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What does the Highways England objection mean for the scheme?

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The vision for the proposed Langarth Garden Village is for a highly sustainable community where people can live, work and visit.  It will be co-located with existing communities, such as Threemilestone and Gloweth, and with education (Truro College and Richard lander School), health (Royal Cornwall Hospital) and employment locations (Threemilestone and Treliske Industrial Estates.

The site has a long and complex planning history. This had resulted in the granting of several planning permissions for up to 2,700 houses including large retail buildings to different private sector developers over a 10 year period.  Since then the development had stalled.  In 2019 Cornwall Council took the decision to take a direct and proactive role in planning and delivering the new integrated community at Langarth.

There is already significant pressure on housing in Truro, with further growth expected in the future.  If sufficient housing does not exist in the city to meet this demand, it  will lead to a further growth in traffic and commuting in the future.   

A hybrid planning application (PA20/09631) for Langarth Garden Village and the Northern Access Road was submitted to Cornwall Council as the Local Planning Authority in December 2020.  This contained a Transport Assessment which set out a series of assumptions to potential travel patterns associated with the proposed development.  

In February 2021 Highways England, as a statutory consultee, wrote to the Council asking for additional analysis to be carried out on some of the assumptions in the Transport Assessment. Highways England requested a deferral of the planning determination for a period of 6 months while this work was caried out.  This is standard practice for large planning applications such as this one where there is a significant volume of information to be analysed.

This work has now been completed and submitted to Highways England, with a response from the organisation due in May 2021.

Research shows that a significant proportion of journeys made during peak times are up to 5km (3 miles) in length and some people, with the right facilities to encourage them, will change from driving a motor vehicle to walking, riding a bike / e-bike or catching a bus. Active travel also helps both physical and mental health and wellbeing.  We have been working with Highways England and other key partners such as Homes England to develop a new approach which supports sustainable developments which promote alternatives to car usage.

With Truro recognised as the key employment centre for Cornwall, commuting from the surrounding areas is significant, with up to 15,000 vehicles travelling into and out of the city each day.  One of the key aims of the Langarth Garden Village scheme is to provide integrated and accessible transport links, with people prioritised over cars.

The location of the Garden Village close to key land uses, together with the planned improvements to walking, cycling and public transport provision, will provide an opportunity for these short distance trips to be made by these methods of transport rather than by car.

By providing new homes and good local facilities close to Truro, people who are looking to move home as their families grow or circumstances change but who currently commute to the Truro area for work, will be able to relocate to Langarth Garden Village. This will help to reduce the overall level of commuting into Truro.

There has also been a general trend towards increased home working. Once Covid19 restrictions are removed it is likely that working patterns, particularly for those people who work in office type locations, will adjust to more flexible arrangements. If this trend continues there are expected to be fewer vehicles travelling on the road network during peak periods.  The proposed scheme has been designed to support this changed way of working.

Reducing the volume of travel during these periods will not only benefit those people who have to travel longer distances, it will also help to reduce carbon emissions and support the Council’s wider strategy to address the challenges of climate change.

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