Leeds City Council are currently consulting on the Transport Supplementary Planning Document (TSPD). This is an important document as it provides guidance to both planning officers and external developers on what is required from new developments in Leeds.
The document itself can be found here, although at 267 pages long it is likely impenetrable to all but the most interested and determined parties.
Due to the size and importance of the document, Leeds Cycling Campaign have employed the services of sustainable transport consultants, Transport Initiatuves to review the TSPD in detail and highlight where it deviates from best practice for encouraging and enabling sustainable transport within the planning environment. For those interested, the full Transport Initiatives report can be found here.
A summary of the findings are as follows: (Please feel free to use this in your own responses)
The Introduction to Leeds City Council’s Transport Supplementary Planning Document (TSPD) Consultation Draft, states the councils’ ambition to be the “Best City” in the UK. This is a lofty ambition which sets high standards for any document which will be a cornerstone in the realisation of that ambition. We would expect this ambition to be embodied in a clear vision of what being the “Best” would look like and very clear guidance to those expected to deliver this. We would also expect such an ambitious city to be on the leading edge of innovation and developing best practice as a leader prepared to innovate, take risks and learn from mistakes. Sadly, the TSPD consultation draft does not paint such a picture.
Throughout the document there are references to other guidance documents and many of these are very good in their fields. However, the Leeds TSPD is seldom clear on which parts of these other guidance documents it thinks best, leaving it to the reader (i.e. developers) to choose for themselves. Where clear examples are given these are often not best practice. If Leeds is to be the “Best” and most sustainable City in the UK then it must be prepared to be a leader in exploring practice that is new to or emerging in the UK. Nowhere in the document could this be said to be the case. In short the ambition to be the “Best City” is betrayed by a document that is totally lacking in ambition or any real conviction. It is rather a recipe for more of the same.
In the light of the declared climate emergency the TSPD should be a call to radical action with clear guidance that its vision is to enable development that provides:
- Significantly reduced demand for private motor vehicle use and car ownership
- Traffic restraint measures
- Motor traffic free residential development, both large and small
- Walking and cycling routes that fit into a fully comprehensive cycle and pedestrian network plan linking to key local and urban destinations
- New developments all prioritising walking and cycling over motor vehicles
- Public transport hubs throughout the city that are integrated with the cycle and pedestrian network
- Local delivery hubs across the city to facilitate zero carbon last mile delivery by cargo bikes and electric vehicles
None of the above are seriously considered in the SPD draft and for this reason we would recommend nothing short of a complete re-write of the document.
Please respond to the consultation by completing the form at https://surveys.leeds.gov.uk/s/Transportspd/ alternatively responses can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also feel free to copy in Leeds Cycling Campaign to your response.