This is the WOW response that has been sent to the council planning officer in respect of this development.
Article giving Background Information
Wolves on Wheels Cycle Campaign objects to this application because of the inadequate provision for cycling, particularly in respect of cycle parking. This is a lost opportunity given the location of the development:
- Sited alongside the ring road means residents would have easy access to the city centre and supermarkets by bike. At the public consultation event held earlier in the year the representative of the developer that we spoke to seemed well aware of this and the potential that good cycling and walking links afforded the site.
- It is close to an on pavement cycle lane alongside the Bilston Rd which leads to the canal and the opportunity for leisure rides within a short distance.
In detail our objections are:
Absence of parking for customers of the cafe
There is no cycle parking for the cafe shown on the drawings, or mentioned in the applicants Travel Plan as far as we can see. CoWC guidelines (1) recommend a minimum of 2 spaces for this sort of establishment, which we would regard as adequate for the size of the cafe. They should be sited on the pavement at the front of the cafe in full public view (for security) in a location that allows for expansion should this prove necessary in the future.
Absence of cycle parking for employees of the cafe
Again, there is nothing shown or referred to. Employees cycling to work will want to park their bikes under cover and away from public access. Drawings show the internals of the building to have little spare space but there is a locked and fenced compound at the rear for bins. We recommend that a locker with space for two cycles is provided in here.
Inadequate cycle parking for residents of flats
We disagree with the calculation for the number of cycle parking spaces presented in section 4.8 – 4.12 of the Travel Plan. The consultants appear to have based these around the current figure (2.5%) for local modal share and then applied a multiplier to allow for projected growth and compared this to the number of dwellings in the residential blocks to arrive at 4 & 8 spaces for the Nursing Block and Main Block respectively.
We think this is incorrect. The figure that should be used is the proportion of the population that OWN bicycles (and hence wish to have a secure place to store them). Currently, the national modal share for cycling is well known at 1% (2); the proportion of people aged 5 years and over who own a bike is put at 42% (3).
This is presumably what is behind the requirement of one cycle parking space per dwelling given in (1) and we recommend that this is adhered to.
Residents' bikes are likely be stored on-site for a large part of the time, certainly overnight. The parking provided should be:
- In a covered enclosure.
- In a convenient location
- Well lit. Residents arriving back after dark will want to feel secure.
- Secure; accessible only by residents, eg by the same key/code they use to access the outer door of the residential blocks themselves. Within the enclosure there should be individual racks to which residents can lock their bikes.
- Have some racks with more room, for cargo bikes, trailers etc.
Even if some of these bikes are only used for a weekly ride along the towpath in good weather, or taken on car racks for an occasional day out on Cannock Chase this is still physical activity and in line with the council's desire to increase the physical activity undertaken by the population of the city. Providing insufficient or unattractive cycle parking will hinder achievement of this aim.
No indication of any traffic calming on the roads within the estate
The new build houses are shown with gardens, some quite large. It is clear that these have been designed with families with children in mind. This being the case we would expect that measures be taken to make the roads within the estate suitable for children to walk and cycle in safely.
The entry/exit roads are referred to as 'priority controlled' in section section 4.3 of the Travel Plan, but without further explanation. We would recommend that the possibility of speed restriction within the estate be considered.
No indication of any improvement for cyclists travelling along Cleveland Rd
This development, and the one on the old bus depot site, will inevitably lead to an increase in motorised traffic on Cleveland Rd. We recommend that there is a continuous cycle lane provided for the whole length of Cleveland Rd from its termination points at Steelhouse Lane and Ring Rd St Georges; both for the benefit of residents of the new developments and through traffic from the city centre to the Bilston Rd.
The development is in other respects a good one; providing housing and preserving and reusing an interesting building. If the points raised above can be satisfactorily addressed then WOW would be able to support this application.
(1) CoWC Highways Technical Technical Guidance Note Part 3 Section DG16
(2) Road Traffic Great Britain (TRA 0104 & 0402), quoted in Cycling UK statistics page
(3) Government's National Travel Statistics (NTS 0608) quoted in Cycling UK statistics page