11.1 The District Planning Authority is responsible for ensuring that future development is integrated and co-ordinated with the existing and planned provision of transport facilities and infrastructure. Responsibility for providing highway infrastructure rests primarily with the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions (DTLR) who are responsible for the construction of trunk roads and motorways, and Kent County Council, who as local highway authority are responsible for the construction, maintenance and improvement of the roads within the District.
11.2 The Plan’s transport aims:-
1. To seek the development of a sustainable transport system, reducing the overall need to travel, especially by private motor car.
2. To protect the general environment and amenity of the residential areas from the impact of improvements to and development of the transport network within the District.
3. To provide an integrated transport network to facilitate the efficient movement of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, goods and services within the District.
4. To seek to limit the quantity of traffic on the Districts roads by encouraging effective public transport, cycling and walking and by the careful integration of residential areas, shopping and recreational facilities and the workplace.
11.3 The transport objectives of the Plan are:
1. To ensure that new development is well related to the existing and proposed transport network especially public transport services.
2. To minimise the adverse traffic impacts of development upon local communities.
3. To achieve a level of public car parking facilities compatible with sustainability aims.
11.4 National transport policy has changed from a strategy of predict and provide on road building and deregulation of public transport to one of integrating the transport system to provide choice in means of travel and a transport system that supports sustainable development. For many people the private motor car is the first choice for travel and in some rural areas is the only realistic means of travelling to work, shops or school. As motoring costs have fallen in real terms and car ownership has increased, public transport services have declined and alternatives such as cycling and walking have become less attractive and increasingly dangerous. Yet in Shepway around 30% of households do not own a car and even in households with a car it may not always be available to all members of a household. It is the poorest and most vulnerable in society – the young, the unemployed and the elderly – who are disadvantaged by a transport network dominated by provision for the private motor car at the expense of alternative means of transport.
11.5 Integration of transport means achieving a better relationship between land uses to reduce travel distances and allow multi purpose trips and supporting initiatives to encourage alternatives to the private car. It is not about restricting car ownership but aims to make it possible for people to make changes in their travel habits to reduce car usage leading to improvements in the environment and in personal health. Private road transport will remain the dominant first choice for travel within the period of the plan but policies and initiatives put in place now will start a trend towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly way of living and travelling over the next century.
11.6 Kent County Council is now required to produce Local Transport Plans which cover five year periods in place of the previous system of annual Transport Policies and Programme (TPP) documents. The submission of a full Local Transport Plan was made in July 2000 for the period to 2005/06. The principal aims of the Local Transport Plans are to provide integrated transport strategies to meet local needs and to set local targets e.g. for improving air quality, road safety and public transport provision. The Plans will be expected to conform with the Government’s integrated transport policy. Local transport strategies for district areas should be consistent with the objectives and strategy of the Local Transport Plans. A submission of up to 1500 words from each District Council explains how they propose to ensure effective implementation of the plan.
11.7 The District Council will in conjunction with Kent County Council
work towards the preparation and implementation of transport strategies:
1. for the Folkestone/Hythe/Hawkinge/Lympne area.
2. for the Romney Marsh rural area.
11.8 The strategies will be based on the principles of:-
1. Improving safety on the roads for all road users and pedestrians.
2. Encouraging the use of public transport.
3. Improving provision for cyclists and pedestrians.
4. Ensuring adequate transport infrastructure to serve new development.
5. Supporting proposals to improve the environment.
11.9 Traffic management is a cost effective means of ensuring an efficient use of the existing highway network, improving road safety and enhancing the quality of the environment. The District Council will therefore, in conjunction with the County Council investigate the scope for the introduction of traffic management initiatives where appropriate, including lorry management and traffic speed control.
11.10 Improvements to public transport are a key element in an integrated
transport network. Measures which increase the attractiveness of travelling
by public transport can help support the use of services as a real alternative
to the private car. Safety and security are key issues, particularly
for women and elderly people, and bus and rail interchanges as well
as the buses and trains themselves need to be perceived as safe, well
lit and comfortable. The District Council will work with the County
Council and bus companies operating in the area to encourage greater
use of public transport by:
1. Identifying the potential for improved integration between different public transport services, and between public transport, walking and cycling.
2. Improving facilities for bus and rail passengers at all railway stations within the district and at Folkestone central bus interchange.
3. Implementing measures to improve the accessibility of public bus services e.g. bus boarders, disabled facilities and increased services in rural areas.
4. Investigating more innovative public transport operations e.g. travel information systems, flexible ticketing arrangements, cycle carrying facilities on buses and trains.
5. Integrating the needs of public transport operators within new development proposals.
11.11 Where new development takes place which involves local distributor or major access roads, developers will be expected to make provision for facilities which will allow and encourage public transport use, such as bus stopping facilities and turning areas linked to convenient pedestrian routes. Other development should also take account of the need for linkages with existing public transport routes wherever possible. The District Council has no direct control over the provision of bus and rail services but it will continue to liaise with the bus and rail operators to support the improvement of services within the district, and with the County Council, regarding revenue support for certain essential services.
11.12 Train services on the mainline are operated by South East Trains, who hold the franchise to the end of 2005. From 2006, a new franchise operator will be responsible for the Integrated Kent Franchise which will include the high speed domestic rail services between East Kent and London, due to commence in December 2009. A programme of works to Folkestone Central station has been completed with funding from the District Council/Kent County Council/Railtrack and Connex (the former train operator), and through the Single Regeneration Budget Round 5. This refurbishment has improved the appearance and functioning of the station and its approaches. South East Trains has also invested in new rolling stock which has significantly improved the quality of the rail service in the district. The District Council wishes to ensure that the improvement of railway routes is not prejudiced by new development and that any proposals for redevelopment of currently disused facilities allow for a transportation use to be resumed if necessary. Any proposals for Lydd Station yard should allow for a station facility to be provided should the line be reopened.
Policy TR3 Development which would prejudice the reuse of Lydd Station as a rail transport interchange in the event of the railway line to Appledore being reopened for public use will not be permitted
11.13 Construction work has commenced on Phase 1 of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link , between the Channel Tunnel and Ebbsfleet) was completed and opened for traffic in 2003. Construction of Phase 2 (between the Ebbsfleet and St Pancras), commenced in 2001 and is scheduled to be completed by April 2007. The completion of this second phase will enable the transfer of Eurostar services from London Waterloo to London St Pancras, with a significant improvement in journey times between London and Paris, Lille, Brussels and Amsterdam.
11.14 Within Shepway the route extends from the boundary of the Channel Tunnel at Cheriton near Folkestone, to the boundary with Ashford Borough near Sellindge. The route was safeguarded by Directions issued by the Secretary of State and as shown on the Proposals Map.
11.15 The Channel Tunnel Rail Link is being built under a Public-private Partnership contract between the Government and London and Continental Railways Limited (LCR). LCR has built Section 1 of the railway through its subsidiary Union Railways (South), and is currently building Section 2 through its subsidiary Union Railways (North). It will provide a high speed line running 68 miles (109 Km) between St. Pancras London and the Channel Tunnel. LCR is building both sections of the railway through its subsidiaries Union Railways (South) (for Section 1) and Union Railways (North) (for Section 2). Union Railways (North) will continue to own Section 2 when built, but the whole line (Section 1 and Section 2) will be operated as a single entity integrated with the rest of the national network.
11.16 The completion of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link in 2007 provides the opportunity for a dramatic improvement in rail services between Folkestone and London. The proposals contained in the Integrated Kent Franchise Stakeholder Document, published by the Strategic Rail Authority in February 2005, include an hourly high speed service between Folkestone and London, calling at Folkestone Central, Folkestone West and Sandling within Shepway, with additional services proposed for the peak periods. It is envisaged that Folkestone West will be the principal bus/rail and car/rail interchange for the district, and land is safeguarded at the station for this purpose. Land at Folkestone East Goods Yard could be used for a train care maintenance depot in connection with the service and is therefore safeguarded.
POLICY TR4 Land is safeguarded at Folkestone West Station and East Station Goods Yard for potential development in association with the extension of high speed rail services to Folkestone. Development which would prejudice the provision of facilities to serve a high speed rail service will not be permitted unless it can be shown that there is no realistic prospect of such facilities being constructed.
11.17 Cycling is a healthy and pollution free means of transport and
also a popular recreational activity. The District Council wishes to
encourage cycling and will prepare a cycling strategy in consultation
with local cycling groups where they exist, which will include investigating
the provision of a district wide cycle network to encourage wider use
of cycles for work and leisure activities. The benefits which cycling
has to offer include reductions in congestion, energy consumption and
pollution and improving the fitness and general well being of the local
population. The strategy will look at:-
• linkages between homes and jobs using the National Cycle network wherever possible.
• encouraging cycling to school as an alternative to the private car
• recreational cycling using rural lanes
• safe and secure cycle parking
• integration of cycling with public transport
• safety for cyclists
• dedicated routes for cyclists
11.18 The District Planning Authority will seek provision for cyclists in new developments which are expected to generate significant traffic movements. Such provision will be related to the scale of the scheme but could include contributions towards cycle routes or the provision of cyclists parking and facilities. Where major new shopping, employment and leisure schemes are proposed, the needs of cyclists should be recognised and secure cycle parking provided.
11.19 Nearly all journeys involve some walking but many short journeys, which could be walked, use the private car. The reasons for this are often time and convenience, but are also influenced by factors such as safety, accessibility and the degree to which walking will be a pleasant experience. Higher priority needs to be given to pedestrians as users of the environment with consideration of the needs of pedestrians in existing and new developments.
11.20 There are currently no major road schemes identified in the County Council or DTLR programmes within the District following a shift in government policy away from building roads to cope with increased traffic, to seeking a reduction in the need to travel, especially by private car. Although the proposals for improvements to the A260 are no longer included within the County Council’s road programme a revised scheme for part of the route has been approved by them and land required for its construction will be safeguarded.
Policy TR7 The District Planning Authority will safeguard land required for the A260 Hawkinge by-pass as shown on the proposals map. No development will be permitted which would prejudice the implementation of the approved scheme.
11.21 In the absence of government approval for public funding of the A260 Hawkinge by-pass, the completion is dependent on development contributions (see paragraph 3.21 3.19 and Policy HO3 2 in the Housing Chapter).
11.22 The access to Folkestone Harbour from the M20/A20 is to be improved by upgrading Tram Road to cater for two-way traffic and the completion of a new link road north of Folly Road linking Tram Road with Dover Road. This latter section is being implemented in connection with the Dover and Folkestone Waste Water Treatment Scheme.
11.23 The A259 is the Primary route between Brenzett and Folkestone. The A259 was detrunked in early summer 2004 and trunk road traffic re routed along the A2070 to Ashford and the M20. The A259 would benefit from environmental enhancement and traffic safety improvements. The A259 roadside corridor between Dymchurch Redoubt and St Mary’s Bay is the subject of a Landscaping and Public Art Master Plan. This seeks to improve the environmental quality along the length of the road to the benefit of residents and visitors.
Policy TR8 Proposals to provide environmental improvements along the A259 and roadside corridor will be permitted where they would improve the attractiveness of the physical environment without compromising pedestrian safety and convenience.
11.24 Roadside service areas providing filling stations and related facilities on primary routes are valuable in allowing drivers to refuel, rest and take refreshment without the need to leave the route and travel on minor roads. Such facilities should be provided so as to meet the needs of motorists without compromising the need to protect environmentally sensitive areas such as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Districts of East Kent, together with Kent County Council as Highway Authority, have produced and adopted a joint strategy – ‘The Roadside Services Strategy for Primary Routes in Eastern Kent’ March 1998.
11.25 Operation Stack is the name given to the procedure for dealing with lorry traffic when cross-channel transport is disrupted, and involves the closure of sections of the M20 to normal traffic. The motorway then becomes a linear parking area for lorries. This procedure is disruptive to residents, commuters tourists and businesses, and alternative means of dealing with the effects of cross-channel transport difficulties are being investigated.
11.26 Planning permission has been granted for the development of a motorway service area on land adjacent to junction 11 of the M20. The District Planning Authority considers that this facility meets the needs for motorway services and further sites are not needed and would be contrary to countryside protection policies.
Further motorway service areas adjacent to the M20 will not be
permitted. The provision of additional facilities at the MSA
at Westenhanger will only be permitted where they are reasonably
related to the needs of motorway users and within the allocated
11.27 The development of land can have a detrimental impact upon the existing highway network with increased waiting and turning traffic which could lead to accidents and/or create delays. The District Planning Authority will require development to be well related to the road hierarchy. On primary, district and local distributor roads the number of new accesses should be kept to a minimum. All new accesses should provide adequate visibility splays and be acceptable in safety terms to the Highway Authority.
11.28 PPG 13 encourages local authorities to use parking policies to promote sustainable transport choices and reduce reliance on the car for work and other journeys. Controls on the availability of car parking can influence the choice of means of transport more than the level of public transport provision. It is important, however, that parking policies do not disadvantage town centres by restricting parking spaces whilst allowing high levels of provision in peripheral and out of town locations. Good quality parking is important in maintaining the vitality and viability of town centres, allowing business, retail and leisure uses to operate successfully, and supporting the night time economy. New development must provide some parking on site where the lack of provision would lead to on street parking causing unacceptable road congestion, increased risk of traffic accidents or major inconvenience to local residents.
11.29 The Government, in looking at parking standards for the South East, advised that a consistent approach on parking should be set out in the in the revised regional transport strategy. Revised Regional Planning Guidance (RPG 9) published in 2001, identifies the need for local authorities to adopt maximum parking standards in accordance with PPG 13 on Transport. Kent County Council has approved the use of the adopted 1993 Vehicle Parking Standards as maxima instead of minima, and is taking forward revised 2003 Standards as part of the preparation of the Kent and Medway Structure Plan. The District Planning Authority will apply the Kent 2003 standards as set out in Appendix 6.
11.30 Travel Plans are tools for achieving more sustainable patterns of transport use. They look at the potential journeys to sites which represent generators of traffic such as businesses, schools, hospitals and leisure facilities, and consider how the means of accessing the site can be influenced to achieve sustainability objectives. Measures included in Travel Plans could include the setting of targets and objectives for reducing road traffic, promotion and physical works to encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport, and restraints on traffic speeds and private car usage. A Plan could also consider more environmentally friendly delivery and freight movements.
11.31 Folkestone town centre is the principal centre for both shoppers and for many commuters/workers. The town centre car parking meets a number of needs/demands. It is used by short term shoppers and visitors to businesses in the town centre; long stay commuters/workers; and tourists who may be either short term or long term. There is also a large amount of residential accommodation in and around the town centre and this results in some conflict between residents and visitor parking demands.
11.32 The strategy for Folkestone town centre is to ensure the optimum use of the town centre parking spaces by maximising the use of parking close to the town centre for shoppers and short term users with long term parking shifted to either edge of centre or out of centre sites. The District Council will prepare a parking policy for the town which will focus on issues of sustainability, efficient use of resources, safety, convenience and amenity. The needs of the elderly and disabled will be fully considered.
11.33 There are major development proposals for Folkestone Seafront which will result in alterations and relocation to the car parking in the area (see Folkestone Town Centre Chapter).
11.34 Hythe, and to a lesser extent Sandgate serve as local retail centres but with a large amount of residential accommodation close to the commercial areas. Both have public car parks but experience considerable on street parking pressures. The historic building patterns and narrow streets allow few opportunities for providing additional parking facilities, but the central areas of both are well served by public transport and are located on the National Cycle Route.
11.35 In Hythe, the public car parks need to maintain charges to ensure their availability for short term visitors/tourists. In Sandgate there is a need to ensure that the public car parks are not used for all day parking which precludes use by short term visitors.
11.36 The Romney Marsh coast is subject to a considerable influx of visitors in the summer months, often resulting in overspill from the public car parks leading to conflict with residential parking. Dymchurch in particular, suffers from this problem, but opportunities for providing additional off-street car parking are very limited.
11.37 In New Romney, the capacity of off-street car parking is limited but have been improved by current plans for a the provision at the new supermarket. Car parking in the High Street, which is part of the A259 Trunk Road, causes congestion and additional car parking off-street should relieve this. Charging policy will need to reflect the change in shopping movements resulting from the new supermarket.
11.38 The District Planning Authority, in conjunction with the County Council, will consider the introduction of residents’ parking schemes within residential streets where parking by commuters/visitors is causing unacceptable inconvenience for residents. A scheme which provides exemption from limited duration parking for residents is in operation on The Bayle. The introduction of decriminalization should make the enforcement of such schemes easier.
11.39 Coach parking spaces are provided on The Leas and at Sandgate Road and coaches are permitted in separate car parks on Marine Parade. The continuing need for coach parking spaces should be recognised in any development proposal for the seafront sites.
11.40 Lydd Airport is an important facility for the district with potential for improvement and expansion. Policy P11 of the Structure Plan supports proposals for the expansion of aviation activity at Lydd Airport, subject to environmental, traffic and employment implications. The District Council recognises the importance of the Airport as a source of employment for Romney Marsh. Despite competition from the Channel Tunnel and East Kent ports, Lydd Airport has performed relatively well over recent years. 1997-98 saw the establishment of scheduled passenger flights, night freight services and, re-use of the cross runway for light aircraft.
11.41 The Council supports development that strengthens the airport function. However, as it is remote from surrounding settlements and exposed in the landscape, development not directly related to the airport use would be inappropriate. More suitable sites for other employment generating uses or uses such as housing are provided for elsewhere in the Plan. Combined with the importance of surrounding areas for nature conservation, these factors make the site unsuitable for use as a new airport for London. The County Council supports the growth of services at Lydd Airport and consider it could support increased aviation activity on a scale of 1 to 2 million passengers per year. In considering development proposals in the vicinity of Lydd Airport, the potential impact of the development upon flying activity at the airport will be taken into account.
POLICY TR15 The District Planning Authority will permit proposals for the expansion of facilities at Lydd Airport directly related to the commercial and recreational flying use provided there would be no significant impact upon the internationally important wildlife communities in the Lydd/Dungeness area. Regard will also be given to the likely effect of proposals on other special features in the area, particularly the power station.
11.42 The operators withdrew the passenger Seacat service in 2000 and the freight service ceased to operate in 2001. The Council supports the retention of the port function and cross channel passenger services and will encourage operators to re-instate a passenger service. Proposals for the redevelopment of the seafront area are dealt with in the Folkestone Town Centre chapter. These allow for the continued operation of the port, and development for alternative uses of land which is not required to preserve the facility for a passenger ferry service. See also paragraphs 13.13 – 13.15 and Policy FTC4 in the Folkestone Town Centre chapter.