It feels as though we’ve already spent a nauseating amount of time talking about urban sprawl, particularly in the context of Cardiff’s local development plan, but it’s something that can’t be stressed enough.
The window of opportunity to encourage residents of new homes to adopt sustainable transport is short, yet we continue to build on the outskirts of cities, linked primarily by already busy roads and few alternative options.
The Transport for New Homes Project
The Project, funded by the Foundation for Integrated Transport, visited a number of developments, primarily around England, in an attempt to understand how the planning system works and why it pushes so many new estates to the countryside, away from urban areas, without transport options beyond motor traffic.
It has put together a helpful checklist, currently in draft, to aid planners in assessing new housing for its potential to be yet another identikit suburb full of cars (our words, not theirs).
Transport for New Homes is developing a Checklist (currently in draft form) that can be used to assess new housing for how well it avoids car-dependency. We hope our Checklist will be used by a wide variety of people, and at the Local Plan stage of planning, not just when applications are made. It can also be used to score existing housing developments.
The Cardiff context
Before the shovels hit the ground we had high hopes for Plasdwr. On paper it appeared to be setting the right example, but the houses went up much faster than the transport improvements.
People are moving in, but there’s still no cycle route from the site to town. The roundabout at the Heathcock is still a bottleneck and a horrid place to navigate on a bike, but it is one that buses have to navigate too.
By the time we have a good link there, transport behaviours will already be entrenched, making change an uphill battle. Hopefully it can be a lesson learned for the other sites on the LDP.