On 21 December 2017 the City Council gave prior approval to a change of use (ref: 17/02969/B56) allowing the conversion of the Nielsen building by the A40 next to Thornhill P&R into 134 flats. There were several conditions attached to the approval, which was a delegated decision. Campaigners and supporters of active travel will be pleased to see five conditions requiring better access to the site by foot and on cycles, cycle parking, and travel information for residents.
These two drawings may help put the text in context:
Condition 3 calls for “improvements … to the footpath to the south of the site … to create an appropriate shared footway and cycle access into the site. [This] must be of a sufficient standard for shared pedestrian and cycle use and must be appropriate for safe and convenient use year round.” This access leads into Risinghurst – good news for The Ampleforth!
Condition 4: “Improvements … for pedestrians accessing the site from the proposed vehicular access point to the north of the site. The scheme shall detail appropriate levels of street lighting and footway widths… [and] shall be carried out … before the development … is first occupied.”
Condition 5: “Improve the … current secondary vehicular exit, towards the west of the site, for the use of pedestrians and cyclists. The scheme shall provide details of the closure of the exit for vehicular use, and improvements to be made to the pedestrian and cycle environment including; appropriate levels of street lighting and the reinstatement of the footway and cycle route along the southern site of the A40 at this access. The improvements shall be carried out … before the development … is first occupied.”
Condition 6 specifies a minimum of 326 easily accessible cycle parking spaces, and Condition 7 requires there to be a Travel Plan Co-ordinator for the site and for a Residential Travel Information Pack to be given to every resident when they move in.
Of course, the fiasco of cycle provision at Westgate isn’t a good precedent. Although we will have to wait and see how the Nielsen site turns out it seems to be a step in the right direction. But the city planners will have to keep their eye on the ball to make sure the developers deliver good quality schemes to satisfy these conditions.