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Churchlands Planning Hearing outlines plans for liveable community

A planning inquiry is being held into plans by South Wales Land Developments Ltd for up to 1,200 homes in north-east Cardiff.  The development, known as Churchlands, is one of the biggest housing developments Cardiff has seen in recent years.

At the Inquiry, conducted to address concerns raised, particularly over an expected increase in traffic, Welsh Government inspector Hywel Wyn Jones heard how developers South Wales Land Developments Ltd wants to create an environment which “reduces the tendency for people to automatically reach for their car keys.”

Giving evidence at the Inquiry, Mike Axon, a leading transport expert, called Cardiff Council’s demand for an assessment of the transport network on the basis of a 40% traffic increase across the whole city, an absurdity in the context of common sense, reality and the Council’s own policy; citing the Council’s LDP evidence that traffic has reduced by 8% across the City Cordon and by 23% in the City Centre in recent years, and its LDP policy to reduce background traffic by a further 24% by 2026.

Mr Axon stated that an agreement has been signed with Cardiff Bus to provide a step change in service and bus priority in the areas.  It means that a bus Rapid Transit service to Churchlands will be provided at an early stage of the development, providing a 25 minutes commute between Churchlands and the city centre, 20 minutes faster than the council’s own estimate for car travel time in the peak morning period.

Mr Axon enthusiastically promoted cycling as a mainstream form of transport for everyday use, explaining the development of new cycle super routes in the City.  He described the research and demonstration of modern transport planning techniques currently underway throughout Europe and explained the way in which this will be brought into Cardiff and the Churchlands scheme.

As well as providing bus priority and pump priming bus services, the Churchlands transport proposals include plans to:

  • - Create three cycle super routes to North East Cardiff.
  • - Build a shop front Travel Planning Centre (Active Travel Hub) which will organise community travel planning, including school travel, bike fixing and training, Car Share schemes and other community projects.
  • - Provide two free annual bus passes to every new homeowner in Churchlands.
  • - Provide Personalised Travel Planning to every household in the development and surrounding area.

A decision on the planning application is expected later this year.