Mfs guidance favoured over DMRB in dwelling access wrangle

A chalet bungalow off an existing shared driveway for three houses onto a main 'A' road in a residential area of east Sussex was approved with no harm to highway safety.

The inspector held the main issue in the case related to the intensification of use of, and the inter-visibility at, the existing crossover from the proposed development onto the adjacent main road. The controversy revolved around which transport guidance should be used in considering the access arrangements at the site.  The council were concerned that the visibility to the right of the shared driveway would be so poor that the additional traffic movements from this development would threaten highway safety. In addition, it found that a vehicle in connection with this development, waiting to emerge onto the road, would prevent another from entering the driveway, resulting in vehicles waiting in the carriageway, and being a further threat to safety. It used the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges in its refusal of the scheme as it affected a trunk road.

The appellant, however, argued Manual for Streets 1 and 2 were more appropriate to use. The inspector considered the specifics of the site and ultimately sided with the appellant finding the character of the road to be more of a residential street than a strategic trunk road, despite acknowledging the road was very busy at times with speeds in excess of 40 miles per hour. He held that the site did fall on the cusp between the two sets of design guidance but ultimately felt the latter was most applicable. This meant that the visibility splays at the site could be two metres by 67 metres which could be achieved. The inspector found that taking into account the absence of evidence suggesting a highway safety problem with the existing access or with the numerous accesses in the vicinity of the site, as well as the limited amount of movements which would be generated by the proposal, as well as the guidance in Mfs1 and Mfs2, the intensification of use of the access to the proposal, with particular reference to inter-visibility at the access to the main road, would not result in an unacceptable impact on highway safety.

Inspector: Patrick Whelan; Written representations

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