6.1.1 The Staffordshire Moorlands is a predominantly rural District, comprising
the NE of Staffordshire lying between the North Staffs conurbation and the
Peak District. Covering an area of 222 square miles the majority of the
94,489 population (about 55%) live in the three market towns of Leek
(19,880), Cheadle (12,166) and Biddulph (19,512). 1 (The above figures
do not include the Peak Park area). The Moorlands has a slightly lower
unemployment rate than nationally [further information relating to
employment levels can be found in the Employment Issues paper].
6.1.2 These three towns have close links with larger population areas within a
„travel to work‟ radius such as the North Staffordshire conurbation,
Macclesfield, and Greater Manchester. Major roads in the District include
links between Leek and Stoke, Macclesfield, Ashbourne and Buxton;
Biddulph to Stoke and Congleton; and Cheadle to Stoke, Uttoxeter and
Car, Bus and Rail
6.1.3 Car ownership within the District is significantly higher than the England
average: 83.1% of Moorlands2 households have at least one car,
compared to 73.2% across England. However within the District there are
notable pockets falling below this, such as certain “disadvantaged” wards
including Leek North (67.5%), Biddulph East (70%) and Cheadle North
6.1.4 There are at least 18 private bus operators running services throughout
the District (many services are under contract from Staffordshire County
Council). There are services from Hanley to
Leek/Werrington/Endon/Caverswall (at frequency 25mins-2 hr+). Other
services connect Hanley to the fringe Moorlands villages only, at similar
frequencies. There is a complete Macclesfield-Leek-Ashbourne service
5/times a day; with less frequent connections to Stockport and Derby.
6.1.5 There are limited routes that serve rural areas in the Moorlands, and these
are generally much less frequent. These include:
Leek-Buxton-Bakewell (3 hourly)
a Warslow link to Sheffield via Peak Park villages (twice daily);
other routes connecting Peak Park villages to Leek, Ashbourne or
Buxton (1.5 hours- once a day)
“dial a bus” schemes such as Moorlands Traveller and Moorlands
Traveller East which serve the rural areas of the District east of Leek.
6.1.6 Three services connect Leek with Biddulph (Leek-Biddulph-Congleton,
Leek-Biddulph Moor-Biddulph, and Leek-Rudyard-Biddulph-Congleton),
however these are relatively infrequent services. Baker Bus provides a
regular (30 min) service between Biddulph and Hanley. A quality
partnership route connects Werrington and Cheadle with Hanley and
Uttoxeter 7/times each day. Another route links Cheadle with Weston
Coyney and Uttoxeter. However only one service links Leek with Cheadle
(9 times a day).
6.1.7 At present the District only has one public railway station, at Blythe Bridge,
along the Stoke to Derby line. Regular services link Blythe Bridge to Stoke
(between 45mins- 1hr 40m frequency, Mon – Sat, dependent on time of
day; on Sunday there are less frequent services). There are however
tourist/leisure rail facilities at Churnet Valley and Foxfield.
Journey to Work Patterns
Work Journeys out of the Moorlands2
6.1.8 2003 Ward data1 reveals that out of the 45,724 employees recorded as
resident in the Moorlands:
23,574 (51.56%) of these worked within the District2
12,233 (26.75%) worked within the North Staffordshire conurbation
Other significant clusters include work-journeys to Congleton (1,989
or 4.35%), Stafford (1,630 or 3.56%), Macclesfield (1,212 or
2.65%), and adjacent rural areas.
Work Journeys into and within the Moorlands2
6.1.9 2003 Ward data1 reveals that out of approximately 31,684 employees
recorded as working in the Moorlands:
23,574 (74.40%) of these were resident in the Moorlands2; versus 8,110
(25.60%) employees commuting into the Moorlands2. Of the 8110
employees commuting into the District, notable clusters include workers
from: the North Staffordshire conurbation (4,882 or 60%); Stafford
(533); Congleton (488) and Macclesfield (186).
58.47% of people working in the Moorlands2 worked in the three main
towns. Leek accounted for 32.17% of this total, Biddulph and Cheadle
combined about 26.3%. The remaining 41.53% worked in the remainder
of the District2 .
These three towns exhibit high incidences of employing local workforces,
with approximately 54.62% of all Leek employees resident in Leek 5. The
respective figure for Biddulph is 68.80% and Cheadle 49.69% 5. However
the employment linkages between the three towns are much less
In places homeworking is also significant. In Biddulph for example this
represents 21.62% of all those working in Biddulph (the District-wide
figure is 16.23%).
Outside Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph
6.1.10 In the rural areas of the District outside the three main towns, the travel to
work patterns are more complex. This “rural area” contains a number of
larger villages including Blythe Bridge/Forsbrook, Werrington/Cellarhead,
Cheddleton, Brown Edge, Endon, Upper Tean etc., and accounts for about
a third of District-based jobs. About 16.25% of employees working in this
area, originate from the North Staffordshire conurbation; 15.39% from
Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph combined; and the remaining 57.84% from
somewhere within the District beyond the three towns.
6.1.11 The reason for this overall picture is unclear, however it may be explicable
by those residents of the larger villages (Werrington, Forsbrook etc)
working in these, or adjacent settlements within the District, rather than in
what may appear on the face of it to be “rural employment”. The 16.25%
figure may be explicable by for example, in-commuting from the
conurbation to peripheral villages such as Werrington/Cellarhead, Blythe
Bridge/Forsbrook, Endon, Brown Edge etc. An even greater number of
people from this area (that is the Moorlands outside the three main towns)
travel to the North Staffs conurbation to work - about 61% of all journeys
out of the Moorlands. However, incidences of homeworking within this
area is also significant (at 23.76%).
6.1.12 The pie chart below illustrates a breakdown of work destinations of those
workers resident in the Moorlands2. Note that “North Staffs” refers to the
North Staffordshire conurbation of Stoke-on-Trent and Newcastle under
Work Destinations of Staffordshire Moorlands
Resident Workers (Census 2001)
REST OF DISTRICT
Means of Transport
6.1.13 A breakdown of work-travel movements both out of the Moorlands2 and
into and within the Moorlands2 reveals that the private car is still the most
prevalent transport mode. The relative percentages (to 2 decimal places)
of certain means of transport are set out below:
Means of Journeys out of the Journeys into and Overall (%)
Transport Moorlands (%) within the Moorlands
Private car or 92.20% 64.53% 75.92%
Private car: 83.18% 56.35% 67.39%
Bus and taxi 4.74% 3.80% 4.19%
All Rail 0.57% 0.21% 0.35%
Cycling 0.71% 1.70% 1.29%
Walking 1.37% 13.08% 0.56%
Total journeys 22,150 31,684 53,834.
6.1.14 It should be borne in mind that the above travel to work figures are based
on the means of travel constituting the biggest part of the journey- in reality
work journeys may comprise combinations of different modes.
6.1.15 There were 14,540 schoolchildren 16 or under in 2006 6 within the
Moorlands2. Complete data setting out travel to school transport methods
for individual schools is also not available*. However where County have
introduced „safer routes to schools‟ initiatives with select schools, such
information has been recorded. This anecdotal evidence can provide a
„sample‟ of student travel patterns. County data collected from 35
participating schools between July 2004 and March 2006 revealed:
of 841 school staff
78.8% arrived by private car (68.1% alone)
19.6% walked or cycled and only 0.6% used public transport;
of 18,986 pupils
80.3% arrived by private car (75.5% as an only child)8
13.2% walked or cycled8
5.3% arrived by (school/private) bus.
Colleges and Sixth Forms
6.1.16 2006 figures indicate that Moorlands schools contained over 1,050 16-19
students (full & part time). In the same year Leek College contained
approximately 2,927 full/part time students7 (thus total about 3,977). It has
not been possible to obtain data about transport methods in all cases*.
However 2006 data from Leek College reveals that at least 7.7% of its
students use bus.
6.1.17 Private car use is by far the most prevalent journey to work method,
particularly for journeys to and from the identified clusters of the North
Staffs conurbation, Stafford, Congleton and Macclesfield, and the District.
The overall figure for private car and motorcycle travel to work journeys,
into, within, and out of the Moorlands is about 76%1. Also notable is the
high incidence of single occupant worker journeys. Anecdotal evidence
points to a similar predominance of car use (including high single
occupancy rates) in relation to educational journeys. Although in the case
of students it is difficult to obtain travel data relating to the residential
origins and places of study*.
6.1.18 Bus and rail patronage is very low: the overall combined figure for work-
travel journeys involving bus, rail, and cycling is less than 6%. Again
anecdotal evidence gives a similar reading for educational journeys.
Bus and Rail
Perhaps the high incidence of car-commuting work journeys can be
attributed to factors including: the higher than average car ownership rate,
the relatively low frequency of bus services, and arguably the inadequate
coverage of these routes (at serving, for example, rural areas beyond the
main towns). Because of low patronage (low population density) on rural
routes it is relatively more difficult for bus operators to secure funding from
Government or County sources. In rural areas, particularly the more
sparsely populated areas, the role of the bus appears to be more focused
on social inclusion/access to key services than on achieving modal shift.
Generally, modal shift requires a good frequency of service, which except
on key inter-urban corridors (which serve rural areas beyond the main
towns) will not be high enough to attain modal shift.
6.1.19 Most of the District remains unserved by train, and the station at Blythe
Bridge provides links to Stoke and Derby, but no direct links exist to
employment “hotspots” eg Congleton, Macclesfield, Stafford or
Manchester (connections via Stoke on Trent). The hilly terrain (and wet
climate) can understandably act as a deterrent to cycle use or walking.
There may also be other reasons for the prevalence of the car, including
attitudes of car owners, perceptions about public transport, and the “car
6.1.20 The above statistics identify employment travel „hotspots‟, and also point
to the high incidence of single-occupant worker car-commuting journeys.
It is therefore suggested that there is scope to significantly reduce car
numbers (within and beyond the planning process) simply by targeting
improvements to public transport services linking these „hotspots‟; and
encouraging greater car sharing (for example by promoting Travel Plans,
see para 3.7).
6.1.21 In the case of schoolchildren and students, clearly those under 17, and a
high proportion of other students, will either not be able to drive, nor have
access to a car. In the case of Leek College there is anecdotal evidence to
suggest that where public transport is not available (or lacks a convenient
direct route) this can preclude/discourage enrolment from „inaccessible‟
locations by such students. It must also be borne in mind that part time
study such as evening or weekend classes, would generate demand for
public transport to access these establishments, at „off-peak‟ hours, for
instance. Clearly there is potential to reduce car congestion associated
with student travel, either through encouraging alternative modes (for
example through „safer routes to school‟ initiatives) and again by
encouraging car sharing and the adoption of School Travel Plans.
2 Policy Context
Overview of Policy
6.2.1 The broad thrust of national and regional Planning Policy has been that
sustainable development should form the cornerstone of the Planning
process. The goals of national and regional economic growth cannot be
achieved at the cost of environmental (and social) considerations such that
it would be unsustainable. Transport patterns, particularly the inexorable
growth of use of the private car – must be altered. Equally development
patterns should not have inequitable social consequences such as making
some developments relatively less accessible to some sections of the
public, for example to those without access to the car.
6.2.2 Development patterns generally should be guided in a way which reduces
the need to travel, particularly by private car. Where travel journeys are
unavoidable, planning should guide development such that it favours
journeys by walking and cycling in the first instance, followed by rail then
bus, and finally the car. Proper integration between different means of
transport is equally important to encourage greater confidence in non-car
travel for longer journeys.
6.2.3 Development, particularly at higher densities, should be directed to urban
areas or settlements well served by public transport where there is a range
of facilities, employment opportunities etc, such that the need to travel is
reduced. The more closely related these uses are to public transport, the
more effectively they can be served by it; whereas dispersed development
patterns reduce the effectiveness of public transport. For this reason the
mixing of land uses in urban areas is encouraged, and the recycling of
„brownfield‟ land over greenfield is usually preferable, unless „greenfield‟
sites perform better in such „sustainability‟ terms. By focusing development
within urban areas this also serves the dual function of protecting the
countryside from inappropriate and „unsustainable‟ patterns of
6.2.4 The Core Strategy must therefore address two broad transport issues:
1. promoting sustainable patterns of development that reduce the
need to travel; and
2. encouraging a shift away from using the car in favour of walking
and cycling (for shorter journeys), and bus and rail.
Planning Policy Guidance Note 13: Transport (2001)
6.2.5 PPG 13 is the primary Policy document relating to transport issues in
planning. It recognises how the control of car parking provision in urban
centres can play a large part in changing means of travel away from the
car, particularly if combined with traffic management measures and
measures to improve public transport. Reduced levels of parking can free
up land for other development and increase densities. Because of this
parking requirements should now be expressed as maxima and not, as in
the past, minima; and developers should not normally be required to meet
even maximum standards where they do not themselves propose this.
Authorities should consider relaxing parking standards further in more
central locations in closer proximity to public transport connections. This
could involve setting criteria to determine what constitutes close proximity
(for example, suitable walking distances).
6.2.6 Authorities should ensure that parking levels should be consistent
between central and out of centre locations (or between competing
centres) to prevent areas with greater parking having an unfair advantage
at attracting car-borne users. Development Plans should be consistent
with the Local Transport Plan and its Parking Strategy affecting their area
(see paras 2.15-2.18, and 3.15 below) in relation to parking controls,
charges and on-street enforcement.
6.2.7 The guidance also states that new developments should provide for
alternative transport modes (eg cycle routes and parking, contributions for
bus routes etc), particularly where a need is identified via a Transport
Assessment (TA) accompanying the planning application. Authorities
should also consider, in partnership with other agencies, how rail networks
can be expanded, for example by preventing development on presently
disused routes. Travel Plans (TPs) (strategies adopted by employers,
schools etc containing targeted measures designed to alleviate car use to
their premises) are heavily promoted, and the guidance sets out which
types of planning applications must now be accompanied by TPs.
6.2.8 The guidance also promotes the growing phenomenon of homeworking
(where it would not be inappropriate in residential areas in amenity terms).
Homeworking reduces the need for work-travel journeys (although it can
be associated with less frequent work journeys covering longer distances,
and therefore less use of public transport). The District already
experiences a high incidence of those in employment working from home.
Planning Policy Statement Note 7: Sustainable Development in Rural
6.2.9 The key objectives of this guidance are to promote more sustainable
patterns of development around towns and villages, thereby protecting the
countryside, and to promote the rural economy and particularly the
agricultural sector. The Guidance sets out in what circumstances
development (both new build and building conversions) is appropriate in
the countryside. In many cases remote rural areas or small settlements
may not be appropriate for future growth because of the increased need
for travel to services etc, particularly by car. For this reason Authorities
should consider which settlements or groups of settlements should act as
a focus for future development, based on their size/ the availability of
facilities/services within them, and access to public transport links; thereby
reducing the need to travel. [See also Rural Issues & Community
Facilities Issues Paper].
Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands (RSS) (2004)
6.2.10 Authorities preparing Local Development Frameworks (LDFs) and Local
Transport Plans (LTPs) must take the Policies of this RSS into account.
The main thrust of the RSS is to tackle the unsustainable trend of
decentralisation of population and jobs away from the Region‟s Major
Urban Areas (MUAs) such as Birmingham and Stoke. The RSS states that
Stoke (a MUA) and the lesser centres in the Region (in this case Leek,
Biddulph and Cheadle) must act as the foci of future growth. The RSS
sets annual maxima for residential completions that apply across
Staffordshire up to 2021, and each District will need to determine how best
to distribute housing across their settlements. However this document is
presently being reviewed so the scale of future growth is to some extent
6.2.11 Policy T5 sets out the wider vision for the Region beyond the MUAs (ie the
smaller towns, settlements, and rural areas). Priority should be given to
developing integrated public transport links (and interchanges) within sub-
MUA urban areas to serve these areas and their hinterlands. In remoter
rural areas Authorities should identify which individual settlements (or
groups of settlements) should act as a focus for services/facilities to meet
people‟s needs, and distribute new housing etc accordingly. Authorities
should aim to improve public transport links connecting these areas with
their rural hinterlands (Policies RR1, 2 &4).
6.2.12 Strategies to improve cycling and walking in urban areas should also be
reflected in Development Plans and Local Transport Plans- for example by
developing coherent cycling/walking networks serving towns and
hinterlands; by re-allocating roadspace in favour of cyclists/pedestrians
where appropriate; and by “ensuring that new developments…improve
walking and cycling access”. The employment of Transport Assessments
and Travel Plans can assist this.
Staffordshire Structure Plan 1996-2011
6.2.13 This takes a similar stance to national and Regional guidance in that it
instructs that future development patterns should reduce the need to
travel. Through the LTP the Highways Authority will continue to work on
an integrated transport strategy which will “reduce the growth in the length
and number of motorised journeys [and] improve the availability,
accessibility and efficiency of non-car modes including public transport”.
Structure Plan Policies will ensure that “new developments are located in
areas well served by public transport and… improved facilities and
services are provided at an early stage by developers”.
6.2.14 Walking and Cycling networks are also supported as in the RSS; and the
implementation of traffic management techniques, such as highway space
re-allocation away from the car (such as bus/cycle lanes), and controls
over on- and off- street car parking provision, will be implemented to
control the volume/speed of traffic on the County‟s roads. This is
particularly important to remove congestion/increase efficiency within the
economically important Strategic Highway Network (the County‟s major
motorways and trunk roads).
Local Transport Plan
6.2.15 Local Transport authorities are required by the Transport Act 2000 to
prepare Local Transport Plans (LTPs) for 5 year periods. The majority of
the Staffordshire Moorlands is covered by the Staffordshire LTP 2006-
2011. The North Staffordshire LTP covers the administrative areas of
Stoke-on-Trent, urban Newcastle-under-Lyme and the Parishes of Brown
Edge, Endon and Stanley, Bagnall, Werrington, Caverswall and Forsbrook
within the Staffordshire Moorlands.
6.2.16 The main purpose of the LTP is to explain how Staffordshire County
Council proposes to spend money allocated by Central Government for
local transport improvements. The LTP has to identify the following:
What the local transport problems are
The potential solutions that must:
focus on the Central Government priorities of reducing congestion
and air pollution and improving accessibility and road safety;
complement regeneration initiatives, community strategies and land
be deliverable within the resources made available by Central
Government and take account of any other funding opportunities;
provide value for money.
How the achievements of the LTP will be measured.
6.2.17 The main transport priorities in Staffordshire are better accessibility,
creating safer roads, and effective and efficient highway maintenance.
Other important issues detailed in the Plan, include reducing the impact of
traffic and improving air quality.
6.2.18 The LTP is material to planning applications and must be taken into
account by Authorities preparing Development Plans (LDFs). The County
Highways Authority should work with LPAs (and other Agencies) in
achieving the goals of the LTP.
Previous LTP Achievements in the Moorlands
6.2.19 Staffordshire‟s first LTP 2000-2005 had numerous achievements relating to
transport in the Staffordshire Moorlands.
6.2.20 The Alton Towers Transport Strategy has been developed to help alleviate
traffic congestion and improve road safety in Alton village. Measures
include improvements to the existing transport network and a proposed
privately funded Eastern Access Road to Alton Towers. A preferred route
has been agreed with all affected landowners. Highway improvements in
Alton to help relieve existing traffic and road safety problems and
conditions for pedestrians have been implemented in conjunction with
complementary road maintenance schemes.
6.2.21 The Biddulph Bypass was completed on programme in October 2003. One
of the main aims of the bypass is to act as a catalyst for regeneration
initiatives in Biddulph. This process of regeneration is underway with a
programme of traffic management and amenity measures being introduced
in the town centre, funded jointly by the County, District and Town
6.2.22 The Leek West Community Safety Scheme and North West Leek Safer
Routes to School Scheme (SRS) have been completed and the majority of
the Biddulph SRS has also been implemented. The implementation of the
majority of measures derived from the Biddulph Cycle Strategy has also
6.2.23 North Staffordshire Bus Quality Partnership routes 32 and 32A have been
completed and an improvement scheme for Leek Bus Station has been
undertaken including upgraded pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure.
6.2.24 The A520 Wetley Rocks has been subject to significant traffic management
and road safety measures including new signing, road markings, safety
cameras and pedestrian facilities.
Proposed LTP Schemes for the Moorlands
6.2.25 In Staffordshire‟s LTP 2006-2011 rural isolation is recognised as an
important issue. The majority of Staffordshire‟s rural population is quite
mobile, as car ownership levels are high. However, people living alone in
rural areas can experience more isolation than their urban counterparts.
These people often have difficult in accessing services or visiting family
and friends. Lower public transport frequencies can limit journey
opportunities, contributing to rural isolation. Staffordshire‟s 2006-2011 Bus
Strategy complements the LTP and attempts to improve social inclusion in
rural areas [see LTP Bus Strategy para 2.29 below].
6.2.26 The North Staffordshire Community Rail Partnership (NSCRP), with
members from the North Staffordshire Rail Users Group and local
authorities, has been established to promote the Crewe-Stoke-Uttoxeter-
Derby rail service with the aim of increasing patronage levels. The
Partnership‟s officer will work with the local community and the train
operator to raise the profile of the line, and will enable the train operator to
better understand the needs of patrons. Staffordshire County Council will
support projects developed by NSCRP, with funding if appropriate, where
the projects are shown to contribute towards achieving LTP objectives.
6.2.27 A mapping exercise has been undertaken to assess the suitability of the
countryside within Staffordshire for outdoor recreation and the anticipated
demand. Factors such as the proximity of the population to the
countryside, agricultural land classification, ecological sensitivity, land
amenity value, and the density of the recorded rights of way network have
been assessed. The outcome of the exercise will enable an assessment of
the existing demand for countryside access, areas where there is a
shortfall in access provision, and areas most appropriate for encouraging
further public access.
6.2.28 The District Council is expected to acquire ‟Decriminalised Parking
Enforcement‟ powers from August to October 2007. Better enforcement of
parking regulations will facilitate smoother flow of traffic and reduce impact
of vehicles in towns, safety will be improved and Resident Parking Zones
will improve quality of life. Re-investment of surplus revenues in local
transport facilities will help to achieve LTP2 aims including those set out in
the Accessibility Strategy.
LTP Bus Strategy
6.2.29 This forms part of the LTP, the primary aim being to improve accessibility
by increasing bus usage to services (particularly in rural areas), and
affecting modal shift away from the car. Two central objectives that attract
LTP funding are, (1) to improve the coverage and frequency of services-
within and between urban areas, particularly along busy transport
corridors,- and (2) within remoter rural areas. Other important work
includes disseminating timetable information to the public, and promoting
improvements to design of buses, including lowering floors to
accommodate the elderly/disabled.
6.2.30 With regard to rural services, the Strategy identifies three main types of
service which should integrate to provide a comprehensive bus network.
Rural services should:
- Provide a link to at least one primary or secondary centre;
- Operate at least six days per week to larger villages, with an evening
and/or Sunday service provided based upon assessment-smaller
villages may be provided with a service on less than six days per week
dependent upon demand;
- Provide interchange to the primary network wherever possible;
- Provide interchange at rail stations where practicable.
The level of service provided on a given rural route will be dependent on
the population of settlements on the route.
6.2.31 The County work with private operators as part of „public transport
partnerships‟ and Quality contracts to improve services around the urban
areas. For example funding has implemented/improved services between
Hanley and Leek Cheadle and Biddulph respectively. For rural services
funding is available from sources including Rural Transport Grant (over
£1m/annum across Staffordshire) and „rural bus challenge‟. So far these
have been responsible for establishing:
the Moorlands Traveller (1999) – a demand responsive service in an
adapted minibus, covering a small section of the Moorlands (that area
east of Leek, Ipstones and Froghall, and extending into the Peak Park),
Moorlands Traveller East (2002) – an expansion of the above service,
extending northwards into the Peak Park, and
Postbus serving the Leek to Wetton area (now replaced by timetabled
6.2.32 The County also work with an established Rural Transport Partnership
for West Derbyshire/North Staffordshire. This aims to promote social
inclusion and tackle rural isolation through improvements to transport
provision and access to services. The Partnership does this by:
Increasing awareness and promoting the use of, existing public
and community transport services;
Improving co-ordination and integration of existing transport
Working with communities and groups prone to social exclusion
to identify their transport needs and solutions;
Promoting walking, cycling and car sharing opportunities etc;
Assisting in the development, implementation and monitoring of
new transport services.
The Partnership includes representatives from local authorities, statutory
bodies, and voluntary community organisations. Bidding for funding is
also possible to the Countryside Agency or County Transport Authority for
new services e.g. dial a ride minibuses.
6.2.33 Following a conference held through the auspices of the Staffordshire
Rural Forum in June 2005, Staffordshire County Council has been working
towards the establishment of a single, countywide, Rural Access to
Services Partnership (RASP). This partnership will have close links with
the Local Strategic Partnerships and the Staffordshire Rural Forum.
Provisional North Staffordshire Local Transport Plan(2006/7- 2010/11)
6.2.34 This is the equivalent LTP for the North Staffs conurbation (it includes a
western portion of the Moorlands). Its vision is “to create and maintain an
integrated and sustainable transport for North Staffs to facilitate
regeneration and to create opportunities for people to live, play and travel
in a safe and pleasant environment”. Its aims are similar to the
Staffordshire LTP aims, with additional aims of supporting regeneration
efforts, reducing fear of crime, and enhancing quality of life in the
conurbation. These aims translate to objectives which informed the
production of the “North Staffordshire Integrated Transport Study”
(NSITS) – a long term framework for transport planning in the conurbation.
6.2.35 The main strategy involves increased bus services and new park and ride
facilities around the conurbation periphery, in combination with other
measures such as encouraging walking/cycling. Other possibilities include
congestion charging in the centre, and some smaller road schemes, to
Community Strategy (2003-2010)
6.2.36 This document is presently being reviewed. All Local Development
Documents including the Core Strategy must be produced in accordance
with it. The Strategy‟s central aim is to “promote social economic and
environmental wellbeing” across the District and contains 7 crosscutting
strategic ambitions which relate to different aspects of improving quality of
life in the District. Some of these cross-relate to transport. Most notably:
Ambition 7 that “everyone who wishes may access services, learning
opportunities, employment, health provision, and leisure activities in a
way that is effective and sustainable”.
6.2.37 Priorities include addressing passenger transport needs in the District and
promoting integration of passenger transport, thereby helping to combat
car use and to help retain (through patronage) existing community
facilities; also to improve access to services in rural areas, and direct new
services in a way which combats social exclusion and isolation. Further,
Ambition 4, “that local areas and towns are regenerated…” includes a
priority to “develop a local infrastructure that encourages business growth
[and] helping people to access jobs”.
6.3.1 The direction of the Core Strategy must take the following issues into
Distribution of Future Development
6.3.2 The principle of distributing development in sustainable locations where
employment, housing and other facilities can be provided close together is
clearly set out in Government guidance. This is important to:- sustain rural
economies, to protect the countryside from inappropriate development, to
ensure that future rural residents have access to a range of
facilities/services, and to reduce the need to travel. Planning Policy will
make it necessary for the Council to decide how best to accommodate
future development across the District to meet the needs of everyone.
6.3.3 The Moorlands has a range of settlements varying in size from the three
main market towns of Leek, Cheadle and Biddulph (between 10,000-
20,000), through to smaller settlements of 4-7,000 population such as
Werrington/Cellarhead, Blythe Bridge/Forsbrook, Brown Edge/Endon. At
the lower scale there are also a number of isolated rural settlements with
populations of less than 500.1
6.3.4 There are different ways of approaching the issue of distribution of
development. Development could be distributed between the 3 market
towns. Alternatively, there could be a settlement hierarchy, for instance,
with the towns of Leek, Biddulph and Cheadle as the top tier followed by
larger villages which serve a wider rural community, are accessible and
have some community facilities as the second tier and smaller more
isolated villages with very few or no community facilities as the lowest tier.
Development could then be concentrated in only the towns and larger
villages. Alternatively development could be spread more evenly across
the towns and the rural area.
6.3.5 There are a number of different ways of approaching the issue of where to
locate new development in rural areas. The concept of key settlements is
recognised in Government policy as a way of achieving sustainable
development in rural areas. Key settlements are generally larger villages
that have a range of existing facilities for example, a school, one or more
shops / post office, village hall, leisure facilities etc. The idea behind this is
that these key settlements will be the focus of most new development and
serve a wider rural hinterland requiring access to services and facilities.
Increasing Bus and Rail Service Use
6.3.6 The documents set out in the Policy Context section above promote the
greater use of buses and trains, as an alternative to the car, for work,
education and even tourist use. In spatial terms this means targeting bus
service improvements for intra-urban trips, inter-urban trips, and trips
linking urban areas with their hinterlands. For trains, the Council‟s
commitment will be to ensure that presently disused routes/facilities with
potential for re-use remain undeveloped (e.g. Stoke to Leekbrook line).
Integration between means of transport is also to be desired (e.g. linking
bus stops to railway stations).
6.3.7 Additionally the Council will continue to promote the adoption of company-
and school- travel plans across the District. These Plans are sometimes
required as a condition of planning consent where for example an
establishment seeks to expand which would have significant impacts on the
local highway network. These Plans often contain measures to require, for
example, the establishment to provide a bus service as a way of reducing
(particularly single occupant) car-commuting. Separate to the planning
process Staffordshire County Council Sustainable Travel Team will continue
to approach organisations to promote greater adoption of sustainable travel
initiatives and Travel Plans including Staffordshire Share-A-Lift scheme.
6.3.8 At present applications for developments likely to have significant transport
implications require a transport assessment. Where appropriate, the
Highways Authority can require developer contributions for highway
improvements, or contributions towards the provision of public transport,
walking and cycling facilities. New developments should be, as far as
possible accessible by a range of means of transport. Coordinating future
development with existing development can also assist in bringing forward
improvements to existing public transport infrastructure, through the
development control process in this way. Increased population catchments
would therefore increase demand for existing services, which may have
positive spin-offs as it would increase revenues of public transport operators
which may in turn result in improvements to services. The danger of a „do
nothing‟ approach of neither discouraging car use or encouraging greater
public transport use is that (according to predictions) car use will continue to
grow, demand for public transport services will decline; congestion on roads
will increase, therefore making road conditions relatively worse for
pedestrians/cyclists, and increasing traffic delays. Reduced demand for
public transport services would result in decreasing revenue for public
transport operators, possibly resulting in contracted service provision, and
thereby exacerbating the problem.
6.3.9 The breakdown of commuting patterns highlighted above would appear to
suggest that there is potential to expand bus journeys (at the expense of the
car) simply by targeting the most prevalent work and study journeys (and
the times these take place).
6.3.10 In practice, the Authority has limited powers with regard to the provision of
bus services within the District, as services are largely provided by private
operators. Occasionally requirements upon developers to contribute to
improved services, new waiting facilities, or changes to the highway in
favour of buses near to the development, may accrue from the development
control process; for example where a development would have significant
highways impact. The nature/extent of contributions is based on guidance
from the County Highway Authority and LTP. Sometimes in finely balanced
applications additional commitments such as funding for public transport
infrastructure may help make a scheme acceptable.
6.3.11 The Highways Authority works alongside bus operators as part of Public
Transport Partnerships, which seek to improve the levels of service,
conditions (and design) of buses in their area. Sometimes funding is
available from the LTP for such improvements, including for example
subsidising certain bus routes to increase „accessibility‟ to key facilities, as
part of the Staffordshire Bus Strategy.
Car Parking Provision and Parking Standards
6.3.12 The Council owns or rents about 28 public car parks across the District,
including in the three main towns of Leek Cheadle and Biddulph, and other
settlements including Blythe Bridge, Upper Tean and Oakamoor. The
majority of these are pay and display. In the case of Biddulph and Cheadle,
one or two centrally located car parks serve the entire town centre. In the
case of Leek, a large number of smaller car parks are spread out
throughout the centre. Council car parks serve the needs of both short term
and long term visitors.
6.3.13 At present anecdotal evidence (in the form of occupancy rates) suggests
that in the three main towns the existing level of town centre provision is
sufficient. However during outdoor market days for example in Leek there
is a perception of parking shortages. This could be explicable by not only
the reduced capacity associated with stalls upon parking areas, but also by
increased visitor numbers during these days. However It has also been
suggested that the location of car parks in terms of the centre determines
their use i.e. the nearer to the centre or intended destination the higher the
patronage, and vice versa (it would appear users are only prepared to travel
short walking distances). An additional point is that at present there are no
time restrictions which would differentiate between long- and short- stay
customers in the more central car parks. It is preferable for long stay
customers (typically work commuters) to use more peripheral car parks, and
thereby freeing up more central parking for short stay customers (shoppers
etc). This current situation may be having the effect of reducing available
capacity in central car parks in towns away from short stay customers.
6.3.14 Car parking levels in town centres affects levels of car use, because, in
part, the availability of convenient parking affects the decision to drive.
Because of this, control over parking levels is often used as a „demand
management‟ technique (a „stick‟ measure) by Authorities seeking to
encourage the use of alternatives to the car.
6.3.15 Planning authorities must of course balance the competing issues of
encouraging alternatives to the car in accessing centres, with the desire to
maintain the economic vitality of these centres. Car parking control should
also take account of competing centres by showing consistency across
comparable centres, such that one centre is not disadvantaged in favour of
another by virtue of restrictions in car parking. In other words, Authorities
should ensure that their own traffic demand measures (include parking
management) are consistent with the LTP for their area. The Staffordshire
LTP‟s Parking Strategy has 3 main objectives including “to maintain the
economic viability of town centres”, “to restrain the level of car based
commuting” and “to consider and cater for the diverse needs in the County
whilst developing regional goals”. The Staffordshire Moorlands Parking
Strategy (2005) has been produced in accord with this, including the central
objective of providing “appropriate level of parking facilities at an
appropriate cost to users and Council taxpayers”.
6.3.16 Decisions about the number of public car parks to serve town centres, their
capacities, and their locations, involve planning trade-offs between the
benefits of these facilities to, for example, the economic health of the town,
against their impact in amenity terms and the encouragement to make the
journey by car. This is particularly acute in the more historic or
architecturally rich urban areas. Also, arguably, the decision to impose car
park charges in town centres may have the effect of discouraging some car-
6.3.17 A related concern is that insufficient off-street parking provision (or perhaps
avoidance of parking charges) can lead to problems of on-street parking
within and adjacent to town centres. In October 2007 the Council will
acquire powers under ‟Decriminalised Parking Enforcement‟ measures
which will allow the Authority to prosecute drivers who for example, park on-
street on double yellow lines, or within resident parking zones.
Park and Ride
6.3.18 Some Councils have successfully employed „park and ride‟ schemes on the
edge of settlements in their District, as a method of reducing car use into
these centres. However these schemes are most effective in serving larger
settlements with a wider range of services, and they must be viable in terms
Currently the only example in the Moorlands is the Roaches P&R operating
from Tittesworth Reservoir off the A53. According to Staffordshire County
Council, Park and ride will only generally be viable in one or more of the
following circumstances: - where existing parking is in short supply; - if
P&R journey times will be competitive against other options ; - where
congestion is a serious problem; where differential parking charges are
introduced to favour park and ride; - or there is a need to protect a
sensitive urban/rural environment.
6.3.19 The current Local Plan contains parking standards to apply to new
developments. These are some years out of date, and apply as minimum
standards per development, instead of maximum standards. Authorities
are now encouraged to apply maximum parking standards instead, and
are also encouraged to relax these where the development is centrally
located such that it can be accessed easily by non-car modes. Parking
standards can either be self-determined by the Council, or based on
Cycle and Walking Strategies
6.3.20 Planning Policy states that District or County Authorities should consider
how walking and cycling can be optimised; for example by identifying
potential networks and routes, particularly in urban areas, to link homes
with areas of employment, shopping, education, transport nodes etc, and
the countryside. This can be done through re-allocating highway space in
favour cyclists/pedestrians e.g. cycle lanes, cycle paths; carrying out traffic
calming measures; introducing pedestrian crossings etc, as appropriate.
Councils can then require developers to provide contributions for the
expansions of these routes. In the case of cycle lanes Authorities have
powers to impose both „mandatory‟ and discretionary style lanes on
highways. The former cannot be breached by vehicles, whereas the latter
are of an „advisory‟ nature, so whilst of benefit to cyclists do not preclude
6.3.21 Additionally the Council will continue to encourage employers and Schools
to undertake Travel Plans to encourage travel to work/school journeys by
these means. Schools will also be encouraged to participate in „safer
routes to schools‟ initiatives, similarly with the aim of encouraging a move
away from the car for school journeys.
6.3.22 New road schemes are the responsibility of other agencies including the
County Transportation Authority and the Highways Agency (to which the
District is not responsible for funding). There are no new road-building
schemes proposed for the Moorlands in either the new LTP or the current
Structure Plan. The LTP must balance competing demands for funding:
road building is a secondary aim after that of improving accessibility, which
includes funding improvements to bus services etc [see Bus Strategy
above]; therefore any new proposals must be strongly justified against the
aims of the LTP. LDFs should only contain proposals for new roads
where these are likely to be realised (through external funding) in the
lifetime of the Plan.
6.3.23 The Council has always supported the construction of the Denstone and
Alton Relief Road (part of the proposed route falls within the Moorlands) so
that traffic through these areas associated with Alton Towers can be
relieved. However the recent Inspector‟s report for the East Staffordshire
Local Plan Review stated that the proposed route falling within their
District should be deleted from their LDF because there was no public
funding for this purpose (and it was unlikely to be achieved through private
funding). Notwithstanding that no funding is identified, the LTP still
supports the development of this route in principle.
1. All figures National Census 2001.
2. That is, the Staffordshire Moorlands including that area falling within the Peak Park.
3. „All rail‟ also includes those journeys described as being undertaken by “underground,
tram… [or] metro”. Where responses have been recorded under this category this
would presumably take into account journeys involving Manchester.
4. Approximate calculation derived from comparisons between „car driver‟ and „car
5. That is, the %age of people recorded as resident, and mainly employed, somewhere
within the Leek Wards; and respectively for the Biddulph and Cheadle Wards.
6. Source: School Census, January 2006 (Staffordshire County Council).
7. Source: Leek College.
8. Figure excludes 220 or 1.2% of pupils, who arrived as part of „park and stride‟
schemes. These schemes involve children who are driven to school, being dropped
off some distance away from the school gates and walking the remainder. They are
designed to remove congestion at school entrances.
* Refer to Appendix “Notes Regarding Educational Statistics”
PLEASE NOTE THAT INFORMATION IN THIS PAPER IS
CHANGEABLE & WAS THE LATEST AVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF
Community Strategy 2003-2010
North Staffordshire Local Transport Plan 2006/7-2010/11
Planning Policy Statement 3 (draft) : Housing (2006)
Planning Policy Statement 7: Sustainable Development in
Rural Areas (2004)
Planning Policy Guidance Note 13: Transport (2001)
Regional Spatial Strategy for the West Midlands (2004)
Staffordshire Structure Plan 1996-2011 (2001)
Staffordshire Local Transport Plan 2006-2011 [including LTP Bus
Strategy and LTP Parking Strategy A Policy Framework for Parking]
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council Parking Strategy
The following excerpts relating to travel patterns and means of travel in the
Moorlands are taken from 2003 Ward level data derived from the 2001 Census.
“Moorlands” includes that area of Staffordshire falling within the Peak Park.
Work Journeys out of the Moorlands2
2003 Ward data1 reveals that out of the 45,724 employees recorded as resident
in the Moorlands:
23,574 (51.56%) of these worked within the District
12,233 (26.75%) worked within the North Staffordshire conurbation
Other significant clusters include work-journeys to Congleton (1,989 or
4.35%), Stafford (1,630 or 3.56%), Macclesfield (1,212 or 2.65%), and
adjacent rural areas.
Work Journeys into and within the Moorlands2
2003 Ward data1 reveals that out of approximately 31,684 employees recorded
as working in the Moorlands:
23,574 (74.40%) of these were resident in the Moorlands 2; versus 8,110
(25.60%) employees commuting into the Moorlands2.
18,525 (58.47%) of this total worked in the three main towns:- Leek (10,192 or
32.17% of this total), Biddulph (3,843 or 12.13%) and Cheadle (4,490 or
14.17%); against 41.53% working in the remainder of the District2 .
These three towns exhibit high incidences of employing local workforces, with
approximately 54.62% of all Leek employees resident in Leek; 68.80% of all
Biddulph employees resident in Biddulph; and 49.69% of all Cheadle
employees resident in Cheadle. However the employment linkages between
the three towns is much less pronounced.
In the rural areas of the District outside the three main towns, the travel to
work patterns are more complex. Of 13,159 jobs, 2,138 employees originate
from the North Staffordshire conurbation; 1,036 from Leek; 843 from Cheadle;
with 7,611 from the remainder of the District. However it should be borne in
mind that this “rural area” contains a number of larger villages including Blythe
Bridge/Forsbrook, Werrington/Cellarhead, Brown Edge, Endon, Upper Tean
All of the above figures include “working from home” employees. This is
831 of those who work in Biddulph (21.62%) work from home (ie are
resident in Biddulph).
The figures for Leek and Cheadle are 733 (7.19%) and 451 (10.04%)
For the remainder of the District working from home accounts for 3,126
or (23.76%) of employment in that area.
The overall figure for the District is 5,141 or 16.23%.
Of the 8110 employees commuting into the District, notable clusters include
workers from: the North Staffordshire conurbation (4,882); Stafford (533);
Congleton (488) and Macclesfield (186).
A breakdown of work-travel movements out of the Moorlands2 reveals that the
private car is still the most prevalent transport mode. Out of 22,150 work
20,423 or 92.20% were by private transport (car or motorcycle). Of
these 18,424 or 83.18% were single occupancy worker car journeys.
Bus and private taxi combined accounted for 1,051 journeys or 4.74%
All rail accounted for 126 journeys or 0.57%3
Cycling and walking accounted for 157 (0.71%) and 303 (1.37%)
The corresponding figures for work-travel movements into and within the
Moorlands2 are that out of 31,684 work journeys:
20,447 or 64.53% were by private transport (car or motorcycle). Of
these 17,855 or 56.35% were single occupancy worker car journeys.
Bus and private taxi combined accounted for 1,203 journeys or 3.80%
All rail accounted for 65 journeys or 0.21%3
Cycling and walking accounted for 540 (1.70%) and 4,145 (13.08%) journeys,
Notes Regarding Educational Statistics
It has not been possible to ascertain the numbers of students resident in the
District and educated elsewhere; nor numbers of outside students commuting into
the District - owing to complexities as to how this data is stored. Whilst school
catchments provide an indication of how far a school will select students
geographically (and therefore point to cross boundary selection where a school is
close to a neighbouring District), catchments will vary, for example between urban
and rural areas. In any case schools (and other colleges) are no longer restricted
to selecting just within catchments and are able to „cherry pick‟ students from
beyond their nominal catchments. For other educational establishments
presumably proximity is a factor when students make enrolment decisions, along
with the availability of their chosen course (against alternative establishments).
[Further information about projected student numbers and school „rolls‟ in the
District, can be viewed in the Rural Issues & Community Facilities Issues Paper].