Examination – Ryedale Local Plan Sites Document and Policies Map.
IT’S OFFICIAL: Traffic congestion will get worse thanks to RDC planning decisions.
At the Public Hearing and Examination of the Ryedale Local Plan Sites Document and Policies Map on the afternoon of 25th September 2018, Ryedale District Council finally conceded that the Brambling Fields junction upgrade scheme, which cost the residents of Ryedale and North Yorkshire £6million pounds, and which was deemed ‘critical’ in order to facilitate large scale development in Malton and Norton, as part of the Ryedale Plan, has failed to deliver the reductions in traffic movements through Butcher Corner on which the Plan depends.
When asked by the government appointed Planning Inspector to explain “the additional impact from the development proposed in the sites document, in terms of the impact on that junction”, the officer replied: “It is still over-capacity.”
Since I was the only member of the public present in the council chamber when this bombshell was dropped, I am grateful to the Planning Inspector for agreeing to my request that the Public Hearing sessions audio recordings be made available online. It is regrettable however, that despite my repeated requests to the Chief Executive of Ryedale District Council, transcriptions of the audio have not been made available. (If you have a hearing impediment you are being actively discriminated against).
The recording transcript below (made by me, Simon Thackray) begins at 0:57:41 of the audio file available on the Ryedale Local Plan Examination website. The contributors were; Mrs Jill Thompson (JT below) of Ryedale District Council, and the government appointed Planning Inspector, Mrs Caroline Mulloy. The public session formed part of the Examination of the Ryedale Local Plan Sites Document and Policies Map.
Despite the RDC planning officer’s statement (repeated three times) that Butcher Corner would “still be over capacity” as a result of additional proposed development in Malton and Norton, she was unable, when pressed by the Planning Inspector, to quantify ‘the extent of the damage’. The officer in charge of justifying the future developments in Malton and Norton could not say what the impact of the new developments would be on the congestion at Butcher Corner.
I think it is time to question the sincerity of Ryedale District Council and North Yorkshire County Council, and ask, if they can be serious about taking steps to reduce the traffic congestion in Malton, at Butcher Corner, whilst they are simultaneously proposing to increase the level of development and local traffic which will, by their own admission, cause the junction to remain “over-capacity” or get worse.
Simon Thackray, 13 March 2019.
STOP PRESS: On Tuesday 19 March, Ryedale Planning Committee approved the development of a new BP filling station and M&S convenience store on the site of the old Dewhirst factory in Norton. The approval was given by voting to not challenge an appeal against refusal brought by the applicant. Listen to the audio of that incredible RDC Planning Committee meeting. Agenda Item 11. starts at 1:29:12.
TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO:
Examination – Ryedale Local Plan Sites Document and Policies Map.
25th September 2018, Council Chamber, Ryedale House, Malton, North Yorkshire.
Members of the public present = 1 (Simon Thackray)
Elected Members of RDC and/or NYCC present = NONE
JT (RDC): There’s acknowledgement on behalf of both organisations [RDC and Highways Authority] that there needs to be work, ongoing work, to address some of the congestion measures. [‘issues’]
The modeling work was completed, and it hasn’t been revisited since… I was going to say Network Rail but it’s not Network Rail …since the rail operators and the government announced that there would be an additional service on the Malton to Scarborough route, which means double crossing [barrier] down time.
That will be looked at as part of this detailed junction modeling, but effectively, what that means is… well, the impact is, depends on the timing of trains, but what that means is… there would be additional periods of congestion, and if trains were very close together, there is a danger that the other junctions wouldn’t clear in time.
I think that what the modeling is showing, is that, if they [the trains] are separated, the other junctions would still clear and be within capacity, operating the same way as it does now – the exception of course, being Butcher Corner, which will always operate at capacity.
Planning Inspector Mrs Mulloy: Right. In terms of the other junctions, as a result of the development proposed in the sites document, would there need to be improvements to those? Through CIL presumably, or.. is that right? Or not necessary?
JT (RDC): It would be CIL – CIL would be the main mechanism that we have, because they’re all effectively off-site really – they’re in the central network. I think the Highways Authority have suggested, that there is more of a direct link between the Norton Lodge site and the Westfield Way junction, which is the closest junction to the that, to that site and the point at which the link road would meet the local network, that there would need to be signal optimization there, so, a move assistance, but effectively, the new model that is being set up, that’s been set up to embed, effectively, a ‘MOVA’ system in virtually every junction in the town to optimize flows.
Planning Inspector Mrs Mulloy: That would be picked up at the planning application stage? Is that right?
JT (RDC): Yes.
Planning Inspector Mrs Mulloy: Coming back to Butcher Corner, where I got stuck the other day [laughs], what kind of solutions are being looked at for that?
JT (RDC): Well, there are very, very, few solutions to Butcher Corner because of where it is.
Our transport consultants believe that there is some scope for optimising signals there, but it is a difficult junction, and it’s the one that is, in some ways what happens at that junction is very much behavior based really, there is, now that that we have Brambling Fields junction in place, there is another route to Norton, albeit it is a longer route, and I think people are making decisions all the time… often, I think, informed by what time the trains… they expect the trains to be there, and the crossing [barriers] to come down, about which way they access Norton, but I think, our Highway Consultants are of the view, if there was a solution to that junction and you provided it, and it became free-flowing, it would be free-flowing for about 24 hours and then it would, the capacity would be taken up again because of the way in which traffic moves around the network.
[The RDC officer fails to explain to the Planning Inspector that the Brambling Fields junction, built at a cost of £6million in 2012, was approved on the back of claims made by RDC officers in 2011, that the junction would reduce traffic movements though Butcher Corner by up to a third.]
Planning Inspector Mrs Mulloy: So what was the impact of the… when you ran the model, what was the additional impact from the development proposed in the sites document, in terms of the impact on that junction?
JT (RDC): Well, it’s still over capacity – still over capacity.
Planning Inspector Mrs Mulloy: To what degree?
JT (RDC): I’ll have to go back to the model, to the study… still over capacity.
Planning Inspector Mrs Mulloy: OK.
[Transcript ENDS at 1:02:21]