Supplementary memorandum by the Strategic
Rail Authority (WTC 75A)
WALKING IN TOWNS AND CITIES
1. What examples are there of your organisation
being actively involved (not simply as consultee) in the land
use planning of areas within walking distance of stations?
The Strategic Rail Authority is working actively
with SUSTRANS, Railtrack, and the Department for the Environment,
Transport and the Regions on the "Safe Routes to Stations"
scheme. This initiative is in the process of identifying suitable
sites to be improved for walking and cycling to stations and will
involve the use of land the railway does not own or have a direct
interest in. The SRA is part of the project management group overseeing
implementation and we will be working closely with the relevant
train operators on specific schemes.
(a) Are there examples of planning in such areas
where the rail industry does not have a direct interest in the
Sheffield Midland station and its approaches
form a key part of the Masterplan for the development of the city
centre. We are working with Railtrack, Midland Main Line, South
Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, Sheffield City Council
and Sheffield One on this project. Investment would include improved
access for pedestrians between the station, the city centre, the
bus station and Sheffield Supertram. The Masterplan approach means
that the whole city centre environment is considered together,
regardless of land ownership. The area covers a variety of land
ownership, including the station, the railway administrative offices
at Sheaf House, and other railway land. Apart from providing improved
access to and from the station, the Masterplan will produce a
better environment in the city centre, and particularly around
Another example is Reading, where we are working
with Reading Borough Council on their plans for the re-development
of that part of the town centre around the station. The need to
expand capacity of the station and improve links with buses and
with pedestrians routes to the town centre form part of the remit
for this study.
(b) Would "station area plans" (as used
in the USA) be in the rail industry's interests by generating
additional patronage, as well as helping to meet the Government's
sustainable development objectives?
The SRA is working with local authority partners
in developing a "masterplan" type approach as explained
in answer to question (a) above. The primary development instrument
for this type of activity is through the local transport plan,
which every local authority with transport responsibilities is
required to produce,
GoVia's idea, for the South Central franchise,
which was awarded last year, is to make their stations the local
centre of the community with bus links, retailing and other facilities
for passengers and local people.
(c) Will Rail Passenger Partnership funding be
adequate to make a significant contribution to such a planning
effort throughout the country?
The SRA consider that RPP funding is the ideal
mechanism for making these sorts of improvements work, providing
they offer value for money. In some cases, it might be appropriate
for the local authority to provide funding to supplement this
where additional benefits (to them) are being sought. Total funding
of £600 million was identified within the Ten Year Transport
Plan. We have been encouraging actively local authorities and
train operating companies to propose RPP schemes for evaluation.
The Rail Passenger Partnership scheme is, however,
just one of the initiatives that can be used to promote "walking"
initiatives. For example, the franchise replacement process will
encourage greater investment in delivering integrated transport
strategies and improving access to stations, improving the station
environment, and promoting more sustainable and innovative development
in and around stations.