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Shropshire
Monday, May 23, 2022

Councillors call for planning action on transport issues in new developments

A cross-party group of Councillors are asking Shropshire Council to improve planning policy so new developments plan properly for walking, cycling and public transport.

They say that too many new developments across Shropshire are being built around private cars at the expense of pedestrians and cyclists.

Research published by Transport for New Homes has found that greenfield housing estates are adding hundreds of thousands of new car journeys to roads, increasing congestion, carbon emissions and air pollution.

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The Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) Infrastructure Specialist Harry Steele said “Transport for New Home’s report explores the issue of car dependency within new developments in great detail,” adding “that if planning is to play a key role in addressing climate change then we must plan to reduce car dependency.”

The Shropshire Council motion to be discussed on Thursday asks planning officers to develop a Supplementary Planning Document to specifically ensure that sustainable, active and public transport is embedded into all new developments in Shropshire.

The motion is being proposed by Cllr Rob Wilson (Liberal Democrat, Copthorne) who said: “Every year more and more developments are given planning permission across Shropshire, and the vast majority, if not all, are entrenching car dependency. Each time a new development is built there is the opportunity to do things better than we have done in the past, to enable a shift to walking, cycling and public transport. The Council has passed motions that should be helping, but those motions on paper are not making their way onto the ground to improve the lives of residents.”

Cllr Julian Dean (Green Party, Porthill) seconding the motion said: “The principles we want to see applied are simple; build welcoming environments not dominated by cars and parking; ensure local facilities are easily accessible by foot or bicycle; make public transport available from day one for new residents. Shropshire has signed up to these principles but too often they are ignored by developers and the council lets them get away with it. We know from elsewhere that councils can insist on better. Our motion will help staff get serious on this.”

Cllr Kate Halliday (Labour, Belle Vue) supporting the motion said: “I was very pleased that Shropshire Council voted unanimously for a cross party motion I proposed to adopt the principles of the Department for Transport guidance on good cycling infrastructure (LTN 1/20) in September 2020.  The recent addition of an Active Travel Officer to Shropshire Council also presents an opportunity to improve cycling and walking in Shropshire. However, these moves do not seem to have stopped large developments being planned and built without cycling and walking infrastructure. This motion offers practical and achievable steps to improve on this.”

Cllr Rosemary Dartnall (Labour, Bayston Hill, Column and Sutton) supporting the motion said: “Hundreds of new homes built in Column and Sutton are resolutely car-dependent, meaning there is no provision to link new residential areas with existing walking and cycling routes. In some cases, there is not even a clear pavement let alone the government’s standard LTN 1/20 compliant safe walking and cycling carriageways. Physical infrastructure has the power to integrate new communities into our towns and villages, providing social links and easy access to local services. We know we must find ways to reduce car use and Shropshire’s planning system must align by forcing developers to accept and embody change now.”

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