Pragmatic view for ruling on sight lines

An inspector has ruled that three terraced houses may be built on a corner bungalow plot in a quiet residential street in Redhill, Surrey.  The Barnfield Homes development was initially turned down but the site’s context was carefully considered in the decision which overturned the planning refusal.  Visibility splays, parking, traffic speeds and site gradient were some of the obstacles overcome by the transport planning team.

Emily Hall is a Senior Planner at planning and architectural consultants, WSPA.  Having worked with Motion’s transport planners for several years, she believes that “Motion’s involvement is often the turning point between refusal and approval.  The team thoroughly reviewed the proposals and made relevant arguments to support the development at Redhill.  Their input was essential.”

Concerns had been raised over the steep gradient and close proximity of parking spaces to a nearby junction.  To address issues raised by the county council, the scheme’s access and parking arrangements were revised.  Since vehicles tend to travel into a junction at very low speeds, the inspector concluded that a speed survey would not be necessary to support the proposals.

Context-specific judgement

Motion Technical Director David McMurtaryReflecting on the appeal outcome, Motion Technical Director, David McMurtary, says, “This was a case of practical argument winning the day.  Although the planning guidance is there for a reason, decisions need to be made on a site-by-site basis, where local circumstances are taken into account.”

Sylvan Way mainly serves residents of the street and as a result has negligible traffic flows.  Vehicles turning into Sylvan Way from the adjoining road tend do so at low speeds.  Manual for Streets 1 standards acknowledge that visibility splays can be reduced where traffic speeds are low.  David reiterates, “Sylvan Way attracts a very low level of traffic.  It operates as a single lane and vehicle speeds will therefore be some way below the 30mph limit.” 

Image credit: © Graham Rix

An abridged version of this article first appeared in the Summer 2021 edition of Insight.

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