Preston Parish Neighbourhood Plan 2018 - 2031

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(1) 11. Transport andCommunications

11.1 The biggest concern under this heading for residents of Preston is the problems connected with traffic, transport and travel. People are concerned about speeding, especially on certain roads and over half of residents responding to the Preston Survey 2017 would like speed limit reductions to 20mph. Heavy traffic is also an issue at certain times of the day. For some, this is exacerbated by a lack of pavements and street lighting in certain places (although others highlight these as positives about living in Preston). Indeed, the main worry for some young people about their safety in the village is roads and pavements with 65% concerned about lack of pavements, 45% concerned about the width of pavement and 52% concerned about speeding traffic. A poor bus service and badly maintained roads are other bugbears raised by residents of all ages, with 69% of young people concerned about an inadequate bus service.

11.2 Preston lies approximately five miles to the west of the A1M at Junction 8 and approximately eight miles from the M1 at Luton. The main road through the village runs east-west and is a small country lane which barely allows vehicles to pass in many places. All of the feeder roads to the nearby towns of Luton and Hitchin from the village are country lanes which are little more than tarmac covered historic cart tracks, with informal passing places, as are all of the other roads in the parish. The nature of the roads in the parish makes them unsuitable for significant increases in traffic within and through the village.

11.3 Because there are only rural lanes within the parish there is huge concern locally about the increase in traffic which will inevitably occur if the proposed developments for East of Luton go ahead as well as the planned expansion to Luton airport. In addition to the planned and agreed increase in numbers to 18 million passengers per year, a recently submitted planning application requests that this number should increase to 38 million. The much greater volume of traffic through Preston as a result of these developments will have a huge impact on the quality of life for local residents.

11.4 Transport is an emotive issue in Preston. Most people rely on the car to be able to get to work or school. Households have two cars on average. Several households with two adults have three cars. With a poor bus service, cars are a lifeline to amenities and facilities outside of the parish as well as to work, school and shops.

11.5 Other than the two central roads in the village, Church Lane and School Lane, the other roads are predominantly single track with some passing places and in view of this new developments should provide off road parking for a minimum of two cars per unit.

11.6 One of the concerns for local inhabitants is the amount of traffic in both directions on Church Lane at peak times. This includes morning and evening rush hour and anafter schoolpeak between 3.30 and 4.30 p.m. The majority of this traffic is passing through the villageen routetoorfromLuton, Hitchin and Stevenage. Local research by the Parish Council has shown the number of vehicles passing through the village is very high in proportion to the number of households. (See table below)

Date

Time

Vehicles* travelling

from LeyGreen

towards LeyGreen

Monday 10 October 2016

08.04 - 08.54

123

120

Tuesday 11 October 2016

15.00 - 16.15

60

83

Tuesday 18 October 2016

16.35 - 18.05

189

126

*The volume of traffic is much higher than could be expected taking into account the total number of households in the parish is 165.

This survey was undertaken at the Church Lane side of The Green

11.7 The improved Internet service is appreciated and three quarters of residents now have high speed broadband. Improved mobile phone coverage is seen as more important than a fixed telephone line (especially by those taking part in the Young Residents Survey), and many residents would like an improved mobile phonesignal in Preston.

11.8 In conjunction with BT, a project was started in July 2010 to bring fibre optic broadband to the village. Questionnaires were completed, a village meeting was held and local residents contributed £37,830, including VAT,to the project. BT paid the remainder. This was the first such initiative in the country and a trial to see what was possible for other rural communities. The first householder was connected to super-fast broadband on 26 July 2012 with other residents following soon afterwards. Those living nearest to the box get the fastest broadband, gradually reducing for properties further away.

11.9 A new box was installed opposite the Recreation Ground to provide the fibre optic service but as there was not enough capacity within the old copper box for the number of lines required, the system has been fraught with problems since its inception. Engineers were on site most days and problemsfor individual householders tookconsiderable time to be resolved. This led to the replacement of the box in July 2017 and hopefully amoreconsistent service for most residents. However, there are still improvements to be made. The survey indicated that seventy-nine percent of homesrequired faster broadband.Mobile coverage is also not adequate in many parts of the Parish of Preston. Eighty two percent of respondents said theyrequired a better mobile signal.

11.10 In light of the above issues, provision of facilities to support the delivery of efficient and effective broadband and mobile coveragethroughout the parish will be supported provided they do not conflict with other policies in this Plan.

Objective T1:To support and encourage safe and sustainable transport, including walking and cycling.

Objective T2: To support and encourage safe use of roads, paths and bridleways for all users: walkers, joggers, cyclists and horse riders, as well as being safe for motorised vehicles.

(2) Policy TC1: Safe and Sustainable Transport:

Residential and community development proposals should be able to demonstrate that amenities in the village can be readily and safely accessed by pedestrians and cyclists. Development should:

a) not unduly increase traffic volumes within or through the village (an appropriate Traffic Impact Assessment should be submitted with all planning applications) and

b) not create additional safety risks (an appropriate Road Safety Assessment should be submitted with all planning applications) and

c) provide a minimum of 2 off-road parking spaces per new residential unit and a minimum of 3 parking spaces for 4+ bedroom residential units to ensure no undue hindrance to traffic or safety issues.

See also Policy HD2 and Policy EH8

References:

Local Plan proposed Submission 2011- 2031: Policy SP6: c,g: P41

NHDC Vehicle Parking at New Development: Supplementary Planning Guidance; September 2011, P17

NHDC Local Plan 2011- 2031: Proposed Submission, Appendix 4, P243: Car Parking Standards

Objective T3: To support the development of efficient and effective broadband speed and mobile coverage throughout the parish while maintaining a good landline service, meeting the domestic, social and business needs of the community.

(1) Policy TC2: Broadband and Mobile Coverage:

Provision of facilities to support the delivery of efficient and effective landline, broadband and mobile coverage throughout the parish will be supported provided they are sensitively designed and located in accord with other policies in this Plan. Proposals for new residential, commercial or community developments should include meeting the broadband and mobile phone needs of occupiers without any adverse impact on broadband speed or mobile phone coverage for the wider community.

Objective T4:To seek on-going improvements to transport and utility infrastructure.

This objective will be achieved through the Implementation Plan and the Project Plan.  

Change from 30mph speed limit to 20mph for certain roads.

It is recognised and acknowledged that many residents would like the speed limit reduced to 20mph in some areas of the village. Preston Parish Council attempted to do this in June 2017. Having consulted the available data, Hertfordshire Highways and the Police, they have concluded that the lanes in Preston do not meet the current criteria for speed limit reduction.

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