District Local Plan Review

District-Wide Policies Index

Settlement Policies Index

Chapter 7

Transport

Introduction
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7.1 Transport planning is a fundamental element of land use planning, as there is a direct relationship between the use of land and the need for movement to and from that use. The Local Plan strategy, and the policies and proposals of the Plan, must at all times have regard to the transport needs and demands arising from land use proposals.
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7.2 This relationship has been brought into increasing focus as awareness has grown of the sustainability issues surrounding movement. The past increase in road traffic, and the forecast growth, is viewed by the Government as unsustainable in terms of climate change, impact on the natural environment, impact upon communities and on the economy, on health and on social exclusion. National planning guidance increasingly has emphasised the need to regulate and direct new development in a manner which will reduce the growth of traffic, offer safe and convenient alternatives to the private car, and control vehicle movements in the interests of safety and improving the quality of the built and natural environment. These objectives have to be balanced with the parallel objective of ensuring the economy can operate efficiently.
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7.3 The strategic responsibility for transport planning lies with the County Council, as highway authority. The County Council produce a Local Transport Plan (LTP) which must integrate with the Structure Plan and with Local Plans produced by District Councils. Many of the actions proposed in the LTP will be implemented by the County Council. However, District Councils through their Local Plans and other actions can contribute significantly to the LTP, for example by ensuring that new development is located so as to reduce the number and length of trips arising, by providing for realistic alternatives to the private car for travel needs, by implementing parking policies, and by implementing schemes which control and direct movement in the interests of public amenity and the environment.
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7.4 Government planning guidance on transport is principally set out in PPG 13: Transport (Draft October 1999) which states that development plans should aim to reduce the need to travel, especially by car, by influencing the location of development relative to transport provision, and fostering forms of development which encourage walking, cycling and public transport use. PPG 6 (Town Centres and Retailing) proposes that town centres should be the preferred location for large trip generators, such as shopping. PPG 3 (Housing) directs that most new housing development should be located in the principal urban areas, and that provision should be made for public transport, cycling and walking to be integrated into the design and layout of new housing areas. PPG 1 (General Policy and Principles) requires that in order to achieve sustainable patterns of development and to help reduce the environmental impacts of development then local authorities should integrate their transport programmes and land use policies to reduce the growth of traffic, encourage alternative means of transport with less environmental impact, and reduce reliance on the private car.
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7.5 It follows from the above that there is a strong inter-relationship between the strategic transport policies of the Structure Plan, the detailed strategy and implementation programme of the LTP, and the role of the Local Plan. The policies in this Transport chapter therefore reinforce the strategic policies of the Structure Plan, and will assist the implementation of the Structure Plan and the LTP through adopting a complementary strategy, and through specific land allocations and proposals which will support the principles of sustainable forms of development and help to reduce travel demand.
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Issues
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7.6 The south Forest is a predominantly rural area with restricted levels of accessibility to the principal transport corridors of the surrounding area. The narrower employment choices available within the District mean that there are high levels of commuting out of the District to work. The main transport corridors within the District are essential to the efficient operation of the local economy, but each has deficiencies.
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7.7 Some of the principal transport issues facing the District therefore are the need to provide a transport system which supports the development of the local economy, which in turn will impact upon the levels of car-borne commuting, and which can offer choice of transport modes within the rural context of the Forest of Dean.
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7.8 Proposals for addressing these issues are contained in the LTP. The focus will be upon packages of localised improvements to the main access routes of importance to the local economy (particularly the A.48 and A.4136), promoting transport choice by bus and rail within transport corridors (which link to the towns of the south Forest), and supporting infrastructure and environmental improvements in the towns which will enhance employment opportunities and provide improved access to local services and facilities.
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7.9 Much of the responsibility for implementing the above proposals will lie with the County Council as Highway Authority. The Local Plan will support these actions. The principal measure available will be to ensure that the bulk of new development is concentrated in the towns which will maximise opportunities for access to transport choice and to jobs, services and facilities. Land allocated for development will be located so as to make use of existing good levels of accessibility. Where appropriate development will be required to provide for improvements to public transport, walking and cycling, as well as off-site highway improvements to accommodate necessary vehicle movements. The Local Plan will also provide the framework for schemes to secure localised transport improvements which will benefit the environment, particularly in town centres.
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7.10 The nature of rural areas is such that there is less scope for reducing reliance on the private car. This is specifically acknowledged by Government. Modal shift in rural areas therefore will be more difficult to achieve. In the long term land use policies will assist in bringing about a pattern of development which will reduce the need to travel longer distances, principally by locating jobs, homes and services close together. This approach should reduce the rate of traffic growth in rural areas, if not actually being able to prevent it increasing. However, in the medium term there will continue to be a higher level of continuing car usage in rural areas like the Forest of Dean.
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7.11 Car ownership amongst rural households is high. However, there are important issues of social exclusion arising for those without ready access to a car. These include difficulties of access to basic services, to jobs and to training. To address these issues the County Council provides large scale financial assistance to the rural bus network, and to voluntary and community transport service. In the District voluntary and community transport services are very well organised, with plans to extend coverage to the entire area. The LTP specifically acknowledges however that scheduled bus services are largely inadequate within the Forest of Dean for journeys other than from the main towns.
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7.12 It is acknowledged by the County Council that public transport in rural areas can never provide an effective alternative to the private car for many trips, particularly those attracted to larger centres more distant from rural areas. The strategy, therefore, will combine improvements to public transport corridors to promote choice, combined with a policy of providing park and ride sites on the approaches to the main urban centres of Gloucester and Cheltenham, and the management of the cost and supply of parking in town centres such as Gloucester and Cheltenham.
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7.13 There is a single mainline railway corridor in the District, with one station at Lydney on the Cardiff to Birmingham line. The restricted level of stopping services at Lydney, and poor site facilities, mean that passenger usage is currently limited. The Local Plan and the LTP will promote the further potential of Lydney Station for both passenger and freight services. There is a rail connection at Lydney to the Dean Forest Railway, which runs to Parkend. The potential of this corridor will similarly be promoted for both passenger and freight.
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7.14 The Local Plan will need to address the issue of car parking to support an overall strategy of promoting a sustainable transport system. The aim should be to encourage trips to be made by modes other than the car, to promote the economic and environmental well-being of town centres, and not to disadvantage town centres by the provision of high levels of parking for competing land uses outside the town centre. PPG.13 (Draft) advocates that a range of maximum parking standards should be adopted with the aim of reducing reliance on the car and encouraging the use of other modes of transport. The LTP acknowledges that there are areas, particularly rural areas, where there is a lack of realistic alternatives to the car for some journeys, and that care should be taken not to overtly punish car drivers in such situations. It is recognised that in the Forest of Dean a central objective is to revitalise the four towns. The Local Plan should therefore apply policies for parking provision with discretion in support of the aims outlined above.
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7.15 A transport strategy for the south Forest is set out in the LTP. It endorses the overall theme of ensuring the revitalisation of the District. Elements of the strategy include:
  • Assisting in improving access in order to support employment opportunities, particularly in the towns
  • Improving town centre environments
  • Improving accessibility for those without access to a car
  • Reducing the level of car commuting to Gloucester
  • Promoting walking and cycling.

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7.16 There is also a route corridor strategy for west of the River Severn, which encompasses the principal roads in the District (A.48, A.40, A.4136, B.4215/B.4221) and the rail route via Lydney. Together these routes form the principal accesses into and out of the District, and they have a residual role as long distance routes. Both the A.48 and A.40 are scheduled for de-trunking. The A.48 and A.4136 have great importance to the economy of the District, as they provide the main access to the three towns of the south Forest.
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7.17 Issues for the District are the poor alignment of the A.4136 which carries high proportions of lorry traffic, the particular problems of gradient and alignment on the A.4136 between Monmouth and Staunton, the A.48 passes through several villages and also has high levels of HGV traffic, the A.40 has particularly poor alignment, there are relatively high speed levels on the B.4215/B4221, the effect of quarry lorries particularly on the A.4136, and the presence of extra traffic (particularly HGVs) on these routes as a means of avoiding the Severn Bridge tolls. A key section of the A.4136, to the west of Staunton, lies within the Monmouthshire County Council administrative area. The District Council will continue to work with Gloucestershire County Council to press Monmouthshire County Council to give a priority to improving the A.4136 from Monmouth to Staunton.
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Strategic Framework
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7.18 The transport strategy will provide for essential access to support the local economy, promote increased transport choice, and aim to reduce the environmental impacts of traffic. Localised improvements to the principal transport corridors will be supported to complement the strategy of the LTP, together with support for increased modal choice in such corridors. The implementation of many of these measures will be by the County Council, but will be supported by the policies and proposals of the Plan.
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7.19 The principal elements of the LTP Strategy for the Forest of Dean are to:
  • Upgrade the A.4136 to achieve safety improvement.
  • Control lorry movements and divert longer distance through traffic away from these roads
  • Reduce the impact of traffic (particularly HGVs) on the villages affected
  • Divert freight traffic to the rail network where possible
  • Improve public transport services along the principal routes between the
  • Enhance passenger rail services at Lydney.

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7.20 The Plan will reinforce the strategies and programme of the LTP by ensuring that new development is principally located in settlements providing the greatest access to jobs, services and facilities. In appropriate cases new development will be required to provide access improvements by a choice of modes of transport. The Plan will promote the potential to develop the role of rail for passenger and freight transport. Vehicle parking policy will assist the joint aims of promoting the vitality and viability of town centres and supporting travel by means other than the private car.
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7.21 The Plan strategy is to provide for a sustainable form of development in the District. A crucial element of the strategy is to locate development so as to reduce the number and length of motorised journeys, and to provide for a genuine choice of modes of transport. The transport policies of the Plan will therefore reinforce the locational policies to assist in delivering the above strategic objective.

Objectives

  1. To locate development so as to reduce the growth in the number and length of vehicle trips
  2. To promote alternative modes of transport to the private car
  3. To provide a transport infrastructure which supports the local economy
  4. To promote environmental improvements and traffic management measures which reduce the effects of traffic upon the environment
  5. To assist in promoting public transport opportunities.

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Policies and Proposals
The Location of Development
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7.22 The location of development can contribute significantly over time to managing the demand for travel and thereby reducing the rate of increase in the volume and length of vehicle trips. Policy (R)F.Strategy 1 of the Plan provides for the concentration of new houses, jobs and services principally in the four towns. Policy (R)F.Strategy 2 provides a requirement that new development should be located so as to minimise the travel needs arising, and to maximise access to services and other infrastructure. Structure Plan policy T.1 forms a context for and reinforces the Local Plan strategy. These policies, taken together, help provide a framework for guiding the location of new development in the District.
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7.23 It is not suggested that all new development should be located in the principal settlements in order to satisfy the principles of sustainability. To do so would ignore the social and economic needs of smaller rural communities. It would also not make best use of the potential for beneficial development in settlements outside the towns, it may not properly recognise the locational needs of industries such as tourism, recreation, leisure and agriculture, and could mitigate against proposals which would lead to the beneficial re-use of buildings. The Plan policies and proposals identify where such development would be acceptable.
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7.24 Overall the Plan provides for the location of development in a sustainable manner in relation to transport principally by concentrating most development in the towns. The Plan also provides for limited development outside the towns, and recognises that some activities have specific locational needs. Therefore, while proposals for development will be assessed against the strategic policies of the Plan, and particularly (R)F.Strategy 2 in relation to transport, it will be accepted that within the principles of the Plan strategy there will continue to be limited development in smaller settlements and in the countryside.
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Provision for Alternative Modes of Access
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(R)FT.1

Proposals for development must make appropriate provision for accessibility by a choice of modes of transport. Where off-site improvements are reasonably required to achieve an effective choice of modes of access then these will be sought as part of the development proposed. Where appropriate the submission of a Green Transport Plan will be required as part of a planning application.

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7.25 Government policy, and the Local Plan strategy, seeks to limit growth in the use of the private car. For this approach to be successful it will be necessary to locate and design development in a manner that promotes modal choice. The above policy is concerned with ensuring that development proposals include practical measures to provide for cyclists and pedestrians, and also public transport where applicable. Within a larger site, particularly a housing development, the layout should provide safe and convenient routes for cyclist and pedestrians, provision for bus access and turning, and have regard to providing access points to the adjoining highway and footpath network so as to encourage usage by cyclists and pedestrians.
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7.26 The effect of the above policy may be partially compromised by off-site features of the highway network which discourage use by pedestrians, cyclists, or buses. Examples may be busy roads without crossing points or traffic calming features, or discontinuous or inadequate pavements. Where such issues arise an agreement will be sought with the site developer to contribute to the cost of overcoming the problem in order to promote genuine accessibility by alternative transport modes. This may also include the need for developments to contribute to improved bus services to provide for a genuine choice of public transport accessibility.
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7.27 The great majority of the sites allocated in this Plan have the capacity to be accessed by a choice of alternative modes of transport, and are accessible to nearby town centres, services and jobs. The allocation policies and development briefs for these sites will identify what off-site contributions may be sought to improve access choice.
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7.28 The recent consultation draft PPG 13: Transport proposes that local authorities should require the submission of a Green Transport Plan to accompany a planning application in appropriate cases. Such instances include proposals for major developments (the thresholds are set out in PPG 13); for locally significant development proposals where there are local initiatives or targets for traffic management; and where there is a local traffic problem which would lead to a refusal of planning consent in the absence of an agreed management plan. The Council will require a Green Transport Plan to be submitted in these situations, and with the County Highway Authority will advise on the necessary content of such Plans. Those elements of submissions which serve a planning purpose and are enforceable will be secured through conditions to a planning consent, or through a planning obligation.
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Site Development Requirements
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(R)FT.3
Proposals for development will be required to:
  1. Provide for vehicular access of an appropriate standard to a highway in a manner which does not adversely affect the function of the highway from which the access is gained
  2. Ensure that the traffic arising from the development will not have a detrimental effect on the highway network in respect of the movement of traffic and road safety
  3. Ensure that the traffic arising from the development will not have a detrimental effect upon the surrounding environment by reason of noise, vibration or reduced amenity
  4. Provide for safe and convenient access for pedestrians, cyclists, buses and the disabled, including cycle parking.
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7.29 Most land uses give rise to the need for movement to and from the site concerned. It will always be a material consideration to ensure that the site access does not give rise to highway problems, and that the traffic movements arising from the proposed use can be accommodated on the wider highway network having regard to the environmental impacts of the additional movements. Access and movement will be assessed in terms of suitability for vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and the disabled.
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Parking Provision
(R)FT.3

Proposals for development will be required to make provision for the vehicle parking and servicing needs arising from the proposal. In assessing the amount of vehicle and cycle parking to be provided regard will be had to ensuring that the maximum amount of parking to be permitted takes proper account of the potential for access by means other than the private car, taking into account any improvements in accessibility and modal choice secured under Policy (R)FT.1.

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7.30 The Government has issued guidance on the level of parking provision which should be provided for development. Local authorities must take account of the need to discourage increases in car borne traffic, which may arise from over-generous provision of car parking. In particular, realistic estimates should be made of the level of movements which could be expected to arise from walkers, cyclists and public transport users. In this context local authorities should assess a maximum level of car parking which takes into account the number of trips likely to use these alternative means of transport, and which could be expected to reduce the amount of car parking required for a development. This assessment will take account of any improvements to accessibility and to modal choice secured in relation to Policy (R)FT.1
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7.31 The Council will place on deposit with the Plan supplementary planning guidance setting out maximum parking standards for different forms of development.
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7.32 The Council will have regard to the opportunity for developments to use existing car parking facilities in lieu of provision on a site. This is likely to be most appropriate for town centre developments.
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Provision for Reduced Car Parking
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(R)FT.4

In locations accessible by a choice of means of transport, particularly in town centres, and where it is feasible or desirable to reduce the level of car parking provision, a reduced level of parking provision will be permitted. Where appropriate an agreement will be sought for the development to contribute to the provision or improvement of parking or public transport or walking or cycling within the settlement where to do so will assist the transport needs arising from the development.

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7.33 There are circumstances where it is desirable to permit development notwithstanding that the parking provision which would otherwise be sought cannot or desirably should not be provided on the site. This may apply particularly in town centres where there is an existing good level of accessibility and choice of modes of transport. The same circumstances may apply elsewhere, in some of the larger villages in the District. The desire to increase densities and encourage brownfield site development in such accessible locations is also a strategic aim, and is referred to in PPG 13.
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7.34 Where it is proposed to agree a reduced level of parking provision a planning obligation may be sought to achieve a financial contribution to the provision or improvement of parking elsewhere in the settlement concerned, or the provision or improvement of other transport modes. Any such obligation will be directly related to the movement needs of the development concerned.
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Protection of Railway Facilities
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(R)FT.5

Proposals for development will not be permitted which would detract from the effective operation of railway services, or which would limit the potential for the further development of passenger or freight services, including railfreight terminals, transport interchanges or car parks.

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7.35 There is potential for increasing both passenger and rail freight services in the District. The background is set out in the LTP. The Lydney chapter of the Plan Review will set out an allocation policy for Lydney Station to promote transport interchange and railfreight opportunities. The Parkend chapter will refer to the alternative forms of development possible at the former railway sidings, which will include rail freight.
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7.36 The Dean Forest Railway has a junction with the main Cardiff-Birmingham line at Lydney. There is the potential for further developing passenger services along this route, particularly for tourism, and possibly developing rail freight opportunities at Parkend.
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7.37 The above policy provides a general context for controlling development in the vicinity of the two railway routes in the interest of safeguarding the potential for increased rail services over the Plan period.
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Walking and Cycling
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(R)FT.6

A network of walking and cycling routes will be developed in the towns of Cinderford, Lydney, Coleford and Newent over the Plan period. Proposals for walking and cycling routes between communities will be permitted where they are safe, convenient and environmentally acceptable.

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7.38 The principal opportunity for developing a network of safe and convenient walking and cycling routes is in the four towns of the District. The County Council has designed preliminary networks in Cinderford and Lydney. The District Council will work with the County Council to implement proposals over the Plan period in all the towns, and will consider the extent to which development allocations may be reasonably expected to contribute to implementing such proposals.
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7.39 Elsewhere in the District it is likely that more limited schemes may be feasible, for example to overcome particular safety problems or to link residential areas with principal trip attractors such as schools. The District Council will seek to implement such schemes where appropriate, in conjunction with the County Council. There may be further opportunities to provide cycle and pedestrian links between communities, particularly using old railway lines and Forest tracks. These will be permitted and supported by the Council within the terms of the above policy.
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Road Schemes - Safeguarding
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(R) FT.7

Land will be safeguarded to enable improvements to be made to the A.4136.

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7.40 The emphasis in transport policy is on managing demand and usage rather than on constructing new roads. However, there are limited schemes which address local highway safety issues, or are required to provide for the development and the functioning of the local economy. In particular there is a perception that the District suffers from poor accessibility. This perception may contribute to a difficulty in securing inward investment by business.
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7.41 The A.4136 certainly does have physical limitations which inhibit the free movement of traffic. It is an important route in the District as it links the two towns of Coleford and Cinderford to the surrounding road network. The County Council has given a high priority in the LTP to securing funding for a package of localised schemes on the route which will assist with economic regeneration, highway safety and environmental improvements. The District Council will work with Gloucestershire County Council to press Monmouthshire County Council to give a priority to improving the A.4136 west of Staunton.
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7.42 In addition there are other road schemes proposed in Lydney, Cinderford and Coleford. These respectively assist the implementation of the Local Plan strategy. Each is safeguarded by a separate policy in the relevant town chapter in Part Two of the Plan.
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7.43 Lydney is the strategic focus in the District for new development over the Plan period. The scale of development proposed requires a package of measures to be implemented, including some highway construction, enhanced bus services, cycling and walking routes and improvements to Lydney rail station. The bulk of the need for these improvements will arise from the movements associated with the large scale housing development proposed in Lydney. This relationship is discussed in greater detail in the Lydney chapter, including the extent to which development contributions will be sought to assist in implementing the transport network required.
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7.44 In addition to the above schemes there are a small number of other schemes promoted through the Plan for implementation in the Plan period. These include improved strategic access for Cinderford, and a new access road in Coleford town centre. These are discussed in the relevant chapters, and shown on the respective Proposals Map Insets.
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Public Transport / Community Transport
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7.45 The principal responsibility for public transport lies with the County Council. The LTP sets out the strategy for supporting future services. It is accepted that many journey needs in the District cannot realistically be provided by either bus or rail, and this situation is likely to persist. However, services based on the main towns, and running along specific corridors connecting with surrounding centres, do offer scope for improvement in reliability, convenience and perceived cost. The LTP proposes measures to improve these services, along with associated initiatives to manage commuter traffic and car parking in order to manage demand. The District Council endorses the approach of the County Council with respect to public transport.
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7.46 The County Council also takes a lead role in supporting community and voluntary transport schemes, with the active assistance of the District Council. These schemes primarily provide for the transport needs of the less mobile, and are an essential element of a strategy to combat social exclusion. Within the District there are proposals to link existing schemes to provide a unified and comprehensive service throughout the area. The District Council will support such proposals.
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7.47 The Local Plan strategy will assist public and community transport principally by concentrating development, services and facilities at the most accessible locations in the District. In addition, development allocations will have regard to providing for the needs of public transport, and town centre improvement schemes will also make provision for priority for bus access where appropriate, and passenger facilities.
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Traffic Management
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7.48 Traffic management plays an important role in providing a safer and better environment for people, and in resolving highway traffic problems. The LTP identifies a range of matters which require action in the District, including ameliorating the effect of traffic on settlements through which they pass (particularly along the A.48 and A.40), urban traffic management schemes, lorry routing and speed controls. The County Council will be principally responsible for implementing schemes to address these issues.
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7.49 The District Council will play a significant role as a partner with the County Council on town centre traffic management schemes, promoted as part of the Local Plan proposals. These proposals will have a wide range of objectives, aimed particularly at enhancing the vitality and viability of town centres. Schemes are underway or planned in Coleford and Cinderford. Other proposals, for all four towns, will be included in the Local Plan for which the active support of the County Council will be sought for implementation.
.District Local Plan Review

District-Wide Policies Index

Settlement Policies Index

FW v1


Forest of Dean District Local Plan Review, 1st Deposit Draft. July 2000


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