Application DM/2022/00557 - A new car park is to be constructed on land to the south of Severn Tunnel Junction station. Land at Severn Tunnel Junction for creation of car park, Station Road, Rogiet.
We considered the report of the application and late correspondence which was recommended for approval subject to the conditions outlined in the report.
The local Member for Rogiet, attending the meeting by invitation of the Chair, outlined the following information:
· Small changes to the scheme have been made in response to concerns raised, notably, a commitment to improve pedestrian safety over the road bridge that crosses the railway line.
· Many of Rogiet Community Council’s concerns remain.
· The key issue is that the proposed car park is located in the wrong place. Being south of the railway it does nothing to draw traffic away from the heavily populated Station Road and can only be reached over a very narrow road bridge. Traffic leaving the NCP car park uses a three-way junction with poor visibility creating a danger of collision.
· In the report of the application, it states that the overall need for an additional car park is not the subject of this application on the grounds that the report only needs to consider whether this scheme meets the planning criteria in terms of the Local Development Plan (LDP). However, a significant part of the report attempts to justify the scheme on those grounds putting a case forward that additional spaces are needed in order to minimize on street parking.
· It was considered that on street parking is not a product of insufficient spaces within the existing car parks. Some motorists are unwilling to pay for parking and therefore park on the street. There are currently plenty of parking spaces available. It was noted that on previous visits to the car parks in this area, there were many spaces available with about half the spaces in both car parks being empty.
· The need for additional car parking spaces seems to be predicated on the view that there will be significant growth in the use of the station. This is unproven. The forecast for growth was made before the pandemic and could not take into account that more people are now working from home.
· The report of the application states that there is an absence of contradictory studies. This is because it is too early to tell. It will be some time before proper studies can be undertaken to identify long term trends in either direction.
· This proposal in relation to other schemes – The Magor Walkway station is likely to come to fruition in the near future. There are also proposals for stations in east Newport and elsewhere, all of which will take passengers away from Severn Tunnel Junction.
· The local Member quoted section 6.1 of the report of the application. It was considered that this was an excessive assessment of the proposal which is just a car park.
· The application does nothing the encourage the desired interchanges between walking, cycling and buses and would only encourage more modal interchange between cars and trains if it is accepted that more car parking spaces were needed initially.
· A better scheme is being proposed by Transport for Wales for the link from the M48, M4 and B4245 to the north of the station which would draw traffic away from Station Road and also away from other areas of Rogiet itself.
In response, the Head of Planning informed the Committee:
· With this proposed development there is a need to look at Welsh Government’s vision in terms of the transport strategy across Wales and across the Cardiff Capital Region in terms of the shift towards more sustainable modes of transport. The proposed development enables this to occur across the wider region.
· There is a pedestrian link from the car park to the train station to the north.
· There are wider proposals which are not part of the planning application but there is a proposal to produce a footbridge at a later stage which would be subject to further planning consent and funding requirements.
· As part of the road safety audit officers are exploring ways to widen the road or create priority access in either direction at the point where the road narrows. Overall, the Highways Department has no objections to the proposed development.
The Highway Development Manager informed the Committee that the Highways department is unable to support an objection to this application.
Having considered the report of the application and the views expressed the following points were noted:
· There is a problem getting traffic into Severn Tunnel Junction Station via Rogiet. A previous scheme had been looked at with a view to having a link to the car park via the M4 Motorway with a footbridge being created. The aspirations of Caldicot, Rogiet and Magor has been to have a link from the M48 Motorway onto the B4245 linking with the Severn Tunnel Junction with a view to avoiding traffic having to access Rogiet village centre. Concern was expressed that private sector funding for the application was not coming forward. It was considered that this development was not required.
· An expansion of the site with the Metro plans and the increase in rail users means that more parking provision will be necessary.
· The site has been deemed suitable by officers.
· Planning permission for the car park is required before funding can be obtained to provide the footbridge. This will alleviate concerns regarding street lighting.
· If approved, the development will aim to alleviate the on-street parking problems that are occurring.
· By 2030, the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles will cease. There are 26 Electrical Vehicle (EV) charging points proposed. However, it was considered that this might not be enough considering that capacity of the proposed car park is for 172 vehicles. A mixture of rapid and slow charging points might be required.
· Questions were raised regarding whether solar power could be used to light the car park. Also, whether disabled and child places would be available as well as having bicycle racks in the car park to encourage active travel.
· In response to issues raised, the Head of Planning informed the Committee that with regard to EV charging it is a Planning policy requirement via Planning Policy Wales (PPW) that 10% of car parking schemes will provide EV charging provision. This scheme currently has 26 EV charging points proposed. However, a condition could be added to the application that 10% of the parking provision be EV charging. There are no current plans to provide solar lighting for the car park. Disabled Parking provision would be decided via Network Rail and NCP on the northern side of the car park. With regard to the car park, the proposed development needs to be considered on its own merits. Any other potential developments regarding the car park may still come forward via the planning application process.
· The car park lighting will be low level to keep light pollution to a minimum.
· There is no provision in the landscaping plans for bicycle racks provision. This provision would not be appropriate for this site. However, Network Rail could be canvassed to provide this facility in the northern car park where it would be more accessible and more likely to be used.
· In response to concerns raised regarding the access road, the Highway Development Manager informed the Committee that the road safety audit will be undertaken outside of the Planning process. This is currently ongoing and matters relating to lighting will be looked at via this process. With regard to the junction, safety data indicates that there have been no recorded accidents in the previous 23 years.
· Commuter traffic will be already be parked in the proposed car park and will not coincide with morning or afternoon school traffic.
· Monmouthshire County Council will manage the car park.
· By approving the application and providing the car park with 172 parking spaces, this will go towards moving the modal shift in line with Welsh Government’s Public Transport strategy to move away from private vehicle use.
· The proposal delivers on providing sustainable transport and has been evidenced not to have a harmful impact on highway impacts with the dedicated pedestrian link and the road safety measures that have been outlined.
· A safe, well-lit pedestrian route through the car park is required.
· Monmouthshire County Council Transport officers are promoting the proposed scheme.
· The SuDS application has been approved.
It was proposed by County Councillor J. Butler and seconded by County Councillor B. Callard that application DM/2022/00557 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report with an additional condition that 10% of the parking provision has Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points.
Upon being put to the vote the following votes were recorded:
In favour of the proposal - 13
Against the proposal - 2
Abstentions - 0
The proposition was carried.
We resolved that application DM/2022/00557 be approved subject to the conditions outlined in the report with an additional condition that 10% of the parking provision has Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points.