Local Plan to 2030 - Main Modifications September 2018

Main Modifications to Ashford Local Plan

Policy TRA4 – Promoting the local bus network (MM80)

Amend supporting text to read:

5.265 Providing a frequent, fast and high quality bus service can greatly improve bus patronage and in turn provide a viable service. In the past the Council - in liaison with the County Council and bus operators - has been successful in levering funds from the developers to support local bus provision.

5.266 In the urban area, the bus service is relatively frequent and efficient, connecting the outskirts of the town with the town centre. However enhancements will be necessary to this network to ensure that it continues to offer a realistic alternative to private car trips where possible. Particular enhancements will be targeted towards key projects in and around Ashford town centre or on the key radial routes into the town centre, as this remains the key destination of the local bus network and where investment should therefore be prioritised.

5.267 In the rural area, the bus service is less frequent which reflects both its size and nature but also the difficulties in providing a viable service here. However this provision provides a vital service for many residents in the rural area who do not have access to a car. Therefore, proportionate enhancements should be secured to deliver the most sustainable service possible in this location.

Applicants will be required to consider the potential for bus patronage as part of development proposals, thus contributing to modal shift. This may be through the supplementing of additional services or the setting up of additional ones in liaison with the provider, depending on the location of the site and scale of the proposal. Where transport assessments are required as per Policy TRA8, the ability to demonstrate how the scope for additional bus patronage can be achieved through either existing bus services or improvements to those services will be important in assessing the sustainability of a proposal.

5.268 The enhancements needed will be determined in agreement with the County Council and bus operators and will be secured either through S106 contributions, where they relate to more localised projects, or site specific enhancements, or CIL monies where they relate to more strategic enhancements. The scale and timing of any contribution will be agreed between the relevant parties with a view of ensuring that the attractiveness of the bus service is maximised where possible.

5.269 The enhancements that will be sought will be proportionate to the scale and location of development, but could include the delivery of bus priority measures, the provision of new or alteration/expansion of existing routes and services, contributions towards bus-related infrastructure and operational subsidy for the service in the early years of a development.

5.270 The Infrastructure Plan that supports this Local Plan identifies bus priority measures necessary to deliver better access for bus services to the town centre. However, it is recognised that as new schemes come forward over the Plan period, new projects will be identified in order to ensure that a sustainable bus network in the Borough is maintained, as far as is practical. S106 contributions will be secured to help deliver these projects as appropriate.

Amend Policy TRA4 as follows:

Policy TRA4 - Promoting the local bus network

The Council, in liaison with the County Council, will seek enhancements to the local bus network in order to meet the additional demands created by new development as it comes forward.

The potential for bus patronage should be considered as part of any proposal for new residential or commercial development. Applications should demonstrate whether modal shift in favour of public transport can be achieved through existing bus services or improvements to the network as a key determinant of the scheme’s sustainability. This should be demonstrated through a Travel Plan, Assessment or Statement (submitted under Policy TRA8).

These Enhancements could include the delivery of bus priority measures, the provision of a new service or the alteration/expansion of an existing service, contributions towards bus-related infrastructure and operational subsidy for the service in the early years of occupation of the development.

Where S106 contributions are sought, their scale and timing shall be agreed by the borough and county council following consultation with relevant bus operators, prior to the granting of planning permission.