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  • Campaign for New Homes: October 10, 2018
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Author Topic: Planning Incentives 'lead to housing estates centered on car use'  (Read 5648 times)
Reading General
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« Reply #30 on: January 23, 2020, 08:47:48 am »




Yet in countries that provide cycling infrastructure that is actually helpful to cyclists, rather than simply trying force them onto the footway,  cyclists can be observed to be using it in large numbers.

I’ve seen it in action in Eindhoven, and I was pleasantly surprised at how orderly it all was. I’m not sure if they enforce any stronger rules there or not, but in a pedestrian area, nobody was weaving in and out of the pedestrians to make quicker progress, just riding in line at the pace of other cyclists.
You can strike me down here but I think there are many in the U.K who ride a bike in the same manner they would drive a car. They will not be stopped by anything en route and will take any path, the most direct route to get to where they are going. I’m pro cycling but I’m not a fan of the ‘personal best time’ type cycling that has become popular. The trouble with cycling in the U.K is that many have been doing as they please for too long and like driving, we notice those who break the rules more than those observing them, until eventually it becomes normalised.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2020, 09:22:53 am »

You can strike me down here but I think there are many in the U.K who ride a bike in the same manner they would drive a car. They will not be stopped by anything en route and will take any path, the most direct route to get to where they are going. I’m pro cycling but I’m not a fan of the ‘personal best time’ type cycling that has become popular. The trouble with cycling in the U.K is that many have been doing as they please for too long and like driving, we notice those who break the rules more than those observing them, until eventually it becomes normalised.
Strava doesn't help with this! Neither does the way that cycling has been regarded at various levels from parents up to government ministers as either a kids' toy or a sport but not as transport.
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Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2020, 09:24:47 am »

The routes that work best are the routes that run in a straight line to a terminal point and U-turn with as little one way running as possible. If a large loop is necessary it should be run as a pair of circular services but even these can be frustrating for passengers heading to a common point not knowing which one on which side of the road is coming first.
I think this shows another feature that's frustrating for public transport, albeit probably more typical of new traffic plans imposed on old areas than modern developments, is the one-way system.
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Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
CyclingSid
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« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2020, 07:06:02 am »

Places like Reading could do with more contra-flow cycle lanes (duck!)
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Reading General
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« Reply #34 on: January 24, 2020, 07:50:26 am »

Places like Reading could do with more contra-flow cycle lanes (duck!)

Agreed, and a couple more contraflow bus lanes, Mount Pleasant/Silver Street would make a big difference to services and meet up with the London Street one, but for a different thread perhaps.
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stuving
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« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2020, 01:15:58 pm »

The news that restarted this thread last week was triggered by a report - this report. (The link is to an Adobe viewer, but there is a dowload button and the pdf itself is here.) It describes itself as "A Housing Design Audit for England", and was done by the Bartlett school of planning at UCL.

Its backing was widely reported as being by CPRE (well known) and Place Alliance (who they?). This they:
Quote
The Place Alliance is a movement for place quality. It is founded on the idea that through collaboration and better communication we can establish a culture whereby the quality of place becomes an everyday national and local priority. Place Alliance is open to all and brings together organisations and individuals who share the belief that the quality of our built environment has a profound influence on people’s lives.

The success of Place Alliance depends on the support of its supporters and volunteers. We welcome all organisations and local groups as well as individuals, town and parish councils, local authorities and businesses as members and supporters of Place Alliance.

Place Alliance is an independent not-for-profit initiative of UCL. We operate on a tight budget and rely on the generosity of our supporters.

At first sight (i.e. I've not read any of the report yet) they blame government(s), planners, developers, etc for housing design being so bad (as they see it) - but not buyers. Do they have no agency at all? I imagine that whether buyers find the houses and their environments attractive has a measurable impact on actual selling prices and times, even if it seems unlikely that you could make any house literally unsaleable just by design. And if buyers views have no influence, that itself would be worth exploring.
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ellendune
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« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2020, 01:46:14 pm »

At first sight (i.e. I've not read any of the report yet) they blame government(s), planners, developers, etc for housing design being so bad (as they see it) - but not buyers. Do they have no agency at all? I imagine that whether buyers find the houses and their environments attractive has a measurable impact on actual selling prices and times, even if it seems unlikely that you could make any house literally unsaleable just by design. And if buyers views have no influence, that itself would be worth exploring.

Ahh but there is a housing shortage. In that sort of market it is the seller that has control not the buyer.
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eightonedee
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« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2020, 01:47:07 pm »

You've hit the nail on the head Stuving!

No private sector developer is going to build houses it cannot sell. They have to steer a course between design fashion, planning policy, where they can find land to buy,  what they can build and what people want to buy.

The reason why housing is still designed with the car owning family in mind (at least outside city centres where there is demand among urban singles and childless couples for housing without car parking provision for each household, often involving car clubs or other shared private transport provision) is that they have to sell to one- and two-car households.

Many in the industry take their design responsibilities seriously. Notwithstanding the problems for example with the standard of workmanship (see recent publicity about Persimmon), just like any other consumer focused industry the house building industry knows that building and selling a saleable product perceived as good and suitable by buyers is what they have to do. This enables them to make the profit that pays the dividends that fill our pension funds, pays its Corporation Tax to help pay for public services, creates the jobs and provides much needed housing.

Ultimately it is for society as a whole to provide the infrastructure changes that support a move from private car to public transport, and for those who design and build vehicles that have a lower impact on the environment. I am aware from my own professional practice how much of the value generated by development ends up going to providing social infrastructure or in payments into local and national government. On large scale development, it can be more than twice what the landowner is paid for the land sold with planning permission, and even then the landowner will have to account to HMRC for capital gains tax on that land sale.

Groups like Place Alliance have to acknowledge that much of design is subjective judgement. After all, there is a considerable demand for old "character" housing with awful insulation, non-existent foundations and internal layouts that are hopelessly inefficient. Pontificating about such matters does not generate jobs, dividends, taxes or homes. If you think you can do better, raise capital, start buying land and building houses and then you will see what really is involved.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 04:57:51 pm by eightonedee » Logged
eightonedee
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« Reply #38 on: January 25, 2020, 01:57:52 pm »

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Ahh but there is a housing shortage. In that sort of market it is the seller that has control not the buyer.

Maybe, but there is still plenty of competition on the supply side so that buyers have a choice, not only between different developers/suppliers of new homes but also the secondhand stock that is on the market too. The buyer is therefore still king (or queen!). We are not in East Germany. The housing shortage manifests in high house prices in the private sector and a shortage of housing in the rented sector (be that private or social).
« Last Edit: January 25, 2020, 04:57:21 pm by eightonedee » Logged
Reading General
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« Reply #39 on: January 25, 2020, 05:41:46 pm »

You see, as pro public transport as I am, I think it's more about creating the option of good public transport/cycling/walking opportunities, not eradicating private car use altogether in suburbia. It's about choosing the right option depending on where people are going and trying to stop the unnecessary car journeys, as well as moving away from these labyrinth like estates where you could come out of a house and have no idea which direction is the way out of the close, or to the shops/bus stop etc. As I've pointed out already, the first target is to try and reduce car use from where people live to their town/city/regional centre. If you work in the same town that you live in, public transport should be the choice. Accommodating better public transport/walking/cycling provision shouldn't really take too much space away from the developers and cars can still be accommodated much as they were on the post war estates before everybody owned a car. Perhaps if we changed the way we build neighbourhoods and estates, many households could become one car again and possibly even no car, if everything can be accessed locally and by public transport.
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ellendune
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« Reply #40 on: January 26, 2020, 12:18:52 am »

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Ahh but there is a housing shortage. In that sort of market it is the seller that has control not the buyer.

Maybe, but there is still plenty of competition on the supply side so that buyers have a choice, not only between different developers/suppliers of new homes but also the secondhand stock that is on the market too. The buyer is therefore still king (or queen!). We are not in East Germany. The housing shortage manifests in high house prices in the private sector and a shortage of housing in the rented sector (be that private or social).

Not where I am.  And particularly when all the major developers are producing pretty much the same product.  There is no competition at the moment because there is a shortage and the seller can dictate the market.  That is also why prices keep going relentlessly up so that the many of the younger generations cannot afford to buy.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #41 on: January 26, 2020, 02:05:07 pm »

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Ahh but there is a housing shortage. In that sort of market it is the seller that has control not the buyer.

Maybe, but there is still plenty of competition on the supply side so that buyers have a choice, not only between different developers/suppliers of new homes but also the secondhand stock that is on the market too. The buyer is therefore still king (or queen!). We are not in East Germany. The housing shortage manifests in high house prices in the private sector and a shortage of housing in the rented sector (be that private or social).

Not where I am.  And particularly when all the major developers are producing pretty much the same product.  There is no competition at the moment because there is a shortage and the seller can dictate the market.  That is also why prices keep going relentlessly up so that the many of the younger generations cannot afford to buy.
I reckon the price of housing is as much to do with owners' expectations – thinking of the houses we live in as investments – as with supply and demand. But (a) I'm no financial expert (b) the reasons for house price rises could (if we let them, and I don't suggest we should) become a whole thread in themselves, not strictly connected with planning and design.
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Tuesday had come down through Dundrum and Foster Avenue, brine-fresh from sea-travel, a corn-yellow sun-drench that called forth the bees at an incustomary hour to their bumbling.
eightonedee
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« Reply #42 on: January 26, 2020, 04:27:19 pm »

Quote from: ellendune on Today at 12:18:52 am

Quote
Not where I am.  And particularly when all the major developers are producing pretty much the same product.  There is no competition at the moment because there is a shortage and the seller can dictate the market.  That is also why prices keep going relentlessly up so that the many of the younger generations cannot afford to buy.

and



Quote
I reckon the price of housing is as much to do with owners' expectations – thinking of the houses we live in as investments – as with supply and demand. But (a) I'm no financial expert (b) the reasons for house price rises could (if we let them, and I don't suggest we should) become a whole thread in themselves, not strictly connected with planning and design.

Bmblbzzz has it right. There are about 1.2 to 1.3m home sales a year, we are still not building 200k new homes (of which I'd guess 20-25% are new for rent not sale). So prices for new homes are set by the general market. That is how a housebuilder appraises a site and how developments land is valued - you look at the estimated gross sales revenue by looking at house prices generally in the area, take off the costs of building and selling, including financing costs, take off an assumed return on capital employed (profit) and what you are left with is the net land value.

How is this relevant to the subject matter of this thread? Well new homes have to be sold into a market dominated by existing housing stock, so any design features in the development that inhibit private car use (ignoring city centre schemes where the market is not one dominated by buyers looking to buy a home for them and their car(s)) will put those homes at a competitive disadvantage to the general housing stock available on the market. And of course we need to ensure that the owners of the 20m odd existing units in the national housing stock to use public transport or walk whenever possible. So that's why I'm afraid I think Place Alliance are looking at the wrong place to start a really effective modal shift away from private car use. It's not in the layout of new housing, it's in the provision of good reliable and affordable public transport and facilities for pedestrians and cyclists for the country as a whole.

Where they to remove their design focused blinkers and actually look at many local planning authorities' policies and national planning policy they will see that the underlying intent is there, and I would think that most current developments (whatever anyone thinks about their aesthetics) contribute towards local transport infrastructure (not just roads) in a much more positive manner than those carried out say 20 years ago. 

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mjones
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« Reply #43 on: January 26, 2020, 05:11:21 pm »

"
Where they to remove their design focused blinkers and actually look at many local planning authorities' policies and national planning policy they will see that the underlying intent is there, and I would think that most current developments (whatever anyone thinks about their aesthetics) contribute towards local transport infrastructure (not just roads) in a much more positive manner than those carried out say 20 years ago. "

No they don't! That's exactly the problem that Place Alliance etc are pointing out.  They continue to design roads to out of date standards that build in encouraging car travel over alternatives.  For example,  having lots of culs de sac that make it impossible to serve with convenient bus routes and that increase walking and cycling distances to the point where hardly anyone will bother. High speed distributor roads without safe and convenient crossing places or cycle routes.   Once you have built these problems in it is very hard to do anything about them in the future,  car dependency is locked in.
 
That's why it is so important to get the new development right in the first place. It isn't 'blinkered' to focus on stopping new housing adding to the existing problems. In places like Didcot and Swindon that are experiencing very high growth the effects of poor planning are being felt now, with lots more traffic making trips that could easily have been cycled if only relatively low cost changes had been made at the planning stage.
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #44 on: January 26, 2020, 06:00:59 pm »

Where they to remove their design focused blinkers and actually look at many local planning authorities' policies and national planning policy they will see that the underlying intent is there

The problem, at least in this part of the world, is that policies don't get followed through to reality. Oxfordshire's LTP4 is quite good and its Cycling and Walking Design Standards are really good. The standard of design being waved through in countless developments around the county is much less so. There's a real mismatch going on here.
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