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Flintshire County Council Unitary Development Plan 2000-2015
Adopted 28th September 2011

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Chapter 10

Access and Communications

Relevant Strategic Aims

l. Transport and access

Policy Objectives
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Policy List
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  1. DEVELOPMENT PATTERNS - to encourage the environmentally efficient distribution of land uses, ensuring that patterns of development minimise the need for car use
  2. CHOICE AND INTEGRATION - to encourage and promote a diverse and integrated transport network, making provision for special needs and alternative forms of travel, such as cycling and walking
  3. PUBLIC TRANSPORT - to encourage the expansion and enhancement of public transport provision particularly as part of new development proposals
  4. TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT AND CALMING - to enhance safety, efficiency and environmental quality by encouraging traffic management and calming within new development
  5. RESOURCES - to make the most efficient and effective use of existing roads prior to road improvements or new roads
  6. ENERGY - to seek to reduce energy consumption through reduced travel by private car

AC1 Facilities for the Disabled

AC2 Pedestrian Provision and Public Rights of Way

AC3 Cycling Provision

AC4 Travel Plans for Major Traffic Generating Developments

AC5 New / Improvements to Public Transport Facilities

AC6 Railway Stations

AC7 Protection of Disused Railway Lines

AC8 Buses

AC9 Provision of New Rail Freight Facilities

AC10 Mostyn Docks

AC11 Other Docks / Jetties

AC12 Airport Safeguarding Zone

AC13 Access and Traffic Impact

AC14 Traffic Calming

AC15 Traffic Management

AC16 Road Improvements / New Roads Design

AC17 Safeguarded Routes

AC18 Parking Provision and New Development

AC19 Lay-by and Picnic Areas

AC20 Lorry Parks

AC21 Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles

AC22 Location of Installations

AC23 New Development and Interference with Telecommunications Signals

AC24 Cable Installation

Indicators of Policy Performance

Targets

  1. No./% reduction in car trips
  2. Levels of public transport usage
  3. New development on large sites within 250m of a bus stop
  4. No. of major traffic generating developments for which a travel plan is supplied
  5. Increase in cycling as a travel mode
  6. Provision of parking spaces in accordance with ‘maximum’ parking standards
  7. Telecommunications masts permitted/shared
  8. Implementation of public transport schemes
  9. Extent of cycling network (km)
  10. Amount of airport related development
  11. Amount of port related development
  12. Travel patterns to work/school
  13. Length/condition of public rights of way
  14. Proportion of development making provision for people with special needs
  15. Provision for/use of rail/water freight

TARGET 5: Adopt Parking Management Strategy

 


10 Access and Communications

Introduction

10.1 Access and transport is inextricably linked with land use, and is a key theme of the Unitary Development Plan. The development patterns we set today, together with those inherited, will endure well into the next century. If land use policies permit continued dispersal of development with a high reliance on the car, other policies to reduce the environmental impact of transport may be less effective or come at a higher cost. Transport is central to current government thinking on land use planning which now suggests that local planning authorities should consider how to minimise the need to travel and reduce reliance on the private car. Integrated transport is also a key theme, to which there are three aspects:

10.2 The continued dominance of the private car, often at the expense of other modes, presents a major challenge to the objective of sustainable development. Global climate change, resource depletion, pollution, ill-health, habitat loss, increased accident rates, destruction of the built fabric, and reduction of economic competitiveness have all been linked to the inexorable rise in car-borne travel. Furthermore it can exacerbate inequality, as those who do not own a vehicle are denied access to a variety of opportunities and services. The plan therefore seeks to promote more sustainable modes of travel such as cycling and walking and the use of public transport. Nevertheless, the Plan has to facilitate the most efficient use of the County’s road system in a manner which is based on improving safety, reducing congestion and reducing the environmental impact of road traffic.

10.3 The telecommunications industry is growing and altering rapidly at present, bringing significant changes to the way we live. Potentially, better availability of information gives people access to a greater variety of services than ever before. There may be significant environmental benefits too, as an increase in activities such as teleworking may help to reduce the need to travel. However, new telecommunications development must be carried out in a manner which is compatible with landscape and nature conservation.

 

National Planning Policy

10.4 The goal of the Welsh Government’s Wales Transport Strategy, One Wales: Connecting The Nation (2008) is to ‘promote sustainable transport networks that safeguard the environment while strengthening our country’s economic and social life’. This reflects the Assembly’s wider thinking in the One Wales document.

10.5 The Assembly Government’s objectives for transport as set out in the revised Technical Advice Note (TAN) 18 Transport are:

10.6 The Assembly directs that development plans should:

10.7 In terms of telecommunications, ‘Development plans should set out policies and proposals for the location of telecommunications development, allocating sites for major developments and including criteria based policies to guide telecommunications developments where sites other than those identified in the plan may be proposed. Criteria should be sufficiently flexible to accommodate technical changes and may be concerned with siting and appearance of apparatus, including location and landscaping requirements designed to minimise the impact on amenity consistent with operational requirements’ (PPW 2011).

 

National Transport Guidance

10.8 Each of the 22 local authorities in Wales were required to produce a 5 year Local Transport Plan. The Flintshire Local Transport Plan (FLTP) 2001 - 2006 first issued in August 2000, was submitted to the National Assembly for Wales (NAW) and made statutory under the Transport Act 2000. Subsequent Annual Progress Reports on the Plan were published in June 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005. The FLTP examines the present transport situation, and sets out the County Council’s vision and aspirations for transport together with the strategies and measures to achieve them over the next 5 years and beyond. The FLTP and the UDP with its spatial strategy, should be complementary and produce a co-ordinated approach to transport and land use planning.

10.9 The Welsh Government (WG) has recently produced “Connecting Wales: the Wales Transport Strategy”, which is its transport strategy for Wales, and they will also be producing the National Transport Plan which is a plan for transport functions within Wales as a whole for which the Welsh Government is responsible. These include trunk roads and railways. It is now intended that RTPs will replace the existing LTPs (which were produced by LAs for their areas) during 2008. This reflects a need to plan transport improvements on a regional basis recognising that many transport issues across Wales raise cross boundary issues for LAs.

10.10 There will be four Regional Transport Plans (RTPs) within Wales, one of which will cover the six local authorities in North Wales. The RTP in North Wales is being developed by Taith, which is a transport partnership of these six local authorities and is a strategy for delivering improvements to the transport system in North Wales over the next 25 years. The Regional Transport Plans sit alongside this National Transport Plan looking after all the other transport functions in our regions. This link between the two plans is especially important as so many strategic routes within the region are controlled by the Welsh Government. These routes are important locally to the people who live near them and use them for their general transport needs.

10.11 The Regional Transport Plan must also link closely with the aims and objectives of the Wales Spatial Plan (WSP) which aims to deliver an agenda for the sustainable development of Wales over the next 20 years and the more detailed development plans produced by the Councils covering the North Wales region. Taith’s area includes the North West, North East and part of the Central Wales areas defined by the WSP. There are close links between the Taith Consortium and the Spatial Plan area teams to ensure compatibility between the plans.

 

Flintshire Context

10.12 In setting out the existing transport patterns and systems in the County (and beyond) it is necessary to look at the following factors:

10.13 The existing development pattern - The existing development pattern and transport system are interdependent and poses a substantial constraint on the ability of land use planning to effect more sustainable transport patterns. Unlike Chester or Wrexham for example, Flintshire has no single key centre. Population is concentrated in the central and eastern part of the County, around Flint, Mold, Buckley and Deeside. In addition the Dee Estuary gives a linear settlement pattern stretching across Flintshire from east to north-west. Elsewhere, the west and south of Flintshire forms a substantial and more dispersed rural hinterland, largely characterised by smaller villages.

10.14 The relationship between Flintshire and surrounding areas - Regional and sub-regional linkages are also an important part of Flintshire's spatial context. Flintshire contains the strategic transport links between North Wales and England. Indeed the A55 road forms part of the E22 Trans European Road Network (TERN), linking Dublin to continental Europe. As the County is highly accessible to the M56 corridor it is functionally linked to the wider North West Region and is closely related, in employment and housing terms, to west Cheshire and the Wirral with significant commuting movements across the Border. The North Wales Coast railway line provides important links between North Wales and the remainder of the National Rail Network.

10.15 The Existing Transport Network - Flintshire's transport context largely reflects its settlement pattern, transport corridors and public transport nodes. The spatial strategy highlights the need to consider where the most sustainable locations are with regard to the influence transport has on travel patterns. In particular public transport corridors can be seen:

10.16 Within the County there are a number of key transport interchanges including Shotton (Wrexham – Bidston railway line with North Wales Coast railway line & local bus services), Flint (railway station and local bus services), Mostyn (port/railway) and minor interchanges on the Wrexham – Bidston railway line at Cefn y Bedd, Caergwrle, Penyffordd, Little Mountain (Buckley) and Hawarden. Furthermore, there are transport hubs at Mold and Holywell Bus Stations.

10.17 The key roads in the County are the A55(T), A494(T) and A548. Key recent infrastructure developments have been the completion of the A55 through Flintshire and the more recent construction of the Flintshire Bridge connecting the A548 with the Deeside Industrial Park and the M56 via the A550. Important bypasses have been constructed at Mold, Penyffordd and around communities along the A548.

10.18 The Queensferry Transportation Study Report in September 2000 concluded that passenger transport options on their own would not resolve the traffic problems in this area and that rail freight opportunities would not significantly reduce traffic flows on the trunk road. The report recommended that green transport plans and cycling initiatives should be encouraged and implemented alongside other options. Other measures include a demand responsive public transport scheme to serve the Deeside Enterprise Zone. The Trunk Road Forward Programme 2000 concludes that in the short to medium term there is a need to increase capacity on the A494/A550 in the Queensferry area to solve the worsening congestion and traffic safety problems on the route. The widening scheme of the A494/A550 between Deeside Park and Drome Corner was opened in November 2004. The Trunk Road Forward Programme 2002 confirmed the Welsh Government’s preferred route between Drome Corner and Ewloe, however following a Public Local Inquiry into the proposed route, an announcement was made in March 2008 to the effect that the scheme subject of the consultation was no longer being pursued. The exact implications on the widening of the A494/A550 between Drome Corner and Ewloe are therefore not known at this time.

10.19 In the lifetime of the Plan an off-road transport link between the Deeside Industrial Park and Chester is proposed (referred to as the Chester Deeside Link). This may have a considerable impact on transport patterns in this part of the Plan area. A Millennium cycle route, co-ordinated by Sustrans as part of a National Cycle Network, is also proposed between Liverpool and Holyhead. Sections of this route have been constructed within Flintshire extending to Chester to the east and Conwy and Denbighshire in the west. In the wider context other local cycle routes and networks could link into this spine route.

 

UDP Content / Strategy

10.20 It is recognised that many of the proactive powers pertaining to transport rest principally with the Council as a Highway Authority and the public transport service providers, rather than being vested in the development plan or planning control process. Nonetheless the UDP can play a key role in providing a policy framework for controlling the location, design and use of new development. However, this will need to be backed up by a change in people’s lifestyle choices and substantial investment in alternative means of travel.

10.21 Transport proposals will generally arise out of the FLTP and forthcoming RTP. Proposals that are committed for the County within the Plan period have been outlined and protected in the UDP. The emphasis in terms of roads will, in the short term be on the better use of the existing highway and minor improvements to the network, rather than an extensive programme of new road building. Land is therefore safeguarded for several road improvements. Within existing settlements this will involve traffic management and calming measures. In terms of public transport, land is safeguarded for a Chester Deeside Link along the former Deeside to Mickle Trafford railway line.

10.22 The UDP can also support and protect facilities for the transfer of freight to rail or ship (such as at Mostyn Docks) as more sustainable forms of freight transport. The continued use of Hawarden airport as a valuable facility for air services will be supported.

 

Policies

AC1 Facilities for the Disabled

Development proposals will be permitted only if appropriate facilities are provided to meet the special needs of people with disabilities.

10.23 All development should be fully accessible to all groups within the community. However, people with mobility impairments or other disabilities, are often precluded from playing a full and independent role in society by the inaccessibility of land, buildings, transport and other facilities. With careful layout, design and use of materials, sites and premises can be constructed to allow for the sensitive and discreet integration of facilities for the benefit both of people with special needs and those carrying small children and baggage who are also often hindered by poor access. The design of new car parks should take full account of the requirements of people with limited mobility. In particular, sufficiently generous space must be provided to accommodate wheelchair users in close proximity to the facility concerned, who would otherwise be unfairly precluded from making use of facilities. Further details will be found in the Council’s Supplementary Planning Guidance on parking standards.

10.24 Standards that enable people with disabilities to access and use buildings can have a considerable impact on their design and appearance. Building Regulations and British Standards and Guidance lay down standards for access to all classes of building. Adopting an inclusive approach from the outset minimises the need for new buildings to require subsequent modifications to ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended 2005). The Council intends to update its existing Local Planning Guidance Note ‘Access for All’ in the form of SPG.

 

AC2 Pedestrian Provision and Public Rights of Way

Development proposals will be permitted only where:

  1. there is safe, direct, and overlooked foot access to main local pedestrian routes;
  2. in the case of major publicly accessible development, there are signs and easily identifiable routes to and from public transport facilities and other local amenities; and
  3. any existing public rights of way are retained and integrated sympathetically into the landscaping of the site. Where diversion or alternative provision is deemed necessary, this should be designed and located to provide at least equivalent convenience and enjoyment and the diversion should be completed before the development commences.

10.25 Adequate provision for pedestrians in all new development can help to reduce the dependence upon private cars, providing a safe, healthy and sustainable alternative means of travel for most members of the community either for leisure or more functional purposes. "Major publicly accessible development" would include large offices, retail facilities or industrial development for example and this policy is seeking to ensure that there is provision for safe movement around and links to/from the site. This would apply equally to larger residential development. The access by people with limited mobility to public rights of way must be considered.

10.26 There is an extensive network of public footpaths and bridleways throughout the Plan area, which has traditionally provided safe and convenient access both within and between urban and rural areas. Rights of way can also have other values, being part of the character of an area or functioning as important green corridors. If opportunities for walking, either for leisure or more functional purposes are to be maintained, then all existing routes should be retained. The Council has a statutory duty to ensure that the network is open for the use and enjoyment of the public.

10.27 Planning permission does not constitute permission to close or divert a footpath. The retention and sympathetic incorporation of a public right of way in a development should be considered from the outset of the design process. Where the diversion of a path proves absolutely necessary, then any alternative provision should be designed to take account of the needs of users for direct and safe access and the diversion should be completed before the development commences. Enhancement of provision will often be appropriate.

 

AC3 Cycling Provision

New development proposals will be required where appropriate, to provide:

  1. safe and convenient cycle access to the local highway network or any existing or proposed cycle lane / route in the locality;
  2. well signed and easily identifiable routes to and from public transport facilities and other local amenities and facilities; and
  3. cycling, parking and storage facilities.

10.28 Adequate provision for cyclists in new development can help to reduce dependence upon private cars, offering the option of a healthy, relatively inexpensive, and environmentally friendly means of travel for many members of the community. At the very least this can provide a valuable recreational resource.

10.29 The Council will, in the form of Supplementary Planning Guidance, define cycle parking standards at levels necessary to accommodate targets for increased cycling levels. Developments which are likely to qualify for consideration under this policy include: proposals for employment, shopping, recreation, tourism and community development; housing developments of more than 30 units; and development at main railway and bus stations will be expected to make provision for cycle facilities. The kinds of facilities which developers will be expected to provide include: safe, secure and covered parking and storage facilities; road surfacing and lane marking; signage, lighting and shower / changing facilities. Cycleways should be designed and located to provide direct and safe access. Details of the required level of provision will be determined to suit the nature of the specific development proposal. Reference should be made to the Flintshire Cycling Strategy which was adopted by the Council in June 1999.

10.30 The Council will work towards the creation of a comprehensive network of safe and accessible cycleways which, it is hoped, will improve the quality of life in Flintshire by:

10.31 Existing cycle routes include the National Cycle Network and the Deeside Cycle Network. Proposals include enhancements to the Network along with links to more rural areas.

 

AC4 Travel Plans for Major Traffic Generating Developments

Developments which are likely to generate a substantial number of trips will only be permitted provided that the proposal is accompanied by a travel plan setting out what measures will be implemented to satisfactorily reduce the level of car based trips in terms of:

  1. provision for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport;
  2. other arrangements such as formal car sharing and private bus services;
  3. implementation programme; and
  4. monitoring and review procedures.

In the case of outline or speculative proposals the Council will require the submission of a Travel Plan at reserved matters stage or other appropriate pre-agreed time, through either a planning condition or legal agreement.

10.32 Substantial trips are often generated by larger scale employment, retail, leisure and tourism developments and many of these will be made by private car. The Policy is concerned with those developments which are likely to generate a demand for car based travel which would be unsustainable. By careful choice of location, combined with appropriate layout, design and management measures, many of these trips could be undertaken in a more sustainable manner by means other than the car.

10.33 In order to assess the scope for reducing car based travel all such developments will be required to submit a travel plan as part of the planning application. In cases where a transport assessment is also required (policy AC13), the two could be combined resulting in a more thorough examination of the transport requirements and impacts of the development. The Travel Plan should identify current transport infrastructure and travel patterns, assess the scope for alternative means of travel and identify the means by which this can be implemented and subsequently monitored. Such developments will be expected to demonstrate that a satisfactory reduction in car based travel can be achieved and maintained.

10.34 This approach can offer benefits to existing and new developments in terms of:

10.35 It is recognised that in the case of outline or speculative development proposals it is impractical to require the submission of a Travel Plan without having detailed knowledge of the end user. In these circumstances it will be more appropriate for a Travel Plan to be submitted at reserved matters stage or at some other pre-agreed time where there is sufficient information to draw up a Travel Plan and set out the implementation and monitoring mechanisms. The Council will use planning conditions or legal agreements to bring about Travel Plans.

 

AC5 New / Improvements to Public Transport Facilities

Proposals for new and improved public transport facilities will be permitted only where they are:

  1. conveniently located to serve town and village centres, residential, employment, recreation areas and important rural locations;
  2. accessible by pedestrians, cyclists and those with mobility impairments; and
  3. designed to facilitate safe and easy interchange between different transport modes and services.

10.36 The development of new and improved public transport facilities, including bus and rail stations and routes, can offer enhanced access for all members of the community to jobs, services and leisure opportunities. To be most effective they should provide direct links between main areas of population, and retail and employment centres, and should be fully accessible to all people regardless of their mobility. They should facilitate transfers between different modes of transport and services. However, such proposals will still need to satisfy policies throughout the plan in terms of protecting the built and natural environment. Often, railway stations have a particular vernacular character in terms of architectural style and this should be preserved wherever practicable.

10.37 Improvements or new facilities will be expected to include a number of elements. In terms of ‘movement’ they should include car and cycle parking facilities including provision for persons with disabilities as well as facilities for coaches and taxis, traffic calming and management measures to reduce potential conflicts, sensitive signage and safe and convenient movement between platforms. In terms of the ‘station environment’ they should include improved facilities such as sheltered waiting and ticketing facilities, public transport information, public conveniences and refreshments together with sensitive lighting and landscaping.

 

AC6 Railway Stations

New development at or near to railway stations will be permitted only where it:

  1. does not lead to a loss of station facilities for members of the public;
  2. does not lead to an unacceptable loss of public car parking spaces;
  3. does not have a detrimental impact on the station or its surrounding areas in a way which would affect the long term viability of services; and
  4. does not prejudice the present or potential future use of the station for freight movement.

Development which enhances the existing and/or brings about new railway stations and associated facilities will be welcomed.

10.38 The policy aims to facilitate and encourage rail use by protecting existing facilities. The sections of the North Wales Coast line and the Bidston to Wrexham line which run through Flintshire represent important assets, the protection and enhancement of which will be essential if greater choice of transport modes is to be made available in the future.

10.39 The loss of station and platform facilities through conversion to other uses, or a reduction in dedicated parking spaces, may deter potential passengers from making maximum use of the line. Likewise any obstruction of operational space around the station could jeopardise the potential for goods movement, which will be increasingly important in the bid to encourage more environmentally friendly methods of transport.

10.40 The Council will welcome development proposals which bring about the improvement of existing railway stations and facilities or the provision of new, or bring about some other improvement which will be beneficial to the operation of the line.

 

AC7 Protection of Disused Railway Lines

Development will not be permitted where it would prejudice the re-use of disused rail corridors where there is a reasonable prospect of:

  1. the re-opening of the line either for light or heavy rail; or
  2. the future or continued use of the line as a transport corridor for walking, cycling or horse riding; or
  3. the reclamation of the line as a linear park; or
  4. the function of the line as a wildlife corridor.

Any application for development which would compromise the integrity of a disused railway line should be accompanied by an assessment which demonstrates there is no reasonable prospect of the uses in a. to d. coming forward.

The section of the former trackbed between Dee Marsh and Mickle Trafford within Flintshire is safeguarded to facilitate the development of a Deeside-Chester transport link.

10.41 This policy aims to protect disused railway lines to allow for the possbility of returning them to their former use, or for new uses such as footpaths, cycleways, bridleways or wildlife corridors because once such a resource has been lost it is unlikely to ever be recovered. Any planning applications for development on or affecting a disused railway line should be accompanied by an assessment in order to establish whether there is any reasonable prospect of the line being brought back into use.

10.42 The disused railway line between Deeside Marsh and Mickle Trafford provides an opportunity for a Chester - Deeside Transport Link. Originally proposed as a guided bus system to provide a modern, quiet and environmentally friendly public transport system, the route also offers scope for a walking and cycling route.

10.43 Other disused lines offer considerable potential for non-car based travel and recreation linking urban with rural areas. The Dee Coastal Path also offers huge potential. Furthermore, if economic circumstances were to change in favour of rail then redundant lines offer a readily useable option for the development of new services.

10.44 However, even in their disused state, such lines perform a valuable function as wildlife corridors and habitats and any new development should be carefully designed to minimise harm to the natural environment. The policy will also seek to protect such routes once recreational uses are established.

 

AC8 Buses

Development proposals will be required, where appropriate, to be adequately serviced by public transport either through existing bus services or through the provision of new or extended bus services.

Development proposals which would affect existing or proposed bus stations, or other off-street facilities for bus passengers, will be permitted only where it can be demonstrated that:

  1. the existing public transport facility is no longer necessary; or
  2. the existing public transport facility is improved; or
  3. suitable alternative provision can be made, subject to policy AC5 (New / Improvements to Public Transport Facilities).

10.45 The limited extent of Flintshire's rail network means that many of the County's towns and villages depend upon bus services for their public transport needs. The protection of existing facilities and related infrastructure will be essential if levels of service are to be retained and enhanced. Nevertheless, occasions may arise where existing bus stations or facilities can be relocated to enable redevelopment of the existing site, provided that suitable alternative provision is made subject to the criteria in policy AC5. In such cases it will be expected that there will be an overall improvement in the quality of the facility/service.

10.46 With the exception of development of a ‘minor’ nature and development in remote rural locations, development will generally be expected to be located close to good public transport routes. In cases where new development proposals are likely to generate significant numbers of trips, such as retail, leisure, employment, housing and tourism, the adequacy of local services will be a factor. Where this is inadequate to serve the proposed development the Council will use planning conditions and/or planning obligations to secure new services or appropriate improvements to existing services. Measures such as reservations of road space for buses and the provision of facilities such as lay-bys, turning and sheltered waiting areas, and information displays, can help to make the bus more attractive and enhance the effectiveness of other policies designed to encourage less car use.

 

AC9 Provision of New Rail Freight Facilities

Proposals for the development of new or improved railway freight sidings will be permitted provided that:

  1. it utilises wherever possible land with an existing or allocated industrial use, or other suitable brownfield land;
  2. the access, and surrounding highway network are capable of adequately accommodating the nature and volume of traffic generated;
  3. it would not adversely affect residential or other amenity by virtue of noise, vibration or fumes; and
  4. it would not result in significant adverse harm to features or areas of landscape, nature conservation, historic value or water quality.

Land is safeguarded on the proposals map to facilitate an east - north rail chord at Shotton.

New development which generates significant movements of materials and goods will be encouraged to utilise rail wherever this is feasible or practicable.

10.47 The Council is keen to encourage the transfer of freight from road to rail given that the increase in the volume of freight conveyed by road is one of the most damaging aspects of recent transport trends. The development of rail freight facilities close to major manufacturing centres and distribution points can provide a cleaner, less energy hungry and safer means of transporting freight, particularly when goods are being carried over medium to long distances. There are three locations in the Plan area, at Mostyn Docks, the Greenfield Business Park and the cement works at Padeswood which may be particularly suitable for this kind of development. In all cases it will be necessary to establish that proposals are acceptable in terms of the volume and nature of traffic and impact on local amenity. Other relevant Plan policies would also need to be satisfied.

10.48 As a general principle, new development which generates significant movements of materials and goods will be encouraged to utilise rail wherever this is feasible or practicable.

10.49 A key infrastructure improvement which will significantly assist the increased use of rail freight is a new east to north rail chord at Shotton linking the North Wales Coast Line with the Bidston - Wrexham line. This would radically improve rail access to a large industrial area and allow freight to directly access the national rail network rather than passing through Wrexham. Such a scheme may also be of some benefit to passenger services. Land is therefore safeguarded on the proposals map to facilitate this chord.

 

AC10 Mostyn Docks

The expansion and enhancement of water based freight transport facilities at Mostyn Docks will be permitted provided that:

  1. consideration has been given to the transfer of freight from road to rail or between river and sea vessels;
  2. the transport infrastructure is adequate to serve the development; and
  3. the development does not unacceptably harm the ecological, landscape, historic, recreational integrity and water and air quality of the Dee Estuary.

10.50 The development of Mostyn docks offers an excellent opportunity to increase the volume of goods which are moved by sea, thereby reducing the impacts of heavy lorries on the local community. However, such benefits will be realised only if opportunities are created for the use of rail or the River Dee as a means of delivery and distribution. Increased transport of freight by sea and rail and its co-ordination could make an important contribution to a sustainable transport policy.

10.51 In any further development of the dock there will be a need to ensure that the wildlife, landscape, historic and recreational interests of the Dee Estuary are not hindered by subsequent activities. Guiding principle 9.3a of the Dee Estuary Strategy supports the continued operation of the Port of Mostyn but in a sustainable manner where any expansion of the existing facilities should minimise adverse impacts upon the environment and other uses, including recreational use along the Dee Estuary.

 

Other Key Policies:

 

AC11 Other Docks / Jetties

The development and use of other dock and jetty facilities for freight or recreational uses will be permitted provided that:

  1. the transport infrastructure is adequate to serve the development; and
  2. the development does not harm the ecological integrity and water and air quality of the Dee Estuary and River Dee.

10.52 Opportunities may exist for freight at the Corus jetty at Shotton Steelworks. The Connah’s Quay docks may also offer scope either for an enlarged fishing fleet or leisure related uses. Any such proposals would need to have an adequate transport infrastructure and not harm the Dee Estuary and the River Dee which is now designated as a SSSI and cSAC for its importance for migratory fish and in particular salmonid populations. The goals and guiding principles of the Dee Estuary Strategy will be an important consideration. Many of the remaining docks and jetties are of historic and archaeological importance and development proposals in such cases would need to be assessed against policy HE7.

 

Other key policies:

 

AC12 Airport Safeguarding Zone

Development will not be permitted which would prejudice the safe and efficient operation of Hawarden Airport and RAF Sealand.

10.53 Hawarden Airport is the only operational civil airport in Flintshire, being used by Airbus UK Ltd and Raytheon PLC, and for private flying purposes. An airfield also exists at RAF Sealand but is used only as a glider training school.

10.54 In both cases, there is a need to control the location and scale of development in the vicinity of the flightpaths of aircraft in order to prevent physical obstacles or distraction. A Safeguarding Zone has been identified for Hawarden Airport and RAF Sealand within which development proposals will be closely scrutinised to ensure that they would not affect the safe and efficient operation of the airport and airfield. Consultation will be carried out with the Civil Aviation Authority or the Ministry Of Defence, as appropriate.

 

AC13 Access and Traffic Impact

Development proposals will be permitted only if:

  1. approach roads to the site are of an adequate standard to accommodate the traffic likely to be generated by the development without compromising public safety, health and amenity; and
  2. safe vehicular access can be provided by the developer both to and from the main highway network.

Where considered necessary, the Council will require a transport assessment, incorporating a traffic impact assessment.

10.55 In order to ensure that new development does not create increased risk of injury, ill health or nuisance it will be essential that the likely implications of additional traffic generation are fully assessed. Not only must safe access directly to and from the site be capable of being provided by the developer, but care must be taken to ensure that additional vehicular journeys to and from the site do not create congestion or unacceptable disturbance further afield. Consideration will be given to traffic speeds, the adequacy of visibility splays, proximity to junctions, parking controls and other relevant factors.

10.56 Where it is considered that a proposal would necessitate the construction of new road capacity the developer will be expected to provide the additional infrastructure needed. With larger developments the submission of a transport assessment may be required with a proposal. This would need to assess the impact of traffic generated by the development and the adequacy of any mitigation measures put forward as part of the proposal.

 

AC14 Traffic Calming

In all new developments where there is potential concern for the road safety of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicular traffic either within the development or on surrounding streets, the County Council will require appropriate traffic calming measures to be implemented.

10.57 The implementation of effective traffic calming measures can lead to increased road safety as well as enhancing the environment and improving the quality of life for people living in, or using new developments. However, traffic calming schemes must be well designed, sympathetic to the character of the area and appropriate for the particular circumstances of each case or may in themselves bring about safety, congestion and environmental problems. Appropriate examples where traffic calming measures will be necessary include residential, retail and employment developments, schools and community facilities, and near to recreational routes and facilities. Consideration could be given to the creation of 20mph zones or ‘home zones’ which involve small areas where traffic speeds are lowered and greater priority is given to pedestrians and cyclists. Consideration might also be given to the creation of ‘quiet lanes’ in rural areas whereby minor roads are ‘shared’ by walkers, cyclists, horse riders and motorised users. However, in order to avoid creating further problems elsewhere, care needs to be taken to ensure that any schemes are suitably designed and implemented in accordance with any current or proposed area wide strategy.

 

AC15 Traffic Management

Proposals for integrated traffic management schemes will be permitted where they will:

  1. reduce congestion and improve traffic flow;
  2. reduce conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles;
  3. contribute to a reduction in traffic growth; and
  4. enhance the safety and environmental quality of towns and villages.

10.58 The implementation of traffic management measures can improve the quality of life for local people as well as enhancing the quality and attractiveness of the County for visitors and investors. The more efficient utilisation of the existing road network can deliver cost-effective environmental improvements without the need for the construction of new routes. Often such schemes will concentrate on town and district shopping centres but will also be appropriate for sections of roads or junctions that are congested, dangerous or which experience conflict between road users. Traffic Management schemes should work towards achieving a reduction in actual traffic growth or the rate of traffic growth in line with the targets set in the FLTP and forthcoming RTP.

 

AC16 Road Improvements / New Roads Design

Road improvement schemes or new roads will only be considered where traffic calming or traffic management schemes are not practicable and must result in:

  1. improved highway safety;
  2. improved environmental conditions;
  3. improved accessibility; and
  4. improved integration.

Such schemes should be routed and designed so as to:

  1. not unacceptably harm the natural environment taking into account landscape, nature conservation and existing landform and screening;
  2. not unacceptably harm the built environment taking into account listed buildings, conservation areas, historic landscapes, parks and gardens, archaeological remains and townscape considerations;
  3. retain or reinstate traditional boundary features;
  4. incorporate suitable landscaping measures and materials;
  5. make provision for pedestrians, cyclists, and public transport, and where appropriate other road users;
  6. not unacceptably harm residential amenity;
  7. have regard to the form and pattern of settlements, avoiding the severance of communities and not creating precedents for harmful development; and
  8. not harm air or water quality.

10.59 In the first instance, existing highway problems should be addressed through traffic calming or traffic management schemes. Where this is not practicable, consideration may be given to road improvements or new roads provided that the scheme brings about improved highway safety and environmental conditions and better accessibility in the locality. Schemes will need to be carefully assessed to ensure that they address particular problems rather than induce unacceptable levels of future traffic growth.

10.60 Once the principle of either a road improvement or new road scheme is established, careful attention will need to be given to routing and design so that environmental impacts are minimised or negated through mitigation measures. Provision should be made to facilitate non car users including pedestrians, cyclists and buses. In areas where there is existing usage or specific safety concerns then provision should be made for horse riders and horse drawn vehicles. Particular attention should be paid to facilitating safe crossings where the scheme cuts through public rights of way including provision for equestrian traffic where appropriate. The choice of materials, building practices, finishes and use of indigenous species as part of landscaping schemes will be crucial in sensitive rural and urban locations, particularly in respect of boundary treatment. Schemes should take into account wildlife casualties and incorporate appropriate mitigation measures as part of the design and implementation process. In certain instances, where there are issues relating to the disposal of surface water or implications for flooding, road schemes will need to incorporate sustainable drainage schemes (SuDS).

 

AC17 Safeguarded Routes

The following land, as indicated on the proposals map and inset plans, will be safeguarded for future road improvements:

  1. A548 Greenfield - Ffynnongroyw Improvements (Stage 1)
  2. Plough Lane Link Road, Shotton
  3. A550/A541 Hope Caergwrle Bypass
  4. A494/A550 Drome Corner - Ewloe

10.61 The above proposed road improvements are included in the Flintshire County Council road programme.

10.62 The A548 coast road is an important route through the Plan area, linking many of the main centres of population with major employment sites. It carries an increasing volume of industrial and holiday traffic, and during summer months is prone to severe congestion in places. The careful design of limited improvements can ensure the safe and efficient movement of traffic along its length. During the lifetime of the Plan it is likely that the A548 will become a trunk road. Stage 2 of the A548 Improvement, although not in the road programme at present, will extend through to Ffynnongroyw, including a link to Mostyn Docks.

10.63 The villages of Hope, Caergwrle, Abrmorddu and Cefn y Bedd suffer from traffic congestion and associated problems, being located at the junction of the A550 and A541 which carry traffic to / from Wrexham on routes linked to Deeside and Mold. These villages are close to the B5373 which serves Llay Industrial Estate in Wrexham County Borough. A preferred route exists for a bypass for these communities as safeguarded on the proposals map which would enable other related highway and environmental improvements to be undertaken in these communities.

10.64 The A494/A550 is a key part of the primary road network providing links to the motorway network in North West England. These routes carry a heavy volume of traffic and have a poor safety record. Proposals are therefore included in the Plan to increase capacity and improve safety by widening the road between Drome Corner and Ewloe. During the lifetime of the Plan improvements to the A494/A55 Ewloe Interchange may take place. The scheme is included in the 2004 supplement to the Assembly’s Trunk Road Forward Programme (2002) as a Phase 2 scheme. The Welsh Government will be undertaking a North East Wales Transport Study to identify furture transport provison in the area.

The Primary highway network comprises:

The core highway network comprises:

 

AC18 Parking Provision and New Development

All new development, including changes of use, must provide appropriate parking in accordance with Flintshire County Council Parking Standards, which will be applied as a maximum. Reduced requirements may be applied where:

  1. it is located in a town centre;
  2. it lies within 300 metres of existing public car parks which have sufficient spare capacity and are accessible by all users;
  3. on site parking is not required by the development;
  4. the developer has entered into an agreement with the Local Planning Authority to contribute a commuted sum equivalent to the current cost of provision of non-operational parking spaces; and
  5. alternative provision is made for the use of public transport, cycling and walking, or other arrangements such as formal car sharing or private bus services;
    provided that surrounding residential or other areas would not suffer from an increase in on-street parking.

Land Use Type

Standard

A1 Shops

Food Retail <2,500 m² gfa

1 car space per 14m² gross floor area

Small Shops <1,000 m² gfa

1 car space per 15m² gross floor area

Non Food Retail

1 car space per 20m² gross floor area

Superstores >2,500 m² gfa

1 car space per 20m² gross floor area

Garages (including tyre and repair centres) and filling stations

3 sp per service bay+ 2sp for MOT centre+ additional for forecourt shop (see ‘small shops’)

Garage Showroom

1 sp per 40m² sales display area

A2 Financial & Professional Services

Financial & Professional Services

1 car space per 20m² gross floor area

A3 Food & Drink

Public house, Licensed Club, Restaurant, Café and Hot food takeaway etc.

1 car space per 4m² net public floor area

Fast food drive through.

1 car space per 7.5m² net gross floor area

B1 Business

Business including offices

1 car space per 30m² gross floor area

B2 General Industry

General Industry

1 car space per 50m² gross floor area

B8 Storage

Storage & Distribution

1 car space per 100m² gross floor area

C1 Hotels

Hotels

1 car space per bed, including staff beds +
1 car space per 3 non-residential staff +
additional for function suites etc. (see A3 uses) and assembly and leisure uses (see D2 uses) if available for public use

C2 Residential Institutions

Residential Institutions

1 car space per 3 bed spaces + 1 car space per staff

C3 Dwellings

1 Bedroom house

1.5 car spaces per unit

2 Bedroom house

2 car spaces per unit

3 Bedroom house

>3 Bedroom house

3 car spaces per unit

Flats

1 car spaces per unit + 1 car space per 2 units for visitors

Elderly person/retirement dwellings or flats

1 car space per unit + 1 car space per 3 units for visitors

Sheltered Housing

Sheltered Housing

1 car space per 3 units+ ambulance access

D1 Non Residential Institutions

Medical / Health Services

4 car spaces per consulting room + 1 car space per 2 staff

Education – pre school (including crèche, day nursery or day centre)

1 car space per 25m² gross floor area + 1 car space per staff

Education –Primary & Secondary Schools¹

1.5 car spaces per classroom

Sixth Form & Further Education Colleges

1 car space per 4 students

Art Galleries, Museums and Libraries

1 car space per 25m² gross floor area

Place of worship

1 car space per 5 seats or
1 car space per 10m² public floor area

Assembly hall

1 car space per 4m² public floor area

D2 Assembly and Leisure

Cinema, Dance halls, conference facilities, bingo, Dance halls, participatory and spectator sports etc.

1 car space per 4 seats for auditoria or
1 car space per 15m² gross floor area for dance hall or sports centre

Notes to table
¹ For Primary Schools provision must also be made within the curtilage of the development for the safe setting down and picking-up of children, preferably by use of circulatory systems.

 

10.65 The provision of adequate off-street parking spaces can ensure that new developments do not create pressures for ad-hoc parking on the highway which may impair safety and conflict with the needs of local residents and businesses. To this end, the Council has existing parking standards which can be applied to most uses and to which developers will be expected to adhere, both in terms of the amount and quality of provision.

10.66 However, over generous parking can prevent higher density development, and may deter the use of more sustainable forms of travel. Car parking provision has a major influence on the choice of transport and excessive provision may simply serve to perpetuate car usage. With this in mind, the existing car parking standards will be applied as a maximum and provision will not be allowed to exceed this. The amount of car parking provided will depend on a variety of factors including the type of development and proximity to public car parks. Situations where a lower parking provision will simply result in displaced off street parking onto roads around the development will not be acceptable. The full standards, including further details on how the standards will be implemented, will be set out in a Local Planning Guidance Note which will be the subject of a separate, tailored public consultation exercise.

10.67 In certain instances it will be necessary to have regard to the potential for a commuted sum to be paid to the Council, in lieu of parking provision, taking into account the specific circumstances of the development and the locality, which will be used to:

10.68 Opportunities also exist for reduced parking requirements where the development seeks to enhance public transport, cycling and pedestrian facilities or other arrangements such as private works bus services or formal car sharing schemes which reduce the amount of car borne traffic generated. Policy AC4 requires such considerations to be set out in a travel plan for all developments which generate substantial amounts of travel.

 

Other key policies:

 

AC19 Lay-by and Picnic Areas

Proposals for the development of lay-by and picnic areas for cars and touring caravans will be permitted where:

  1. the site has an existing or past built use which is no longer economically viable;
  2. adequate toilet, safety, tourist information and picnic facilities are or will be provided;
  3. any associated built development is subordinate to the main functions of the site as a rest or picnic area and tourist information point; and
  4. the impact of the development is minimised through landscape screening, sensitive signage, and appropriate surface materials.

10.69 During the summer months many people pass through Flintshire on their way to holiday destinations on the North Wales Coast and Snowdonia. However, at present there are only a limited number of lay-by areas with safe and convenient access onto the main routes. The publication of a series of leisure routes and drives through Flintshire may result in the need for such facilities.

10.70 The sensitive development of an appropriate gateway site, with the incorporation of tourist information, rest and picnic facilities could encourage more people to take advantage of the many attractions which Flintshire has to offer, increasing expenditure in the area, and highlighting holiday opportunities closer to the main urban catchments of Liverpool and Manchester. Providing facilities in a controlled manner may also help to reduce the incidence of parking on grass verges or common land, which damages sensitive environments.

 

AC20 Lorry Parks

Lorry parks which accommodate either short term or overnight stays will be permitted, provided that the need has been established:

  1. on existing industrial estates; or
  2. where their development would lead to the enhancement of existing facilities; or
  3. where there is no duplication of existing facilities within the Plan area and serving the same highway; or
  4. where there are no suitable alternative sites available.

In all cases such development would be permitted only if:

  1. the site has direct two way access and egress onto both sides of the A55, A548, or A494, without passing through residential areas;
  2. the type, scale and nature of the facility is restricted to that which is necessary to meet proven demand and is appropriate given the character and appearance of the site and locality;
  3. any associated built development is subordinate to the primary use of the site as a rest area;
  4. adequate toilet facilities and safety features are incorporated into the site;
  5. the site is unobtrusive in the landscape or where any visual impact of the development can be satisfactorily minimised through landscape screening, sensitive signage, and appropriate surface materials;
  6. it does not unacceptably harm air or water quality; and
  7. there would be no unacceptable harm to residential amenity.

10.71 At present there is a shortage of safe and convenient rest stops for lorry drivers heading for the County's main employment sites or passing through the area on their way to and from North West Wales and Ireland.

10.72 Subject to North Wales Trunk Road Agency (NWTRA) approval, the creation of safe, well designed and carefully sited alternatives can provide an essential facility for long distance drivers, enhancing the safety of the trunk road system, as well as minimising pressures on surrounding highways. The 24 hour a day operation of lorry parks along with their land intensive nature and the amount and type of traffic means that there will be few acceptable sites which have safe and convenient access to both carriageways of a major highway, and that do not harm the landscape or residential amenity.

 

AC21 Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles

Provision for taxis will be permitted in the form of:

a. pick up / put down and waiting areas as part of all new commercial, shopping, employment, leisure and community developments;

b. non - operational offices provided that adequate off - street parking exists, and in residential areas:

  1. the design and location of the radio mast is acceptable visually and where its operation does not harm amenity; and
  2. the proposal involves only one vehicle and that vehicular movements to and from the site do not result in a highway hazard nor result in a loss of amenity.

c. operational offices provided that:

  1. adequate off - street parking or pick up / put down and waiting areas exist;
  2. in town or district shopping centres the proposal would not harm its vitality or viability; and
  3. the proposal would not harm the amenity of any residential properties as a result of vehicular movements, noise and hours of operation.

In some circumstances, a temporary permission may be granted in order to allow the opportunity to assess the impact of the proposal.

10.73 The policy recognises that taxis can provide a valuable means of transport for people with disabilities or mobility impairments, or for those who live in areas which are remote from more conventional public transport networks or at times of the day when public transport services have ceased.

10.74 However, taxi offices can have a detrimental impact on an area, dependant on the type of office. Non - operational offices will include small taxi businesses which do not involve a waiting room but are operated from a radio system. Often these businesses involve only a single vehicle and operate from a variety of locations including residential areas subject to certain safeguards relating to the radio mast equipment and impact on residential amenity, particularly in terms of hours of operation.

10.75 Operational offices include those with waiting rooms for the public and rest rooms for drivers. These are larger businesses involving several vehicles and often operate 24 hours a day. The range of locations likely to be acceptable will be less but will include town and district centres, mixed commercial areas and employment areas. In town and district centres, proposals should not harm its vitality and viability e.g. through creating a dead frontage, yet need to be located in a convenient location resulting in fringe areas providing the best options. Proposals will need to have regard to any residential accommodation in the locality such as flats above shops and impact on their amenity in terms of noise, activity and hours of operation, having regard to the nature of other uses in the vicinity. Operational offices will generally not be acceptable in residential areas.

10.76 In all cases appropriate off street parking and / or pick up / drop off points will be necessary. In order to monitor the impact of the proposal on the character of the area, amenity of any residential accommodation and local highway network it may be necessary to grant a temporary permission.

 

Other key policies:

 

Telecommunications

AC22 Location of Installations

Telecommunications installations will be permitted where:

  1. there is no reasonable possibility of sharing existing facilities or utilising suitable existing buildings or structures;
  2. satisfactory steps have been taken to minimise the visual impact both of the equipment itself and any associated infrastructure;
  3. they are available for use as a shared facility; and
  4. the proposals include adequate provision for the full restoration and aftercare of the site on any cessation of use.

Where such installations are proposed within or adjacent to the AONB, they will be permitted only if it can be demonstrated that there are no satisfactory alternative sites.

10.77 The technical and economic constraints facing telecommunications operators are recognised and it is intended that this policy be interpreted and applied within these parameters. However, telecommunications infrastructure can be a major intrusion into the landscape, particularly in more sensitive rural areas. When considering proposals for new infrastructure, developers must make early contact with the Council to discuss matters of location and design prior to the submission of a planning application.

10.78 Considerable importance is attached in government guidance to the extent to which telecommunications masts can be shared, keeping to a minimum the numbers of masts and the number of sites of such installations. The Council will attach conditions to planning permissions to this effect. Conditions will also be imposed to ensure that if the use of the telecommunications facility should cease, provision would be made for the full restoration and aftercare of the site.

10.79 In considering the design of an installation, its height, ancillary development and any screening will be important. Care must be taken therefore to ensure that the design and siting of new facilities minimises the visual impact from surrounding viewpoints. Innovative design and landscaping solutions may be the most acceptable solution where there is no alternative to locating an installation on a landscape - sensitive site. In sensitive locations developers will be requested to submit a feasibility study, carried out by a suitably qualified and independent professional, to justify the provision and location of the new facility.

 

Other Key Policies:

 

AC23 New Development and Interference with Telecommunication Signals

In all new development, steps must be taken to avoid causing unacceptable interference to existing telecommunication signals.

10.80 Electrical interference can be caused by radio transmitters or other electrical equipment, but will rarely be a planning matter. Physical interference can occur when large or prominent structures cause obstruction or reflection of signals. Efforts should be made to site and design other forms of development so as to avoid this possibility.

10.81 In cases where development proposals are likely to cause disruption to television reception there should be full consultation with the broadcasting authorities at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

AC24 Cable Installation

In housing proposals over 10 units and in major retail, commercial and industrial developments, where appropriate, provision must be made for the installation of cables or ducts during the course of construction.

10.82 Proponents of large scale developments such as housing, offices, industrial and retail facilities should enter into discussions with operators of telecommunications facilities to ascertain their potential future needs. Appropriate prior provision can then be made for the installation of ducts and cabling during construction to minimise potential future disruption.

10.83 In all telecommunications proposals where consideration is being given to the burial of cables, attention is drawn to potential impacts on archaeological remains, and to existing and newly planted trees.

 

Other Key Policies:

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