Changes mooted to planning policy for the strategic road network
The Government has begun consulting on changes to current planning policy in relation to the strategic road network in general and roadside facilities like motorway service areas in particular.
One consequence of this initiative, signalled by roads minister Philip Hammond, would be the removal of the requirement for minimum distances between “signed roadside facilities”.
Also proposed is the easing of restrictions on new access/junctions on motorways to help “strategic growth” where this is “identified as appropriate using a sequential approach during local plan formation”.
In addition, the proposals now under consideration would remove the expectation that the traffic impact on the strategic road network (SRN) as a result of development “should be mitigated so as to be no worse off after the 10 year review period”.
The new regime would also allow any capacity within the network to be used “after traffic demand has been managed down through the implementation of travel pans and other appropriate measures”.
The new policy would replace Circular 02/2007 Planning and the Strategic Road Network and DfT Circular 01/2008 Policy on service areas and other roadside facilities on motorways and all-purpose trunk roads in England.
The consultation document says that “both circulars require replacement with the aim of producing new policy that aligns to the National Planning Policy Framework, promotes development and economic growth and that devolves decisions for determination at the local level wherever this is appropriate”.
Hammond said: “We are consulting on changes that will mean in some cases constraints are removed from local authorities and other local decision makers, when considering proposals for new developments.
“In reducing regulation, the updated policy will encourage growth by making it easier for businesses and communities to develop, while at the same time ensuring that the road network continues to operate efficiently.”
14 February 2013
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