Access and Movement

 

 

Transfer

5. Access & Movement

 

Introduction

5.1       During public consultations, the Access and Movement draft policies received most postcard comments from residents of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish. Concerns raised included pedestrian safety, the significant increases in all vehicular traffic, the possibility of losing the historic lanes, public rights of ways (PROWs) and the potential loss of the rural character of the parish due to development. Conversely, aspirations were expressed for improvements in sustainable transport, with recognition of the importance of access and movement to green infrastructure, recreation, tourism, health, and general well-being.

 

5.2       When considering the movement of people across the parish, it is important that a balanced and sustainable approach can be developed, creating interlinking routes that are safe for all. New development should be master planned to provide for access for the emergency and service vehicles (e.g. waste and recycling), disabled users, pedestrians, cyclists, users of public transport, (e.g. buses and taxis), and finally other motor traffic. A hierarchical approach will ensure that appropriate priority is given during the formulation, planning, design, and construction phases.

 

Overall Policy Aims

1.     To ensure that the neighbourhood area is a safe and pleasant place to move around.

2.     To provide a range of interlinked movement choices that are convenient, sustainable, and safe and which facilitate healthy lifestyles and well-being.

3.     To support changes to streets, spaces and the public realm that can deliver lasting benefits for the local economy, the local environment, and local communities[1].

 


 

Draft Policy AM4.1

The Pedestrian Environment

a)    New developments should provide safe access for all parishioners to local facilities and public transport links. Safe and convenient access routes should be of an appropriate width and use a suitable surface material for those pushing a pushchair, or of restricted mobility, for example in a wheelchair, walking with a stick or frame, or using a mobility scooter[2]. These should avoid existing main roads

 

b)    New pedestrian crossings or other viable alternatives will be encouraged and supported. The precise design and type[3] of crossing facility to be provided will be subject to a detailed design and feasibility process. Places where residents have identified a need to cross include, but are not limited to:

 

       High Street by Lloyds Chemist

       Entrance to Jockey Lane car park

       Hartley from Campion Crescent to farm shop

       Hartley from Glassenbury Road junction across the road

       Sissinghurst High Street from village shop to antique shop

       Common Road in the vicinity of Sissinghurst Primary School

       A229 Orchard Way, Brick Kiln

       Opposite the rugby club

       Across the hill beside the windmill

       Waterloo Road in the vicinity of Cranbrook School

       Sissinghurst Road near Wilsley Pound

       Angley Road near Wilsley Green

       Across Golford Road near sewage works

See indicative location maps on pages xx and xx.

 

Policy Supporting Text

5.1       Parishioners’ comments from public engagement events support policies to preserve, improve and maintain pavements throughout the parish to make walking safer and more enjoyable. There is particular conflict between larger vehicles and pedestrians in the narrow sections of Stone Street, Cranbrook, and The Street, Sissinghurst. Non-motorised users require sufficient access to move across the parish, comprised of ground surfaces which allow the easy use of mobility aids. In addition, residents identified issues about the speed of passing traffic on the A229 Cranbrook, and The Street Sissinghurst, directly adjacent to frequently used pedestrian paths.

5.2       Throughout the engagement process, several sites were identified by residents as areas of concern to provide safer crossings for pedestrians. Data from www.crashmap.co.uk shows incidents at some of these sites, with five collisions at Wilsley Green junction over the last five years, a ‘serious’ incident at Golford crossroads, many collisions at the junction of Cranbrook High Street with the A229, not all of which are reported, and several incidents at the junction between Swattenden Lane and the A229 – one being fatal. The safety of all road users is vital to create a parish in which people feel at home.

 

5.3       Both residents and visitors alike should be able to move throughout the parish without threat to their safety, instead enjoying the experience and forming a positive outlook on their surroundings.

 

 

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Cranbrook – New pedestrian crossings required; general locations identified (red spots)


 

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Sissinghurst – New pedestrian crossings required; general locations identified (red spots)

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Hartley – New pedestrian crossings required; general locations identified (red spots)

 

Draft Policy AM4.2

Pedestrian Priority and Public Rights of Way

a)    Applications by developers should contribute towards creating streets and thoroughfares with an emphasis on pedestrian priority, particularly in the following locations:

       Stone Street

       High Street

       Common Road

       The Street

       A229

       Colliers Green Road / Marden Road

b)    Applications will be supported which seek to protect and enhance PROWs across the parish. Development contributions will be sought to promote active travel networks for the benefit of public health and well-being, environmental protection and local economic resilience[4]. This includes, but is not limited to[5]:

       Creating a traffic-free bridle and cycle path between Sissinghurst village and Bedgebury Forest, via Cranbrook town centre

       Connecting the green spaces throughout the parish

       Safeguarding and enhancing the hop pickers line

 

Policy Supporting Text

5.4       Roads are a shared space which require mutual respect between all users (cyclists, walkers, horses, vehicles including mobility scooters) and a balance should be achieved to enhance the attractiveness of the town and village centres. A desire to create greater pedestrian priority throughout the parish, e.g. wider pavements, build outs, crossing points, paths away from roads and pedestrianised areas, was expressed during public engagement with parishioners. It is hoped this will lead to a reduction in collisions, a greater sense of safety for users of these streets and higher footfall, leading to more support for local shops and services.

 


 

5.5       Parishioners’ comments from public engagement events support policies to preserve, improve and maintain routeways and bridleways connecting Sissinghurst and Cranbrook and their surroundings without the need to endure busy roads. Using non-motorised travel is proven to promote health and well-being, free up spaces in the congested car parks, reduce the impact of increased traffic on the main road due to development, preserve the historic feel of the parish, and encourage community well-being and social interaction.

 

5.6       Kent County Council’s (KCC) Active Travel Strategy[6] endorses active travel. It encourages communities to the seek financial support from developers to achieve these goals, with the KCC Rights of Way Improvement Plan 2018-2028 estimating that 143 million annual leisure walking trips bring £2.7billion to the South East Region.

 

5.7       Access to green space is a significant factor in enabling people to improve their health and well-being, and countryside recreation is a fundamental pillar supporting Kent tourism through its ‘Garden of England’ brand. This is also a strategic priority in the Kent Nature Action Plan 2018 – 2023[7].


 

Draft Policy AM4.3

Public Transport and Access to Amenities

a)    All new developments are expected to invest and liaise with stakeholders (including KCC highways, the local planning authority and the Parish Council) to improve public transport services within the parish, especially for the elderly and less mobile, workers, commuters and school children.

 

b)    Applications for development should ensure that businesses and residents should not be dependent on car ownership to access amenities and services. These should be accessible using sustainable access modes.

 

c)    Development proposals that lead to a significant increase of pupils at any school within the parish will only be supported when accompanied by proposals to implement the suggestions outlined in the Sustrans document “Increasing Active Travel to School 2018”[8]. This includes measures such as traffic-calming, introducing new cycle-paths and pedestrian and cycle training in the school travel plan.

 

Policy Supporting Text

5.8       Parishioners’ comments from public engagement events support policies to improve bus services within the parish or supplement existing public services with private minibus services. A masterplanning approach among these different parties will be essential to create a connected parish with links to local areas.

 

5.9       Both residents and visitors will benefit from an improved public transport service, providing a more sustainable way to travel for all and supporting those who are unable to drive.

 

5.10   The Parish has schools, shops, post offices, public houses, community halls, places of worship, green spaces, and recreation grounds. These facilities are central to parish life and local people wish to see them retained and prosper. In addition, there are children’s playgrounds, a sports centre, allotment sites and the renowned Sissinghurst Castle, which would benefit from non-vehicular access routes. The community wishes to see these amenities well used and protected from the impact of development.

 

5.11   The parish would benefit from a more frequent and extended schedule of public transport links to the commuter stations and major county towns, as identified at public consultation. The buses which currently serve Cranbrook[9] are: No. 5, Maidstone to Sandhurst (hourly); No. 297, Tenterden to Tunbridge Wells; No. 267/268, School bus to Tunbridge Wells; and No. 349, Sunday service to Hastings. Sissinghurst is only served by the No. 5.

5.12   Parishioners’ comments from public engagement events support policies which enable active travel to schools within the parish. KCC‘s Active Travel Strategy[10] endorse these and other enabling active travel measures. This would promote health and well-being, improve the uptake of active travel to school and reduce congested parking on school approach roads within the parish.

 

5.13   Measures suggested at public events to achieve safer movement for families to and from the local schools include speed control and traffic calming, which can be found within the projects list at the end of this Access and Movement chapter.


 

Draft Policy AM4.4

Cycle Storage & Cycle Parking

New residential and commercial developments or conversions, should provide secure cycle storage to contribute to on-street cycle parking provision within the community spaces.

 

Policy Supporting Text

5.14   Cycling offers a sustainable alternative to vehicular transport, particularly over shorter distances. In the interests of sustainability, new developments should make high quality provision for cyclists. This includes provision of appropriate cycle parking and supporting facilities, as a vital companion to the provision and enhancement of cycle paths.

 

5.15   A factor which often dissuades people from choosing to cycle is the inadequate cycle storage facilities upon arrival at their destination. Increasing cycle storage and parking provision will make cycling a more attractive option which can be easily integrated into daily life. A comprehensive strategy of active travel will encourage people to swap their routine for a more sustainable option.

 

 

 


 

Draft Policy AM4.5

Safer Road Conditions

a)    With an increase in traffic flow on key routes emanating from new areas of housing growth across the parish, and from adjacent parishes, the safety of key roads and junctions need improving. This includes:

       Wilsley Green junction

       Golford crossroads

       Swattenden Lane with A229

       High Street Cranbrook with A229

       Orchard Way with A229

       Turnden Road with A229

b)    Applications for development should demonstrate provision for improving the network of roads, streets and lanes related to that development, including:

       Using different road surfaces, textures, colours to indicate shared space

       Installing speed control measures such as ramps and build outs and extending the pavements in Sissinghurst

       Reducing speed and congestion on The Street Sissinghurst and The High Street Cranbrook by using appropriate measures which may include “Village Gateway” signage.[11]

 

Policy Supporting Text

5.16   With an increase in traffic flow on key routes emanating from new areas of housing growth across the parish, and from adjacent parishes, the safety of key roads and junctions must be improved to cope with the impact of large scale development on traffic flow within the parish. Local residents have identified road safety as a major and key concern, affecting drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

 

CASE STUDY: Leicester Local Access Forum[12] (LLAF) advice. Unless access is undertaken less by car and more by sustainable means, the parish environment will suffer from excess traffic and parking, and this in turn will undermine the attraction and success of the parish. Concerns that heavy traffic shakes and damage to old buildings were expressed during public engagement.


 

Draft Policy AM4.6

Rural Lanes

Applications for development that affect the network of roads, streets and lanes across the parish should seek to protect and enhance the network of historic rural lanes, which are characteristic of this area which is predominantly in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

 

Policy Supporting Text

5.17   Research amongst Parishioners underscores the value residents and visitors place upon these features as characteristics of the AONB. The rural streets and lanes are a key visual feature of the parish and make an especially important contribution to amenity, ecological quality and historic character. Many lanes retain valuable features, including wide road verges and boundary banks, wildflower-rich hedgerows and hedgerow trees creating picturesque arches from one verge to the other as well as creating routeways for wildlife.

 

5.18   The AONB Management Policy 2019-2024[13] vision is ‘to protect the landscape, its character of distinctive lanes and PROWs whilst achieving a balance between the comparative quietness and rurality of the roads of the High Weald and their function as means of communication central to the economic and social well-being of the area. As custodians of these outstanding examples of historic routeways for people, produce and wildlife, we expect such policies to be observed during development.’


 

Draft Policy AM4.7

Car Parking Provision

a)    Developments should contribute to a parish-wide parking strategy to promote sustainable travel, reducing the need for short car journeys within the parish and helping to release spaces for parking that can support economic development and tourism related activities. This may include (but will not be limited to) charging for car parking for certain durations and in certain locations.

 

b)    Adopted car park design standards and national best-practice should be used to influence car park designs in recognised environmentally sensitive areas (e.g. the AONB and the Conservation Area).

 

Policy Supporting Text

5.1       Current problems with congestion, parking and road safety as highlighted in the community engagements are likely to be exacerbated with the increase of new developments within the parish. Developments should be located and designed to minimise the need to travel by car by encouraging sustainable travel. This will reduce the necessity for additional car parking provision within the parish. The provision of safe, direct routes within permeable layouts will facilitate short distance trips by walking and other active travel methods.

 

 

 

 

 



[1] National Design Guide (2019) Para. 76, MHCLG, UK Government

 

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