Woking Borough Council

CS18 Transport and accessibility

A well connected and integrated transport network supports the sustainable functioning and development of the Borough. Woking Rail Station is a key hub for the South East, providing direct rail access to London, the South East and the South West. Woking Rail Station currently has a direct Railair coach service to Heathrow Airport running every 30 minutes. Investment in cycling has significantly increased since Woking's designation as a Cycle Town in 2008, providing attractive alternatives to the car. There is significant scope to influence a shift in the mode of travel from car-based journeys to public transport and cycling.

Surrey County Council is the Highways Authority for the Borough. Woking Borough Council will work in partnership with Surrey County Council to achieve the aims and objectives of the Surrey Transport Plan (LTP) which sets out the transport strategy for Surrey. The current LTP vision seeks to help people meet their transport and travel needs effectively, reliably, safely and sustainably; in order to promote economic vibrancy, protect and enhance the environment and improve the quality of life.

The majority of trips taken in the Borough are by car, resulting in congestion, particularly at peak times. PPG13: Transport requires the Council to promote sustainable transport choices, manage the location of development and provide an integrated transport network to influence a shift to non-car modes.

Key to the achievement of the spatial vision is an integrated transport system that provides easy access to jobs, community facilities, green infrastructure and recreation, by all modes; in particular sustainable transport modes such as public transport, walking and cycling. A successful transport system offers an effective interchange between modes and local, regional and national destinations and, complements the economic role of the Borough as a regional focus for infrastructure, in particular the regeneration of the town centre. Woking Rail Station plays a pivotal role in this.

CS18: Transport and accessibility

The Council is committed to developing a well integrated community connected by a sustainable transport system which connects people to jobs, services and community facilities, and minimises impacts on biodiversity. This will be achieved by taking the following steps.

  • Joint working with key stakeholders through the Transport for Woking Partnership to ensure that the principal objectives and overall vision of the Surrey Local Transport Plan are met.
  • Locating most new development in the main urban areas, served by a range of sustainable transport modes, such as public transport, walking and cycling to minimise the need to travel and distance travelled.
  • Ensuring development proposals provide appropriate infrastructure measures to mitigate the adverse effects of development traffic and other environmental and safety impacts (direct or cumulative). Transport Assessments will be required for development proposals, where relevant, to fully assess the impacts of development and identify appropriate mitigation measures. Developer contributions13 will be secured to implement transport mitigation schemes.
  • Requiring development proposals that generate significant traffic or have significant impact on the Strategic Road Network to be accompanied by a travel plan, clearly setting out how the travel needs of occupiers and visitors will be managed in a sustainable manner.
  • Supporting proposals that deliver improvements and increased accessibility to cycle, pedestrian and public transport networks and interchange facilities. In particular, proposals to improve easy access between Woking Rail Station and the town centre will be encouraged.
  • Implementing maximum car parking standards for all types of non-residential development, including consideration of zero parking in Woking Town Centre, providing it does not create new or exacerbate existing on-street car parking problems. Minimum standards will be set for residential development. However, in applying these standards, the Council will seek to ensure that this will not undermine the overall sustainability objectives of the Core Strategy, including the effects on highway safety. If necessary, the Council will consider managing the demand and supply of parking in order to control congestion and encourage use of sustainable transport.
  • Ensuring that changes made to transport infrastructure or increase in road vehicle usage will not have an adverse effect on the integrity of an SPA, SAC or Ramsar site.
  • The Proposals Map and the Site Allocations DPD will safeguard land to deliver schemes that are adopted by the County Council to support the Core strategy.

Reasoned justification

The main urban centres offer a wide range of retail, employment and community services. It is in these areas where public transport interchanges and walking and cycling networks are readily available. By concentrating development in the main urban centres, the amount and length of journeys can be minimised, particularly by private car, as the needs of the population can be met by the services and facilities around them, and use of sustainable transport modes can be maximised. This will lead to a reduction in energy consumption, efficient use of public transport, lower transport carbon emissions and an overall improvement in the well being of the population due to the health benefits of walking and cycling and increased social inclusion.

New developments can create significant transport, environmental and safety implications and it is important that these are taken into account when determining planning applications. The Council will work in partnership with Surrey County Council to ensure developments, where appropriate, make suitable provision for service vehicles, do not reduce highway safety and do not lead to an increase in heavy goods vehicle movements along unsuitable roads. Necessary mitigation measures will be assessed on a site-by-site basis to enable mitigation to be tailored to address specific issues. Land required for major highways and transportations schemes, including any schemes that will be developed in a future funding bid, will be safeguarded as part of the Site Allocations DPD and will be reflected on the Proposals Map.

Transport Assessments set out the transport issues related to development proposals and identify measures to reduce impacts and improve accessibility. Transport Assessments will be expected for development proposals with significant transport implications. Where transport impacts are anticipated to be small, development proposals may be required to submit a Transport Statement, in line with DfT Guidance on Transport Assessments.

New developments that lead to an increase in the number of people travelling to a site can put pressure on the road network, particularly as car ownership in the Borough is higher than the national average. A Travel Plan can be utilised to manage the travel demands of occupiers and visitors, employing measures to control the number of private vehicle trips to a site and influence a shift to sustainable transport choices for site users. The Council will require a Travel Plan from development proposals that generate significant traffic and a Travel Statement from smaller scale developments, in accordance with good practice guidance14.

Around two out of every three trips made are less than 5 miles in length, many of which could be easily cycled, walked or undertaken by public transport. Facilitating the movement of people between sustainable modes of transport is a key factor in the use of such travel modes. Woking has had significant investment in cycle infrastructure through the Cycle Woking partnership between Woking Borough Council and Surrey County Council. This programme upgraded and extended the cycle network, encouraged school children into cycling with a new mountain bike course at Goldsworth Primary School and increased the number of cycle parking facilities across the Borough.

Maximum car parking standards are a means of restricting the number of cars on the road and influencing a shift in behaviour towards other transport modes, particularly in urban centres with high accessibility. The Council produced a Parking SPD in 2006 which sets appropriate car parking and cycle parking standards for all forms of development. This includes residential car parking standards that have regard for highway safety issues resulting from off-street parking and maximum car parking standards for non-residential developments. The SPD will be reviewed after the adoption of the Core Strategy and at regular intervals to ensure the standards set are the most appropriate.

Safeguarded land identified on the Proposals Map and in the Site Allocations DPD will include extant transport proposals in the Woking Borough Local Plan 1999. A list of the adopted and proposed schemes to support the Core Strategy can be found in the Infrastructure Delivery Plan. The County Council is in the process of reviewing the need of some of the schemes and the Core Strategy will be updated to reflect the outcome of this exercise.

Delivery strategy

This policy will be implemented through the development management (WBC) and transportation development control (SCC) process and in partnership with key stakeholders through Transport for Woking.

Monitoring and review

  • Number of new developments located within 30 minutes travel by public transport to local services (including health, education and retail).
  • Number of major developments submitted with Transport Assessments.
  • Number of major developments with travel plans, assessed in accordance with Surrey County Council's Travel Plans Good Practice Guide, 2009.
  • Amount of transport infrastructure improvements secured with developments.
  • Annual patronage of Borough rail stations.
  • Average journey time per mile during the morning peak on major routes in the authority (Current National Indicator 167).

Key evidence base

  • The Surrey Transport Plan (Local Transport Plan Third Edition - LTP3), 2011, produced by Surrey County Council.
  • Transport Assessment, 2010, produced by Surrey County Council.
  • Transport and Accessibility Topic Paper, 2011, produced by Woking Borough Council.
  • Draft Infrastructure Delivery Plan, 2011, produced by Woking Borough Council.

13This will be achieved either through current planning obligations or through the future infrastructure tariff system the Council will introduce.

14 Available from the Department for Transport and Surrey County Council.