Whitchurch and Ganarew Neighbourhood Plan

Themes: Roads and Transport

Objectives for Roads, Traffic and Transport Policies.

To address community concerns about levels of traffic speed throughout the parish and about the standard of the existing roads infrastructure and to ensure that traffic generated by developments from the neighbourhood plan can be accommodated successfully.

To promote sustainable transport by reducing the need to travel by car and to make roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists, motorists and other road users.

To enhance accessibility of existing and developing roads’ infrastructure.

To improve the choice of available modes of transport so that sustainable and supportive transport can be provided.

To provide the opportunity for improving the health and well-being of the community.

To support the development of local enterprises so that local employment opportunities exist, thus reducing the need to generate long commuting times for residents.

To encourage improvement in the current provision of local public transport services, so that private car use can be reduced.

 

Background Information
Impact of the A40 trunk road:

As shown on the Parish Map, the parish and specifically the village of Whitchurch, is bisected by the A40 trunk road.  This road provides excellent road access to the north and to the east via the M50 and the Midland’s motorway network beyond and also to the south and west into Wales and to the South West.  However the A40 (apart from physically splitting the community) is an artery for high levels of traffic to pass through the parish at speeds in excess of 70 mph.  For a distance of 3.50 kilometres from Ganarew to the northern boundary of the parish at the Old Forge area of Whitchurch, there are 5 access points southbound and 5 access points northbound on the A40, making this a very busy and potentially dangerous length of road.  In addition, the noise levels from traffic passing through at speeds in excess of 70mph, is intense.

Existing roads infrastructure:

The existing roads infrastructure in the parish is variable in its condition and in parts very poor.

Traffic speed:

There are issues associated with the lack of speed control at specific locations in the parish which require attention in advance of the generation of increased levels of traffic as a result of future development.

Dangerous junctions:

There are also specific locations which are potential accident spots, which require better traffic management or road reconfiguration.

Pedestrian safety:

The issue of the provision of pavements and therefore of pedestrian safety is of serious concern.

Public Transport services:

There are no rail services in close proximity to the parish, the closest railway station is at Hereford (18 miles).  More distant stations are located at Ledbury, Gloucester, Abergavenny and Newport.

There is just one service which runs between Ross and Monmouth each day, service 34. From Whitchurch to Monmouth this service operates at an approximate 2 hourly frequency from 0700 hours up to 14.50 hours then hourly until the last bus at 18.02. From Whitchurch to Ross it operates from approximately 07.50 hours every 2 hours up to just before 14.00 hours and then more frequently up to the last bus at 19.27 hours.

Other services operate from Ross and from Monmouth, covering Herefordshire and Monmouthshire and beyond.  National Express Coach services are also provided at the two towns.

There is also a weekly service on Thursdays (service 31) that runs from Whitchurch at 10.20 hours to Llangrove then through to Glewstone and Ross.  This returns leaving Ross at 13.40 hours and arriving back at Whitchurch at 14.08 hours.

Finally, on Wednesdays service 411 operates from Ross through Walford and Goodrich to Whitchurch (0940) and onto through Llangrove, Llangarron, Harewood End, Much Birch and Wormelow to Hereford (10.30). This returns at 13.20 hours from Hereford arriving at Whitchurch at 14.09 hours and onto Ross at 14.30 hours.

Clearly these services have significant limitations, especially for people commuting to work.

Private transport arrangements:

In common with many rural areas there is a reliance on private transport.  This will be considered in more detail in subsequent supporting statements.  Local taxis are also used.

Voluntary transport schemes:

These do exist, but are minimal in their extent and mainly associated with health care.

Policy 1 – Roads, Traffic and Transport measures within settlements.
Proposals considered to have the potential to make a positive impact:

Managing vehicle speed on the A40 trunk road through the parish.

Slowing vehicles’ speed on entry into Whitchurch north, Whitchurch centre, Crocker’s Ash and into Ganarew.

Improving the safe delivery and collection of pupils to Whitchurch C of E Primary School.

Managing vehicles’ speed throughout Whitchurch and Crocker’s Ash.

Reducing the effects of increased traffic related to any proposed developments within the parish associated with the neighbourhood plan.

Improving the existing infrastructure to provide safer road and pavement conditions in the parish.

Improvements in the access to public transport facilities, cycling and walking routes (as a result of developments promoted in the neighbourhood plan), will be supported.

Supporting Statements.
This policy identifies those local improvements to the roads and transport infrastructure within the parish which are considered important to the local community and which also agree with the Herefordshire’s Core Strategy policy.  Whitchurch & Ganarew Group Parish Council will work with Herefordshire Council and developers to introduce measures to improve road safety throughout the parish.
Whitchurch & Ganarew Group Parish Plan 2014 - Key Findings.

This major consultative exercise, reported on in October 2014, involved distributing survey questionnaires to all residents in the parish.  The survey questionnaires were independently analysed and verified by a professional data analysis company, Data Orchard.  There was a response rate from nearly 50% of residents, so clearly the findings of the survey carry significant community weight.

In summary the report identified:

  • The car provides daily transport for more than 85% of respondents.
  • However 7% of respondents faced problems as a result of lack of transport.
  • More than 80% of respondents identified that their main concern was the poor condition of parish roads, causing concerns for the safety of all users.
  • More than 60% of respondents were very concerned about excessive speed by drivers of vehicles.
  • The high level of traffic noise from the A40 was a serious nuisance to many local residents.
  • Access and exit roads to the A40 were a major concern.
  • Directional signs need to be repaired and more informative to minimise abortive journeys being made, especially by visitors.
  • The general lack of car parking, passing points, lay-byes and turning areas causes problems especially the holiday seasons when the parish experiences a large increase in the number of visitors.
  • A further concern is the increase of vehicle traffic from river sports activities, for example the transport of canoes on trailers on roads that are inappropriate for this purpose.
Whitchurch and Ganarew Group Parish Plan 2014 – Recommendations for Action.

The Parish Plan identified the community’s preferred actions to address the identified concerns.  These will be considered as they affect each settlement in the parish:

Whitchurch:
  • There is a need to slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety in the vicinity of the primary school.
  • Similarly the road that crosses the A40 in the central area of Whitchurch has no speed limit, yet is within metres of two 30mph speed limit zones.  This is the main pedestrian route between the central part of the village and the primary school.
  • The 4 way junction of the Old Monmouth Road, the Old Ross Road, the Llangrove Road and the central access road to the A40 outside the Crown Hotel is a busy local junction and a blind spot for traffic exiting the Old Monmouth Road.  Traffic needs to be better managed or re-directed at this point.
  • On the Old Ross Road east of the Crown Hotel there is no pavement for 120 metres.  This road contains many residences and there is significant pedestrian traffic which is exposed to danger from vehicles.  An opportunity exists to create a pavement associated with a traffic calming chicane at this point.
  • On the Llangrove Road from the Old Monmouth Road junction up the hill towards Yew Tree Close, a distance of about 400 metres, there is only intermittent pavement facility.  Vehicles speed down this hill in excess of the prescribed 30mph speed limit and this is a dangerous area particularly for pedestrians.  An opportunity also exists here to create a traffic calming chicane incorporating a pavement at the bottom of this hill.  Consideration for a Speed Indicator Device (SID) was also suggested at this location.
  • On the A40, in order to address the three issues of excessive speed, the unsafe access and exit slip roads and the disturbance from road noise, there was comprehensive support for a 50mph speed limit to be imposed on the stretch of this road from Ganarew to Whitchurch Old Forge area.
  • The junction of the A4137 road to Hereford and the Old Monmouth Road has a blind spot for traffic turning right onto the A4137 to cross the A40 and this junction needs to be redesigned.
Crocker’s Ash:
  • This is a hamlet located on the C1251 which runs parallel with the A40 between Whitchurch and Ganarew.  The road provides access for the many houses in the settlements of Great Doward and Little Doward.  It also provides a link for Lewstone and Sellarsbrooke to the north of the A40.
  • This road is not speed limited for its length.  From Crocker’s Ash “crossroads” to Whitchurch for its length of 2 km the road is flanked by houses, garages, an industrial estate and a transport depot.  There is no pavement along this length for 1.3km and traffic passes here in excess of 60 mph.
  • The “crossroads” at Crocker’s Ash is in fact a 5 way junction and traffic exiting from the Great Doward road and the Lewstone road are blind to traffic on the C1251.
  • Community responses have requested
    • a speed limit for the length of this road,
    • a reconfiguration of the road junction and
    • at least road markings to provide defined pedestrian access only, for the length from Crocker’s Ash to Daff y Nant services.
    • There have also been suggestions for a traffic calming feature to the west of Crocker’s Ash, as an introduction for a speed limited area.
Symonds Yat West:
  • This settlement, located along and above the River Wye is adversely affected by the impact of tourism.  This has occurred as a result of ineffective road signage, inappropriate road infrastructure, an increase in canoe transportation and inadequate visitor parking.
  • The Parish Plan responses identified that all of these issues need to be addressed, together with a more organised and managed approach to the issue of river activity, which is in tune with the available local roads infrastructure.
Great and Little Doward:
  • Together with the upper reaches of Symonds Yat West, these settlements suffer from an inadequate road infrastructure.  Many residences are located on Byways Open to All Traffic (“BOATS”) and these are inadequately maintained by Herefordshire Council, the local authority responsible.
  • In addition, “C” class roads and those “Unclassified” are similarly poorly maintained.  The 2014 Parish Plan respondents identified that all these rural roads need to be evaluated and programmed for appropriate maintenance as a matter of urgency.
Cycleways and Footpaths:
  • The Parish Plan report identified the importance that residents place upon their footpaths.
  • There were calls to encourage landowners to maintain the footpath boundaries and for the parish council to increase the maintenance of footpaths.
  • Specifically the boundaries and footpath of the Wye Valley Walk alongside the river between the Leisure Park and the Old Ferrie Inn at Symonds Yat West were identified as being in need of attention.
  • Although there is significant use made of the tracks and trails through this part of the Wye Valley, there does not appear to be a co-ordinated programme for extending cycle use for residents or for tourists.  This needs to be further developed.
Policy 2 – Transport Requirements related to Development.
Development proposals should ensure that:

They comply with Herefordshire Council’s parking standards and design guidance on the design and layout of roads.

The design of roads and parking areas within any site minimises the effects on pedestrians, in particular that children are safeguarded in areas where they walk or play and any opportunity for indiscriminate parking by residents or visitors should be avoided.

There should be no unacceptable road safety risk, danger to pedestrians or the creation of traffic congestion.

There should be the provision of permeable surface construction for parking facilities to reduce surface water run-off which would have contributed to flooding risk.

There should be appropriate public car-parking for employees and visitors in relation to proposals for employment and business uses.

Supporting Statements.

Safety of all residents especially children and older residents should be central to any provision of roads and pavements associated with new developments.

During the period of the plan consideration should be given to the existing roads and parking infrastructure.  Opportunities to work with Herefordshire Council and other agencies to bring about improvements, should be taken.

Symonds Yat attracts a large number of visitors each year.  In conjunction with any development plans for local businesses especially those associated with river activities and the transportation of participating visitors and their canoes and kayaks, an assessment of road signage and visitor traffic management needs to be made, to reduce unnecessary visitor vehicle movement and to reduce inconvenience for residents.

Policy 3 – Promotion of Sustainable Transport Measures.
Proposals should where appropriate, make provision for sustainable transport measures by:

Providing pavements and cycle paths in built-up areas enabling residents to walk, cycle or use mobility vehicles safely from their homes to connect with existing footways in order to gain access to village facilities and services.

Providing public transport infrastructure features such as car share and public transport parking hubs and bus shelters with digital display of arrival times.

Providing safer pedestrian and cycle paths on rural lanes linking settlements where no pavements exist, e.g. between Whitchurch and Symonds Yat West and between Whitchurch and Crocker’s Ash and Ganarew, by installing road markings to identify protected areas at the side of lanes.

Providing where possible new pedestrian and cycle routes where new developments might be located.

Improving the provision of public transport information with up to date bus timetables on parish noticeboards and on the parish website.

Supporting Statements:
The Parish Plan produced in October 2014 highlighted the issues of concern and the recommended actions resulting from this survey.  This report can be accessed by the link: Whitchurch and Ganarew Parish Plan 2014.  Many of these recommendations can be supported by sustainable transport initiatives.

Following the presentation of this Evidence Base for Roads, Traffic and Transport, there will be the opportunity to examine this material at a Community Consultation and this will be followed by a questionnaire for completion by all residents on the whole subject of the development of a local Neighbourhood Plan.

Road Speed Surveys have been requested from West Mercia Police and it is hoped that these can be carried out in the near future by means of black box surveys.  There are two specific locations in the parish which are considered to be appropriate for this type of survey.

The parish council is making arrangements to install a base for a Speed Indicator Device (SID) at a potentially dangerous location so that vehicle drivers can be made aware of their approach speed.

There will be a need to carry out traffic surveys at specific locations in the parish and these will be organised by the parish council in the near future to further support the transport evidence gathering process.

Road Safety and Accident History Information is currently being sought in support of the community concerns that exist about specific issues already referred to in this report.

2011 Census Information in respect of “Method of Travel to Work” has been analysed and this gives information about existing journeys.  Taken in conjunction with local data already available in the 2014 Parish Plan Report about use of modes of transport, this provides a benchmark hopefully for measuring improvements in future reductions of private car use.

 

Evidence Documentation
National
The Localism Act
National Planning Policy Framework
National Planning Practice Guidance

Herefordshire Council
Herefordshire Council Core Strategy 2015
Herefordshire Council Local Transport Plan 2013 – 2016
Review of Subsidised Bus Services Consultation.
Review of Community Transport Services Consultation
Herefordshire Council Parking Strategy
Herefordshire Sustainable Community Strategy

Local Documents
Whitchurch and Ganarew Parish Plan 2014
Bus Services for Whitchurch & Ganarew Parish

 

 

 

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