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Parking and sustainable transport

One of the Pydar Master Plan’s core design principles is to create a sustainable walkable neighbourhood that minimises car use and promotes walking and cycling.  The planned mixed-use development ensures that the residents can work and live in the same area, therefore reducing the need to travel. The scheme will also serve as a location for a shared car club scheme, E-bikes and public transport stops, driving the needed modal shift the Council aims for. It is also integrated into the cycling and walking infrastructure of Truro. This impacts positively in terms of air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and connectivity.

The Pydar Regeneration will result in the closure of the Viaduct, Pydar Street, Carrick House and Moresk/Oak Way Car Parks, this is in accordance with both the Local Plan and Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP). The Strategic Planning Committee have however raised concerns regarding the adverse impact of the loss of parking spaces for visitors to Truro and also raised concerns about where the future new residents of the proposed development, would park their cars.  The development encourages the reduced reliance on cars to mitigate the effect on the surrounding environment and promotes sustainable transport choices including walking, cycling and public transport.  The existing bus stop at Pydar Street will be retained and enhanced.

You can read all the key documents by clicking here, here, and here.

What is the parking capacity and occupancy in Truro?

Within Truro, the overall capacity of public, off-street parking (including Park & Ride) is 5,304 spaces. Usage data collected pre-Covid shows that the average weekday occupancy of car parks in Truro is 3,444 of these spaces, 180 are typically occupied by Cornwall Council. Post-Covid flexible working practices, which are being adopted by the Council, will result in a further reduction in parking demand . This data concludes that on an average weekday, there would be more than sufficient parking supply within both Truro city centre and at the Park & Ride sites to accommodate current demand.

Is there a Transport Strategy for Truro and what are the main principles?

Yes, the Truro Transport Strategy was approved in 2012.  In the nine years since its approval the overriding principles of the strategy, that is to achieve a high level of modal shift across the City through supporting high quality rail, bus and walking and cycling; are more relevant than ever.   At the time, the strategy did recognise the need for additional road capacity e.g. junction improvements on the A390 and delivery of the northern access road but, fundamentally, the message of managing demand through delivery of sustainable modes, as opposed to building for the private car, is key to supporting the future growth of Truro.  

In recent years, more awareness of the impacts of poor air quality and the Council’s declaration on the climate emergency further supports an approach that recognises while there is a demand for new housing, we can no longer continue to build capacity for the private car.

How does the Truro Transport Strategy address parking in the city?

The Council’s strategy states that parking is key to encouraging modal shift will be managing demand through on street and off-street parking.  A lot of work has been done already in this regard both through the delivery of residents parking schemes and reviewing parking tariffs.  The overarching principle is that short stay, high turnover, shopper parking should be prioritised over provision of long stay commuter spaces in the centre. 

The majority of commuters do not require their car to be on hand throughout the day while they are at work.  Therefore, it is reasonable to expect that the majority of long stay car parking spaces should be managed at the source of employment i.e. through delivering a robust public sector travel plan and promoting long stay parking at Park and Ride locations outside of the centre.  It is estimated that cars are parked up and not in use for between 95-98% of the time.  This represents a significant proportion of some of our most valuable community and public realm land being used for stationary cars. 

Many towns and cities across the world are reclaiming this space with incredible results and positive impacts on their environment.  Truro is the one place in Cornwall which can lead on this principle and demonstrate that this approach can work even in a largely rural county.  Future reviews of parking stock will also include prioritising on street and off-street spaces for electric vehicles and car club vehicles. Truro currently has a small car club however, going forward it is envisaged that a type of car share model will be rolled out further to more locations, including more visible locations such as Pydar, within the city to help reduce the need for private car ownership.

Are Cornwall Council updating their Transport Strategy? A coordinated strategy for Truro would be useful given the plans for other new developments such as Langarth.

Cornwall Council are not updating their Transport Strategy at the present time.  The current Truro Transport Strategy was approved in 2012 and the overriding principle of the strategy is to achieve a high level of modal shift across the City through supporting high quality rail, bus and walking and cycling.  The fundamental objective is to manage demand through delivery of sustainable modes of transport as opposed to building for the private car which is key to supporting the future growth of Truro.  

The Pydar development has promotes the use of sustainable transport including rail, bus and park & ride.  This is supported further by providing improved physical connectivity, providing a sustainable walkable neighbourhood, that minimises car use and promotes walking and cycling, with pedestrian and cycle friendly streets and open spaces across all of the new neighbourhood.  This includes providing infrastructure for electric vehicle charging, location for shared car club schemes, a location for E-bike hubs connecting to the wider Truro E-bike scheme, secure cycle parking for all residents, E-car clubs, connection to future Truro Loops cycling & walking project, new surfacing and traffic calming measures along St Clement Street and Pydar Street to provide a safe pedestrian environment, public transport stops and a sustainable Corporate Travel Plan.

Is the proposed scheme policy compliant?

The Pydar development complies with Policy T3 which is also supported by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Cornwall Local Plan.  These policies aim to contribute to sustainable development by:

  • Reducing the need to travel;

  • Encouraging new mixed-use developments;

  • Prioritising the use of sustainable transport measures; and

  • Encouraging active travel.

The Policy says that development will be permitted where:

  • The site or proposal is well served by public transport, walking and cycling routes or has deliverable potential to be (and this can be secured for future implementation);

  • The movement hierarchy of the proposal maximises opportunities within and adjoining the development to prioritise non-car-based modes of transport, including walking, cycling and public transport;

  • Where the scale of development allows, public transport routes should be incorporated into or enhanced to provide accessible bus stop infrastructure within 400m walking distance of dwellings or employment uses; and

  • Connections are made to cycle and walking routes beyond the site wherever possible.

Where can I read about Policy T3?

You can read it by downloading the policy document here

Is the Parking strategy appropriate for the scheme?

The Design Team have carried out options studies to look at car parking across the scheme, adhering to the Council’s objective to develop a sustainable development that reduces the reliance on private vehicles to meet the targets of National and Local Policy, the Climate Emergency declaration and Cornwall Council’s Carbon Neutral Action Plan, which aspires to be zero carbon by 2030.  The parking strategy is compliant with Council policy and appropriate to the city centre location of the Pydar site.  Truro’s Transport Strategy makes it clear that in recent years, more awareness of the impacts of poor air quality and the Council’s declaration on the climate emergency further supports an approach that recognises while there is a demand for new housing, we can no longer continue to build capacity for the private car.

What will happen to the existing car parks on the site?

Existing car parks on the site will close and will not be replaced by any public parking as part of the scheme.

Closing existing car parks will put pressure on the number of car parking spaces available within the city – have you any data to support that closing car parks in the city will not cause a shortfall in parking provision?

The closed car parks represent only 12% of the total number of spaces across the city leaving residual car parking capacity within Truro City Centre after the closure. Utilisation data for all of the Council owned car parks in Truro shows that existing public parking can be displaced across the rest of city and the park-and-ride facilities, and there is unlikely to be any impact to business and trade. The closures are in line with the wider Transport Strategy which encourages a more sustainable form of transport and reduces vehicular movements and emissions in the City Centre.

A utilisation study was completed in 2017 and usage data collected for a 12-month period which has been used to calculate the average weekday occupancy which is detailed in the graph below.

The data shows that on an average weekday, 62% of the car park is occupied with 2,000 spaces spare capacity across the city car parks.  The percentage of spaces occupied on an average weekday for the car parks that are proposed to be closed are:-

  • Viaduct – 60%

  • Pydar Street – 100%

  • Carrick House - 50%

  • Moresk/Oak Way – 60%

There would be sufficient parking supply within both Truro city centre and at the Park & Ride sites to accommodate current demand.  There would also be sufficient parking supply in the city centre to accommodate a higher level of private vehicle usage within the Pydar development although it has been developed around city centre living and working and sustainable travel initiatives.

How many car parking spaces will be lost?

695 parking spaces, these include long and short stay spaces which are underutilised.  The independent Transport Assessment undertaken by AECOM over a 12-month period in 2017, concludes that the existing car parks have ample capacity for most of the year. 

The data indicates parking usage within Council owned car parks peaked only on three separate occasions during July, August and December, when it has reached up to 97% of overall capacity.  These summer peak events are likely to have been periods of inclement weather when demand for spaces increases from tourists visiting the city instead of the coastal locations, and potentially due to an increase in shopping trips in the Christmas period. However, other modes of transport could be utilised to facilitate visits and shopping trips, such as Park and Ride or public transport.

The car parking at Pydar represents 12% of the overall car parking in Truro and the development is not considered to result in a significant loss of car parking in Truro as a whole.  

Will the loss of car parks create a knock-on impact with residents parking in the surrounding residential areas?

This is not anticipated to be a problem. As part of the S106 planning conditions, there will be restrictions on occupants applying for on street residential parking permits within 1 mile of the development.

How many car parking spaces are proposed?

180 car parking spaces are included within the Outline Planning application.  An underground car park is proposed on site and spaces are proposed to be split between the uses with 100 permit spaces likely being allocated to the residential dwellings. The remainder of the allocated spaces will be for the proposed commercial and leisure uses. 

Included within the onsite parking allocation, a car club will be provided and would allow members with the convenience of a car, without the hassles and costs of car ownership. Car clubs are aimed at occasional drivers, short trippers and families who do not want or cannot afford the second vehicle and want to hire one for an hour or two or for the day.

Electrical charging points will also be provided within the proposed car park to accommodate electric cars.

Will an increase in homes and population mean more cars, resulting in more demand for parking?

The following data demonstrates that:

  • Whilst the population of Cornwall has grown, Cornwall remains close to national traffic growth trends – car use by population is decreasing;

  • The population of Cornwall is growing at a faster rate than car ownership, measured in registered cars.  This trend suggests people in Cornwall are already starting to prioritise sustainable transport over cars;

  • License holders amongst the younger generation has been decreasing over the last 20 years for both genders;

  • Data from the 2011 Census shows that Truro has a high percentage of households that do not own a car in comparison to surrounding areas;

  • The latest DfT figures show that although the distance travelled has increased, the number of trips taken by car in the country have been steadily declining over the last 20 years which is a trend Cornwall seems to be following;

  • Traffic data from Cornwall shows that there is a downward seasonal traffic variation.  While in 1993 around 91% of visitors went to Cornwall by car, that number has decreased to 82% in 2015/16.  There was a low peak in 2008/9 when 72% of tourists travelled by car. This is anticipated to continue with new sustainable transport options.

Where will existing Council staff park?

The Council is committed to rolling out a robust Sustainable Corporate Travel Plan over the forthcoming 12 months to reduce staff mileage in a bid to reduce congestion and the impact of staff travel on climate change.  Staff will be required to seek alternative means of travel on an agreed number of days a week, including considering the need to travel at all, with options including Teams, working from home and local hubs being supported where possible. The Covid pandemic has shown that many of the Council’s employees and elected Members can work remotely for much of their working week reducing their need to travel to Truro on a daily basis which has resulted in a significant reduction in the Council’s Carbon footprint, along with the need for staff to have access to long-stay parking within the city centre.  Staff who work at Pydar Offices will need to use other car parks with capacity and the western and eastern park and rides.

In addition to public parking there are 900 staff parking permits allocated across the Pydar Street car parks. Data from the ANPR cameras show that on average there are 180 staff cars parked on site daily. These will also need to be displaced. The Council is currently developing a Sustainable Corporate Travel Plan for Truro which aims to respond to the Transport and Climate Emergency issues and will also incorporate the future ways of working as a result of Covid-19.  Spaces will be allocated within Edward Street and Moorfields car parks for essential users and the emerging Travel Plan for Truro will be looking at further sustainable travel options and incentives for staff travel and parking.

How many staff will need to park in other car parks?

Given the current situation with COVID-19 and the unknown future of the Pydar Offices and capacity, we cannot quantify how many staff will be affected by the development.

There may be people who desperately need housing that want to live on the development but may also be tradespeople who need access to a vehicle.  How will this development support them?

The Truro and Kenwyn Neighbourhood Development Plan, The Local Plan and the Council’s Climate Emergency, make clear that new developments must support the model shift from private car to more sustainable transport methods. The Pydar development must comply with these policies are risk refusal. One of the Pydar Master Plan’s core design principles is to create a sustainable walkable neighbourhood that minimises car use and promotes walking and cycling.  The planned mixed-use development ensures that the residents can work and live in the same area, therefore reducing the need to travel.  The development will provide up to 180 parking spaces which is in accordance with both the Local Plan and Neighbourhood Development Plan.  Any increase to this number will go against the Council’s own policies and sustainability targets. 

The scheme will include a location for a shared car club scheme which will help support residents without access to private parking, to access a car as needed. In addition, E-bikes and more public transport stops will all go towards driving the needed modal shift the Council aims for.

The housing on Pydar will be targeted to the various workers within Truro who currently cannot afford the local housing and there is no rental market in the city. If we can attract these workers, we will achieve the live / work neighbourhood plus reduce the 18,000 commuters that travelled to Truro everyday pre-Covid.

How is the Truro Transport Strategy improving walking and cycling provision to support the principle of encouraging sustainable methods of travel?

There is huge potential to increase the number of walking and cycling trips into and within Truro.  The recent boom in e-bikes and e-bike hire schemes removes the gradient barrier and provides people with an opportunity to cycle where they may not have previously considered it.  

A comprehensive e-bike network will be delivered throughout the urban area at key locations from Park and Ride, Truro station, the retail centre, key attractors and throughout new developments.   This will be supported by cycle and walking infrastructure improvements including the significant Saints Trails investment from St Agnes connecting to Langarth and the proposed phase 1 development of the Newham Trail linking Newham through to Coosebean.  Langarth and Pydar developments will also deliver cycling and walking connections from the outset, supporting short trip active travel.  Following a successful DfT bid in 2018, Cornwall developed a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for which sets out the principal routes for investment based on their function of linking key attractors including employment sites, public transport nodes and residential areas. 

Given the Government’s commitment to £2bn of investment in walking and cycling directly linked to urban areas with LCWIPs, Truro in a strong position for continued investment in its active travel network. 

How many people travel into Truro for work and what are the alternative options to travel and park in the city?

Currently (pre-Covid) approximately 18,000 people travel into Truro for work creating an imbalance between the resident population who work in the City and those who travel in from elsewhere.  It is expected that the number of in commutes each day may not return to pre-Covid levels as more of the professional sector opt to work from home, or more local bases.    That said, the number of short trips of 5 Km or less is significant at 26% but this could increase slightly as developments such as Langarth come forward- although it is anticipated that many of these trips would be undertaken by public transport, walking and cycling given the distance and investment into infrastructure.  Truro is also currently well served for longer trips into the City with the mainline station, the Falmouth Truro branch line and two Park and Ride sites – all of which have experienced significant growth in patronage and demonstrated that if the quality is there, people will be prepared to travel by public transport.

The Council’s Transport Team advise that it is within this context and the Council’s proposed future transport improvements, that the Pydar development should be considered.  Aside from the value that the development itself will create, the loss of proportionally a relatively small number of parking spaces is far outweighed by our ambition to provide residents, commuters and visitors with real travel choice and in turn deliver a more inclusive, more healthy, productive and greener City.

Will there be Cycle Parking?

Secure cycle parking per dwelling will be provided and such details would be secured at each subsequent Reserved Matters Applications, as set out at Condition 13 of the proposed conditions.  Cycle parking will also be provided in public areas within the site. Electric charging points for E-bikes and E-cars will also be available within the Pydar development to support sustainable transport options. 

The walking and cycling routes proposed through the site connect to wider routes accessible on foot or by bike in Truro including future Truro Loops project. Residents and visitors can enjoy the benefits of the site being located in close proximity to key destinations in the city centre. 

What future rail improvements are planned?

In December 2019, work was completed and fully commissioned by Network Rail which effectively doubled the capacity of the rail main line through Cornwall.  Correspondingly, the Train Operator increased the levels of service to a full half hourly timetable throughout the day.  This built upon steady, significant increases in patronage over a number of years.  In May 2019, increases in patronage of 25% were recorded in response to initial service improvements.  

Further work is ongoing with the Rail industry, and improvements are planned to develop services across mid-Cornwall, with a longer-term strategy of improving connections to Truro from mid-Cornwall and extending additional services on to the Falmouth Branch line. Network Rail have committed improvements into their current maintenance programme and rail industry funding has been awarded to support this development work. Cornwall Council are working jointly with Network Rail and the Train Operator to develop these proposals.   

Cornwall Council are also developing options to improve the forecourt and interchange facility at Truro station supporting seamless onward journeys from rail onto bus, taxi, walking and cycling further supported by a proposed e-ticketing ‘tap on tap off’ solution.

Will the bus service be improved?  Will there be any reduction in fares?

From 2016, significant investment in bus infrastructure has been delivered across the county  through the One Public Transport System for Cornwall (OPTSfC) project.   This investment has provided upgraded roadside waiting infrastructure, the installation of real time passenger information displays at stops, new, high quality, low emission vehicles and contactless payment facilities on buses.  On routes serving Truro that were upgraded by the project a 20% increase in patronage had been achieved between 15/16 and 2018/19.

Truro has seen high levels of investment in public transport and in addition to the above improvement works have been carried out to the bus station to improve the aesthetics, essential maintenance and future proofing, along with quality improvements to the waiting facilities and provision of information.   

The new 8-year bus contract that commenced in April 2020 provides a number of improved service frequencies and new links to Truro on the bus network.  Service frequencies have been improved on services into the city from a number of outlying villages including Lanner, Frogpool, Tregony, St Mawes, Indian Queens, Fraddon and Summercourt making access to the City Centre easier.  Services on Saturdays now largely mirror those offered on Monday to Friday to alleviate the problem that some commuters found with particularly early morning services not operating on a Saturday.  The new service 89 provides a new hourly six days a week direct link from Bodmin to Truro for the first time.

While the improvements delivered by OPTSfC and the new contract have been well received, the cost of fares, particularly for short journeys is often raised as a barrier to use.  Cornwall’s new bus fares pilot, which will be introduced when Government guidance around the pandemic allows, will remove this barrier by offering significantly reduced bus fares.  

As public freedoms are reintroduced, the network will be reviewed to ensure that it is able to respond to and serve demand in terms of frequency and capacity, while being responsive to the new developments coming forward and providing services within a reasonable walking distance from the outset to ensure travel habits are supported from day one.

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