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Item 19 - Homes Zones Cabinet Report.doc - Gateshead Council

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									                                                         REPORT TO CABINET
                                                         12 April 2005



TITLE OF REPORT: Gateshead Home Zones

REPORT OF:          Derek Quinn, Group Director, Development and Enterprise



                               EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Home Zones are an urban design led concept for residential developments, where
streets are intended for a range of activities and are primarily places for people,
not places for vehicles. The aim is to improve the quality of life for residents and
this takes priority over ease of traffic movement. Streets in Home Zones may
consist of seating and areas of planting as well as incorporating routes for traffic
movement.

This report seeks approval for consultation to begin on the Council’s first Home
Zone project in an existing residential area, in the Gainsborough Crescent area of
Carr Hill.


Policy Context

1.    Section 268 of the Transport Act 2000, enacted on 1 February 2001, provides
      the legislative basis for establishing Home Zones in England and Wales. This
      permits local traffic authorities to designate any street or streets as a Home
      Zone.

2.    The proposals are in line with the vision for transport outlined in ‘Towards
      2010’ – Local people and businesses who have easy access to integrated,
      safe and affordable transport which supports economic growth and balances
      the needs of all users in a responsible way. The proposals also support the
      objectives for sustainable transport in ‘Local Agenda 21’. The scheme will
      support the key strategies of safety and security, access for all,
      environmental protection and cycling, set out in the ‘Tyne and Wear Local
      Transport Plan’ (LTP).

3.    The concept of a Home Zone is also in line with the main themes of Housing
      Market Renewal around providing sustainable communities which are
      attractive, safe, accessible and desirable places for people to live. This can
      be achieved by investing in communities by improving housing and the local
      environment.

Consultation

4.    The Cabinet approved a report entitled ‘Traffic Calming and Traffic
      Management Scheme Review’ on 9 December 2003, which recommended
      further investigation into the potential introduction of a pilot Home Zone in
      an existing residential area. Councillors were requested to suggest areas
      where they felt Home Zones were appropriate, and further studies have
      been carried out.

5.    A workshop was held on 20 October 2004 to discuss the introduction of a
      Home Zone in Gateshead. Representatives from consultancies and
      neighbouring local authorities (who had previous experience of developing
      Home Zones) were asked to attend. A selection of sites were visited, and
      extensive debate about the merits of each site was carried out. The site
      proposed in this report was considered to be the most appropriate.

6.    Consultation has been carried out with the appropriate portfolio holders and
      the local ward councillors. Support has been forthcoming for the concept
      and the selected site.

Implications

7.    The Strategic Director, Finance and ICT confirms that a maximum of
      £100,000 is available for the design of the Home Zone, funded through the
      Local Transport Plan. In addition to this, preliminary discussions have been
      carried out with Bridging NewcastleGateshead (HMR Pathfinder), who have
      expressed interest in allocating funding to the implementation of the
      scheme.

Recommendations

8.    Cabinet is recommended to:

      Approve the commencement of a consultation process with regard to the
      introduction of a Home Zone in Gainsborough Crescent and its surrounding
      streets (illustrated in Appendix 2).

      For the following reasons:

              To enable the design and implementation of a pilot Home Zone, in
               support of the Council’s policy objectives
              To contribute towards an emerging Speed Management Plan for the
               Borough.




CONTACT: J Quigley extension 3166                                PLAN REF: 2556
                                                                             APPENDIX 1
Background

1.    “Home Zones are residential streets in which the road space is shared
      between drivers of motor vehicles and other road users, with the wider need
      of residents (including those who walk and cycle, and children) in mind. The
      aim is to change the way that streets are used and to improve the quality of
      life in residential streets by making them a place for people, not just traffic.
      Changes to the layout of the street should emphasise this change of use, so
      that motorists perceive that they should give informal priority to other road
      users”. IHIE Home Zone Design Guidelines, June 2002.

2.    Towards 2010 sets out the vision for Gateshead into the future. This includes
      measures to improve housing, community safety, transport and the
      environment. They aspire to provide pleasant areas to live where people feel
      safe and free from fear, and to provide integrated and safe transport that is
      clean, pollution free, attractive and sustainable.

3.    The Council’s Local Agenda 21 Strategy has identified two strategic objectives
      around improving air quality and providing sustainable transport that offers
      genuine alternatives to the car.

4.    The Tyne and Wear Local Transport Plan has as four of its key objectives,
      safety and security, access for all, environmental protection and cycling. In
      short, it aims to provide facilities for all, including pedestrians and cyclists that
      are safe, accessible and environmentally friendly.

5.    The main themes of Housing Market Renewal are to provide sustainable
      communities, which are attractive, safe, accessible and desirable places for
      people to live. This can be done by investing in communities by improving
      housing and the local environment.

Identification of Sites

6.    The investigation and design of Home Zones is in support of the Council’s
      policy objectives.

      Council Officers working in partnership with appointed Consultants, developed
      a procedure for the appraisal of sites as to their appropriateness for a Home
      Zone to be introduced into an existing residential area. It involved the
      development of a three tier criteria against which each site could be
      measured. The tiers were as follows:

         Primary Criteria – length, size, traffic flows, speed, geometry and physical
          nature of the site.
         Secondary Criteria – existing conditions in terms of traffic calming,
          footways, lighting and natural surveillance.
         Issues a Home Zone could potentially address – speed, improvements to
          the street scene, parking, rat running, exclusion and play areas.

7.    Any site failing 3 of the Primary Criteria (unless in extenuating circumstances)
      would automatically be rejected.
8.    Ward Councillors were contacted and asked to identify sites they thought
      would be suitable for a Home Zone. Thirteen sites were compared against
      the criteria, two of which were selected.

9.    The selection process also identified sites that displayed certain
      characteristics, for example, were in deprived areas, had large levels of local
      authority housing, had low levels of car ownership or had received a request
      for traffic calming. Using the criteria stated above, three further sites were
      selected from a choice of ten.

10.   The final phase of the identification process, involved the organisation of a
      workshop with officers from neighbouring local authorities and consultants,
      who had experience of developing Home Zones. Site visits to the five sites,
      and extensive discussion was carried out, with Gainsborough Crescent area
      of Carr Hill emerging as the preferred option.

Proposal

11.   It is proposed that Cabinet agree for a consultation process to be carried out
      regarding the development of a Home Zone project within the Gainsborough
      Crescent area of Carr Hill. Residents and key stakeholders play an integral
      part in both the consultation and decision making process. To this end, a final
      scheme will be brought back to Cabinet following further consultation on the
      preferred options.

Consultation

12.   The appropriate portfolio holders and ward councillors for the selected site
      have been consulted and support the proposals. Extensive further
      consultation, with regard to scheme design, will be carried out with residents,
      Portfolio Holders, Ward Members and key stakeholders on approval of this
      report.

Alternative Options

13.   Overall, 21 sites were considered as to their suitability for Home Zone
      implementation. The review process covered all potential options prior to
      focusing and finalising on the identified priorities.

Implications of Recommended Option

14.   Equal Opportunities Implications – A Home Zone seeks to reduce social
      exclusion by improving access for vulnerable road users by the reduction of
      vehicle speeds.

15.   Crime and Disorder Implications – Improved levels of street lighting and the
      existing levels of natural surveillance will assist in reducing crime.

16.   Environmental Implications – One of the key objectives of the Local
      Transport Plan is to improve air quality. This can be achieved by reducing
      vehicle speeds and the introduction of additional planting areas.
17.   Human Rights Implications – The construction of a Home Zone in a
      residential area will have an effect on the amenity of some residents. Initial
      consultation to gauge levels of support for the proposal will be held with
      residents and Ward Members. Further consultation with residents on the
      proposed scheme will be undertaken at the appropriate time.

18.   Ward Implications – Local Councillors for the Deckham ward have been
      consulted with regard to the proposed implementation of a Home Zone.

Background Information

19.   The Traffic Consultants reports: Site Selection – Councillor Nominated Sites,
      Site Selection – GIS Identified Sites. Site Selection – Workshop Report and
      Conclusion, can be viewed by contacting Transport Strategy.

								
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