Weston-super-Mare Town Centre Regeneration - Draft Supplementary Planning Document (SPD)

Weston-super-Mare town centre regeneration Draft SPD

Movement

6.1 Introduction

The aspiration for the town centre is for a high quality, sustainable development with a transport system that fully embraces this, reducing traffic movement and dominance and improving the public realm. Supporting the needs of a changing demographic by providing real opportunities for all modes of travel and driving Weston into the future.

The aim is to provide a clear movement network for all users and modes with a simplified transport infrastructure and improvement to legibility. Key pedestrian links will be strengthened including between the seafront, town centre and key gateways and cycle infrastructure will be provided to link to key destinations and support the shift towards a culture for increased cycling. A high quality bus interchange will provide a central hub for access and information.

 

6.2 Vehicular traffic and parking

Key town centre routes have been identified which represent the main strategic movement corridors and play a critical role in defining the structure of the town centre and link to the wider network. Local access routes tend to have a reduced strategic traffic function linking to the key town centre routes and to each other. Reference is also made to ‘laneways’ in the character areas which have the potential to offer a unique, finer grain and more intimate environment and high quality pedestrian friendly environment.

Main changes proposed;

  • Changes to the road configuration at Alexandra Parade to provide a bus interchange reducing other vehicular traffic circulating around the parade. Alfred Street would become the key vehicle route to link with the Boulevard;
  • Pedestrians would be given priority in Regent St from Princess Royal Square to Big Lamp Corner encouraging visitors using the seafront into the town;
  • Traffic speeds will be reduced in the town centre to help reduce vehicle dominance and enhance the quality of the public realm. A 20mph zone will be introduced in the central area to support this;
  • Transform the arrival experience and connectivity from Hildesheim Bridge and the railway station;
  • Establish Walliscote Place as a key town centre arrival location and enhancing Oxford Street as a setting for the Dolphin Square redevelopment.

Further information relating to the requirements regarding changes to the highway can be found in the council’s Highways Development Design Guide and Manual for Streets.

A parking study is currently being commissioned which will provide evidence regarding demand for town centre parking and how this will be supplied and managed.

Click map for larger version:

traffic-movement

 

6.3 Walking

An improved and coordinated public realm throughout the town centre will be delivered, focused on key links such as Station Road, Walliscote Place, Regent Street/Big Lamp Corner and Alexandra Parade. The proposed pedestrian priority/shared space in Regent Street, dedicated crossing points and links to meet pedestrian desire lines will encourage natural pedestrian wayfinding between the station, the town centre, the seafront and other key attractions and developments.

Changes and reductions of general traffic (for example on Alexandra Parade and Walliscote Road North – except buses and access) and will support a more pedestrian friendly centre. The main changes proposed are;

  • Pedestrians would be given priority in Regent St from Princess Royal Square to Big Lamp Corner
  • New pedestrian links will be provided across Dolphin Square and between the railway station and Alexandra Parade
  • Improved pedestrian links at Spider Lane and between the University buildings near Town Square
  • Strengthened delivery of laneways at Orchard Meadows to provide a more intimate environment and animated, high quality, pedestrian friendly environments and potential shared space corridors
  • Public realm improvements on Regent Street and Oxford Street and from Hildesheim Bridge along the proposed Station Boulevard to the seafront.

Click map for larger version:

pedestrian-movement

image1726.4 Cycling

Cycling will be promoted throughout the town. Figure 6 identifies the proposed key routes as well as the coastal route and how existing routes are linked with the town centre. Cycling provision within the town will be improved. Existing cycle links end prior to the town centre which does not encourage people within a short cycle ride to use bicycles to access the town. Consideration will be given to whether a self-service cycle hire scheme could be applicable for residents use.

The build-up of student numbers also needs to be taken into account when considering better cycle provision as does the need to encourage cyclists using the seafront for leisure to come into the town. Physical improvements, improved signage, more cycle parking and better promotion are needed. Improvements to cycling provision, including dedicated provision as part of major development proposals and public realm improvements will be required in development proposals.

 

 Click map for larger version:

Cycle-movement

6.5 Bus Transport

The proposed bus network is detailed in Figure 6. This shows the routes buses will be able to use in the town centre. The network will be enhanced with the provision of a high quality interchange at Alexandra Parade. Full details of this have yet to be drawn up however the aim is to bring together bus stops in a central location with improved information, and high quality public realm. The gyratory road system will be altered and vehicular traffic will be reduced.

The Council’s aspiration is for continuous improvement in the services and infrastructure for public transport in North Somerset, building on our previous delivery which has included the Greater Bristol Bus Network and LSTF funded schemes. Our Vision for 2036 includes Metrobus (bus rapid transit) provision for Weston-super-Mare. The quality and design of bus stop infrastructure should be considered as part of the overall planning for new development. Bus stop facilities would need to be provided to the MetroBus standard and be delivered in conjunction with the development and not at a later stage.

Public transport information points should be provided incorporating the latest digital technology. These information points can have a wider use in terms of wayfinding and information sharing with advertising supporting the ongoing maintenance cost of the displays.

Click map for larger version:

bus-movement

6.6 Rail

The railway station is central to the town centre and will play an important role in achieving a shift to more sustainable modes of transport. Improvements to the station will be pursued. Current parking capacity would need to be maintained and future demand forecast. Proposals will be brought forward in the Station Gateway Masterplan. The Council’s vision is for significant improvements to the station, service frequencies and service capacity within Weston super Mare and throughout North Somerset with a key aspiration for hourly services from Weston to London, increased frequencies for local services at key stops, better station facilities, access for all and extended platform lengths at some stations.

We will continue to work in partnership with the Department for Transport, other West of England authorities and the LEP to develop the network and build on the current MetroWest investment and will input to franchising discussions. We will continue to work in partnership with Network Rail and rail franchisees to align delivery, secure bid funding and leverage ongoing improvements.

6.7 Parking

A parking study is currently being commissioned which will provide evidence regarding demand for town centre parking and how this can be managed. Parking standards and provision for development would need to be in keeping with the quality and style of the development and be in line with the current North Somerset Parking Standards with the following additions to reflect the changing nature of the town centre:

  • Electric charging points - With technology advancing in terms of electric vehicles every opportunity should be taken to expand the network of electric vehicle charging points in public and private parking areas. 10% of the total parking spaces should include superfast charging points with a minimum of 1 space. In order to future proof car parking areas ducting should be included to support the provision of charging points for 40% of spaces in the longer term.

Charging points should be highly visible but not disrupt the aesthetic value of the location and would need to be located where one charging point can serve the maximum number of spaces.

  • Car clubs - Establishment of a car club scheme and car parking facilities to accommodate this. On site 5% of spaces should accommodate a car club car with a minimum of 1 space and this should be located adjacent to the electric charging point as the Council’s aspiration is for electric vehicle car clubs
  Mode 2011 TTW Mode Share* End Phase 3 (2026) Travel to Work Target Mode Share
Train 2.1% 4.2%
Bus, minibus, coach 4.8% 6%
Taxi 0.8% 0.8%
Bicycle 3.9% 5.1%
On foot 15% 19.5%
Motorcycle, scooter, moped 1.1% 1.1%
Driver (car or van) 65.2% 55.4%
Passenger (car or van) 6.8% 7.6%
Other 0.3% 0.3%

 * Includes travel to work to and from Weston-super-Mare

6.8 Coaches

Those development proposals likely to generate coach traffic such as sport venues should provide appropriate off street facilities for the stopping, setting down and picking up of passengers, together with adequate space for the manoeuvring to allow vehicles to leave the site in forward gear. The onus will be on the developer to demonstrate that an appropriate level of provision is made to satisfy likely levels of usage. Layouts requiring coaches to reverse in or out of a site would not be acceptable.

 

6.9 Travel Plans

Travel plans should be provided in line with the Travel Plan SPD. It is an aspiration of the council to develop an area wide travel plan for Weston Town Centre to support the overarching modal shift targets and new developments would need to work with the council to support this. The table on page 33 sets out these targets.

 

6.10 Flood Risk and Drainage

Parts of Weston Town Centre lie within the floodplain, a site specific Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) which considers all sources of flooding and potential contamination risks will need to be undertaken in accordance with National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for all development sites that are within or partially within Flood Zones 3 or 2. It is recommended that early pre-application discussions with the Environment Agency are undertaken to establish the format and detail of the FRA and to identify potential issues and costs associated with flooding.

Parts of Weston town centre are at a high risk from surface water flooding and the existing surface water drainage system is at or near capacity. A reduction in surface water runoff for the 1 in 1 year and the 1 in 100 year rainfall event, with an allowance for climate change is required on all development sites as far as reasonably practicable, with a reduction of at least 30% required on all major sites.

Sustainable drainage should be integrated with greening wherever possible, to provide enhanced amenity value and water quality benefits.

Reference should be made to the West of England Guide Sustainable Drainage Developer Guide, the North Somerset Sustainable Drainage Design Guidance (Section 2 of West of England Guide) and North Somerset Councils emerging policy on SuDS adoption and maintenance. Further information on SuDS viability for the key sites is available from the Council’s Flood Risk team.