One of Chester Cycling Campaign’s many ‘behind the scenes’ activities is monitoring planning applications submitted to Cheshire West & Chester Council, with respect to anything to do with cycling. Planning applications vary widely, from large commercial developments down to the change of use of a single property.
The Campaign finds that, all too often, the requirements for cycling provision are inadequately met in the application and the Campaign makes a submission to the Council detailing how provision should be improved. By monitoring applications as they are submitted for public consultation there are often opportunities to influence the type of infrastructure that is incorporated, or is funded by the developer.
Planning applications can be viewed on the Council’s Planning and Building Control web page:
- Applications for major city-centre developments like the Northgate development require easy cycle access to and through the site, and cycle parking for workers, shoppers and visitors. In the case of the Northgate development, The Campaign pointed out that cycle parking is needed in several places throughout the development as well as having separate facilities for day-long cycle parking for people who work there.
- Applications for large housing developments such as on Wrexham Road and in Huntington on the old Saighton Camp site, are examined for how the residents will be able to reach the development by cycle, travel within the development by cycle and securely store cycles in properties. Many builders of large estates seem to think that a cheap wooden shed meets the ‘covered and secure’ requirement for cycle storage. The Campaign has been successful recently in getting more secure storage.
- Applications for student residences are scrutinised for ease of access by cycle and how students’ cycles can be stored securely.
- Applications for much smaller projects like a change of use for a property are examined for how many cycle parking spaces are provided and of what quality. In many cases where there are just a couple of houses involved or where there is a change of use for a property, no consideration at all is given to cycle parking in the application.
For large developments, minimal funding for cycle infrastructure is available from the Council itself, so most improvements to cycling infrastructure will come from external funding. Typically this funding will be from Central Government, funding partners such as The Cheshire & Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership or through the planning process under what is commonly known as ‘planning gain’.
You can look at the sort of comments that are made on behalf of the Campaign (thank you Nic!) on a Google spreadsheet, CCC Planning Submissions which lists the applications that have been examined and commented upon to date: