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Clarification of shared space pause

  • Tuesday October 2, 2018

Source: DfT Traffic Mailing List

On Friday 28th September Ministers Nusrat Ghani MP and Kit Malthouse MP wrote to the Chief Executive Officers of all local authorities in England to clarify the approach that should be taken to shared space schemes following the publication of the Inclusive Transport Strategy and National Planning Policy Framework in July.

Creating places that are attractive and work well for everyone should be a central goal of street design, whether as part of new developments or through improving existing areas. As part of this, a step-change in how we design streets and communities that are accessible and inclusive for all needs to be secured.

The National Planning Policy Framework emphasises the importance of prioritising walking and cycling, and addressing the needs of people with disabilities and reduced mobility. The Inclusive Transport Strategy covers a number of issues, including the design, function and use of shared space, which is one approach which has been used to create attractive places and reduce the dominance of motor traffic.

In response to concerns raised about shared space and navigability, the Inclusive Transport Strategy asked local authorities to pause the introduction of new shared space schemes that feature a level surface, and which are at the design stage. This therefore does not apply to development schemes that are currently at the planning application stage or beyond. For the avoidance of doubt, a level surface is a design feature in which the level difference between the footway and the carriageway is removed. The request to pause such schemes has led to a number of enquiries from developers, practitioners and planning authorities.

While authorities need to ensure that all schemes are designed with the needs of different users in mind, and satisfy their obligations under the equalities legislation, the focus of the pause is on level-surface schemes in areas with relatively large amounts of pedestrian and vehicular movement, such as high streets and town centres (outside of pedestrian zones). The pause does not apply to streets within new residential areas, or the redesign of existing residential streets with very low levels of traffic, such as appropriately designed mews and culs-de-sac, which take into account the relevant aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance.

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