7. Transport


Snapshot of the Local Transport Network

The Borough is at the heart of the country, with strategic inter-urban roads and rail routes passing through the area. However, most of North Warwickshire is remote and rural, with a small population scattered in market towns and villages, and linked by minor roads. 


Walking Provision: Besides the public rights of way network, there are established leisure, geological and heritage trails for walkers around a number towns and villages in North Warwickshire.


Cycling Provision: The Northern Warwickshire Cycleway covers approximately 35 miles around the Borough with more localised routes in Atherstone, Polesworth, Coleshill and Kingsbury. This provides for leisure uses. There has been little in the way of cyclist provision for commuters, apart from that proposed at the Station at Hams Hall. 


Bus Services and Facilities: Ten bus services currently operate hourly to a number of destinations within and outside the Borough, including Tamworth, Nuneaton, Coventry and Birmingham. There are only two services that operate on a more frequent basis. The main bus routes are shown in Figure 3. 


There are also a number of less frequent services. This includes nine services which operate as Flexi-buses. These are more demand responsive but less regular, providing vital services that link the villages to the towns in the Borough. 


Rail Services and Facilities: There are three stations in the Borough. Atherstone and Polesworth are on the Tamworth to Nuneaton stretch of the West Coast Mainline. Water Orton is situated along the Leicester and Nuneaton line to Birmingham. These routes and stations are shown in Figure 3.


Local rail services are infrequent and virtually ineffective in meeting needs. This is reflected in the low number of people using services from Atherstone and Polesworth, (their combined patronage for 2001-2 was only 10,078). However, there was a higher use of Water Orton station, (with approximately 25,826 journeys made for the same period), reflecting connections and commuting to Birmingham. 


The Road & Motorway Network: Major routes through the Borough are shown in Figure 3. Appendix 7 includes a list of all trunk roads and classified roads (A and B) within the Borough. 


Current information on volumes of traffic along the trunk and minor road networks indicates that traffic levels have increased by nearly 13% over the last ten years. This is a higher level of growth than the national trend. 


Type of Transport Used: According to the Warwickshire Local Transport Plan (WLTP), there is a relatively high dependency on the use of the car in North Warwickshire, with 66% of all journeys made by motorised vehicles. This reflects the rural nature of the Borough. Walking features in 25% of all journeys, then 6% by public transport and only 1% by cycle. 


Travel to Work Trends: In 1991, over half of the employed residents commuted out of the Borough for work, reflecting the decline of traditional industries (like mining) and the pull of job opportunities in Birmingham, Coventry, Tamworth and Nuneaton. The 1991 Census also revealed that 73% of people use their cars for the journey to work and this was significantly higher than the County average. This reflects the high degree of rural isolation, with only 9% of commuters choosing to walk, 6% using public transport and only 1% cycling to work.


Travel to School Trends: In 1998, only 41% of the Borough's children walked to school, with 20% using public transport and 1% cycling to school. 35% of all school journeys were made by car revealing a high dependence on the car (8% above the national average). 


Air Transport: Birmingham International Airport is close to the western boundary of the Borough. It is near to junctions on the M6 and M42 and there is a direct rail link from the airport to Birmingham. Two bus routes travel to the airport through the Borough from Nuneaton and Atherstone. 


The proximity of the airport brings significant economic benefits and opportunities to North Warwickshire. However disturbance is caused along the flight-paths over residential areas. Airport traffic is a factor in the growth of road traffic in the Borough and the presence of the airport has created a demand for remote vehicle parking. 


Arrangements are in place to consult with the Civil Aviation Authority on the height of proposed development in the Borough. Maps showing safeguarded areas for Birmingham International and Coventry airports can be viewed at the Borough Council offices. 


National Context

DETR (July 1998) "A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone"

  • Establishes current Government policy on transport
  • Also heralded the use of Transport Plans, which would deliver five-year strategies to meet local transport needs
  • Supports sustainable development
  • Locating development and managing growth to improve access to jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services by public transport, walking, and cycling
  • Widening transport choice and securing greater mobility, including protecting rail sites & routes, which may contribute to a wider choice in the future
  • Reducing the length of journeys and the need to travel
  • Ensuring land-use, environmental, education, health and wealth creation policies are integrated to achieve the same objectives
  • Restraining isolated development and promoting growth in accessible locations

PPG13 – Transport (March 2001)
In addition to the above this guidance emphasises:

  • The use of parking policies to promote sustainable transport modes and reduce reliance on the car
  • Prioritising people over traffic in town centres, local neighbourhoods and mixed-use areas, as well as more road space for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport use.

Regional Context

Regional Spatial Strategy for West Midlands (June 2004) - This guidance promotes measures to protect strategic road corridors, including the A5, from development that would not be consistent with their role within the spatial strategy. 



It contains guidance for market towns:

  • Supports investment which develops public and community transport services, accessibility and the reduction of social exclusion
  • Promotes highway management
  • Supports parking demand management measures whilst avoiding unfair competition between centres
  • Proposes selective improvements to the road networks
  • Suggests Park & Ride schemes where appropriate

There is now greater emphasis on controlling speeds in sensitive rural locations, ensuring larger vehicles use appropriate routes and developing footpath, bridle-way and Greenway networks. The guidance states that new transport routes in rural areas should avoid adverse impacts on landscape, local character, bio-diversity, tranquillity and rural communities in general. 


The Guidance also calls for improved interchange facilities, including the provision of strategic park and ride facilities. Work continues on the identification of and delivery mechanisms for these. There are no site-specific proposals for park and ride in this Local Plan.


Maps accompanying the guidance identify Hams Hall as being of regional significance as an international freight terminal. 


Multi Modal Studies: Multi modal studies are an in-depth appraisal of transport needs across all travel modes, culminating in a 30 year integrated transport strategy.


The West Midlands to East Midlands Multi Modal Study (August 2003) includes improvements to the A5 and supports the proposed interchange at Coleshill. Both form part of a regional programme of improvements to public transport.


Sub-Regional Context

Warwickshire Structure Plan (WASP) (August 2001) - Policy T3 of WASP refers to the indicative transport corridors identified in WASP's Key Diagram, and seeks measures to improve the choice and quality of the transport options along these corridors. In North Warwickshire these basically constitute the main routes between the three market towns and are indicated on Figure 3. However all developments in the Borough are required to contribute to travel and transport improvements if there is insufficient capacity in the network to meet the additional travel and transport demands that the development would generate. This accords with Circular 1/97 advice and is provided for in TPT1 and CP10. Therefore WASP policy T3 is used through application of TPT1 rather than formulation. 


Policy T7 of the WASP allows for the provision of a rail based park and ride facility at Kingsbury. Land has been safeguarded for this station and is shown on the Proposals Map. However no decision has been made as to whether a station would be provided at Arley or Galley Common and therefore no land has been safeguarded. 


Warwickshire Local Transport Plan (LTP) - Delivery of Government integrated transport policy is carried out primarily through LTP’s which are the responsibility of County Councils as highway authorities. Warwickshire County Council has produced the Warwickshire LTP setting out proposals and programmes for expenditure on transport over the next five years. The Borough Council will help to deliver the LTP vision by: 

  • Concentrating development within the Borough’s main settlements
  • Encouraging greater use of public transport
  • Encouraging walking and cycling as alternatives to the car
  • Securing transport improvements through the development control process.

West Coast Mainline Improvements - Funds are being made available at a national and regional level to improve services on this line. 


Local Context

North Warwickshire Sustainable Community Plan - Transport forms a key theme in the ‘North Warwickshire Community Plan. It aims to: "ensure residents can get to essential services, and are not excluded from a rewarding life because they do not have their own transport".


Consultation revealed that those with no cars were isolated and there was a need for more frequent, reliable, accessible and reasonably costed public transport routes. There were also calls for the re-opening of stations, provision of better public transport information and road safety improvements. This Plan considers land use implications and addresses these issues. 


Summary of Needs and Opportunities

Influencing Future Travel Patterns - A priority is to encourage the use of more sustainable forms of transport (e.g. walking, cycling, using bus and rail services), through people’s access to such modes and enabling them to swap between them during journeys. Developers will be expected to provide public transport subsidies for infrastructure and more direct bus feeder services from rural areas into the market towns, local service centres and major transport interchanges.


New Infrastructure Developments - multi-modal interchange project is being developed for Coleshill/Hams Hall station (on the Birmingham to Nuneaton line) with the support of North Warwickshire Borough Council, Warwickshire County Council, Laing Rail, the Strategic Rail Authority, Railtrack and Central Trains. The project is seen as an exemplar in meeting the travel needs of recent employment development and was promoted in the last Local Plan. 


The railway line between Birch Coppice to Kingsbury was recently opened. The potential to extend the route of the line will be safeguarded. There are freight facilities at Birch Coppice. 


Support for Market Towns and Services in Village Centres - The Borough has many small towns and villages that are unable to compete in the provision of jobs and services with nearby towns and cities (many of which border the Borough). The availability of free parking is important to the vitality and viability of these settlements. Local bus routes offer the most sustainable mode to access employment and services to our small towns and villages.


Major Traffic Generating Proposals

  1. In the following cases developers will be required to submit transportation assessments and travel plans to consider and mitigate the impacts of their schemes.
Use Indicative Thresholds
Non-food & Food Shops, Financial & Professional Services, PHs & Licensed Clubs, Restaurants and Takeaways More than 1,000m2
More than 2,500m2
More than 5,000m2
More than 10,000m2
Schools, Hotels, Motels, Guest Houses & Residential Clubs
Sites for 100 dwellings or more
Medical Practitioners, Clinics, Dentists, Opticians & Chiropodists
More than 500m2
Places of Assembly
More than 1,000m2
More than 1,500 seats

Assessments will also be required for developments below these thresholds:
• Where there is a cumulative effect created by the floorspace on the site or in the vicinity
• In Air Quality Management Areas (as shown on the Proposals Map)
• Or where there are demonstrable shortcomings in the adequacy of the local transport network to accommodate development of the scale proposed.

  1. Developments of this scale will be required to demonstrate safe and convenient access by a range of means of travel and transport.
  2. Planning permission will be refused where the transportation impacts of these developments are significant and cannot be mitigated by:
    1. Measures to reduce the impacts to acceptable levels
    2. The delivery of Approved Travel Plans
    3. Developer contributions towards public transport services and facilities, cycling and pedestrian provision.

For All Development

  1. Development will only be permitted where, individually or cumulatively there would be sufficient capacity within the transport network to accommodate traffic generated by the proposal and where there would be no additional hazard to traffic safety or detriment to access visibility.
  2. Schemes will only be permitted where the cumulative effect of developments can be accommodated within the network capacity and where transport associated impacts have been adequately addressed to maintain the character of the local environment.

Reasoned Justification

PPG13 advocates the use of Transport Assessments and Travel Plans for significant developments. However, determining whether a proposal is a major traffic generating development is highly dependent on a number of factors, particularly its nature and location. The thresholds and triggers will act as an indicative guide to when these measures will be required. The Council will provide further advice where the accumulative effect of traffic is an issue.


Air Quality Management Areas

The relationship between vehicular emissions causing air pollution has long been established. According to the Council's 'Air Quality Review and Assessment' (2002): "The primary sources of air pollution within North Warwickshire are emissions from road traffic. The major sources of road traffic in the Borough are the M6, M42, A5, and the not yet constructed M6 Toll motorway."


The report designated an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) and is shown on the Proposals Map. Transport Assessments and Travel Plans will be required for proposals in or close to any AQMA designations. 


Transport Assessments

Assessments must examine accessibility to all modes and the likely split of transport mode to and from the site. They will also ensure the use of more sustainable modes, reducing the need for parking associated with the development and proposals to mitigate transport impacts. 


Travel Plans

Travel Plans should result in reductions in car usage and support increased levels of public transport use, walking and cycling. They can also lead to reductions in traffic speeds, improvements to road safety and personal security (particularly for the immobile, pedestrians and cyclists), as well as encourage more environmentally friendly travel, delivery and sustainable freight distribution. The Council will encourage the use of Travel Plans in existing developments.


Supplementary Planning Guidance will be produced on Travel Plans to assist in the preparation of such documents. This will in each case require:

  • Inclusion of targets to reduce road traffic and parking
  • Promotion of improvements to public transport over time; and,
  • Contributions towards sustainable transport, where the above are not provided.

Major Traffic Generating Proposals

These developments generate significant traffic levels and need to provide:

  1. on site public transport, cyclist and pedestrian access and facilities
  2. where appropriate contributions to public transport that serves the site

All Development

In order to prevent congestion and its detrimental impact on the environment, especially from successive developments in a locality, the impact of a particular further development on the transport network will be an important consideration in determining the proposal. ENV14 will be an important consideration for all developments.


  1. Traffic management and calming measures, (on and off site), will be required in development proposals where they are:
    1. Necessary to mitigate the impact of the development;
    2. Appropriate to the function of the highway;
    3. Necessary to increase highway safety;
    4. Necessary to improve efficiency/ease of movement; and,
    5. Necessary to reduce congestion and enable environmental enhancements.
  2. In the design of traffic management and calming measures, consideration should be given to the character and distinctiveness of the locality.

Reasoned Justification

This policy aims to reduce the problems commonly associated with transport generated by new development, including; accidents, community severance, congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, noise and air pollution. It aims to promote an efficient and safer environment across whole journeys, especially for impacted communities and the most vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and public transport, as well as other road users. 


Traffic management and calming measures should relate to the development proposed. It is important that where there are opportunities to improve existing problems development proposals should accommodate them. The measures must be comprehensive and aimed at safely managing and reducing non-essential traffic. In designing measures, reference should be made to Warwickshire County Council’s ‘Transport and Roads for Developments – The Warwickshire Guide 2001’.


Development will not be permitted unless its siting, layout and design makes provision for safe and convenient pedestrian and vehicular access and circulation, and maximises practicable opportunities for the use of sustainable means of travel and transport including walking, cycling, bus and train.


Reasoned Justification

Walking and cycling may be less attractive travel and transport options in rural locations, because distances tend to be greater than in urban areas, traffic speeds higher and footways and street lighting often absent. However Government policy to encourage sustainable patterns of movement would be seriously compromised if it was not applied in the countryside. 


One purpose of the development strategy of Core Policy 2 is to locate housing, employment and other services and facilities close together to minimise the need to travel. The strategy also directs development to locations most easily served by public transport including the bus as well as the river and canal. 


Walking and cycling are the most sustainable forms of transport and therefore should not be ignored. As in towns, there are many instances in and near villages where relatively short distances, for example from home to shops or schools can be conveniently undertaken on foot or by bicycle. There are many opportunities for making such journeys safer and more convenient, for example by providing necessary linkages to the existing network within development sites or contributing to requisite dedicated paths for walkers and cyclists off-site. A lack of pedestrian and cyclist routes, as well as changing, cycle parking and storage facilities is a major deterrent for people wishing to walk or cycle, especially to work or use public buildings. Their provision is the key to encourage more sustainable journeys by walking or cycling. Where contributions are required this will reflect the nature of the provision and the scale of development. CP12 will be used to achieve these objectives.


1. A multi-modal interchange will be developed at Coleshill / Hams Hall and the site shown on the Proposals Map will be safeguarded for this project.
2. A site for a new station at Kingsbury is shown on the Proposals Map and this will be safeguarded for this purpose.


Reasoned Justification

The Council is committed to working in partnership with other bodies who are involved in public transport provision to improve service provision and personal safety. The Council will take every opportunity to improve public transport interchanges through major development.


Significant progress has been made on the Coleshill / Hams Hall project including Section 106 and bidding for public funds. It is important to protect the site if this facility is to be provided. Further opportunities for developing linked bus services around the station to wider destinations will be promoted to improve transport choice. 


Land at Kingsbury is safeguarded for future rail station and public transport interchange. The Council will support its future development and will expect developers to contribute towards provision.


  1. The rail freight terminal at Hams Hall identified on the Proposals Map is of strategic significance. Proposals that facilitate the more efficient use of this existing site for the transhipment of goods from road to rail will be permitted.
  2. The development of sites for industrial, warehousing or transhipment purposes that are located alongside the canal network or are served by an existing rail freight facility will not be permitted unless provision is made to maximise the delivery and dispatch of raw materials and produce using the canal network or rail facility concerned.
  3. Development will not be permitted that would result in the loss of, or would impair the use of or access to, any site used for the transhipment of goods by rail or water.
  4. Conditions will be imposed in planning permissions involving the movement of freight by road where necessary to avoid disturbance and danger in residential areas and in other environmentally sensitive locations.
  5. The former rail route between Birch Coppice and Baddesley Ensor, as shown on the Proposals Map, will be safeguarded from development that may preclude it making a future contribution to transport use.

Reasoned Justification

Ensuring the efficient movement of goods is a key factor in a prosperous economy. Most freight is currently carried by road and this is more environmentally damaging than by rail or water. This policy encourages the large-scale movement of freight by more sustainable modes, by protecting these sites and routes. 


The Council will work with Warwickshire County Council, freight operators and developers to agree to the imposition of conditions on traffic related movements to avoid congestion, pollution (air and noise), and adverse impact on residential and environmentally sensitive areas. The overall aim is to ensure developers and occupiers adopt a more sustainable and effective approach to deliveries and associated transport movements.


  1. On-site car parking provision in connection with development proposals will be required not to exceed the maximum standards set out in Appendix 4 to the Plan unless:
    1. A transport assessment submitted in accordance with policy TPT1 demonstrates unequivocally that a greater amount of car parking is needed and that measures will be put in place to minimise the need for parking.
    2. The proposal is for a town centre retail or leisure development, and parking provision is intended to serve the needs of the town centre as a whole and this can be secured by planning condition or obligation.
  2. Provision for the parking of cycles, motorcycles and other types of powered vehicle used by people with impaired mobility will also be required at or above the minimum standards set out in Appendix 4 to the Plan.

Reasoned Justification

Maximum parking standards are being adopted nationally in line with PPG13. They will be kept under review and published on a regular basis, in order to limit the growth of car traffic resulting from new development, particularly in areas where public transport and off street parking is available. These standards will be used flexibly when determining the most appropriate levels of parking for more intensive mixed-use developments in town centres and historic settings. 


The need for parking provision will have to be clearly justified, as the onus is placed on the developer to prove that the parking provision is necessary for that development. This justification must demonstrate that walking, cycling, public transport and public car parking spaces, as well as shared car parks or car schemes have been fully utilised in order to reduce car parking related to the development. 


The provision of safe, secure convenient cycle and powered two-wheeler parking in new development can help contribute to reducing traffic congestion and pollution. Parking for people with impaired mobility is vital to ensure that they, like able-bodied people, have the ability to access buildings and spaces vital for everyday needs. 


Proposals for the remote parking of passenger or visitor vehicles in the Borough will not be permitted.


Reasoned Justification

North Warwickshire does not generate a significant demand for air travel. The Borough is subject to pressure for car parking for airport passengers. This use is not regarded as sustainable because:

  1. Every car parking trip is accompanied by public transport demand
  2. The airport should accommodate the movement demands it generates
  3. Passenger movements are best accommodated on public transport which is available at the airport
  4. This open use is unsightly and consumes large areas of the countryside
  5. The use introduces non-essential traffic movements into the Borough
  6. The use prejudices the achievement of other policies of the Plan e.g. regeneration and countryside enhancement.

The Council is aware that farm-based bed and breakfast accommodation is a popular means of providing for farm diversification in accordance with policy ECON8. Provision for users of bed-and–breakfast accommodation to leave their cars at the farm while travelling by air may amount to a material change of use requiring planning permission. In cases where permission is required, this policy will prevail over the objectives of policy ECON8 for the reasons given in paragraph 7.56 

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