6.1 The relationship between land use and transport is a key element in any strategy for sustainable development and quality of life. The movement of people and goods between different land use activities generates the demand for transport facilities and services. An efficient transport network is essential to economic prosperity, but the way in which movement is accommodated can have an impact on the quality of the environment.

6.2 Statutory responsibility for the transport system rests with a number of bodies, including the Highways Agency, County Council, rail and bus operators. Their plans and priorities are determined at a national level through the government's 10-year Transport Plan. At the local level, the Hertfordshire Local Transport Plan defines the objectives and programme for transport improvements. The District Council itself has limited statutory responsibility for transport, apart from car parking management, taxi licensing and bus passes, but it works in partnership with the County Council and the operators to shape their investment programmes. In particular, as the local planning authority, it has a major role to play in controlling the location and design of development to integrate with transport planning objectives.

6.3 This chapter sets out the planning policies which the Council will use to integrate land use with transport and to ensure the movement patterns generated by development can be accommodated by the transport system. It has been prepared in the context of the priorities set out in the Local Transport Plan and government guidance.


6.4 The effective management of movement is particularly critical in Welwyn Hatfield. Its settlement pattern, with a number of small and medium sized towns, which are relatively interdependent, generates significant movement flows within the district, as people travel to different towns for shops, leisure and work. The district's two main towns, Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, are also important centres of employment within the county, attracting large commuting flows from outside of the district. At the same time, a significant proportion of the district's population work in London and other nearby settlements, generating flows out of the district. Welwyn Hatfield is dissected by several strategic transport routes, being on the M25, A1(M), A414 and the East Coast Main Line Railway. Whilst this is good for business and people's own geographical mobility, it brings with it associated environmental problems.

6.5 Government and county transport policy has shifted fundamentally over the last decade. Whilst it recognises that the car will remain a vital element of the transport system, because of concerns about congestion, safety and pollution, the emphasis now is on reducing the overall need for people to travel and encouraging a shift to other modes of transport, in an effort to reduce the need for people to use their cars. This position is reflected both in the government's 10-year Transport Plan and Hertfordshire's Local Transport Plan.

6.6 Within this context the key challenge for Welwyn Hatfield will be to achieve a more sustainable pattern of movement, whilst maintaining the current level of accessibility, which is important to its economic vitality. The District Plan has an important part to play in this, in a number of ways. Firstly, it seeks to locate development where it is already accessible by a number of modes of transport, in particular concentrating new retail and leisure development into the two town centres, but also housing where it is close to facilities or well served by transport. Policies in the Housing and Retailing and Town Centres chapters of the Plan promote this. Secondly, in order to improve the infrastructure and services for non-car modes, where development takes place, the Plan seeks to ensure that priority is given to walking, cycling and passenger transport in the design and servicing of development. Thirdly, where development can be made more accessible by non-car modes, either by location, design or improvements to infrastructure, car use can be limited by reducing available car parking.

6.7 This chapter sets out a range of policies through which the movement elements of these three aims can be achieved. It is important to say that they can only be effective if they are implemented as a package of policy measures and in conjunction with other policies in the Plan.

Strategy and Objectives

6.8 To achieve the overall aim of a more sustainable pattern of movement, the policies in this chapter seek to fulfil the following objectives:

  1. To reduce the overall need to travel by integrating land uses with transport;

  2. To support the development of integrated transport policy;

  3. To reduce dependency on the car and encourage modes of travel which have less adverse environmental impact;

  4. To give priority to walking and cycling;

  5. To encourage effective traffic management and the improvement of road safety for all sectors of the community;

  6. To encourage greater use of passenger transport and improvements to services and facilities; and

  7. To facilitate the accessibility needs of all in a safe and sustainable manner.

6.9 These objectives are to be achieved by implementing a range of policies and strategies. The policies and strategies will be two-pronged in that they tackle both land use in relation to movement and movement in relation to land use.


Integrating Transport and Land Use

6.10 The location and design of development can play a positive role in encouraging more sustainable modes of transport. A key aim of the Plan is for development to be located in existing settlements. Amongst other things this is where the greatest choice of more sustainable transport modes is to be found and the concentration of different land uses reduces the distance of journeys. Even in these locations development offers opportunities to improve existing movement networks and facilities and to create new ones.

6.11 A key to attaining a more sustainable pattern of movement lies in changing attitudes towards the car and to lessening dependency upon it especially for short journeys. However, a radical change in behaviour will only be achieved in response to a comprehensive and integrated transport strategy, which relates different modes of transport to each other to offer real modal choice. It must ensure that measures to make the use of cars less attractive are balanced by the adequate and enticing provision of sustainable alternatives.

6.12 In the Local Transport Plan (LTP), the County Council groups inter-related towns where significant capital investment is needed to make improvements to the local transport system. Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield have been grouped together with St Albans in the Mid Hertfordshire Area. The District Council will work with Hertfordshire County Council and other bodies in the preparation and implementation of an Area Plan for Mid Hertfordshire as part of the LTP. Wherever possible this will provide more sustainable alternatives to the car and it will provide improved east-west linkages incorporating the Hatfield Aerodrome development as set out in the master plan for the site.

Policy M1 - Integrating Transport and Land Use

Through the development process the Council will take every opportunity to integrate different modes of travel. Development proposals, except for those which are necessary in rural areas, will be permitted only in locations with accessibility to pedestrian and cycle routes and passenger transport services, or where this can be created, and where the environment and infrastructure can accommodate the amount and type of transport movement likely to be generated. In considering development proposals, the Council will give priority to walking and more sustainable modes of travel.

Internal layouts in development schemes must demonstrate priority to non-car users. They must include safe and effective routes for pedestrians and cyclists, with appropriate facilities, as well as catering for people with mobility difficulties and making provision for passenger transport and where appropriate the needs of horseriders.

Transport Assessments

6.13 Developments which are likely to generate significant movement and travel demand, must be assessed comprehensively in terms of their impact on the transport network. Developers will be required to submit a Transport Assessment with any such application. These should demonstrate the journey patterns the development would generate for different modes of travel and the ability of the existing infrastructure and services to accommodate this demand, as well as proposing measures to ameliorate those impacts and assist in shifting journeys onto more sustainable modes. These will replace the previous requirement for Traffic Impact Assessments.

6.14 Guidance for the preparation of Transport Assessments is available from the County Council. Studies will be required for the following thresholds of development:

  1. Housing developments of 200 dwellings or more;

  2. Retail developments of 2000 sq. m gross floor area or more;

  3. Business development of 5000 sq. m gross floor area or more;

  4. Industrial/Warehouse developments of 5000 sq. m gross floor area or more;

  5. Sports Centres, leisure complexes, golf courses and centres.

Policy M2 - Transport Assessments

Developers of major new traffic generating developments will be required to submit a transport assessment with the planning application. This must demonstrate the measures to be taken to minimise vehicular movements through improvements to passenger transport, pedestrian, and cycling facilities and state whether new highways works or traffic management measures will be required.

Green Travel Plans

6.15 Commuting to work by car is the main cause of traffic congestion. Other business related car journeys also exacerbate the problem. For some people the car is their only means of getting to work, such as people living in rural areas or working night shifts where no passenger transport or other suitable mode of travel is available. However, there are many opportunities for people to travel to work by other modes. Retail and leisure centres and large visitor attractions also generate significant car travel.

6.16 The County Council and the Hertfordshire Business Travelwise Initiative promote the use of Green Travel Plans (also called Green Transport or Green Commuter Plans). A Green Travel Plan (GTP) is a set of measures aimed at staff, customers and clients, that reduce the need to travel and encourage the use of sustainable transport, including alternatives to or more efficient use of the car, in journeys to and from a business site. Detailed guidance on the preparation of GTPs has been published by the Hertfordshire Technical Chief Officers Association (HTCOA), setting out the thresholds of development for which GTPs are required.

6.17 The Council will encourage all existing businesses to introduce GTPs, particularly those employing large numbers of people. However, it is an easier task at the planning stage, before employees or customers have become set in their travel patterns. It is also easier for the infrastructure necessary to accommodate alternatives to the private car to be incorporated into the design of a site from the outset rather than be fitted in afterwards. The Council will therefore require all new development above the thresholds set out in the HTCOA's guidance to be supported by a GTP.

Policy M3 - Green Travel Plans

All new development at or above the thresholds set out in HTCOA's guidance on 'Developing a Green Travel Plan', should be supported by a Green Travel Plan. The implementation of measures included in a Green Travel Plan will be secured through planning conditions, or a Section 106 Agreement. The Council will also work with existing businesses to encourage the adoption and implementation of Green Travel Plans in line with the guidance.

Developer Contributions

6.18 Where a development is proposed which is likely to place additional demand on the local transport system, the developer will be expected to meet, or where appropriate, contribute towards the cost of any improvements to infrastructure or services necessary to accommodate the development and ameliorate its impact. This will not just involve improvements to the highway infrastructure, but will also include provision for pedestrians, cyclists, passenger transport and where appropriate horse riding. This may, for example, include the cost of providing a bus service at the early stages of a development when the level of use is insufficient to make the service viable without subsidy. The important criteria will be to ensure that the development is adequately served by a range of means of transport and that there are realistic alternatives to the car.

6.19 Any such contributions will be secured ideally by means of Section 106 Agreements attached to the planning permission or by other appropriate legally binding agreements. However, it must be noted that any necessary infrastructure works must be environmentally acceptable and the provision of adequate transport infrastructure in itself will not be sufficient to make the development acceptable if there are substantial environmental objections to it.

Policy M4 - Developer Contributions

Where development necessitates alteration to existing or the provision of new transport infrastructure or services, permission will be granted only if those works are environmentally acceptable and if the applicant agrees to meet, or where appropriate contribute to, the cost of the works or services. Planning conditions or a Section 106 Agreement or other legal agreement will be used to ensure the implementation of the works or obligations.


6.20 Walking is undoubtedly the healthiest, cheapest and most sustainable mode of travel. It accounts for a significant number of journeys, particularly for the young, the elderly and those without a car. It is being promoted by health organisations and is of increasing significance as a leisure activity. The Council wishes to promote walking as a realistic alternative to the private car, primarily for short journeys, but also for longer journeys, when combined with bus or rail travel for example. The Council is already supporting the creation of 'Safer Routes to School' in conjunction with the County Council, but would like to see greater priority given to this mode in future.

6.21 To this end the Council has published a 'Walking Strategy' setting out its proposals for pedestrian movement. In particular, it requires improvement of the existing pedestrian network, to ensure it is convenient, safe and attractive to use and serves other modes, particularly in and to town and local centres, leisure and community facilities, where people wish to visit. With regard to new development, the Council will expect to see priority given to the pedestrian in the design and layout of schemes and to see footpaths linking into the existing network. Good pedestrian routes and crossing facilities will be required to ensure convenient access to bus stops in order to promote the use of buses. It will seek to protect and where possible enhance existing public rights of way within urban areas and rural areas, opposing development which would divert or obstruct footpaths in such a way as to make pedestrian movement less convenient.

Policy M5 - Pedestrian Facilities

Wherever possible and practical the Council will seek improvements in facilities for the safe and convenient movement of pedestrians. The Council will require proposals for new development to give priority to pedestrian access in their layouts through the inclusion of safe and direct routes linking to existing or proposed footpath networks and facilities. Developers may be required to provide or contribute towards off-site pedestrian facilities where this would be necessary to integrate it with surrounding areas. Development which would prejudice convenient and safe pedestrian movement will be refused.

The Council has published a walking strategy for the district, setting out its proposals for improving the pedestrian network and promoting walking and to provide guidance on the priorities for new development.


6.22 Cycling is a cheap and sustainable method of movement that is especially suitable for short to medium length journeys. However, the use of bicycles needs positive encouragement with adequate facilities for cyclists and the creation of a safe cycling environment. In 1998 the Council published the Welwyn Hatfield Cycling Strategy, the aim of which is 'to increase cycle usage'. In recent years, new east-west and north-south routes have been created and the Council is working with the County Council and other organisations to extend the network. However, there remain gaps in the district's cycle network, which require completion, including better linkages into town centres and cycle links to/from development on the Hatfield Aerodrome development. The Council has produced an updated Cycling Strategy Review which identifies new routes and initiatives.

Policy M6 - Cycle Routes and Facilities

The Council will require proposals for new development to encourage cycling through the inclusion of safe cycle routes and parking for cycles, and where appropriate secure waterproof storage and changing and showering facilities for cyclists. New cycle routes should link with existing or proposed cycle paths. Developers may be required to provide or contribute towards off-site facilities and the overall planned cycle network.

The Council has reviewed the Welwyn Hatfield Cycling Strategy, to ensure that it continues to provide an adequate framework to guide investment in the infrastructure necessary to create a comprehensive network of routes and facilities in the district.

Horse Riding

6.23 Welwyn Hatfield has a large horse riding population and a fragmented bridle network. New developments can encroach on the minor roads used by riders. In consideration of a sustainable and integrated transport system, the Council will seek to retain minor roads (and verges on busier roads) used by riders, or will require appropriate alternative paths to be provided.

Policy M7- Equestrian Facilities

The needs of horse riders will be taken into account, whenever development would affect routes used by riders, or where the creation of new paths along strategic routes would be jeopardised. Suitable replacement paths will be required when routes used by riders will no longer be suitable for continued use, as a result of other changes to the road network or new development.

Powered Two-Wheeled Vehicles

6.24 Powered two-wheelers range in size from motorised bicycles through motor scooters to high performance motorcycles. At the lower end of the scale, two-wheelers are more environmentally friendly than cars and can help deliver environmental improvements provided that they are not a substitute for walking, cycling or passenger transport. In road safety terms powered two-wheeled vehicle users are vulnerable road users; something they have in common with cyclists and pedestrians. The needs of powered two-wheelers must be considered in the design and implementation of transport schemes, parking provision and new development. Employers and others should cater for the need of users of two wheelers to wash, change and store clothing as would be expected for pedal cyclists.

Policy M8 - Powered Two-Wheelers

The Council supports the use of powered two-wheeled vehicles as a more environmentally friendly mode of transport than the car. It will require that the internal layouts for development schemes are designed to make provision for powered two-wheeled vehicles and their users.

Passenger Transport

6.25 Passenger transport in the form of buses, coaches and trains is more environmentally friendly than the private car because of the greater numbers of people that can be carried on each trip. Taxis can also be considered part of the passenger transport system; although mainly used by only one or two people per trip, they frequently act as feeders to transport nodes where passengers transfer to buses or trains for longer journeys.

6.26 Passenger transport will be of growing importance if progress is to be made towards a more sustainable pattern of movement. Whilst the Council has very limited powers to directly influence the basic network of bus and rail passenger services, it can intervene in the form of subsidies and support for community transport initiatives and various voluntary sector services. The Council will encourage initiatives such as 'Dial-a Ride' which can complement standard bus services by serving people with mobility difficulties and those living in rural areas, and 'Park and Ride' which can help to integrate modes.

6.27 Passenger transport, particularly the bus, is the only means of transport available to many people including women, children, the elderly and people on low incomes. The government sees the bus becoming the focus of an efficient transport system where people can get where they want to be quickly and comfortably without having to rely on using a car. But at the moment buses, in particular, are seen by many as inconvenient and unreliable; this perception must change. Buses must be responsive to local needs and provide for essential journeys to work, including acting as feeders to the rail network, and to shops, education, social and health facilities. The Council will work with the County Council and bus operators to seek improvements to the quality of services.

6.28 Wherever possible passenger transport services should be given priority over the car in the design of development and transport schemes, including road and traffic management schemes. Whenever a new development generates a need for passenger transport the developer will be required to provide or contribute to the necessary infrastructure within the development or off-site. Developers may also be required to subsidise bus services to new developments, particularly at the early stages of development to ensure provision before services becomes commercially viable.

Policy M9 - Bus and Taxi Facilities

The Council will support the improvement of passenger transport services throughout the district and will require priority to be given to this mode over the car in the design and layout of new developments. For developments which are likely to place significant additional demands on existing infrastructure the Council will require developers to provide additional infrastructure as necessary. This may include the provision of bus lanes and parking bays, taxi ranks, bus stops with shelters and seating, either within the layout of the scheme or off-site. Where appropriate developers may also be required to fund the provision of bus services, particularly at the early stages of a development before they become independently viable.


6.29 The rail network is critical to achieving more sustainable travel patterns in the district. Currently around 20% of the district's workers travel to work by train and demand for services is increasing. The district is served by the East Coast Main Line which includes lines from London Kings Cross and Moorgate via Finsbury Park, serving stations to the north, including Brookmans Park, Welham Green, Hatfield, Welwyn Garden City and Welwyn North in the district. A branch from Finsbury Park also serves Cuffley on the eastern side of the district then proceeds through Hertford North linking back to the ECML at Stevenage. This route is a key commuter route for the district; services comprise a mixture of local and long distance services. Furthermore a number of freight operations share the lines.

6.30 Growth in use of the route has taken place in recent years and is forecast to continue, but there are capacity constraints to future growth in services. The Strategic Rail Authority will publish a strategy for the ECML setting out proposals for improving capacity. The Council recognises the need for additional capacity along the ECML and therefore supports in principle the improvement of rail services along the route. However, the Council will monitor any strategies or proposals put forward by the SRA for the ECML to ensure that any changes benefit local services and achieve the best outcome for local residents, both in terms of future rail services and environmental impact.

6.31 The Council also supports the Thameslink 2000 project, another major capital investment scheme to expand the strategic network and introduce new cross-London routes, including services on the ECML. This should mean that stations within the district have improved services with more trains and trains that continue to Gatwick airport and to south coast destinations rather than terminating at London.

6.32 With all the projects which may give direct or indirect benefits to rail users in the district, the Council is concerned that local stations should benefit from improved services. However, services depend not only on the rail infrastructure but on the train operators too. The Council will therefore closely monitor the current franchises replacement programme, as the new franchises will specify the required service levels. Existing conditions at some stations in the district, in particular those which are not permanently staffed, are poor, with specific concerns about safety. With so much attention being drawn to major projects elsewhere, it is essential to maintain pressure for improvements to local stations. Thus the Council will work with the County Council, Railtrack and the train operating companies to secure improvements to local railway stations to provide a safe and pleasant environment for travellers and good interchange facilities.

Passenger Transport Interchanges

6.33 In order for passenger transport to be attractive and effective there needs to be easy interchange between the various modes of travel, with a safe and secure environment for travellers and a good information service. The building of the Howard Centre in Welwyn Garden City gave the Council the opportunity to secure a new bus station and rail travel centre in close proximity to each other and to car parks in the town centre. Facilities for taxis have proved less satisfactory, but the Council is seeking better arrangements for these.

6.34 By comparison, in Hatfield, the distance separating the railway station from the town centre means that the same level of integration of passenger transport services is not possible. However, within the town centre there is an opportunity to create a bus interchange and this is an objective of town centre regeneration strategy set out in the Retailing and Town Centres chapter. The provision of new services to the Hatfield Aerodrome development should offer the opportunity to provide a strategic transport corridor between that area, the town centre and the railway station, which will help to overcome the physical separation. In line with the priority to be given to walking and cycling and the aim to integrate modes, the Council will also wish to see better linkages between the cycle and footpath network and passenger transport interchanges.

Policy M10 - Passenger Transport Interchanges

The Council will work with the County Council and passenger transport operators to seek improvements to passenger transport interchanges that will improve accessibility within the district, through the Local Transport Plan and where appropriate developer contributions.

Freight Transport

6.35 A considerable volume and range of freight is hauled by road because of the convenience of door to door delivery. Much freight passes through the district en route to other destinations on the motorway network. Where road haulage continues the Council wishes to see it on primary routes. These are the motorways, trunk roads and the more important County "A" roads built to 70mph standards, which avoid towns and villages.

6.36 The use of the railways for freight transport is less environmentally damaging than using road transport. The Council will support rail operators in seeking to increase opportunities for rail freight, subject to its impact on passenger services and people living close to railway lines. In order to facilitate rail freight the Council will support the provision of more facilities for the transfer of freight onto rail transport.

Policy M11 - Rail Freight Depots

The Council will work with the County Council, Railtrack, the Strategic Rail Authority and railfreight operators to ensure that the potential for transfer of freight movements from road to rail is maximised. The Council will identify and where appropriate protect sites which could be critical in developing infrastructure for the movement of freight, and support the establishment of railfreight terminals taking into account local employment uses, environmental impact and the suitability of the local road network to accommodate collection and distribution vehicles.

Transport Land

6.37 In the past land no longer required for transport purposes has been developed or used for alternative purposes appropriate to the location. Thus in many places operational transport land, such as rail freight depots, former rail sidings and bus depots, have been lost forever. However, with the reassertion of the importance of passenger transport, every effort now needs to be made to retain appropriate operational transport land for transport uses. The Council would prefer to see redundant or surplus operational transport land remain available for potential future transport uses during the Plan period. However the individual circumstances of each site will be taken into account when considering proposals for development or change of use.

Policy M12 - Operational Transport Land

Where applications are submitted for the redevelopment or change of use of operational transport land, priority will be given for uses related to sustainable transport. Applications for change of use will need to demonstrate that there is no long-term need for the land for transport purposes, taking account of the operator's strategy, the local transport plan and other relevant strategies. Applications for change of use which would benefit from the accessible location and meet sustainable development and integrated transport objectives, will be encouraged.

The Road Network and Traffic Management

6.38 The change in emphasis from roads to a more integrated transport policy does not mean that investment in roads will cease. Government and County Council policy still recognises that the car will remain a vital element of the transport system. However, it does mean that the emphasis will gradually shift from ever increasing road capacity towards improving capacity in other modes of transport.

6.39 One of the functions of traffic management is to do with getting different types of traffic onto appropriate roads. Roads of national importance have local impacts too. There are economic advantages from being located on a strategic network and there can be environmental benefits from the diversion of heavy through traffic away from local roads. However, strategic roads themselves can have adverse environmental impacts on areas through which they pass.

6.40 The A1(M) runs north-south through the district. Proposals put forward in the 1990s to ease congestion on the A1(M) by widening it to 3 lanes between junctions 6-8 were supported by the Council, subject to provisos on minimising environmental impact. These proposals have since been deferred pending a study of capacity along the whole of the London-South Midlands corridor, including the A1(M), M1 and M11 routes. This study will look into all modes of travel, including the rail network to identify solutions to the capacity problems, but it is required to make a recommendation on whether the scheme for junctions 6-8 of the A1(M) should go ahead. The Council is aware that the delay in the decision on this scheme adds to the anxiety of those residents who are concerned that their properties might be affected. The Council will continue to lobby for a satisfactory solution to congestion on the A1(M) to be found as soon as possible, through the early completion of the London-South Midlands Multi-Modal study.

6.41 Another government commissioned study, the Orbit Study, looked at existing problems of orbital travel around London, to see what could be done to address them. The Orbit Study produced a long-term strategy for the better management of the M25 and considered a wider corridor. The Council will also support the County Council in examining opportunities to improve east-west routes within Hertfordshire which will bring benefits to the district.

Motorway Service Areas

6.42 Government policy on motorway service areas (MSAs) is to concentrate on completing a national network of MSAs at 30-mile intervals. Infilling at around 15 mile intervals should only be granted exceptionally where a clear and compelling need and safety case has been established.

6.43 There is a comprehensive MSA, including a hotel, adjacent to the A1(M)/M25 interchange at South Mimms, in the Borough of Hertsmere, south of Welwyn Hatfield District. The lengths of the A1(M) and M25 passing through the district fall within the fifteen-mile catchment of the South Mimms MSA. Furthermore the most suitable locations for additional MSAs are all located in the Green Belt, where there is a presumption against inappropriate development. It is therefore highly unlikely that proposals for a new MSA in this district will be required or acceptable.

Policy M13 - Motorway Service Areas

Proposals for new motorway service areas within the district will only be permitted where all of the following criteria can be satisfied:

  1. It can be shown that there is an overriding need to make such provision within 15 miles of the existing facility;

  2. If the proposed location is within the green belt the developer will be expected to demonstrate the very special circumstances which exist to override green belt policy;

  3. If the proposed site is at an existing motorway junction, the developer will be expected to demonstrate that no other site is available and that steps will be taken to mitigate the likely impact of the development;

  4. That the proposals do not include features such as significant hotel, leisure or conference facilities, which may cause the service area to become a destination in its own right.

Traffic Management

6.44 The County Council's policy, as the Local Highway Authority, is to channel traffic onto appropriate routes within the highway network, which comprises a variety of routes from motorways down to local distributor and access roads. This requires roads to be designed to appropriate engineering standards to establish the correct priority. The Council supports this approach. Whereas roads in new developments can be designed to give priority to non-car users, existing residential areas and shopping centres, which were built with general purpose roads, may require the introduction of traffic calming and other management measures, in order to change priorities.

6.45 As part of the studies being conducted on the two town centres, the Council is looking at movement and traffic and will bring forward proposals to improve priority and access for non-car modes. Traffic and parking arrangements at some of the neighbourhood shopping centres also require review. In a number of areas conditions are difficult in residential streets served by general-purpose roads. There is conflict between the interests of pedestrians and cyclists, parked cars, buses, delivery and service vehicles and people using the road as a through route. The Council will work with the County Council to bring forward highway schemes to calm traffic, increase safety for all road users and make visual and other improvements to the environment. In the past a solution to conflicting users has been to segregate the different modes and to introduce physical methods of traffic calming. Increasingly the solution is being sought by mixing modes and requiring a greater duty of care from motor vehicle users. For example, the concept of 'Home Zones' is being promoted nationally, for residential areas where non-motorised movement is given precedence, reinforced by low speed limits, revised carriageway alignment, the location of parking bays, and new landscaping which includes planting, sitting out areas and play equipment. The Council supports this initiative and will look for opportunities where it can be applied in the district.


6.46 The availability of car parking has a major influence on the choice of means of transport. Car parking can also take up a large amount of space in developments and reduce densities. Government policy sees reducing the level of parking in new development as essential in promoting sustainable travel choices, making the best use of land and tackling congestion. It considers it necessary to achieve lower levels of parking in association with development than has generally been achieved in the past. Accordingly, PPG3 includes a maximum advisory parking standard for residential development and similar national maximum standards are expected to be identified for other land uses, through revisions to PPGs or in the new RPG9 for the South East. Policy 25 of the County Structure Plan also promotes a restraint-based approach to car parking.

6.47 The Council supports this approach to parking, but any restraint in car parking needs to be introduced carefully. Reducing or preventing car parking in one area, can push the problem elsewhere. Where non-residential parking is concerned, for businesses and in town centres, too restrictive a regime can threaten the viability and competitiveness of the economy, where business and development could be drawn away to other areas which are more lenient with provision. Moreover, restraining car parking can only work where there are improvements in the quality and availability of other modes of transport, at which other policies in this chapter are aimed.

6.48 In order to have effective policies on parking they need to be set in the context of an overall parking strategy. The Council intends to produce such a strategy for Welwyn Hatfield. It will cover not only the provision of parking in new development but the management of existing parking, both on- and off-street to meet a variety of objectives, covering the range of different users, and using a variety of tools including pricing and time controls. Because the subject extends beyond the remit of a land use plan, the parking strategy will have to be in the form of a corporate document, setting a wider framework for policies in this Plan. It will anticipate the side effects of addressing specific problems and will identify appropriate remedial solutions.

6.49 Parking standards for the district are set out in the Council's supplementary planning guidance (SPG) on parking, which is based on the guidance prepared by the County Council to supplement Structure Plan Policy 25 and ensure countywide consistency. They include provision for powered two-wheelers. In addition, in order to ensure accessibility for all, dedicated parking provision will be required for people with mobility problems. At the same time to ensure greater provision is made for good quality cycle parking, the standards seek provision for cycle parking. The standards for car parking and for powered two-wheelers represent the maximum provision that will be permitted in new development. However, the standards for disabled people and for cycle parking represent the minimum standards.

6.50 The standards for parking provision for non-residential uses, set out in the Council's SPG, are demand-based and therefore should meet needs without resulting in over-provision. In rural areas they will normally apply directly to all new non-residential development. Within the district's urban areas, in locations where there is good accessibility by non-car modes and which are economically buoyant, the standards for non-residential uses will be the starting point for applying progressive reductions in on-site parking. The supplementary planning guidance sets out the approach for reduced parking in these areas. It identifies the zones where different percentage reductions can be made. Under this approach rural areas would be allowed the full maximum demand based standard. At the other extreme, in town centre locations with a thriving economy and access to a range of non-car alternatives, fewer non-operational parking spaces would be needed and the provision for new developments could be a reduced by up to 50% of the maximum standard.

6.51 Residential development will generally be expected to accommodate all parking on-site and full provision to the maximum standard will be the norm. The standards set out in the supplementary guidance reflect the expected lower levels of demand associated with certain categories such as housing for the elderly. Significantly lower levels of parking provision may be acceptable where demand is likely to be less and any tendency for overspill on-street is or can be controlled e.g. high density housing in town centres, near rail stations or housing over shops. The Council will support 'car-free' developments where tenants, lessees or purchasers have entered legally binding agreements that they will forgo car ownership.

Policy M14 - Parking Standards For New Development

The Council will require parking provision for new development to be made in accordance with the standards set out in the Council's supplementary planning guidance on parking. These standards represent the maximum allowable provision, except for cycle parking and car parking for disabled people where the standards represent the minimum allowable.

In urban areas of the district which are accessible by non-car modes, the Council will require parking standards for non-residential development to be reduced below the maximum allowable provision, in line with the methodology set out in the supplementary planning guidance on parking, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that such a limitation to the development would be detrimental to the economic viability of the area. The zones where such reductions will be applied are identified in the supplementary planning guidance.


6.52 There is one remaining active airfield in the district at Panshanger, which was formerly a military airfield but was granted planning permission as a civil airfield in 1954 for use by light aircraft. Since then the Panshanger residential area has been developed and now borders the airfield. The airfield is identified in the Plan as an area of special restraint and has been since 1993. This means that it has been safeguarded for potential future development needs in the district beyond the period of this Plan. As such its release for development will be a matter for consideration in a future review of the Plan.

6.53 Meanwhile, there are increasing concerns about the effect of aircraft noise from the airfield on residents in Panshanger and surrounding villages. The Council will therefore continue to monitor its use to ensure that it is being operated within the terms of its planning permission and within acceptable noise levels on the ground. However, the Council cannot act against aircraft in flight. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates controlled airspace, uncontrolled air space being regulated by the Air Navigation Order and other national and international regulations. The CAA, based on aviation safety criteria, licenses the airfield and does not have responsibility for environmental issues. The Council will not permit any expansion of facilities or intensification of the use of the airfield beyond the limits of the existing planning permission.

Policy M15 - Panshanger Airfield

The Council will monitor the use of Panshanger Airfield and will not permit any expansion of its facilities nor its use for flying activities beyond that allowed by its existing planning permission.

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