Executive Member – Environment. 5th April 2011. Eastleigh Town Access Plan Adoption, reference 2656 Background Paper 1 Eastleigh Town Access Plan (ETAP) Consultation response. February 2011 Introduction This document provides a review of the consultation activities conducted as part of the Development of the Eastleigh Town Access Plan (ETAP). Contained in this document are details of the public consultation activities that occurred, an overview of the responses from those who participated in the consultation, and the responses of the ETAP Working Group to these submissions. Following analysis of these responses, a final ETAP has been produced and will be adopted by Hampshire County Council and endorsed by Eastleigh Borough Council. Summary of Consultation Methodology The public consultation took place from Saturday 14th August 2010, until Friday 1st October 2010. Key Stakeholders and residents were asked to comment on the draft ETAP. Awareness of the consultation was raised by an online presence on the Eastleigh and Hampshire websites, printed leaflets and an article in the Eastleigh Borough News. Key stakeholders and Councillors were advised by direct Email. - 1250 copies of the summary leaflet were printed. Copies of the leaflet were available at key public buildings, including the Civic Offices, Town Centre information office, Eastleigh Museum, the Library, and various health and leisure facilities. Copies were also sent to all local schools. - An information article raising awareness and listing the web link was included in the Eastleigh Borough News, which is circulated to households borough wide. Copies of the Eastleigh Borough news were also available in key public locations as part of its normal distribution. - A three day exhibition was held from Thursday 16th September until Sat 18th September in the Swan Centre staffed by Eastleigh Borough Council (EBC), and Hampshire County Council (HCC). Copies of the leaflets and the draft ETAP were available. Staff were on hand to record comments, and printed copies of the on-line survey were available to complete. - The EBC website had an article on the ETAP consultation and web-links back to the main HCC website. During the final week of the consultation, the Eastleigh website ran a front page article. - The Hampshire County Council web site had downloadable copies of the draft ETAP and access to the on-line consultation. - Key stakeholders identified by HCC and EBC were separately emailed a covering introduction, and links to the on-line survey. The responses from the on-line, stakeholder, and public exhibition were collated into the four themes as included in the original draft ETAP document as well as into more Executive Member – Environment. 5th April 2011. Eastleigh Town Access Plan Adoption, reference 2656 general themes relating to the ETAP document itself. Where the responses coincided with existing ETAP action plan interventions, the original action plan number is included in the text. New suggestions, where appropriate, will be included into a revised action plan. Suggestions that were made for interventions outside the scope of the ETAP have been added, where appropriate, to the EBC Transport Scheme Inventory list as well as the HCC Transport Contributions Policy list. Other items mentioned such as vegetation clearance, or poor reinstatement after public utility works, was passed from the ETAP team to relevant council departments to be considered. The ETAP, and its role with other strategic planning documents. A number of respondents commented that the ETAP had not set out a clear overarching transport strategy and could be perceived to be progressing with local transport improvements without reference to an overarching strategy. Figure 1 (page 11) of the ETAP document shows how the ETAP relates to other strategic documents. The ETAP is not intended as a strategic visionary document, but as a delivery document that helps prompt stakeholder discussion and informs and secures development contributions, providing a local context to proposed developments and to co-ordinate the delivery of interventions. The are other documents such as HCC LTP, EBC Local Plan (and emerging Local Development Framework), the Borough’s Town centre Vision document that all set out the direction for Eastleigh’s strategic Development and associated transport impacts. It is acknowledge that there is a gap in transport strategy between the ETAP and high level County and Borough wide transport and land use policy. In order to develop a more comprehensive transport strategy for Eastleigh, the Borough and the Hampshire rub-region as a whole, a Sub-Regional Transport Model is being developed that will provide a vital evidence base to prioritise and assess the impact of larger, more strategic transport proposals that will have a wider impact on the Hampshire sub-region. The ETAP will sit under this emerging strategy ensuring the development of localised accessibility improvements that will compliment the more strategic transport improvements. The ETAP document has been updated (page 10) to clarify its position and role in relation to wider transport and land use policy. Funding ETAP Schemes The issue of funding ETAP schemes was raised in light of the current economic climate of financial restraint, and the likelihood of cuts to transport budgets. Developer contributions currently held by HCC and EBC will be the main source of ETAP funding and will be allocated to ETAP schemes that are recognised as contributing to the mitigation of transport impacts associated with the local development from where the funding was received. The expenditure of these developer contributions on specific schemes will be governed by the scheme priority, feasibility, cost and ensuring that each scheme meets all the tests as stated in Government Circular 5/2005. The legal tests of Circular 5/2005 ensure that developer contributions are spent on local schemes that relate to the development from where the funding originated. Although it Executive Member – Environment. 5th April 2011. Eastleigh Town Access Plan Adoption, reference 2656 may appear that over 5 millions pounds is potentially being spent on a small minority of Hampshire and Eastleigh tax payers, the proposed schemes in the action plan will be funded predominantly by existing and future developer contributions associated with development within Eastleigh. As well as implementing local accessibility improvements, utilising funding currently held by HCC, a key role of the ETAP is to provide a basis for negotiations with developers for financial and other contributions for transport infrastructure as and when future development arises in the town centre. This ensures future mitigation measures address the specific needs associated with improving accessibility within Eastleigh town centre. Walking and Cycling Respondents comments on walking and cycling generally related to items previously identified in the draft ETAP. Common themes are summarised in the paragraphs below, and referenced against existing actions and expanded to include the new ideas and suggestions. The draft ETAP recognised a need within Eastleigh for clear and legible signing and improved information for navigating around Eastleigh, (reference A.30). However, respondents identified the need for this intervention to be expanded upon to include enhancements to the existing literature such as the Borough’s Cycle map and also static on street maps located in key areas within the town such as in the vicinity of Eastleigh Station. Additional suggestions included improved signage and information to and within the parks and open spaces that are in the vicinity of Eastleigh Town. There were a number of suggestions relating to Eastleigh town centre’s walking environment. There was specific reference for the need to further pedestrianise the town centre, which is identified in the action plan (reference D.12 - possible pedestrianisation of High Street). Alongside this suggestion, additional assessments will look at missing drop kerbs, poor footway surfaces, reducing street clutter (D.4) and liaison with accessibility groups for design compliance for those with mobility or other impairments (A.27). Additional crossing points, including pedestrian refuges, controlled crossings and Zebra crossings will be considered and prioritised where they meet the necessary design criteria. A number of cyclists expressed their frustration at vehicles parking in cycle lanes albeit there were no specific locations given. Parking in a cycle lane is only prohibited when it is a mandatory cycle lane, which is denoted by being bounded by a solid white line and a Traffic Regulation Order. The ETAP Action Plan highlights only one specific issue relating to cars parking in a mandatory cycle lane (reference A.14, Leigh road cycle route to junction of Southampton Road). Enforcement has proved unsuccessful and therefore the intervention proposes further engineering measures to physically prevent cars parking on the cycle lane to enable cyclists unhindered access. Archers Road footbridge Bridge (reference A.1) was mentioned by several respondents. It is acknowledged that the Romsey rail line creates a severance issue between the northern residents of Eastleigh and the town centre. The existing stepped footbridge at Archers Road poses a significant barrier to use for those with mobility impairments, parents with push chairs and cyclists. For those who use the footbridge, concerns were raised over its general condition and personal security concerns. For those unable or Executive Member – Environment. 5th April 2011. Eastleigh Town Access Plan Adoption, reference 2656 unwilling to use the footbridge the only alternative is to detour via Twyford Road, which itself is identified as a route to improve for pedestrian and cycle access. Replacement of the Archers Road footbridge remains an aspiration, but there are significant issues associated with the large footprint of a ramped bridge including, land availability, design and funding. The issues associated with accessing the town centre via Twyford Road were also highlighted by a number of respondents, including crossing at its junction with Shakespeare Road and over the railway bridge. Both these elements and further improvements are referenced in the ETAP Action Plan (reference D.10 & A.23), and general maintenance. Bishopstoke Road, which connects Bishopstoke to Eastleigh was raised as an accessibility issue especially for cyclists and the restrictions at the railway bridge, which connects Bishopstoke to Eastleigh Town Centre. Improvements are proposed (reference A.3), but similar issues of land, highway width and funding need to be resolved. These two main corridors of Twyford Road and Bishopstoke Road into Eastleigh will be subject to further detailed investigations. Accessibility along Leigh Road was remarked upon by both cyclists and pedestrians. Leigh Road is subject to several schemes as detailed in the ETAP (reference A.8, A.10, A.11, A.9), including the continuation of the Leigh Road cycle route (reference A.10) and crossing improvements (reference A.8 & A.12), and the extra comments received will be incorporated into the above investigations. Public & Community Transport Comments received about public transport were wide-ranging. Several comments made to EBC and HCC staff at the exhibition indicated that progress was being made in improving access to buses, both the vehicles and infrastructure, especially with regard to improved access for mobility impaired passengers. There were concerns raised regarding issues of reliability and consistency, in particular, being stranded when a bus is cancelled at short notice or substituted for a non-accessible vehicle. This work to improve accessibility of public transport is on-going and the operators are committed to continuing to enhance and update their bus fleets. Similarly there was a request for more accessible Taxis, which will be discussed with Eastleigh Borough Council. Operators and the local authority were asked to make additional Interchange improvements, which are identified in the ETAP Action Plan (reference B.4 & B.9), consider additional and enhanced bus routing (reference B.3), provide better travel information (reference B.5) and further improve bus stops with covered shelters and seating (B.9). Road Safety, Traffic management & Parking Executive Member – Environment. 5th April 2011. Eastleigh Town Access Plan Adoption, reference 2656 The car remains the dominant mode of transport for accessing Eastleigh town, and when using their cars residents and commuters want quick, easy access, and somewhere convenient to park. Those who responded to the survey also wanted road speeds to be reduced, inconsiderate parking to be discourage, congestion reduced and more reliable journey times. The ETAP Action plan identifies range of measures to promote walking and cycling, which in turn aims to reduce the number of local car journeys, providing realistic alternatives to the car. Traffic management proposals have also been identified such as the implementation of Variable Message Signing to direct drivers to the nearest car park with spaces available along with improvements to the existing static directional signing (reference C.7). Concerns over speed of traffic is also being looked at within the residential areas of the town (reference C.12) and also accident hotspots at minor junctions (reference C.11). The implementation of the Chickenhall Lane Link Road (reference C.4) is a concern for many respondents, with the majority of respondents in favour of the concept and this project remains an aspiration for both Hampshire County Council and Eastleigh Borough. Campbell Road (reference A.8) received several mentions with HGV access being a concern especially in light of the lack of footways making pedestrian access to the town difficult. Restricting operating hours and footway improvements were mentioned as possible improvement. Parking issues generated many comments. Although some thought the parking expensive, others thought the Eastleigh parking charges were less than other local and major centres in Hampshire. Suggestions for the expansion of residents parking zones and additional disabled bays were mentioned although no specific locations were given. Concerns were raised over a lack of parking at certain employment sites for staff and visitors. This was a particular problem facing the local colleges where a high proportion of students travel to college by car. There is limited on site parking and on street parking is restricted in the vicinity of the colleges by residential parking zones. An ETAP objective is to promote the development of workplace travel plans, which would look to alleviate parking pressures by promoting the use of alternatives to the car. Many of the ETAP schemes will be aiming to facilitate greater levels of walking and cycling, which will be of benefit to the colleges and other employment sites, however there is a need for HCC and EBC to work closely with the colleges and other employment sites to try and overcome their specific transport issues through the development of bespoke workplace travel plans. Southampton Road, Leigh Road, Twyford Road, and Bishopstoke Road, including Passfield Ave, Duttons Lane and Dew Lane, all attracted comments regarding difficulties with junctions, safety, speed of traffic, and restricting access to and from side roads to discourage rat running. Many of the comments were not limited to motorists but similar to the problems experienced by pedestrians and cyclists. The ETAP action plan identifies specific junction improvements along the main corridors aforementioned and work is already underway on a projects to undertake a comprehensive review of the Twyford Road corridor to identify multi-modal access improvements. Several comments were received about the Motorway junctions. In particular the M27 Junction 5, phase two improvements, and improving access from the M3. Where Executive Member – Environment. 5th April 2011. Eastleigh Town Access Plan Adoption, reference 2656 appropriate we will liaise with the Highways Agency who are ultimately responsible for the Motorway network to investigate these improvements. Environment, Street scene & Community Overall, respondents to the survey were positive about Eastleigh town centre, describing it as a good, non-threatening environment. Respondents would like to see more public seating, and litter bins, and continue to enhance Eastleigh’s historic sense of place with gateway features and heritage information displays. On a more practical note, residents would like to see improved changing facilities for young children and accessible toilet facilities. Eastleigh remains a popular destination for the mobility impaired, including organised trips due to its easy access shops and facilities.
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