Concerns New Housing Developments Promote Cars Over Public Transport

A new report recently released by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) highlights concerns that new housing developments will force residents to rely on cars over public transport, particularly in areas outside of London.

Research conducted by the Royal Town Planning Institute shows recent planning permissions for new major residential housing in England could push travel time to large employment centres, secondary schools and hospital trusts to up to an hour in areas outside of London.

Environmental Concerns

When it comes to Town Planning in the 21st century, there is (or should be) a strong focus on creating greener communities. This means creating stronger public transport networks and promoting areas where people can walk/cycle to local amenities.

Some new developments tick lots of boxes for being “greener” i.e. using sustainable materials, installing more environmentally friendly heating and lighting systems and creating green spaces.  However the location and planning of developments in terms of transport and local amenities are of paramount importance.

As Jonny Britton, Founder of LandTech, highlights: “One of the factors clearly highlighted by the findings of the report is the need not just to build more homes, but to build the right homes, in the right places, with the infrastructure and support needed to create thriving and sustainable communities.”

As Planners there is a real need to shift the way we think about development to focus more on the bigger picture.  This is easier said than done, location of available land, infrastructure, build costs as well as weighing up environmental (and other issues) all add to the constraints placed on the development industry.

New development should be based around sustainable transport

Copenhagen, Hamburg and Vienna are among the European cities pioneering denser development with better public transport, excellent support for cycling and walking, and a stronger focus on sustainability and low-carbon growth.

In many areas of the UK, we now have sprawling housing estates where residents are dependent on a car for nearly every journey. It promotes new edge-of-town retail developments that undermine town centres and where, if you don’t have a car, you can’t get a job.

This contributes to an unhealthy and unhappy population, leading inactive lifestyles where we are unable to escape congested roads, dirty air and high carbon emissions.

It does not need to be like this. More thoughtful and effective alternatives already exist.

Campaign for Better Transport have been campaigning for better transport links in the UK since 1973. They have lots of interesting reports with recommendations and suggestions that can help new developers focus on the bigger picture from the outset.

Need Help? If you are planning a new development, the Planning House team have substantial experience, both as ex-local authority planners and independent planning consultants on planning greener, more sustainable developments. Give us a call, or check out our blog on When to Hire a Town Planner and our download on choosing a Town Planner.

research from RTPI