In working towards the development of the Neighbourhood Plan, it is essential that we have clear objectives to deliver the overall plan aim for transport.
- To improve access to homes, work and facilities for people and goods
- To enhance the viability and vitality of Alnwick town centre for residents and visitors
- To link residential, commercial, recreational and functional parts of the plan area
- To improve conditions for walking, cycling, wheelchair and buggy users
- To improve the provision of public transport
- To increase pedestrian priority and reduce car dependence
- To contribute to the development of a sustainable future
The transport issues of concern and options for their resolution are:
Issue: Providing safe and attractive opportunities for all to walk within the limit of their ability.
Option principle: Develop a comprehensive network of attractive, well-maintained footpaths to link the residential, educational, commercial and industrial areas of Alnwick town and its central area.
Option example: Develop a sensitive pedestrian priority scheme within the town centre.
Issue: Providing for and promoting cycling as a useful and practical way of getting about the plan area.
Option Principle: Develop a well maintained, safe and signed cycle route network, mainly on existing streets, within Alnwick town and linking to surrounding villages.
Issue: Improving the provision for public buses, community transport, private hire coaches and similar vehicles.
Option principle: Develop the Alnwick Bus Station as a modern, high quality transport hub serving the plan area.
Option example: Improve private hire bus and coach access and drop off/pick up and layover/parking provision.
Issue: Supporting access, delivery and distribution of goods and services.
Option principle: Progressively improve traffic management schemes for necessary delivery and maintenance vehicles in a way that does not result in pavements being obstructed or damaged.
Issue: Improving the functionality, viability and vitality of the Market Place.
Option principle: Recognise that market activity and community benefit require vehicles to be excluded from the Market Place other than at prescribed times and for prescribed purposes.
Issue: Seeking to improve sustainable links to the world around Alnwick and Denwick.
Option principle: Develop better links with Alnmouth Station to improve longer distance travel options for business and leisure journeys.
Issue: Enhancing the environment to improve the quality of life for all.
Option principle: Promote transport provision that generally enhances the health, wellbeing and quality of life for all.
Option example: Design changes in transport provision so that they contribute to an improvement of the streetscape that reconciles the need for up-to-date facilities with a well conserved town environment.
Issue: Keeping transport infrastructure in a safe and attractive condition.
Option principle: Prepare and implement a five-year strategic plan for the repair of footpaths and pedestrian areas, road crossings and markings, eliminating the many safety hazards that currently exist for pedestrians.
Issue: Managing traffic for the benefit of all, with priority for pedestrians.
Option principle: Review the traffic systems and signing that bring people into the town; devise unobtrusive systems that give real meaning to the ‘shared space’ concept throughout the town and its approaches.
Option example: Restrict vehicle speeds to a maximum of 20mph in the residential areas of Alnwick town.
Issue: Providing parking and managing and preventing the abuse of parking facilities.
Option principle: Encourage considerate parking to protect green verges, keep access to premises clear and drop kerbs free. Enforce regulations and eliminate abuse throughout the plan area.
Option example: Investigate the commercial provision of an aesthetically acceptable decked or multi-storey car park.
Issue: Using the planning process to help improve transport and travel now and in future.
Option principle: Establish a hierarchy of travel options from walking (most in need of encouragement and improved facilities) through cycling, public transport and freight to private car travel that would help deliver more sustainable transport across the plan area.
Clearly, a key constraint that will determine the practicality and implementation of the options eventually agreed for inclusion in the plan will be the availability of funding. However, some of the options identified do not require new funding but do require a more determined application and enforcement of existing regulations. For example, the lack of enforcement of existing parking regulations in the plan area has contributed not only to traffic congestion but also to unnecessary safety hazards for pedestrians and access problems for those with impaired mobility.
The evidence available on traffic in Alnwick is now outdated and is based on national growth forecasts that have not materialised. The Department for Transport statistics show that national traffic levels have remained essentially the same over the last decade but the situation locally might usefully be explored. Similarly, the widely differing views on the adequacy of parking provision should be investigated further.
The interaction of transport and travel with other aspects of life in the plan area is certain to require compromises to be reached if transport is to fulfil its role of supporting the local community and economy without damaging the environment.
Community evidence base
- Partner event, March 2011
- Alnwick & Denwick Neighbourhood Plan Publicity Brochure, undated
- Developing a Plan for Alnwick – draft scoping report, August 2011
- Alnwick & Denwick Neighbourhood Plan - local survey data analysis
- Alnwick & Denwick Neighbourhood Plan – local survey supplementary comments
- Evidence emerging from discussions, correspondence and documents developed from the potential community engagement (see section 4 below)
- Bus service spatial and time coverage
- Bus station quality, function & management
- Coach (private hire/tour) access, drop-off and layover
- Direction signage – uncluttered provision
- Footpath availability, quality, functionality and obstruction
- Freight access, delivery and distribution
- Parking provision, management and abuse
- Providing for cyclists
- Reinvigorating the vitality of the Market Place
- Traffic management and improving pedestrian priority
- Links to and with Alnmouth Station
- A1 Willowburn Junction capacity
For consideration as the study progresses
- Community engagement: Bus station abuse, footpath litter & dog fouling
- Community facilities: community transport role and contribution, local access
- Education: transport to/from facilities
- Environment: Sustainable transport, active travel, footpath litter & dog fouling
- Heritage & culture: reinvigorated, pedestrian-friendly, attractive town centre, Aln Valley Railway
- Housing: town centre access from housing, existing and new; active travel links
- Retail: cooperative approach to access and parking
- Sport & recreation: active travel network to link housing, facilities and green spaces, Aln Valley Railway and cycleways
- Tourism: access to and movement within the town and its attractions
- Lack of objective evidence on parking place availability
- Lack of enforcement of existing parking regulations
- Lack of enforcement of existing litter and dog fouling regulations