Cul-de-sac shared surface unsafe for pedestrians

Residential development of a largely brownfield site in a residential suburb of a Yorkshire city was denied permission by an inspector who shared the council's concerns over pedestrian safety and area character.

The outline scheme proposed to redevelop an industrial complex, an open area of rough ground, and a house, to provide a cul-de-sac of 41 new houses, including 22 affordable homes. The council refused the proposals against officer recommendation, over highway concerns and the loss of protected trees. 

Addressing the highway safety issue, the inspector agreed a 30-metre-long straight section of shared surface between two wider sections of access road would unduly entrust the safety of pedestrians, including children, to the behaviour of drivers and not satisfy Manual for Streets advice that shared surface schemes should create an environment in which pedestrians can walk, stop and chat without feeling intimidated by motor traffic. The inspector expressed concern that drivers entering or leaving the cul-de-sac would be leaving a non-shared surface, may have to wait behind pedestrians, or let them pass, or overtake them slowly and this may not happen in a safe or reasonable manner.

The appeal site contained a number of established trees and the whole site covered by a woodland group TPO, giving it a leafy and verdant character. The appellants withdrew an earlier offer to the council to fund, through a legal agreement, off-site replacement planting. Without mitigation in the form of replacement woodland planting, the inspector considered loss of all the trees on the site would result in significant harm to the character and appearance of the area.

Inspector: Mike Worden; Written representations

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