Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Delivery DM75 [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 8129985//7
Respondent Deleted User [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 17 Apr 2013
Current Status Accepted

We note that Policy DM75 Development contributions, Community Infrastructure Levy and Viability

sets out the policy basis in relation to developer contributions. Many of Network Rail’s stations and

routes are already operating close to capacity. A significant increase in patronage may create the


need for upgrades to the existing infrastructure; including (but not limited to) improved signalling,


passing loops, car parking, improved access arrangements, station facilities or platform extensions.

As Network Rail is a publicly funded organisation with a regulated remit it would not be reasonable to

require Network Rail to fund rail improvements necessitated by commercial development. It is

therefore appropriate to require developer contributions to fund such improvements. Specifically, we

request that the document or future policy requires developers to fund any qualitative improvements

in relation to existing rail facilities and infrastructure required as a direct result of increased patronage

resulting from new development.

The likely impact and level of improvements required will be specific to each station and each

development meaning standard charges and formulae may not be appropriate. Therefore in order to

fully assess the potential impacts and the level of developer contribution required it is essential that

where a Transport Assessment is submitted in support of a planning application that this quantifies in

detail the likely impact on the rail network.

To ensure that developer contributions can deliver appropriate improvements to the rail network we

would recommend that Developer Contributions provide for rail and should include the following:

A requirement for development contributions to deliver improvements to the rail network where


A requirement for Transport Assessments to consider the impacts to existing rail infrastructure

to allow any necessary developer contributions towards rail to be calculated.

 A commitment to consult Network Rail where development may impact on the rail network and

may require rail infrastructure improvements. In order to be reasonable these improvements

would be restricted to a local level and would be necessary to make the development

acceptable. We would not seek contributions towards major enhancement projects which are

already programmed as part of Network Rail’s remit.

 Increased Growth – Impact on Level Crossings

The delivery of new housing, facilities and services as proposed by the draft Plan could well impact

upon the railway within the North Somerset area. The impact of development proposals on the safety

of level crossings is an extremely important consideration in emerging planning policy proposals.

New development can result in a significant increase in the vehicular and pedestrian traffic utilising

railway crossings, potentially impacting upon safety and service provision.

An increase in utilisation of a crossing could result in Network Rail being required to reduce train line

speed in direct correlation to the increase in vehicular and pedestrian traffic using a crossing, to

ensure safety is maintained. This would potentially have severe consequences for the timetabling of

trains and the ability to successfully implement any future train service improvements, thereby

directly conflicting with strategic and Government aims of improving rail services.

In this regard, we would request that the potential impacts from development affecting Network Rail’s

level crossings are specifically addressed through planning policy. It is essential that Network Rail is

consulted as Statutory Undertaker in any circumstances where a proposal would affect a level

crossing. We therefore request that a policy is included which confirms that The Council have a statutory responsibility under planning legislation to consult the statutory rail undertaker where a proposal for development is likely to result in a material increase in

the volume or a material change in the character of traffic using a level crossing over a railway:


Schedule 5 (f) (ii) of the Town & Country Planning (Development Management

Procedure) order, 2010 requires that… “Where any proposed development is likely to

result in a material increase in volume or a material change in the character of traffic

using a level crossing over a railway (public footpath, public or private road) the Planning

Authority’s Highway Engineer must submit details to both Her Majesty’s Railway

Inspectorate and Network Rail for separate approval”.


Any planning application which may increase the level of pedestrian and/or vehicular usage

at a level crossing should be supported by a full Transport Assessment assessing such



The developer is required to fund any required qualitative improvements to the level crossing

as a direct result of the development proposed.


Planning Applications – Close to Railway Assets

Notwithstanding the above comments, Network Rail would request the opportunity to comment on

any future planning applications should they be submitted for sites adjoining the railway, or within

close proximity to the railway, in the North Somerset area.

Finally, I have included a link to Network Rail’s website:\RUS%20Documents&pageid=2895&root

This link provides access to Network Rail’s Great Western Route Utilisation Strategies which sets out

the strategic vision for the future of the railway in this vital part of the railway network. This may aid

the Council’s understanding of the future aspirations for railway development across the South West.

We hope these comments will be taken into account by North Somerset Council.