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Transport and street design for a new settlement in Essex

Transport and street design for a new settlement in Essex

[The banner image shows the product of free-flowing discussion in the design workshop.]

The work focused on how the transport and access requirements of the proposed new settlement west of Braintree could be result in low dependence on the private car. The rural location made this challenging, but the existence of an existing public transport corridor meant that the feasibility of achieving low car dependence was worth exploring, especially if the new settlement had a good range of local facilities, and a reasonable degree of self-containment in terms of education and employment.

The project tackled both the strategic transport aspect (primarily movement to and from the new settlement) and local movement. Local movement had to be catered for primarily on foot and cycle, and this required configuration of the housing and other land uses to make the routes for walking and cycling direct, convenient and of a high quality.

These access considerations and their impact on urban form were discussed with the whole multi-disciplinary team during a whole day event initiated by Tim Pharoah. This proved to be an efficient way of ironing out problems, and highlighting issues that needed further exploration.

One of the key contentions was whether the bus public transport route (that links Stansted airport and Braintree) could be sufficiently upgraded and extended to provide a credible alternative to the private car.

Contraction of the housing and property market in 2009-2010 meant that the plans were put on hold. In June 2018 the scheme appeared to be ruled out when a Planning Inspector rejected plans for three new "garden communities" in north Essex, including the "west of Braintree" scheme. The main reasons for this rejection were related to transport. He said "in particular it is very unlikely, in my view, that the whole of the rapid transit system as proposed in the NERTS could be provided quickly enough to support commencement of development at all three (proposed) garden communities in the timetable envisaged in the submitted plan."

Campaigner Peter Kay was rather more direct: "In this case it was obvious to an idiot in a hurry that the transport content was just waffle and wishlists."

Client(s)Private sector developer
Team(s)Tim Pharoah with Chetwoods and ScottWilson


new settlement, transport planning, street design, urban design, sustainable transport, sustainable development

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