MEMBERS of Ribble Valley Borough Council planning committee were right to express serious concerns at their July 14th meeting on the traffic implications of the Gladman Developments’ proposal to build up to 270 houses on fields at Henthorn Farm.
Anyone who regularly travels along Henthorn Road, Garnett Road/Lancaster Drive, Edisford Road/Bawdlands or Thorn Street/Eshton Terrace/Woone Lane routes from near the proposed development site must find it hard to comprehend even the suggestion that the construction traffic – estimated by Gladman’s consultants as up to 200 vehicle movements a day – during the proposed five-year construction period would not have a significant effect on congestion.
And this is before we consider the additional car journeys from the proposed housing. Even at the 1.67 cars per household multiplier for which the developers are allowing space, this would give an extra 900 journeys a day from and to the development – equivalent to an extra journey every 45 seconds between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
It is surely obvious additional traffic at this volume – which is, of course, more likely to be concentrated at peak times than evenly spread – must cause considerable congestion at points which are already bottlenecks.
But congestion is not the only consequence of more traffic. So far, there has been little mention – including in the planning officer’s report to the committeee of the effects of the traffic on the general environment of Henthorn Road and adjacent streets. Henthorn Road, and particularly the section below Garnett Road, which all vehicles from the proposed development would have to travel, is popularly used for recreation – people walking the circuit down to the Ribble Way and back up to Edisford, families cycling, older children making holiday expeditions down to the woods.
Henthorn Road is also one where people still stop to talk with neighbours over garden gates, children play out, people of all ages walk to the shop or the park or into town. Research has shown one of the factors in a lack of outdoor play and exercise for children is parents’ fears over safety on our streets. Such fears, which may also affect the confidence of somesome senior citizens in getting out and about, can only be deepened by such an increase in traffic volume. In addition, of course, more vehicles will mean some rise in airborne pollution.
I would suggest that, as well as causing jams and delay to vehicular traffic, the proposed Gladman development would also have a wider effect on the local community, putting people off walking for recreation or local journeys, deterring parents from letting their children enjoy the freedom and social contact of playing out, discouraging cycling and destroying the neighbourly community that still characterises Henthorn Road and the surrounding area.