Cutting our traffic and improving our quality of life

Following on from yesterdays comments over whether the new residents of Greater Truro will drive to the city centre, we explore what factors encourage people to use their cars.

Extension of housing developments into the countryside – as people live further away from town centres, the option of walking or cycling diminishes

Development of more and more retail parks and shopping outlets – yes oddly enough these all encourage people to travel

Consumerism is still seen as a good thing, and just encourages people to go out and shop

More fast food outlets which are ‘out of town’ – again just encourages travel

The expansion of events and attractions which yet again oddly enough encourage people to travel

Car parking charges – do not apply to retail parks or outlets – oddly enough this (which is a subsidy to drivers), just makes it cheaper to drive

Council owned car parks which offer free parking at certain times

Expanding road space – every time you increase capacity, you increase opportunities for driving, even though the perception that with a new road you will get there quicker is often higher than the reality

A lack of personal awareness of the impact of more travel by individuals – although as nobody actually discourages excess travel why would anyone bother?

We could reduce car use if we tried, but whether as a society or individuals, we are not trying!

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Whats to stop the new residents of Threemilestone driving into Truro?

On 20th June, Cornwall Council Cabinet discussed and agreed to the purchase of land outside Truro.

The report makes interesting reading regarding travel

1.1 On the 2 May 2018 Cabinet agreed in principle to the Council taking a significant and strategic leadership and delivery role in development at Threemilestone.
1.2 This report seeks agreement for the purchase of land sufficient for 154 plots plus a further area of land allocated for mixed use at Langarth Farm and that Cabinet recommend this purchase to Full Council in accordance with an earlier commitment made by Cabinet to refer the matter to Full Council.
1.3 Planning permissions exist for 2700 homes in this area but, to date no building has started on any site. The Council’s intervention is to stop the developments coming forward on an uncoordinated basis as a series of housing estates, and to ensure the development creates a fully sustainable new town.

1.11 Our emerging vision sees a place which prioritises people over cars. It proposes to integrate significant green space for multiple benefits, to grow the environment and encourage healthy living through social interaction, play, walking and cycling. We will fail to make this a properly sustainable place if the new residents choose to drive to the city centre. We need them to choose to travel into Truro and its major employment and commercial hubs by way of cycling and public transport.

But what will stop the new residents from choosing to drive. whether to the city centre, and employment and retail outlets within and on the city outskirts? Cycling will not be an option for many journeys – Truro is too hilly and bringing home the weekly shop on a bike is not going to happen! Unless the new residents are banned from driving they will do so!

What happens to the private rented properties if the tenants are rehoused by Cornwall Council?

Cornwall Council Cabinet, 20th June 2018, Housing Development Programme acquisitions and Housing Revenue Account acquisitions – Part 1

As part of its Housing Development Programme, Cornwall Council is buying up land to build houses.

The two latest proposals are:

Trevithick Manor Farm, Newquay
The land is consented for up to 455 homes,

There are currently 767 households on the Cornwall Homechoice register who have a local connection to Newquay (of which 339 are currently renting from a private landlord).

Link Road, Launceston part
2 2.7 Cabinet approval was given for the acquisition of part 1 of the land at Link Road, Launceston on 28th March 2018. Since Cabinet approval was given, the second part of the residential site has been offered to the Council and approval is now sought to buy this part of the site as well. The acquisition of part 2 of the site has the capacity to deliver an additional 135 homes (275 homes in total). This exceeds the original
HDP target for Launceston but there are advantages in acquiring this additional part of the site.

There is a strong housing need in Launceston with 353 applicants on the housing register with a local connection to Launceston (of which 111 applicants are currently renting from a private landlord).

There are three vital questions here:

1) What is the status of those on the HCR? In other words what is the level of need?
2) Most of the people on the HCR are already living in a property – the report states how many are renting from private landlords. Why not make sure the existing houses are more affordable and appropriate for living in?
3) What happens to the houses which are vacated when people move from private rented to public rented? In Newquay in particular might they not be converted into holiday lets or turned into luxury flats? Neither option would be a good one as even more properties would be removed from the stock of housing!

Housing in Cornwall – problems with the private rented sector but wrong solution proposed?

Cornwall Council is rightly concerned about the problems faced by households

4.1 The Council is committed, through the delivery of the Local Plan and its Housing Investment Programme, to securing a balanced housing market.
4.2 High housing costs and low wages mean that the private rented sector has in recent years been the fastest growing part of the housing market in Cornwall, with 1 in 5 households now accommodated in the sector.
4.3 There are a number of concerns with the private rented housing market:
 Affordability (including fuel and running costs) and value for money
 The size and quality of stock
 Lack of security of tenure
 Demand exceeds supply
 An increasing numbers of families in that sector
 A high level of non-decent homes, estimated at 50% of the sector
 Poor health outcomes for those in sub-standard accommodation

Cornwall Council Cabinet, 20th June 2018, Housing Development Programme acquisitions and Housing Revenue Account acquisitions – Part 1.

But is building more homes the solution?

Cornwall already has a higher than needed house building target, way above what would be required to meet demand (largely from people moving to Cornwall).

This latest policy turn, to build houses directly rather than rely on the market, recognises belatedly that just building houses does not work. Just because some houses are built does not mean that someone who needs a house can buy or rent it.

But just building houses to rent is not the answer.

Two basic policies should be adopted:
1) To change planning policy so that permission is only given to developments where the houses can be bought or rented by local residents.
2) To improve the state of the private rented sector in terms of security of tenure, rents charged and quality of stock.

Cornwall’s broken housing system – Launceston an example

Two statements on housing – the first from Cornwall Council, the second from Wain homes. Instead of the Council building its own homes would it not be better to make sure new homes were used for local residents instead?

Link Road, Launceston part
2 2.7 Cabinet approval was given for the acquisition of part 1 of the land at Link Road, Launceston on 28th March 2018. Since Cabinet approval was given, the second part of the residential site has been offered to the Council and approval is now sought to buy this part of the site as well. The acquisition of part 2 of the site has the capacity to deliver an additional 135 homes (275 homes in total). This exceeds the original
HDP target for Launceston but there are advantages in acquiring this additional part of the site.

There is a strong housing need in Launceston with 353 applicants on the housing register with a local connection to Launceston (of which 111 applicants are currently renting from a private landlord).

Withnoe Farm – Launceston
A superb new housing development consisting of 2, 3, 4 and 5 bedroom homes ideally placed on the outskirts of Launceston, East Cornwall. Situated just one mile west of the River Tamar, Launceston has much to offer to its residents, well known and popular for its independent shops, quirky narrow streets and quaint town square, you will be spoilt for choice when purchasing high quality and local produce.

Considering buy-to-let? Our 2 and 3 bedroom homes offer fantastic investment opportunities for holiday homes because of their outstanding location.

https://www.wainhomes.net/developments/Withnoe+Farm+-+Launceston/

Pool set to be Cornwall’s heartland for fast food, low paid jobs and traffic!

A news report this week welcomed the news that KFC would bring 60 jobs to Pool.

More than 60 jobs are up for grabs this week as work gathers pace on a site in Pool that will be home to KFC, Travelodge and Costa Coffee. The Travelodge, which will be joined by a Marston’s pub, is set to be in business by the end of the year, it has been confirmed, while KFC has told Cornwall Live that it will be opening in October, with 60 jobs on offer and applications going live this week. Construction work is progressing on the brownfield site, which has been empty for more than a decade, at Trevenson Gateway on the corner of Tolvaddon Road and Trevenson Road, Pool, ….
Travelodge told Cornwall Live that it did not yet have an opening date, but it was aiming for before the end of the year. It did confirm that the Pool site was part of its plan to open 20 new hotels this year across the UK and it would be recruiting 20 people to work there.

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/kfc-travelodge-costa-coffee-marstons-1672496

All of these jobs are in addition to those on adjacent sites – McDonalds, Dominos, Malcolm Barnecutt Bakery and Subway.

Not quite what the Urban Framework Plan of yesteryear envisaged!

With the links between fast food and poor health recognised, are more of these premises a good idea?

As for traffic, the new road layout at and around East Hill was sold on the basis of reducing congestion. As non town centre fast food premises rely on car-borne consumers, it is inevitable that traffic levels will rise.

The Urban Framework Plan came up with various proposals for Pool, including:

Fundamental to this restructuring will be to strengthen the character and attractiveness of the A3047 as the main street linking the area, whilst at the same time taming the car by ensuring that buses, pedestrians and cyclists have priority

■ a hotel and conference centre at the gateway from the A30;
■ high–tech industrial, research and development facilities, forming new landmarks buildings adjacent to the College

Another runway at Heathrow – not a good idea!

It seems there is opposition to the Governments plans for an extra runway at Heathrow. It is impossible to support more air travel and cut greenhouse gas emissions. In fact reducing capacity at airports in the UK would be the only sensible option!

The government is coming under growing pressure from environmentalists and its own advisers over its support for a new runway at Heathrow.

The Committee on Climate Change [CCC] has expressed its “surprise” that there was no mention of the government’s legal obligations to reduce greenhouse gases when it announced it was backing Heathrow expansion plans earlier this month.

And environmental campaigners have stepped up their activities with protesters spray-chalking SNP headquarters in Scotland and staging a “die-in” inside Westminster. Eight activists are set to enter their second week of a hunger-striker in protest at what they say would be an “environmentally catastrophic” decision.

Lord Deben and Baroness Brown of Cambridge, chair and deputy chair of the CCC, wrote to transport minister Chris Grayling on Thursday to remind him that the government has a “legally binding commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Climate Change Act” and that it has “also committed, through the Paris agreement, to limit the rise in global temperature to well below 2C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5C.”
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The letter added: “We were surprised that your statement to the House of Commons on the National Policy Statement on 5 June 2018 made no mention of either of these commitments. It is essential that aviation’s place in the overall strategy for UK emissions reduction is considered and planned fully by your department.” It said that although the committee, set up to advise the government on how best to tackle climate change, did not have a view on the location of airport capacity, aviation emissions must be “compatible with meeting the 2050 climate objectives”. “Higher levels of aviation emissions in 2050 must not be planned for since this would place an unreasonably large burden on other sectors,” it added.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/15/government-faces-growing-pressure-over-heathrow-third-runway