Traffic effects of urban extension judged acceptable

After finding the local highway network could adequately accommodate the traffic generated, an inspector allowed a proposal for 258 new homes on the edge of a village in Cheshire.

The main issue in relation to the development on a site within the defined boundary of the settlement, was the capacity of the local road network and whether residual cumulative impacts would be so severe as to warrant refusing the scheme, in the terms of NPPF paragraph 109.

It was material to the inspector’s decision that the site had already been granted outline consent by another inspector for housing as part of a larger scheme and the net increase in dwellings and highway effects would in fact be limited to an additional 187 dwellings. Noting other significant new housing developments in the area and other changes having an impact on traffic since that decision, the inspector went on to consider current highway capacity.

The council pointed to congestion on the local highway network at peak times and a likely disproportionately greater effect on the network compared with existing consented housing sites. It was not, however, clear to the inspector that those effects would significantly or noticeably displace existing trip routes or travel times across the network. He acknowledged that there would be some peak hour spreading, which along with any displacement of trips would not be ideal, but considered that this would not amount to a significantly harmful impact on the local highway network.

The inspector concluded that, in the light of the sustainable location of the site and the appellant’s sustainable travel plan making alternative travel modes to the car a realistic option and reducing the extent of any effects on the highway network from additional traffic, the traffic generated by the proposed development could be adequately accommodated on the local highway network taking account of its capacity and levels of congestion and would not cause severe residual cumulative impacts.

Inspector: Andrew Dawe; Inquiry

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