Pedestrian access to island service station deemed unsafe

A petrol filling station, drive-through restaurant and retail shop in the centre of a roundabout at the junction of two trunk roads in Staffordshire was refused for harm to highway safety in respect of failing to provide a safe and suitable access for pedestrians wishing to access the site.

The central island site was occupied by a former public house and restaurant with an indoor children’s play facility, now both closed, and a large picnic area with car park. The site had an existing vehicular access from the two lane gyratory around the island and the inspector was satisfied, based on the transport evidence provided, that this would operate safely and efficiently as a result of the proposed redevelopment and was unlikely to significantly affect the safety of motorists and cyclists using the highway network. However, the inspector was not so convinced regarding the safety of pedestrians trying to access the site across the gyratory.

The inspector noted the transport statement acknowledged that the site allowed for journeys by walking, cycling and public transport, particularly by staff and that the proposed pub and restaurant and convenience offer could attract visitors from the many nearby dwellings and businesses within one kilometre of the site. The scheme included a formal, uncontrolled pedestrian crossing across the gyratory incorporating dropped kerbs, tactile paving, and SLOW markings on approach to it. But the inspector was concerned that the visibility splay for the crossing was outside of the appellant’s ownership and as such he could not be certain that it would be maintained or that the reduction in speed required to 40mph could be secured through a Traffic Regulation Order. Moreover, the proposed pedestrian crossing was adjacent to a vehicle showroom where vehicles pulled in and out and to one of the trunk road junctions where drivers would be undertaking lane changes. Cumulatively, the inspector concluded these factors would serve as distractions to drivers approaching the crossing and negatively affect the confidence of pedestrians wanting to use it. The inspector found conflict with adopted local plan policies and the NPPF in this respect, despite acknowledging the fallback position that the existing buildings could be re-used without a pedestrian crossing. 

Inspector: M Aqbal; Hearing

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