So there ARE alternative sites in #SWExeter for a Park & Ride

Four years ago, when I first stood as a candidate for Cowick, the hot topic was a planning application for a 850 space Park & Ride scheme at the Ide Interchange. And hiding in the background during this campaign is a new planning application for the Alphington Park & Ride expected in the coming months.

In 2011, DCC plumped for Oaklands Riding School at the junction of A30 and A377 as the preferred site>

For Devon County Council’s Planning Application DCC/2899/2009 in 2009, Parsons Brinckerhoff carried out a series of reports , including Alphington Park & Ride Environmental Statement: Section2 – Need for the scheme. This report identified 15 different sites for the proposed Scheme.

However, DCC’s public transport experience indicates that for a park and ride site to be commercially viable it must have a minimum capacity of 750 spaces and this was therefore a requirement. Based on this assumption eight of the possible sites were immediately discounted as their capacity did not reach this benchmark and the remaining 7 were taken forward for appraisal.

The appraisal process established that the preferred location of proposed Scheme would be Site C at the Alphington Junction.

As it happened. DCC’s Development Control Committee of 14/10/09 refused permission.

A new application, DCC/3161/2010came forward in 2010  and this too identified several sites as shown on this plan and detailed in this  alternative sites matrix.

As part of the process, Exeter City Council is asked to comment on the proposal as a consultee. This was lodged with ECC as 11/0050/26.

ECC Planning Committee of 21/02/11 resolved that the Planning Committee does not support a Park and Ride site at land adjacent A30/A377 Junction, Alphington Road, Exeter for the following reasons:-
1) that proposal would have a detrimental impact on the Alphinbrook Conservation Area;
2) the application does not provide an adequate examination of alternative sites; and
3) the proposal will not significantly impact upon traffic congestion within the city due to insufficient capacity along the Alphington Road corridor.

As a consequence his application was withdrawn before coming before a DCC Development Mangement Committee.

Around this time time DCC published the Alphington Interchange Park and Ride Transport Report [March 2011t] as part their submission to Exeter Local Development Framework. This highlighted 3 possible locations, but still identified Oaklands Riding Stables as the preferred site.

At the time I was intrigued to see if DCC ever explored the cost of developing any of the alternative sites – a FoI request of mine (Information Request 001147) shows they did not!

Last summer, DCC organised a summit of key stakeholders hosted by Radio Exe’s Paul Nero, which I attended with Cllr Margaret Clark [ECC,  Alphington] and Cllr Roy Hill [DCC, Alphington/Cowick] as well as ECC Portfolio Holders Rachel Sutton and Rosie Denham.  Ross  Hussey, looks after sustainable transport matters for ECC , was also in attendance.

I was clear that I wanted an open and transparent consultation process as and when a new application for a SW Exeter Park  Ride scheme came forward. And I added that it would be good to see options for modal shift other than P&R to be brought forward.

I reminded DCC of this at a meeting of Exeter HATOC on Tuesday

And that’s how it’s stood until yesterday…

A flurry of activity on Facebook yesterday led to the setting up of a private Save Our Stables – Say NO to Alphington Park & Ride group.

This is interesting enough in itself as I don’t remember any  such opposition when I first started giving involved with all this over 4 years ago.

I suppose back then I assumed that Mrs Newberry, owner of Oaklands Riding Stables, was keen to sell the parcel of land to DCC – it seems things might have changed

The new outrage seems to stem from some talk of a Compulsory Purchase Order being put on the Oaklands Riding Stables field.

I had missed that paragraph in the section on Key Uncertainties of Heart Of SW LTB Scheme Prioritisation Proforma for the Alphington P&R scheme.
Initial land negotiations were started with the land owner’s agents who seemed keen to talk however it is still possible that CPO will still be required.

To get to the bottom of the matter, the Cowick Labour Cllrs managed to get the following statement from Devon County Council:

I can report that we were intending to host a workshop involving a select group of people representing the local community, educational establishments, environmental groups, transport groups, commuters and the business community. It also included the landowners (Mrs Newberry) who have raised concerns about the proposals, particularly in relation to the impacts on their business.

My view is that this shouldn’t be a surprise to the Newberrys’ as it has been included in Exeter City Council’s emerging Site Allocations and Development Management DPD and the site has been known about for several years. I have had several conversations with an agent working on behalf of the Newberry Trust who has always been supportive of the Park and Ride proposals and this reaction is surprising – I am looking to arrange a meeting with the relevant landowners to better understand their position.
To be clear on the process and what we were intending to achieve, this is the 1 st stage of the planning process – the workshop was an opportunity for representatives from a range of interest groups to share their views and understand more about the scheme (including justification for P&R and why in this location). The intention was to keep the workshop to a small number of people in order for it to be a productive session but nevertheless representative of the key stakeholder – as discussed, we involved representatives from the Alphington Village Forum and CWEST, as well as environmental groups and cycle groups. Whatever came out of the workshop, would be used to further develop the proposals. This would then be subject to a wider public consultation as part of the formal planning process.
Today Jacobs have been notifying people that we are postponing the workshop in order to gather additional information on other, alternative sites in the vicinity of the interchange. There are no timescales for when we might look to arrange a future date for the workshop.
As I have said there are other better sites for a P&R schemes than the one proposed for Oaklands,  and being told categorically that there were no other suitable sites nearby, I was most intrigued by the phrase

“we are postponing the workshop in order to gather additional information on other, alternative sites in the vicinity of the interchange”.

This is all getting rather interesting!

Further reading:
Parsons Brinckerhoff for DCC Alphington Park & Ride Transport Assessment  Report Number: HPE98116A/02 [ August 2009]
Parsons Brinckerhoff for DCC Alphington Park & Ride Transport Assessment  Report Number: Appendices 1 – 4  [ August 2009]


One thought on “So there ARE alternative sites in #SWExeter for a Park & Ride

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s