Bucklebury Says No! Regulation 19 Consultation: Transport
West Berkshire Council (WBC) Local Plan Review: Regulation 19 Consultation
20th January – 3rd March, 2023
Specific Objections: Transport
1 Increased Traffic
Reviewing the comments by Bucklebury residents submitted at Regulation 18 about North East Thatcham, a recurring theme is increased traffic through the villages. We sought assurances and were led to understand by WBC planners that traffic from the development would link to Floral Way and the A4. This is true but what they ‘forgot’ to mention was a plan for an exit at the north of the site onto Harts Hill. This only became apparent on Friday, 6th January when the Transport assessment was published: Phase_2_Transport_Assessment_Report_July_2021.pdf (westberks.gov.uk). This is serious for us because traffic from, or to, the site is only going to go in one direction from this exit – towards Upper Bucklebury where it will split between the traffic going through Cold Ash and the traffic through Upper Bucklebury and Chapel Row.
The proposed development will funnel traffic from the development and, WBC predicts, - ‘some displacement of A4 traffic onto wider rural routes such as Upper Bucklebury ‘. This would be where the roads are inadequate, without pavements and have the potential for serious accidents. See also point 4 below on increasing opportunities for walking and cycling – under ‘Safe’ Transport.
2 Access and junctions
The Transport Assessment says at paragraph 3.26 : ‘The access arrangements for the northern end of the NET site proposes new priority junctions (with right turn lanes where appropriate) on both Floral Way and Harts Hill Road. Results from the modelling suggest that these will not cause problems’. However, the document has no modelling results for this. There are drawings for all the other proposed junctions but none for the Harts Hill one – why not?
3 Car Parks
We have also seen drawings showing a new car park on Harts Hill. The purpose is a mystery but will surely add more traffic to the same part of what is already a dangerous road and may also promote the night-time antisocial behaviour all too apparent in the car parks on the Common.
4 Safe and Sustainable Transport
The Sustainability Appraisal (SA) / Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) which accompanies the Local Plan consultation assesses the allocation of North East Thatcham against key Sustainability Objectives.
Objective 4 is – To promote and maximise opportunities for all forms of safe and sustainable transport. The SEA makes the following assessments:
- ‘To Reduce Accidents and Improve Safety’
Council Assessment - The policy is likely to have a Positive Impact on road safety as safe travel will be critical to the design of the site.
- ‘To increase opportunities for walking, cycling and use of public transport’
Council Assessment – Significant Positive Impact
Council Commentary - The policy is likely to have a significant impact on walking, cycling and public transport as the development should be designed with these in mind.
We urge you to question both of these Council assessments.
We hope that residents will be able to develop and comment on all the above in their Regulation 19 objections.
Please could you inform friends and neighbours whom you think may not see this message.