Unlimited Sharphill traffic on Musters Rd ?

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Seen this notice in Evening Post ?

Bovis Homes have submitted their latest planning application to build 600  new houses at the top (north) end of the Sharphill site. They want to remove the restriction on a secondary access to Musters Rd, which originally was to have been for emergency vehicles and buses only. This was extended to permit a limited amount of local traffic if a barrier and smart card system was technically feasible.

To find out how to quickly send your comments to the planners at Rushcliffe, scroll down to the Act Now section.

The Transport Statement commissioned by Bovis claims that 70% of total traffic from their 986 new homes at Sharphill will go the long way around to/from Trent Bridge and central West Bridgford  via the main Melton Road junctions near Wheatcrofts] (see map below) with only 30% predicted to use an unrestricted Musters Rd access.

Common sense says that, if available to all comers,  Musters Rd would be seen as an ideal route for such journeys including to Asda, the new Civic Centre plus Leisure Centre and local secondary schools.  There will be particular pressure on the Melton Road/Musters Road junction where these routes to/from the site coincide, at both ends of Boundary Road and along the southern section of Musters Rd.

This one traffic issue could change the character of Musters Ward for ever.

Musters Road is a residential street that was not designed to be used as a main road.  The whole route will become congested and air pollution will get worse across West Bridgford.  Each morning and afternoon, many of the 450 children use the Musters Rd entrance to Jesse Gray primary school. With cars parked on each side, the road is reduced to a single lane for through traffic. In addition, the increased use of a potentially dangerous junction where Musters Road meets Boundary Road will have safety implications for children who walk or cycle to Jesse Gray School and Rushcliffe Academy.

The Borough Council’s Local Plan and subsequent Development Framework have deemed that any access onto Musters Road will be barrier-controlled for the benefit of buses and emergency vehicles and a limited amount of local traffic (300 homes was suggested at the Public Examination in 2014). The Bovis application seeks to test this policy by stealth. Rushcliffe Borough Council (as planning authority) and the County Council (as highway authority) must promote public transport and ensure safety for pedestrian & cyclists and defend residential amenity by not bowing to developer pressure.

The Bovis application seeks to test this policy by stealth, i.e. to start talking about the option of free access via Musters Road.  Will the council bow to developer pressure ?

Local people think that local traffic flows from the Musters Road end of the Bovis site should be banned or minimised, and this can be backed up by proper transport analysis.

Developers claim that only 30% of traffic would flow on to Musters Rd, with 70% choosing to go the long way around to the southern junction. If you were on that blue dotted line and wanted to visit Nottingham or West Bridgford, would you go via Wheatcrofts ?  Plans refer to this blue line as the Spine road,  a word that implies equal access from either end.   (Road construction has started – see picture at end)

Act now

Please have your say;

You might want to make the point that open access onto Musters Road is in contradiction to Rushcliffe Councils’s Planning Framework Document for the whole site which on page 28 states:

The potential Musters Road access may provide some local traffic, subject to detailed design approval and being demonstrated to be technically feasible, which could be controlled by a barrier and smart card system. If it transpires that this is not technically feasible, workable and sustainable then the use of Musters Road for vehicular traffic will be restricted to just bus and emergency vehicles only.

What developers want

Brian Wells, who owns most of the development land at Sharphill, Tollerton and Clifton Pastures, and Bovis Homes have submitted a planning application for Zone 4 of the Edwalton and Sharphill development, 17/00941/OUT. The detail is tucked away on the council’s web site and the council have not exactly alerted residents about it.  And here is the tiny notice in the Evening Post on 11th May 2017, job done.  Its almost as if the Council does want to encourage community involvement. Among these thirty document is the Transport Statement.    Page 7 of the Transport Statement has a section 0.4.02;

4.02  In so doing, it has been assumed that the access would be additional to that onto the A606, which would remain the primary access for most vehicles travelling to and from the site. The Muster Road access would therefore be secondary, with all parts of the development ultimately having a choice as to which it uses. Prior to completion of the internal Link Road between the two, it would however form the only access from the northern parts of the development, for a short period of time.

The phrase in bold is important because it shows that Bovis want free access to Musters Rd.  This is a significant change.   After the Public Inquiry in 2015, the resulting Supplementary Planning Framework stated;

The potential Musters Road access may provide for some local access, subject to detailed design approval and being demonstrated to be technically feasible, which could be controlled by a barrier and smart card system. If it transpires that this is not technically feasible, workable and sustainable then use of Musters Road for vehicular traffic will be restricted to bus and emergency vehicles only.

Where will extra traffic choose to flow  ?

TheTransport Statement has a section called Traffic Volumes and Distribution which contains a calculation from their foremost experts, paid by Bovis.

They conclude that the 1500 houses in the area outlined on the map (above) in red,  only 30% of the journeys will use Musters Road.  70% will use the entrance near Nottcutts (Wheatcrofts) Garden Centre onto the A606.  The experts do not explain how they decided on that ratio of 3:7.   To the north of the site is Nottingham and West Bridgford, to the south is the ring road and countryside. Surely more journeys from the site would have destinations in Nottingham and West Bridgford ?  (City Centre shops, Central Avenue, ASDA,  sports grounds and leisure centres, Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby road Recycling Centre, scouts, swimming, church, dentists, doctors …).   Why would people on their way to Nottingham drive back on themselves via Wheatcrofts when they could just use the dead straight Musters Road ?

So we doubt that only 30% of journeys would be via the new access to Musters Rd.

4.05 Based on the above, the following distribution has been modelled as a “Worst Case” scenario, which assumes that all traffic bound for the City would choose to use Musters Road. Clearly this is a most unlikely scenario in practise, as traffic originating from the land to the east of the A606 would opt use the adjacent A606 by choice, as would the residents of many of the dwellings located towards the south of the site. The distribution is thus highly robust.

  • Nottingham City via Musters Road = 20%
  • A60 via Boundary Road = 5%
  • A606 via Boundary Road = 5%
  • A606 South (Main Site Access) = 70%

 

The distribution is not ‘robust’, it is guess work.

 

How may journeys each day ?

The Transport Statement, has a Table 1 on page 8 which says each 100 houses will make 25 return trips through the new Musters Rd access each day.  There will be 15 x 100 houses, so thats 25 x 15 = 375 return journeys (or 750 movements).  That is based on most drivers choosing to go the long way around (see map above), leaving only 30% of journeys via Musters Rd.

If 50% of journeys were via Musters Rd, the figure would be 41 trips x 15 = 615 not 375.   Remember that these are return journeys, so it would be 1230 extra cars on Musters Rd a day.

In years to come,  people living on the route to Trent Bridge will be breathing the fumes from this extra traffic,   queueing with it and hearing the noise.

How safe will the new junction be ?

The junction of Musters Road and Boundary Rd is on the crest of a hill.  Drivers on Musters Rd waiting to cross Boundary Rd have to watch out for traffic emerging form the dip on their right.  The three dimensional shape of this junction makes it hard to see how it could ever work as a busy junction.

The traffic experts, paid by Bovis,  conclude;

4.08 Based on Table 1 above, the existing Musters Road Junction has been assessed using PICADY for various numbers of dwellings and the results are provided at Appendix B. As can be seen from the outputs, the junction would continue to operate in the Design Year even if required to serve all 1,500 dwellings, when the RFC would still fall well short of the 0.85 limit, with no queuing.

So there will be no queueing.  Really ? Residents from the cul-de-sac already have to queue !

School children

The plans ignore the consequences of the extra traffic on children using Musters Rd to get to school, at Jesse Gray,  or walking to Heymann,  West Bridgford School, the Rushcliffe Academy or West Bridgford Infants.

Anyone who has tried crossing Musters in the morning between Devonshire and Eton will know how hard it is for children to stay safe.

At drop off and pick up times, the road outside Jesse Gray is usually lined with parked cars, reducing traffic to a single file.   Extra rush hour traffic from the new houses will add to this throng.

Construction of the Spine road has started – it will join Musters Road

 

Summary

Developers can profit from selling houses that have open access down Musters Road.  But the existing residents will have to live with the extra congestion, pollution and noise, not the developers, planners or councillors.

Scroll up to the Act Now section, tell them.

 

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