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Does Persimmon King Edwin Park Give 1st Priority to Active Travel?

King Edwin Park development, Harrogate
King Edwin Park development, Harrogate

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was introduced by David Cameron’s government in 2012. According to Wikipedia, the NPPF pursues a pro-growth, neoliberal and deregulationist agenda. However, NPPF states that housing developments should give priority to active travel.

‘…applications for development should give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements, both within the scheme and with neighbouring areas; and second – so far as possible – to facilitating access to high quality public transport…’

para 112, nppf

The Stray Ferret says that Persimmon was given outline planning permission for about 600 houses at King Edwin Park in 2016. Planning permission for 200+ houses on the southern half of the site was granted in 2018, and a further 367 on the northern half were given the green light in 2020.

Does Persimmon’s King Edwin Park development give priority to active travel? In my view it does not, for the following reasons.

1) Location of King Edwin Park

King Edwin Park location
King Edwin Park location

Developments should be in places which make sustainable travel a genuine option, according to NPPF.

‘Significant development should be focused on locations which are or can be made sustainable, through limiting the need to travel and offering a genuine choice of transport modes. This can help to reduce congestion and emissions, and improve air quality and public health.’

para 105, NPPF

Is King Edwin Park in a good location for sustainable travel and limiting travel?

It is not, because it’s on the western edge of Harrogate. There may be a primary school there one day, but otherwise all local amenities will be in the town centre. This means travelling along Penny Pot Lane/Cornwall Road.

Penny Pot Lane is narrow, with a weak, single-carriageway bridge over Oak Beck.

Bridge over Oak Beck, Penny Pot Lane
Bridge over Oak Beck, Penny Pot Lane

It is unsuitable for large volumes of traffic. Steep hills, and traffic generated by the new development, are likely to make cycling unattractive for most. Nearly all trips to town will be by car.

To a much lesser extent, people who live at King Edwin Park might go to Jennyfield – for example, to the Coop or the swimming baths.

2) Very Wide Entrance to the Development

Entrance to King Edwin Park
Entrance to King Edwin Park

LTN 1/20 states that tight kerb radii at side roads help reinforce lower speeds for turning vehicles.

Para 7.6.10, LTN 1/20
Para 7.6.10, LTN 1/20

At King Edwin Park, the guidance has not been followed. The main entrance off Penny Pot Lane is an extraordinary 83.5m wide.

This enables turning vehicles, including big lorries during the years of construction, to maintain fast speeds when turning into the site. That is bad news for anyone on foot or on a bike.

3) Cycle Routes Within the Development

King Edwin Park south, site plan
King Edwin Park south, site plan

Planning policies should provide for well-designed walking and cycling networks (para 106 c, NPPF). Applications for development should give priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements, both within the scheme and with neighbouring area (para 112 b).

People should be able to use cycles for everyday journeys (para 14.3.5, LTN 1/20). Cycle routes across a development should form a legible and high-quality grid of routes (14.3.16). Protected space for cycling will often be required on spine roads through developments (14.3.22). New open space in developments provides an opportunity to create new walking and cycling routes (14.3.8).

Looking at the site plan on Harrogate Borough Council’s planning portal, I don’t see any cycle routes marked. Some of the pavements may be wide enough for shared use, but LTN 1/20 makes clear that shared use is unpopular with those on foot and people on bikes, and should be regarded as a last resort.

It may be that I’ve missed the cycle routes, and I’m happy to be corrected.

4) Link Road to Jennyfield

Large new developments should have cycle links to jobs, education, admin, transport interchange and retail destinations.

Para 14.3.7, LTN 1/20
Para 14.3.7, LTN 1/20

I suggest that Harrogate town centre would be the main destination for all of these purposes, but as far as I know no cycle links are planned in that direction.

The Stray Ferret article mentions a link road for buses, cyclists and pedestrians to the Jennyfield estate. Jennyfield is unlikely to be the main destination for King Edwin Park residents, but a link road will be of some value.

Bus-only routes should include a parallel cycle track.

Para 14.3.23, LTN 1/20
Para 14.3.23, LTN 1/20

I don’t know whether the planned bus-only route includes a separate parallel cycle track.

5) Timing

As I mentioned, a bus-only route would be worth building, especially if it includes a parallel cycle track in accordance with the guidance.

On the other hand, construction of King Edwin Park began in 2018. It is now 2022. As far as I know, the developers have not started building a bus-only route. Some houses are already occupied.

This means that any sustainable travel route will come years after the start of the development. Given that timing, and all the other factors set out above, can it be said that King Edwin Park has given priority first to pedestrian and cycle movements?

Does Persimmon King Edwin Park Give 1st Priority to Active Travel?

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