Plan for commercial park

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Added by Will Bramhill

Plan 211788
Industrial estate, London Road, Marks Tey
(was 202373)


Colchester Cycling Campaign objects to this plan. If it is considered for approval, mitigation should be carried out and completed at the same time as the development. If any work is outstanding it should be subject to a legal agreement and funded via a 20-year Section 106 or CIL agreement. See table below for a list of mitigation measures.

Highways England should consider this scheme not as a standalone but as a major part of other recent planning applications in this area, which all add to motor traffic. This particular application is disappointing in terms of provision for active travel: it is likely to increase dependence on short to medium-distance commuting by car while further undermining cycling through increased traffic and greater danger, especially in Old London Road.

Note that paragraph 109 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that “development should only be prevented or refused ... if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or residual cumulative impacts on the road network would be severe”.

We trust that the Highways England stage one road safety audit (CBC site August 6) will include consideration of walking and cycling routes in the area. The auditor should ride the routes, as recommended by LTN 1/20 and Gear Change.

Two major plans have recently been rejected owing to poor cycling and walking provision: the Devonshire Quarter in Cambridge and  Lidl in Salford (download of decision notice).

Although the applicant’s draft travel plan and transport assessment has sections on walking and cycling, nothing is provided in terms of improved off-site infrastructure – at least not until 2028, by which time the new section of the A12 may be complete. It is unclear whether the developer would be prepared to fully fund improvements at that stage.

2 Current situation

The Kelvedon to Colchester cycleway runs past the development site along Old London Road. This is used by longer-distance cycle traffic as well as cycle commuters to and from nearby industry and adjacent homes. Current use is low, in part because of poor connections. 

This route links to the part of Marks Tey west of the A120 via Dobbies Lane via a relatively new cycleable bridge across the railway track. However cycle accesses to homes north of Jays Lane/Long Green/Wilsons Lane to Keable Road, Cornwallis Drive and Steele Close are convoluted, narrow and restricted.

3 The applicants’ transport assessment and travel plan

The applicants’ transport assessment and travel plan is lazy in terms of cycling. It appears to be a desk-based study and states merely that cycling is possible from certain hamlets and villages. No consideration is given to current barriers such as the A12 or the perceived safety of the roads and lanes that have to be used to reach the site, both of which would make a cycle journey dangerous or undesirable. There is no indication that the company involved has ridden any of these routes to assess their suitability.

No consideration is given to “on the ground” ease of access, even within Marks Tey.

The consultant quotes objectives of a travel plan but this scheme ignores  objective two (address the access needs of staff by supporting walking, cycling and the use of public transport) and objective 3 (encourage good urban design principles that open up the site to walking, cycling and use of public transport). If this is the case at this stage, what commitment will be invested in the future?

The papers state that cycle access is possible via the grounds of Marks Tey Parish Hall. This appears to be privately owned land (possibly by the parish council). The paths within the site are not wide enough for cycling even if it was permitted. The access to the site from the A120 (picture below) would be a challenge for Bethany Shriever, Team GB’s BMX Olympic gold medallist.

The applicant gives a concession to cycling with a “green line on a map” in its transport assessment. There is no indication of land ownership, when or whether this can be achieved. Notably this access is not marked on any of the detailed plans for the site itself. 

In conjunction with Highways England, the developer has looked at improvements to the junction of Old London Road with the A120. All of these except for a ban on right hand turns on the A120 have been put in abeyance pending construction of the new A12. 

The applicant also talks of a 5km cycle catchment. This is out of date. Experience from cycle-friendly towns and cities shows that the advent of ebikes increases not just distances cycled but frequency too.

No estimate is given of the effect of increased motor traffic on cyclists in Old London Road, with the focus being on the ability of two heavy goods vehicles to pass each other. 

While Old London Road falls within the remit of Highway England, it is not by nature a trunk road but a lightly trafficked mixed-use street. It should be subject to the designs set out in Manual for Streets (MfS) and not the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges. Page 144 of MfS states: "The DMRB is not an appropriate design standard for most streets, particularly those in lightly-trafficked residential and mixed-use areas.”

The applicant’s documents also make no mention of Local Transport Note 1/20 on cycling infrastructure or the government’s Gear Change document, which have been published for more than a year. These should have been used to shape the application.

Paragraph 3.4.5 of the transport assessment mentions the National Cycle Network routes 1 and 13. These are irrelevant when the site is so cut off for cyclists and is likely to be so for some time.

There is no indication of the type of cycle parking that the developer intends to provide, whether security is sufficient and whether it is covered. The applicant seems to have ignored the requirement at 3.6.2 of the Essex Parking Guide that “cycle parking should be conveniently located adjacent to entrances to buildings”.

No comprehensive consideration of current or future air quality has been made.

4 What we would like to see



1 Funding and provision of a S

segregated cycleway from Marks Tey station to join with Old London Road 90m west of the A120 junction

Station Road may need widening. Possible land ownership issues, although the wooded area south of the station,and between Old London Road and the A12 south of the A120 (the teardrop), may belong to Highways England. The cycleway should cross the teardrop to join Old London Road 90m south of the A120 junction. Street lighting needed

2 Existing crossing moved 30 metres east, closer to junction with roundabout

This will allow use of existing verges to give better access, ie, no use of footway by cycles

3 Remodelling of plans for phase 1 and phase 2 so that a segregated cycleway/footway is provided along the northern edge of the site between Dobbies Lane and the A120, crossing Old London Road to meet with the cycleway from the station. The first section of the path should have full access into the site with its design influenced by Manual for Streets 

See illustration. Land ownership issues, although parish council may be amenable? Street lighting needed. If this cannot be achieved then Old London Road will have to be looked at as the main access route. The level of traffic proposed on Old London Road would mean that a segregated cycleway would have to be provided. 

4 An alternative to 3: redesign of Old London Road to be friendlier to cyclists using Manual for Streets.

As noted at 3

5 Funding for improvements for cycle/foot access into the Keable Road estate at Keable Road, Cornwallis Drive and Steele Close

Relatively easy. These accesses should meet LTN 1/20

6 Developer to work with Highways England on tying in development to old A12 once the new road opens, subject 

Dependent on detailed drawings from Highways England

7 Agreement to help fund medium to long-term maintenance of Dobbies Lane

8 Details of cycle parking (type and position) to be approved by CBC before construction begins


Issues nearby
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