Oxford Local Plan 2036: Proposed Submission Draft Consultation

Chapter 7- Ensuring efficient movement into and around the city

7. Ensuring efficient movement into and around the city


Oxford has the ambition to become a world class cycling city with
improved air quality, reduced congestion and enhanced public realm. Road
space within the city is clearly limited and to achieve its ambition there is a
need to prioritise road space and promote the sustainable modes of travel,
walking, cycling and public transport.


i. Promoting sustainable travel through prioritising
walking, cycling, and public transport


7.1 Oxford is a sub-regional hub and a focus for employment, retail, leisure,
culture and tourism. The city centre has a medieval road system, with narrow
streets, and areas of great heritage value. It has the ambition to become
a world class cycling city with improved air quality, reduced congestion
and enhanced public realm. Road space within the city is limited, so to
achieve its ambition there is a need to prioritise road space and promote
the sustainable modes of travel, walking, cycling and public transport.


7.2 The City Council, in its capacity as Local Planning Authority, has a key
role to deliver change to the movement network through place shaping.
Although it is Oxfordshire County Council as Local Highway Authority
that has responsibility for transport policy with other strategic transport
decisions being taken by Highways England, the rail industry, and bus
operators, the Local Plan has an important role in helping to implement
and support transport projects and the principles of sustainable travel.
It can have an important impact on movement in the city through its
policies on density, design and location of new development, parking
and requirements for infrastructure provision from new developments, in
particular improvements to walking and cycling infrastructure.


7.3 The Plan promotes sustainable travel in the forms of walking, cycling and
public transport over private car use. High quality connections by bus, rail,
cycling and walking are all vital to the City’s future economic prosperity
and social inclusiveness. These connections provide access to education,
employment, business, retail, medical and leisure opportunities. Cycling
and walking contribute towards reducing carbon emissions and improving
air quality. As forms of active travel they can assist with the adoption of
healthier lifestyles and managing the use of the City’s transport network
more effectively.


7.4 An effective transportation system is fundamental to the vitality of the
urban area yet the movement of people into and around Oxford continues
to be a huge challenge with its highly constrained transport system. There
is limited potential to increase space on the roads, therefore the use of
road space must be managed carefully, particularly in the city centre, to
optimise capacity. The Local Plan will support measures to maximise the
opportunities for releasing road space for sustainable modes by adopting
a different approach as to how vehicles, particularly private cars, use the
streets. In the city centre, there is also a need to consider how buses access
the centre and circulate within it to release space for improved public realm
and cycling.


7.5 The growth proposed in this Plan is supported by Oxfordshire County
Council’s Oxford Transport Strategy (OTS) and by a transport and movement
study for the city centre which was jointly commissioned with the County
Council.


7.6 The OTS has been prepared by Oxfordshire County Council as part of the Local
Transport Plan: Connecting Oxfordshire 2015-2031 (LTP4). LTP4 established a
number of proposals that have been developed further and brought forward
in more recent work, including the Oxfordshire Infrastructure Strategy (OxIS)
and the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).


7.7 The OTS has three components, mass transit, walking and cycling and
managing traffic and travel demand. A new mass transit network for
Oxford will help meet future connectivity needs in the city. This will deliver
a step-change in travel choices for diverse movements within and into the
city. A city-wide walking and cycling network must include continuous
pedestrian and cycle routes and high quality spaces for pedestrians in areas
of high footfall. Mass transit and walking and cycling improvements will be
enabled and supported by an ambitious agenda of road space reallocation,
and a much stronger focus on reducing traffic demand in the city.


7.8 Both the City and County Councils recognise that for Oxford to function
effectively there must be a radical shift away from people relying on the
use of the private car towards more sustainable modes and the Local Plan
policies reflect this. To prevent growth in car trips to and within Oxford,
the County Council have proposals for increased Park and Ride capacity,
including the addition of remote Park and Ride sites at Eynsham, Sandford,
Cumnor, Lodge Hill and the A44 corridor. These will work alongside other
measures, including additional demand management proposals, to help to
reduce the number of car trips into the centre of Oxford and to the Eastern
Arc. In addition, measures for both road and cycling improvements along
the corridor routes into Oxford will be undertaken during the plan period.


Spatial strategy to encourage sustainable modes


7.9 The following movement specific objectives are important to ensure
people are provided with efficient, attractive and sustainable ways to move
throughout the city:
• Supporting the existing movement hierarchy prioritising walking
and cycling and use of public transport, and reallocating road space
according to this hierarchy;
• Supporting the introduction of additional demand management
measures alongside the existing measures, which may include traffic
restrictions, road user charging and/or a workplace parking levy;
• Changing traffic management, which could include the re-allocation
of road space, whereby road space would be dedicated for segregated
cycle routes, bus priority and the provision of wider footways and an
enhanced public realm;
• Allowing penetration of frequent public transport services and stops as
close as possible to the city centre, district centres and employment and
new residential sites, as well as improving interchange between modes;
• Optimising the capacity of the city centre and district centres for
walking and cycling by creating a comprehensive and legible network
and improved public realm;
• Reducing congestion levels to ensure buses have minimum possible
delay, to improve service to passengers, reduce pollution and remove
the need for long schedule recovery times to provide a reliable city wide
service;
• Enabling growth in public transport passenger numbers, through
more efficient “rapid transit” operating principles, infrastructure and
vehicles;
• Ensuring servicing and deliveries can be managed efficiently with
particular focus on looking for alternatives to the first mile/last mile
deliveries, for example cycle couriers; and
• Implementing the Zero Emission Zone in the city centre.


7.10 These key objectives seek to enhance the experience for people travelling
to, from and within Oxford, and to make the city centre a more attractive
place to be. Such measures would lead to a reduction in air and noise
pollution, and a more inclusive environment with improved road safety. Air
quality in the city centre is expected to improve further with the introduction
of a Zero Emission Zone in the city centre. Proposals for innovative forms
of sustainable travel that would help deliver these objectives will be
supported.


Scheduled coaches and tourist coaches


7.11 Coach travel is also important as a sustainable mode of travel. Oxford has
several scheduled long-distance coach routes to the centre of London, to
Cambridge and to Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports, which
provide a popular alternative to car travel. The City Council will support the
County Council in achieving the optimum routes within the city centre to
reduce the negative impacts of these coaches on both public realm and air
quality, whilst ensuring good access to the service remains.


7.12 Tourist coaches continue to present a challenge to the city in terms of the
numbers entering the city, particularly during the summer months. Coach
parking facilities will continue to be provided at the Redbridge Park and
Ride site. Drop off points for coaches will continue to be provided to the
north and south of the city (St Giles and St Aldates, south of Speedwell
Street). Coaches will only drop off and pick up in these locations and must
then leave the city centre and go to longer stay parking (at Redbridge
currently). To ensure coaches adhere to these arrangements enforcement is
required to prevent the city from becoming an unauthorised coach parking
area.


Cowley Branch Line


7.13 The NIC recommended that the Cowley Branch Line should be reopened for
passengers by the end of 2019, and a study is already underway to develop
this project as part of the wider development of the Oxfordshire rail network.
The reopening of the Cowley Branch Line for passenger services will bring
obvious benefits for the city and is likely to lead to growth and intensification
of uses at the Science Park, Business Park and in Blackbird Leys.


7.14 The City Council supports such a proposal, recognising the role it would play
in the East-West rail links between Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge
and the links offered to Oxford Station and Oxford Parkway. The Local
Plan seeks to assist in its delivery by working with partners to facilitate the
delivery of the branch line within the plan period. The potential station
locations will be safeguarded through the Local Plan, as will safeguarded
routes.

7.15 The Plan will ensure, through the site allocation policies, that no
development takes place which would inhibit the opening of the Cowley
Branch Line to passenger traffic, by preventing developments which would
be sensitive to noise and vibration close to the railway. The Plan will also
look to safeguard bus, taxi and pedestrian and cycle routes to the rail halts,
ensuring that sites around the new stations are as permeable as possible to
enable good access.

Policy M1: Prioritising walking, cycling, and public transport

 

Planning permission will only be granted for development that minimises the need to travel and is laid out and designed
in a way that prioritises access by walking, cycling and public transport.

Walking:

In order to promote walking in the city and improve the pedestrian environment, development proposals must meet the
needs arising from the development and take opportunities to achieve improvements. Proposals shall:

  1. ensure that the urban environment is permeable and safe to walk through and adequately lit, with good and direct
    connections both within and across the wider network;
  2. make improvements to the pedestrian environment including the provision of high quality crossings points where needed,
    seating, signage and landscaping; and
  3. support high quality public realm improvement works (refer to Policy DH1) and ensure that footways are sufficiently wide
    to accommodate the level of use.

Cycling:

In order to promote cycling in the city and ensure an accessible environment for cyclists, the Council will seek to ensure
that development:

d. provides for connected, high quality, convenient and safe (segregated where possible) cycle routes within developments
and the wider networks that are permeable and can accommodate the anticipated growth in cycling;

e. provides for accessible, conveniently located, secure cycle parking facilities (refer to Policy M5); and

f. makes provision for high quality on-site facilities that promote cycle usage, including changing rooms, showers, dryers
and lockers.

New pedestrian and cycle routes:

New (or improved) pedestrian and cycle routes are shown on the proposals map.  Proposals will be expected to facilitate
and deliver these links to serve needs arising from development and where opportunities arise to secure improvements.  
Planning permission will not be granted for development that would jeopardise future delivery of these links.

Public transport:

In order to safeguard and promote the provision of public transport in Oxford development that will add to demands on public
transport should contribute towards improvements to bus network infrastructure including pedestrian and cycle routes to bus
stops, shelters, passenger seating, waiting areas, signage, timetable information and infrastructure relating to zero emissions. 

Financial contributions will be sought towards the cost of new or improved bus services where existing services are not
considered adequate.  The City Council will work with its partners to improve the ease and quality of access into and around Oxford
by public transport, by:
(i) ensuring that road space is managed efficiently to support public transport – including rapid transit - through initiatives such as bus
priority measures, infrastructure and demand management.
(ii) supporting the County Council in their management of both scheduled and tourist coaches entering and leaving the city;
(iii) improving the capacity and attractiveness of Park and Ride, particularly the development of remote sites closer to county towns;
(iv) promoting bus/rapid transit access to and between major employers, hospitals, schools and colleges in the Eastern Arc (including
the Headington and Marston area), Wolvercote/Cutteslowe and Cowley and Littlemore; and
(v) ensuring sufficient space is provided particularly within the city centre and district centres for bus stops and interchange between
bus services and cycling.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Proposals for new development will be expected to incorporate the measures set out above to meet the needs of the development
and where the opportunity arises, to secure improvements.  Developments should be designed to accommodate bus movements, where
appropriate.

Rail network:

Proposals to enhance the City’s rail network will be supported, in particular the re-development of Oxford Station and additional
rail capacity to accommodate more services, including opening of the Cowley Branch Line for passengers.  Land for the provision
of new stations at Oxford Business Park/Retail Park (Cowley area) and Oxford Science Park (Littlemore area)(refer to Sites 9 & 10 chapter 9)
and access routes to the stations and across the line is safeguarded. 

Proposals for improvements to Oxford Railway Station that increase network capacity, improve the design and quality of facilities and
interchange and support the Cowley Branch Line will be supported.

Sites for Cowley Branch Line stations and local access routes which are safeguarded and which should be improved by local development
are defined on the Policies Map.

 

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ii. Assessing and managing development


7.16 Key tools used to appraise and determine the transport impacts of a
development proposal are transport assessments (TA)(refer to Appendix
7.1) and travel plans (TP). A TA is a comprehensive and systematic process
to ensure that the transport impacts of the development are properly
considered and where appropriate includes measures to help mitigate
development impact. A TP is a package of measures tailored to the needs
of an individual site and focused on reducing dependence on the private
car.


7.17 TPs offer opportunities to reduce the carbon footprint of new development
as occupants of the new building are required to shift away from using
the private car, thus reducing congestion and emissions across Oxford.
TPs should demonstrate how the occupants of the building are actively
encouraged to establish use of sustainable modes of transport. TPs, to be
effective, need monitoring, managing and where necessary enforcing. If
the proposal is for employment activities, employers need to ensure that
employees abide by the TP with appropriate sanctions for non-compliance.
Developers must demonstrate, in their TPs what incentives are being
offered to facilitate the shift of travel mode from the private car. The TP will
be reviewed, monitored and enforced as required (to be set out in a legal
agreement). For some developments further assessments and/or plans may
be required such as student accommodation plans or car parking plans.


7.18 The movement of goods and materials by road can have a significant
impact on the quality of the environment and the health and wellbeing
of residents, in terms of noise, congestion and air pollution. These impacts
are particularly severe in Oxford and the city centre in particular. As the
city centre introduces the Zero Emission Zone some of these impacts will
be reduced. However, commercial deliveries will always need to be made
to Oxford and this should be done in the most sustainable way to reduce
negative impacts.


7.19 Specific Delivery and Servicing Management Plans (DSPs) are required to
be submitted for proposals that will affect the city centre or district centre
and also for sites in close proximity to residential areas. They should set out
measures that will be introduced to minimise impacts, such as managing
delivery times and vehicles. The City Council encourages the use of cycle
freight as an extension to cycle courier services by encouraging developers
to make provision for cycle freight as part of their DSPs. This provides the
potential to manage deliveries in a way that is zero carbon.


7.20 The Council will work with partners to promote the use of freight
consolidation centres where possible. Within consolidation centres, goods
are grouped together so that fewer delivery journeys are required by roads,
thus reducing air pollution, congestion and noise across Oxford. This
would be particularly beneficial in reducing delivery trips to the city centre
businesses, including Oxford University and the colleges.


7.21 Developments must ensure Construction Management Plans set out how
the impacts arising from construction work are managed. These should
form part of the planning process.

Policy M2: Assessing and managing development

 

A Transport Assessment must be submitted for development in accordance with the requirements as defined in Appendix 7.1.

Transport Assessments must assess the multi-modal impacts of development proposals and demonstrate the transport measures which would be used to mitigate the development impact. 

A Ttravel Plan, which has clear objectives, targets and a monitoring and review procedure, must be submitted for development that is likely to have significant transport implications in accordance with the requirements in Appendix 7.2.

Where a Delivery and Service Management Plan is provided this should set out how deliveries will be managed and demonstrate how impacts will be minimised including congestion, safety noise and how zero or ultra-low emission and last mile opportunities will be considered.

Where a Construction Management Plan is provided this should set out how the construction phase of the development will be managed.

Planning permission will only be granted if the City Council is satisfied that adequate and appropriate transport-related measures will be put in place.

 

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iii. Car parking


7.22 Limiting the opportunities for parking within the city helps to reduce car
use leading to reductions in air pollution, congestion and the creation of
a more attractive environment for walking and cyclists. In reducing the
availability of public and private parking there will be fewer car trips as
people shift mode to a more sustainable form of transport. Furthermore,
parking across the city is not an efficient use of land, a key consideration in
Oxford, where land is so constrained.


7.23 The Council may refuse planning permission for development where
additional parking pressures arising from the development would severely
compromise highway safety and/or severely restrict the ability of existing
residents to park.


7.24 The City and County Councils are actively working towards covering the
whole city with Controlled Parking Zones by 2036, if not earlier. The reduction
of parking and car use within and around the city is essential if air quality
is to be improved. In addition, to ensure that the fullest protection of the
integrity of the Oxford Meadows SAC and to comply with the requirements
of the Habitats Regulations Assessment, new residential development sites
will need to be car-fee as set out in M3 and Appendix 7.3.


Car-free and reduced car parking in residential developments


7.25 Opportunities for successful car free housing are high in Oxford because of
the number of Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs), the availability of walking
and cycling routes and facilities and the excellent public transport options.
Technology and attitudes to car ownership are anticipated to change,
especially with improvements to public transport and cycling facilities. Car
clubs and other means of sharing and hiring cars provide an increasingly
convenient and realistic alternative to the private car. Car clubs, which are
already operating in the city, offer the opportunity in future years to use
driverless cars and the potential for developing their fleet to include electric
bikes. A reduction in the number of private non-residential car parking
spaces will be sought during the plan period.


7.26 For many residential schemes, in particular those developments in the city
centre or in close proximity to district centres, car-free developments are
expected. Car-free development means that no car parking spaces are
provided within the site other than those reserved for disabled people, car
clubs and operational uses.


7.27 Policy H8 Student Accommodation states that the City Council will secure
an undertaking that students do not bring cars to Oxford. However some
limited disabled and operational parking spaces should be provided for
service and delivery vehicles, which should also be available, purely as
a pick-up/drop-off facility, for students and their families arriving and
departing at the start and end of terms. Alternative uses for these spaces
could be available during term time to maximise opportunities for the
space e.g. amenity functions.


Parking and Houses in Multiple Occupation


7.28 Some types of residential development may require provision of parking
spaces. The number of people occupying Houses in Multiple Occupation
(HMO) will often be higher than for a single household. The City Council
will expect that where a Sui Generis HMO (6 or more occupants) is proposed
outside CPZ areas, parking (either on or off street) must be available to
refl ect the standard set out in Appendix 7.3. Where there is a realistic
possibility of a CPZ coming forward during the plan period no off-street
parking would be required.

Parking in non-residential developments and district centres


7.29 Major redevelopment of non-residential sites is expected across Oxford
during the plan period. Many of these sites already have substantial amounts
of parking, including provision for disabled parking. Additional parking will
not be allowed in the event of redevelopment and the reduction of parking
is encouraged.


7.30 Any new developments for B1 use in the city centre and district centres
do not require any parking provision except operational need, because
the centres have good access to public transport and cycling and walking
routes.


Disabled access


7.31 Access to the city centre and district centres and other facilities, services
and places of employment is essential for disabled people, regardless of
their form of transport. The design and location of bus stops, footways,
parking and cycling facilities should be designed with the needs of people
with disabilities in mind. Parking for disabled vehicles, both cars and
cycles, must be accommodated in a way that does not detract from other
functions of the street.


Public parking


7.32 The Local Plan recognises the need for some on and off-street parking to
meet the requirements of those using the city centre and district and local
centres for both business and pleasure. However, to achieve a modal shift
in the way people travel into Oxford, away from the private car, to public
transport, cycling and walking the Local Plan does not support a growth in
either on or off-street public parking spaces in the city centre and district
centres. As the County Council introduces changes to the movement
of vehicles around the city and more demand management measures,
throughout the plan period there is an expectation that on-street parking
places in the city centre may be reduced in number and/or reorganised to
enable more efficient fl ow of vehicles and to reclaim road spaces for the
benefit of cyclists and pedestrians.


7.33 The City Council will continue to work with the County Council to facilitate
measures to maintain and enhance Oxford’s overall accessibility to ensure
people have realistic options other than to drive into the city and district
centres.

Policy M3: Motor vehicle parking

In Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) or employer-linked housing areas (where occupants do not have an operational need for a car) where development is located within a 400m walk to frequent (15 minute) public transport services and within 800m walk to a local supermarket or equivalent facilities (measured from the mid-point of the proposed development) planning permission will only be granted for residential development* that is car-free.

In all other locations, planning permission will only be granted where the relevant maximum standards set out in Appendix 7.3 are complied with.

Disabled parking provision must be provided in all residential developments in accordance with the standards set out in Appendix 7.3.

Parking for car club vehicles must be provided in all residential developments with the standards set out in Appendix 7.3.

Planning permission for additional parking provision within new developments will only be granted for spaces that are designated for disabled people, car clubs or where it can be demonstrated that there are essential operational or servicing needs (identified in the supporting TA and TP).

*For the purposes of this policy, residential development includes C3 dwellings, C4 and Sui Generis, Houses in Multiple Occupation, and all C2 development (residential institutions)

 

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iv. Provision of electric charging points


7.34 The introduction of the Low Emission Zone in Oxford in 2014 has resulted
in improved air quality; however levels of air pollution still exceed target
levels in some areas, in particular the city centre, at junctions on the ring
road and in the district centres.


7.35 Oxford City Centre Zero Emission Zone (ZEZ) will be introduced in a number
of phases during the Plan period. To support the increase in the uptake of
electrical vehicles the City Council have established a number of projects
aimed at increasing vehicle charging across the city. This Plan supports the
delivery of the ZEZ to improve air quality in the city centre, which at the
same time reduces noise, decarbonises road transport and stimulates the
green economy.


7.36 Proposals for Zero Emission Vehicles will be supported by:
• The introduction of a Zero Emission Zone;
• Ensuring that new developments include adequate provision for
charging infrastructure, including in public car parks;
• The City Council facilitating the introduction of charging points in
public places; and
• Continuing to work with partners to support alternative fuel
technologies.

Policy M4: Provision of electric charging points

Where additional parking is to be provided in accordance with Policy M3,planning permission will only be granted for new residential developments if:

  1. provision is made for electric charging points for each residential unit with an allocated parking space; and
  2. non-allocated spaces are provided with at least 25% (with a minimum of 2) having electric charging points installed.
Planning permission will only be granted for non-residential development that includes parking spaces if a minimum of 25% of the spaces are provided with electric charging points.

 

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v. Cycle parking


7.37 Cycling in Oxford is an important and growing mode of transport. The
2011 census showed that 17.1% of journeys to work within Oxford were
made by cycle, up from 14.9% in 2001, making Oxford second only to
Cambridge in terms of the proportion of people cycling to work. The City
Council wishes to continue to encourage this active and sustainable form
of travel and will seek to ensure that new developments provide secure
and convenient cycle parking. Since 2017 dockless bikes have arrived in
Oxford. These present more opportunities for alternative travel for both
residents and visitors, but need to be accommodated in the streets of
Oxford.


7.38 A fundamental part of encouraging cycling is the provision of secure cycle
storage within people’s homes and destinations such as shops, work places
and transport interchanges. It is anticipated that ownership of electric bikes
will expand and secure storage facilities around the city will be required.
Cycle parking standards set out in Appendix 7.3 are minimum standards,
which reflect the need for cycle storage shown by research evidence -
Oxfordshire Cycling Design Standards A guide for Developers, Planners
and Engineers Summer 201731. Sufficient, high-quality cycle parking is
especially important for car-free developments.


7.39 All cycle parking must, as far as is practical and reasonable, be enclosed
within a secure store, or at least undercover. The location of cycle parking
is also important: where cycle parking for residents or employees is not
in a secure store, it should be located away from the street frontage, to
maximise security. There must be convenient, level access between the bike
store and the street that avoids having to wheel bikes through buildings
or corridors. Short stay and visitor cycle parking is best located as near to
the front door of the properties as possible. Cycle parking should make
provision for the appropriate facilities for the charging of electric bicycles.

Policy  M5: Cycle Parking

Planning permission will only be granted for development that complies with or exceeds the minimum cycle parking provision as set out in Appendix 7.3.

Cycle parking should be, well designed and well-located, convenient, secure, covered (where possible enclosed) and provide level, unobstructed external access to the street.  Cycle parking should be designed to accommodate an appropriate amount of parking for the needs of disabled people and facilities for electric charging infrastructure.

For new non-residential development, the City Council will seek the provision of showers and changing facilities in accordance with the thresholds and minimum standards set out in Appendix 7.4.

Where opportunities to do so arise in relation to development, consideration should be given for the provision of space for storage of dockless bikes.

 

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