

5.49 The following two schemes are included in the Essex Local Transport Plan:

i) Braintree Branch Line Improvements: Installation of passing loop at Cressing. Local Transport Plan funding of £350,000 in 2001/02, £7.72m. bid made for Rail Passenger Partnership funding.

ii) A131 Great Leighs Bypass: Completed November 2002.

The line of the proposed Sudbury Western By Pass is also identified on the Proposals Map and is being safeguarded at the request of Suffolk County Council.

Policy RLP 60 Braintree Branch Line Improvement

(Policy superseded 19 September 2011 by Core Strategy Policy CS7 Promoting Accessibility for All.)

Improvements to the capacity of the Braintree branch line by the installation of a passing loop at Cressing, extensions to the platform lengths, an additional platform at Cressing, additional car parking at Braintree and Freeport, a foot/cycle bridge at Freeport and improvements to the track and signalling will be sought in conjunction with the railway authorities and train operators and through developments which will be served by the route.

 

Policy RLP 61 New Road Schemes

(Policy superseded 19 September 2011 by Core Strategy Policy CS7 Promoting Accessibility for All.)

The following road schemes are proposed in the District and are shown on the Proposals Map and will be safeguarded from development:

Central Government Schemes:

(i) A120 Braintree to Stansted Dualling (completed July 2004)

(ii) Hatfield Peverel to Witham Link Road

County Council Schemes (Inter Urban):

(i) A131 Great Leighs By-pass (completed November 2002) (majority of scheme outside District)

(ii) A131 Halstead By-pass

The Sudbury Western By Pass, proposed by Suffolk County Council, is also identified on the Proposals Map.

Other Schemes shown on the Proposal Map

- The route of a spine road, serving the Maltings Lane development in Witham, linking Maltings Lane with the B1389 Hatfield Road (completed 2004)

- A new road link to Albert Road, Witham

- A gated private drive, to rear of properties on the east side of Newland Street, Witham

- The dualling of the A131 Great Notley Bypass.

5.50 Other Schemes:

i) Railway link between Braintree and Stansted Airport: It was a recommendation of both the Panel Report of the Examination in Public of the Regional Plan for the South East and the Replacement Essex and Southend on Sea Structure Plan that the feasibility of a rail link between Braintree and Stansted Airport should be investigated. This will be examined as part of the North-West Essex Rail Study. The principle of the link is supported by Braintree District Council.

ii) Improved bus and coach services on the A120 corridor: A rail link between Braintree and Stansted, if feasible, is likely to be a long-term proposal. In the short and medium term, there is an opportunity to improve bus and coach services along the A120 corridor, to provide more frequent and integrated timetables. The improvement of the A120 between Braintree and Stansted Airport will improve reliability and journey times and make bus and coach services more attractive. The Council will work with bus and coach operators, the County Council and BAA to achieve this.

iii) The Maltings Lane development at Witham, of up to 850 dwellings and a business park, includes the construction of a new spine road, which will be funded as part of the development.

iv) The road improvement linking to Albert Road, Witham is intended to improve traffic circulation in the vicinity of the station.

v) The proposed gated private drive, which would serve the east side of Newland Street, with access from Maldon Road, should not be implemented without the consent of all of the landowners affected by the proposal.

vi) Land is reserved for the eventual dualling of the A131 Great Notley Bypass. This scheme is identified on the Proposals Map.

District Wide Schemes

5.51 There are some issues and schemes that are District-Wide. These are listed below:

National Cycle Network

5.52 The National Cycle Network proposes to link Braintree to Bishops Stortford and Witham via Route 16 and Witham to Colchester and Maldon via Route 16 and Route 1. Route 16 will use the Flitch Way wherever possible and Route 1 is likely to use the Blackwater Rail Trail from Wickham Bishops to Maldon. Sustrans (the national charity responsible for developing the network) are currently developing these routes and the Council will continue to work with them to achieve this.

Safer Routes to Schools

5.53 The Safer Journeys to Schools initiative is a partnership involving schools, parents, pupils, officers and local residents. It aims to encourage parents and children to use alternative means of transport to the car, in order to reduce congestion and pollution. A range of measures including education, enforcement, engineering and public transport improvements exist, which may be used to reduce the risks encountered on the journey to school and make the change easier. Ten Schools within the District were initially involved in the Safer Routes to Schools scheme for 2000/2001, with a further five schools joining the scheme in April 2001. There will also be a number of additional schools in the District joining the scheme each year. The Council will continue to support the Safer Routes to School initiative, along with Travelwise and other education initiatives.



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