Examination of Witnesses (Questions 235
WEDNESDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2001
235. Can I welcome you to the final session
of our inquiry into Walking in Towns and Cities and ask you to
identify yourselves for the record please?
(Mr Tallentire) My name is Alan Tallentire.
I am the Chairman of the Association of Town Centre Management.
(Mr Balch) I am Chris Balch, and I am a Director of
DTZ PIEDA Consulting who have been doing work for the Association.
236. Do you want to say anything by way of introduction
or are you happy for us to go straight to questions?
(Mr Tallentire) Perhaps I could make two points very
quickly. Much of what we will be saying today is based on three
publications that we have been involved in over the last five
years. The first one, Managing Urban Spaces in Town Centres,
we commissioned some five years ago and was conducted by Chestertons,
in association with DETR, Scottish Enterprise, Marks & Spencer
and Boots the Chemist. The next one, which we have commissioned
from Chris Balch of DTZ, in Routes to Success which is
dealing with the influence of accessibility on the competitiveness
of town centres. That is really up to date, it is due out in April,
so much of the research evidence is very current. Finally, in
conjunction with the Institution of Highways and Transportation,
we are conducting research on People friendly Town Centres, Guidelines
for Planning, Design and Management. Those are the three sources
of evidence for much of what we are saying today.
237. You say that walking is a prime factor
in the urban renaissance. Why?
(Mr Balch) I think that by conventional wisdom the
amount of pedestrian footfall that exists, particularly within
commercial areas and town centres, is a measure of the vitality
of that centre as a commercial area. Therefore it has very strong
economic functions. One also has to put alongside that the role
that walking has in creating a sense of place, in creating a sense
of confidence in people and enjoyment of people walking in urban
areas. If the urban renaissance is about trying to make urban
areas more attractive by comparison with peripheral suburban areas,
then it is fundamental that walking is a key element of that renaissance.
238. Should walking therefore be planned and
provided for as a mode of travel or mainly as a way of promoting
the urban renaissance?
(Mr Balch) I think the answer to that is both. It
clearly is a mode of travel. Virtually every trip that is taken
involves as part of that trip an element of walking, such as the
journey to work in the morning which inevitably involves the walk
from the transport mode or the car park to the place of work.
There are not that many people who park directly at their place
of work. It clearly is part of the pattern and network of trips
which serve urban areas. We also have to look at it as more than
just part of that transport. It is part of the experience of the
quality of the place as well.
239. How would expenditure on making cities
more attractive differ from making them easier to walk in?
(Mr Balch) I think the key is that making cities more
attractive is about a bundle of attributes of which walking is
one. I think the whole philosophy of the town centre management
approach is about managing all of those features rather than simply
pulling one out and dealing with it separately. Clearly specific
attention has to be given to walking but it has to be as part
of an understanding of the package of factors which make a particular
urban area attractive. Each area will have its different balance
between how much provision for walking, how much provision for
public transport, how much provision for access for the car. You
have, based upon an understanding of the locale, to develop the
right set of policies.
(Mr Tallentire) Much of the evidence that we see shows
that if there is investment in the public realm, which is the
walking environment, what follows very quickly is reciprocal investment
in the private realm, funded by the occupiers and the property
owners. There is a strong linkage between investment in that public
and environment the trading environment of the commercial stakeholders