Tag Archives: Car Free Development

LSE Objection to multiple Lower Gilmore Place Planning Apps

Dear CEC

Regarding panning apps 17/04462/CON, 17/04235/PPP and 17/04234/FUL (Lower Gilmore Place)

We object to this development on the following grounds.

We are generally supportive of the development because it has a low level of parking provision. As Edinburgh continues to grow, we need to curtail and discourage more car travel from the city. Housing in dense brownfield sites like this this are the most sustainable kind of development, not only for the environment and transport purposes (beaches it is so easy to walk, cycle or go by bus) but also for the neighbourhood economy – local shops, community facilities etc get more customers  This would support council policies which aim to promote car-free or car-lite developments: http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/common-issues/policies-of-city-of-edinburgh-council-promoting-car-freecar-light-developments/

However, the public realm in the immediate area is very deficient for people walking, despite this being a key North/South walking route. We would therefore like to see significant improvement in the nearby public realm funded from the developer. These improvements are (in approximate order):

  • Widening the pavement on Leamington Road, and to de-clutter it (almost all signage should come off it). This very important walking route between the Haymarket and Bruntsfield area is absolutely atrocious; the pavement should be at least 2 metres wide (preferably 2.5 metres) to conform to the Council’s own Street Design Guidance  http://www.edinburgh.gov.uk/info/20089/roads_and_pavements/906/edinburgh_street_design . Unfortunately, it is hard to see how this can be achieved without removing the existing residents’ parking, which will clearly be unpopular with those that currently park there. Could alternative (off street) spaces be provided for them in the new development ?

      

  • Installing a ‘continuous pavement’ across Leamington Road at the junction with Gilmore Place. There is not even a ‘dropped kerb’ there at present and as a result Gilmore Place is a very difficult place for disabled people to move along. It would be criminal to miss this opportunity to address this (arguably even a breach of the Equality Act?)

   

 

  • Considering stopping up Leamington Road at the Gilmore Place junction, permitting access only by bicycle and on foot. (Vehicle access to be through the eastern end of Lower Gilmore Place)
  • Improving public realm on the north and east sides of Lower Gilmore Place. This might involve removing the canal-side wall to open up views and access to the canal towpath and decluttering the northern pavement of signage (which should have been done when the pavement was recently widened).

     

  • A continuous pavement should be installed across Lower Gilmore Place at the junction with Leamington Road, providing a flat surface for people walking along Leamington Road to and from the lift bridge.

yours sincerely

David Hunter

for Living Streets Edinburgh Group

Campaigners Urge Car Clamp-Down At Old Boroughmuir School Site

Walking campaigners have reacted angrily to news that City Council officials are recommending that councillors approve 95 car parking spaces for the residential development of the Boroughmuir School site in Bruntsfield. Councillors at the Council’s 22nd March Development Management Sub-Committee meeting are being advised by officials to approve the development, but Living Streets Edinburgh Group [1] – which officially objected to the transport elements of the proposal [2] – has written [3] to the Councillors urging them to drastically cut parking provision for a site which they say is extremely well sited for alternatives to the car. The Group’s Convenor, David Spaven said:

‘…a development with 95 parking spaces cannot be consistent with the council’s transport and environmental objectives. The location is extremely well-sited for travel by bus (eight frequent, regular services within three minutes’ walk), bicycle and on foot. The sustainability of the local Bruntsfield area will be enhanced by a car-free development which is actively aimed at people attracted to a car-free lifestyle.

‘The Council cannot on the one hand endorse a ‘business as usual’ development like this, and on the other hand claim that it is pursuing enlightened transport and environmental policies which minimise the impact of the car and make the public realm a much better place for walkers, cyclists and people using public transport. If a progressive approach to parking cannot be adopted at the Boroughmuir site, where alternatives to the car are myriad, what chance is there that a visionary approach will be taken anywhere else in the city?’

With Council Elections looming, Living Streets is urging candidates to back its ‘Manifesto for Walking’ [4] which calls for (i) transformed street management across the city, reducing clutter on pavements, (ii) much more investment in walking, including wider pavements and better road crossings, (iii) a comprehensive traffic plan for the city centre, to make the public realm safer and more pleasant for people on foot, and (iv) the pedestrianisation of George Street, to put Edinburgh on a par with competing cities across Europe.

NOTES FOR EDITORS:

[1] Living Streets Edinburgh Group is the local voluntary arm of Living Streets, the national charity which campaigns for better conditions for ‘everyday walking’

[2} Living Streets official objection is at http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/2016/10/23/objection-to-redevelopment-of-boroughmuir-high-school-excessive-car-parking/

[3] Text of 16 March 2017 email to Councillors on the Development Management Sub-Committee:

Dear Councillors

With reference to the Development Management Sub-Committee meeting next Wednesday, Living Streets Edinburgh Group is dismayed to hear that ‘Having considered the submitted supporting information, the council as roads authority has no objection to the proposal on road safety grounds’.

As we noted in our objection, a development with 95 parking spaces cannot be consistent with the council’s transport and environmental objectives. The location is extremely well-sited for travel by bus (eight frequent, regular services within three minutes’ walk), bicycle and on foot. The sustainability of the local Bruntsfield area will be enhanced by a car-free development which is actively aimed at people attracted to a car-free lifestyle. We also strongly opposed the suggestion that there should be 16 new on-street parking spaces on Viewforth in addition, for the same reason. An option could be to site a car-club facility on or near the site.

The Council cannot on the one hand endorse a ‘business as usual’ development like this, and on the other hand claim that it is pursuing enlightened transport and environmental policies which minimise the impact of the car and make the public realm a much better place for walkers, cyclists and people using public transport. If a progressive approach to parking cannot be adopted at the Boroughmuir site, where alternatives to the car are myriad, what chance is there that a visionary approach will be taken anywhere else in the city?

We urge you to reach a decision which better reflects the aims of Council transport and environmental policies. Our official objection is here: http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/2016/10/23/objection-to-redevelopment-of-boroughmuir-high-school-excessive-car-parking/

Regards

David Spaven
Convenor, Living Streets Edinburgh Group
[4] Living Streets ‘Manifesto for Walking’ is at http://www.livingstreetsedinburgh.org.uk/2016/12/21/living-streets-edinburgh-manifesto-for-walking/

Objection to redevelopment of Boroughmuir High School – excessive car parking

Living Streets Edinburgh has submitted an official objection to the redevelopment of Boroughmuir High School due to the planned excessive car parking (planning ref 16/04581/FUL).

The full plans can be viewed here – https://goo.gl/IJsiFB

boroughmuir-high-school-planWe object to the application on the grounds of excessive parking provision. The Transport Statement makes great play about how the proposed development supports the Council’s sustainable transport policies; however, we do not consider a development with 95 parking spaces to be consistent with the council’s transport and environmental objectives. The case made in the application comparing existing and projected traffic flows is spurious; obviously traffic generation will be totally different as it is no longer going to be a 1000+ pupil school. The application notes that it aims to achieve 68% of the permitted maximum; we propose on the contrary, that the development should be have the minimum permitted number of residents’ parking spaces (zero – i.e. a car-free development). Limited car parking for disabled people and visitors would be acceptable.

As the application notes, the site is extremely well-sited for travel by bus (eight frequent, regular services within three minutes’ walk), bicycle and on foot. The sustainability of the local Bruntsfield area will be enhanced by a car-free development which is actively aimed at people attracted to a car-free lifestyle. We strongly oppose the suggestion that there should be 16 new on-street parking spaces on Viewforth in addition, for the same reason. An option could be to site a car-club facility on or near the site.

The application incorrectly claims that the footways on Viewforth are at least 2m wide; in fact they are typically 1.8m on both sides (only wider at the Bruntsfield Place end and at one or two specific spots). The Council’s Street Design Guidance specifies the width for this kind of street as an “absolute minimum of 2m (only allowed in short sections), desirable minimum 2.5m or wider.” If the application were to be granted, the opportunity should therefore be taken to meet these standards in the vicinity of the development. Continuous pavements giving clear pedestrian priority (rather than dropped kerbs) should be provided on the Viewforth access points. The application also claims that there “no evidence of parked vehicles obstructing footway” (p8). This is patently not so and pavement parking is endemic at weekends and evenings owing to lack of TRO prohibitions. Again, if the application were to be granted, conditions should be attached to remedy this shortcoming.