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Our response to the Cheltenham Borough Council Climate Change SPD (Supplementary Planning Document)

Cheltenham Borough Council are proposing a climate change SPD (supplementary planning document) which developers and housebuilders of all scales would be encouraged to adhere to through the planning process.

This is a wide ranging document that includes many important themes on climate change and liveable urban environments, and is accompanied by helpful illustrations that support the application of guidance in a range of settings from individual home renovations to large scale commercial developments.

A snippet of one of the illustrative guides on meeting the climate change SPD, which shows a range of measures in a non-domestic new build property
Extract from the Cheltenham Borough Council SPD, which includes simple one page summary images created by April Grisdale Illustrations

The Cheltenham & Tewkesbury Cycling Campaign has responded with recommendations on the Transport and Travel section.

Our response to the Cheltenham Climate Change SPD

“Many thanks for the invitation to comment on the Cheltenham Borough Council Supplementary Planning Documentation (SPD), and the recognition of the breadth of action that is required across small and large scale planning to deliver just and sustainable communities for local people.

Our comments refer to page 22 ‘Transport and travel’. Cycling is an equitable, low cost, and low carbon mode of transport and planning decisions have a major impact on access to cycling.

We support the inclusion of the clear transport hierarchy, reflecting the recently updated Highway Code, and requiring developers to consider first the needs of walking and cycling before motorised transport.

We also commend the recognition that medium- and large-scale sites need to demonstrate betterment within their wider context, providing filtered permeability across boundaries for active modes of travel.

We wish to make the following recommendations for increasing the precision of the guidance in supporting your aims, acknowledging the necessary constraints of the accessible, but condensed format of the SPD.

  1. For medium- and large-scale sites addition of a line to bullet one that ‘All proposed transport infrastructure should meet LTN 1/20 standards.’ This provides a clear and assessable framework (particularly if a CLoS scoresheet is required), coherent with the county’s Local Transport Plan, which supports transport planners working on schemes to understand the expectations of the authority are aligned to the latest national guidance on accessible provision. It also adds additional weight to the authority’s aspirations around vehicle speeds within new developments.
  1. Secure and convenient cycle parking is vital to ensure people have confidence to use a cycle. Whilst the BREEAM and Code for Sustainable Homes standards provide some guidance on convenience and scale, they provide only limited expectations on security and accessibility. We believe it should be easier to secure a cycle than it is to park a motor vehicle within new developments, and that accessibility should be to the most inclusive quality. We also do not believe that the BREEAM standard of only 1 cycle space for a 3-bedroom house is sufficient given current and potential cycling levels in Cheltenham. We highlight the best practice of some local authorities with specific cycle parking SPDs, although this would need to be separate to the format proposed for this SPD. We would at a minimum suggest reference to more recent cycle parking standards, such as the Standards for Public Cycle Parking and Secure By Design. We would also highlight the work of Wheels for Wellbeing on inclusive cycle design and parking.
  1. Guidance for small scale sites should also apply to medium and large scale sites. For the avoidance of doubt, we would suggest that the introduction to the second set of recommendations should read ‘Development proposals will additionally be required to demonstrate how they will:’, or clearly that expectations on cycle storage and facilities are repeated for the medium and large scale sites.
  1. For the checklist, we suggest a slight extension to the question to read ‘Have you enabled sustainable travel choices with connections for cycling, walking and public transport, providing cycle parking and facilities to levels that sufficiently meets the needs of all building occupants, irrespective of age or ability?

We would welcome the opportunity to work with Cheltenham Borough Council to develop more
detailed cycle parking standards in due course, and to provide our professional and citizen voice in
assessing medium- and large-scale sites as proposals come forwards within the context of this SPD.

The Cheltenham climate change SPD consultation is available to access via the Cheltenham Borough Council engagement platform, where organisations and individuals can respond. [Consultation closing date 4 April 2022]

A mirror download of the CBC document is available here.