Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document
Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 24/05/2004
Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to commend the Executive to authorise an updated Cycling Plan to go out to public consultation. The Plan has been produced in conjunction with the Waverley Cycling Forum. It includes a proposed core strategic network of cycle routes, which will form the basis for future cycling provision in the Borough. Once adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance, it will become a material consideration in determining planning applications.
Quality of Life Implications
Prevention and Control
Cycling is an environmentally benign form of transport with important health benefits for people of all ages. Cycling has the potential to cater for many more journeys than it does at present, particularly shorter distance trips where it can provide a genuine alternative to the car.
It is intended that the Cycling Plan will be available to view on the Council’s website, both during the consultation period and once formally adopted.
Resource and legal implications
There are resource implications arising both from the consultation and publication of the document itself, and the implementation of the various Action Points. The principal funding would be likely to come via Surrey County Council through the implementation of the LTP. In addition to this, funding opportunities will arise from both other relevant agencies (such as the railway operators) and through developer contributions arising from major planning schemes where cycle accessibility is an issue.
Introduction and Background
1. There are many advantages to encouraging cycling. It is a flexible, quiet, relatively cheap and non-polluting form of transport that can provide health benefits for people of all ages. Cycling has the potential to cater for many of the shorter trips to work and school, and thereby to help reduce traffic growth on Waverley’s already congested roads. It is also a popular recreational activity.
2. The Borough is fortunate in having a network of country lanes, many of which are relatively quiet, narrow roads that follow old and winding routes. Some of these lanes form part of the Surrey Cycleway, which is a signed on-road leisure route throughout the county. This has links to all the major population centres in Waverley, such as Farnham, Godalming, Haslemere and Cranleigh.
3. However, there are very few dedicated cycle routes in Waverley for everyday use. Safety is a major concern and narrow busy roads discourage cycling. Only 1.73% of journeys to work in Waverley are currently made by cycle (2001 census).
4. Although Surrey County Council is the highway authority for Waverley, the Borough Council also has an important role to play in promoting and encouraging cycling, particularly in respect of its function as the local planning authority. The Council adopted its first Cycling Plan in 1997 and has established a Waverley Cycling Forum to bring together interested parties. In recent years, Surrey County Council has developed cycle schemes in partnership with the Borough Council, the Cycling Forum and Town and Parish Councils, together with local residents.
5. Attached at
to this report is the draft version of an updated Waverley Borough Cycling Plan. This document will replace the 1997 Plan and is intended to provide an up-to-date framework for future action that will assist in achieving increased cycle use. It has been produced in conjunction with Waverley Cycling Forum, which will be responsible for overseeing its implementation.
6. Section 2 of the draft Cycling Plan contains an analysis of the relevant national, county and local policy context. Both the National Cycling Strategy, launched in 1996, and Planning Policy Guidance Note 13 on Transport (2001) promote an increase in cycling as a desirable policy objective for local authorities.
7. The first Surrey Local Transport Plan (LTP), which covers the period 2001/02 to 2005/06, contains targets to increase the proportion of trips made by cycle across the county and to implement 1,000 km (625 miles) of cycle network within the five years of the first LTP. Within Waverley, the target is to provide 12 km (7.5 miles) of cycle routes per year. To date only 3.2 km (2 miles) of that 60 km (37 mile) target have been provided.
8. The Waverley Borough Local Plan 2002 sets out policies and proposals for development and land-use. Policy M5 deals with provision for cyclists by setting out ways to encourage cycling. These include promoting a Borough-wide network of cycle routes, providing cycle parking facilities in appropriate locations and considering the safety and needs of cyclists in the design of all highway and traffic management schemes. The new Waverley Borough Cycling Plan would supplement Policy M5 of the Local Plan.
9. Waverley’s Local Agenda 21 Strategy also seeks to encourage journeys by bicycle to reduce reliance on the car wherever possible. In addition, the Council’s Cultural Strategy launched in April 2003, includes within its Action Plan the aim of encouraging safe cycling as a healthy leisure pursuit and an alternative means of transport. It also aims to provide a network of cycle routes through WBC green spaces and link with SCC rights of way and neighbouring boroughs.
10. The Council’s Car Parking Strategy (which covers the period 2000-2005) also identifies the advantages of encouraging cycling. One of its objectives is to extend the provision of well designed secure cycle parks in its car parks.
Main Elements of the Cycling Plan
11. The draft Plan includes the following aim:-
“To increase the levels of cycling in Waverley so as to help achieve the cycle-related targets in the Surrey Local Transport Plan.”
12. This aim is translated into a list of 10 specific objectives and a detailed Action Plan sets out a programme of measures to implement those objectives. The Action Plan provides an indication of which organisations would be responsible for delivery of those measures, together with the anticipated timescale.
13. Amongst the annexes is a map of a proposed strategic cycle network for Waverley, including detailed networks serving the built-up areas of Farnham and Godalming. As well as providing continuous routes between the various towns and villages in the Borough, the proposed network would also connect residential areas within the main settlements. It should be noted that National Cycle Network Route 22 will pass through part of the Borough, with the first section due to be installed over the next 12 months through Farnham adjacent to the A31.
Status of the Cycling Plan
14. The 1997 Waverley Borough Cycling Plan was adopted by the Council but was not formally given the status of Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG). Having regard to the inclusion of a proposed strategic cycle network within the revised version, it is desirable for the new Plan to be given the status of SPG so that the network can be taken into account in the consideration of planning applications.
15. Notwithstanding the fact that the updated Plan has been prepared in close cooperation with local cycling groups through the Waverley Cycling Forum, it will be necessary to carry out a consultation exercise with Town and Parish Councils, adjoining local authorities and the wider community in order to meet Government requirements for SPG status, or Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) status under the emerging Local Development Framework arrangements.
16. It should be noted that Surrey County Council’s Local Committee in Waverley considered the updated Waverley Borough Cycling Plan at its meeting on 12th September 2003. The Local Committee resolved to adopt the Plan as a basis for improving cycling provision in Waverley, subject to funding being available, and to include the Plan within the Bid for Funding 2004-2007 submitted in November 2003.
17. In view of the time taken to resolve some outstanding issues in the completion of the draft plan and the associated plans, it may be necessary to review some of the timescales attached to the various Action Points. This would be carried out in conjunction with the Waverley Cycling Forum, which meets every three months.
It is recommended that the Executive be commended to approve the Draft Waverley Borough Cycling Plan as a basis for public consultation.
There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.