Active Travel Fund - Dovecote Lane
Welcome to the county council’s consultation for the Active Travel Fund scheme for Dovecote Lane in Beeston.
We would like to take the opportunity to thank those who responded to the first round of consultation for the Dovecote Lane scheme and have also contacted our highway delivery partners, Via East Midlands, over the past year.
We undertook a first round of consultation on proposals to improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists on Dovecote Lane in February/March 2021. We have developed a revised scheme having taken on board comments from the first consultation. The revised scheme proposes a point closure on Dovecote Lane near the war memorial and that motor vehicles are prohibited from accessing Dovecote Lane from Middle Street and vice versa as a trial.
At its 5 January 2022 meeting, the Transport and Environment Committee approved the scheme and to trial the prohibition. A letter was sent to over 700 homes in the vicinity of Dovecote Lane advising them of the proposed scheme and the implementation of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order. Concerns were raised by the local community, mainly about frustration in regard to the lack of advanced consultation on the revised proposals. In response to these concerns, at its meeting on 9 February 2022, the Transport and Environment Committee approved a second round of consultation on the revised scheme proposals. We have negotiated an extension to the delivery timescales with the Department for Transport, meaning any proposed scheme can now be delivered next financial year. We are now consulting on the scheme proposals and the consultation is to run for four weeks from Thursday 17 March, up to and including, Wednesday 13 April.
We have also reviewed comments received during and since the first consultation and have produced a list of frequently asked questions to accompany the consultation. Please take time to read the FAQs before completing the online consultation. Please contact us on 0115 804 2100 if you require the information contained here and the questionnaire in a different format.
Active Travel Fund
Increasing walking and cycling, particularly for short journeys that are currently made by car, plays a key role in national and local strategies to address climate change and improve the environment, support the economy, improve health and wellbeing, and in creating thriving communities. The Government has therefore established an Active Travel Fund which provides funding for infrastructure improvements that will encourage more people to walk and cycle more often.
The proposal to close Dovecote Lane formed part of the county council’s Active Travel Fund bid. The Government was clear that any proposals must “meaningfully alter the status quo by providing segregation [between cyclists and pedestrians as well as between cyclists and motor traffic] or point closures to through traffic” to deliver interventions to encourage more walking and cycling; and embed walking and cycling as part of long-term commuting habits to secure the associated health, air quality and congestion benefits.
The revised scheme proposes a point closure on Dovecote Lane near the war memorial and that motor vehicles are prohibited from accessing Dovecote Lane from Middle Street and vice versa as a trial. This will involve the introduction of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order. The experimental prohibition is to be implemented by installing three planters in the carriageway at the northern end of Dovecote Lane between West End and Middle Street, near to numbers 2 and 4 Highfield Court.
The introduction of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) does not mean that the prohibition would be permanent. An ETRO allows the impact of the prohibition to be assessed and commented on before a decision is made on whether it should become permanent.
Frequently asked questions
We have also reviewed comments received during and since the first consultation and have produced a list of frequently asked questions to accompany the consultation. Please take the time to read the FAQs before proceeding to the online consultation questionnaire.
Public consultation was carried out over four weeks between 8th February and 7th March 2021. The consultation was open to anyone to take part in, but a consultation pack containing a letter, site notice and plan was posted to 204 residents, stakeholders and business owners and emailed to an additional 22 stakeholders and statutory consultees. This included emergency services and the borough council. In addition, 16 site notices were erected along the length of Dovecote Lane and a press release was issued by the county council. The consultation pack was uploaded to the council’s consultation website and further information was made available on the NCC Active Travel Fund webpage.
Responses were encouraged to be submitted via a dedicated questionnaire on the Citizen Space survey platform to enable information to be collected on consultees and their travel preferences, but responses were also accepted in writing and by phone.
Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue and East Midlands Ambulance Service were consulted as statutory consultees as part of the first consultation and no expression of concern was received. Nottinghamshire Police had concerns about the location of the point closure, but not about the restriction itself. They will be consulted as part of this round of consultation regarding the revised scheme proposal.
Dovecote Lane has been identified as a route of strategic importance for cyclists. The route had previously been identified through public consultation carried out as part of the development of the council’s Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). This is because Dovecote Lane provides a direct connection between the town centre and the railway station and National Cycle Network Route 6.
The road also forms part of a proposed strategic cycle route that will run from Nottingham to Derby via Beeston, Chilwell and Toton, click here for illustrated plan of strategic cycle route and existing routes, and Dovecote Lane.
This project is being funded by the City Council using money they have received through the Transforming Cities Fund. The county council recently agreed to carry out consultation on this proposal, and further details will be made available shortly.
In light of the above, the scheme proposal was included in the county council’s Active Travel Fund bid, which called for proposals that would look to “meaningfully alter the status quo by providing segregation …… or point closures to through traffic”. At the same time as the government created the Active Travel Fund, it also issued a new cycling strategy called Gear Change. The strategy set out the government’s vision for creating new cycle infrastructure to encourage more people to consider cycling for short trips. The government also set out challenging design standards that local authorities must follow in order to secure funding to deliver this vision. These design standards are intended to create routes that can and will be used by cyclists of all ages (including children), experience and confidence levels. The government’s vision underpins the strategic importance of the proposed scheme along Dovecote Lane.
In addition, the council had received complaints from residents of Dovecote Lane, concerned about the volume of through traffic and the speed of vehicles using the road.
To determine if there was a way to improve the cycling environment while also addressing the concerns that were raised during the consultation undertaken last year, a study was undertaken to consider twelve alternative proposals, which included those suggested by residents. The options were:
- Traffic calming
- Introducing a 20mph speed limit
- An alternative cycle route using Melrose Avenue, Waverley Avenue and Moore Gate
- An alternative cycle route using Trevor Road and West End
- Reducing the road width on Dovecote Lane to reduce speeds and deter through traffic
- Making Dovecote Lane one-way and installing a two-way cycle track along it
- Making Dovecote Lane one-way with a contraflow one-way cycle track
- Introducing a lorry ban
- Introducing turning bans to reduce the amount of traffic on Dovecote Lane
- Removing on-street parking to reduce traffic volumes
- Locating the point closure on Dovecote Lane north of Melrose Avenue
- Locating the point closure on Dovecote Lane north of West End.
The study confirmed that the only viable option that met the funding requirements of the ATF is to install a point closure on Dovecote Lane to through traffic. The proposal has, however, been modified to change the location of the point closure to the north of West End near the war memorial. This addresses:
- concern that it would transfer the traffic from Dovecote Lane on to Barrydale Avenue, Robinet Road, Georgina Road, Trevor Road and West End.
- concern raised by the Police about the emergency services being able to access the care home located at the northern end of Dovecote Lane from Queens Road as this is the route they would take in an emergency.
The county council was approached by residents in 2014 who were concerned about the adverse impacts of parking on the road. The council carried out surveys to determine whether restrictions might be appropriate.
It was decided at the time that the removal of on-street parking was likely to lead to an increase in vehicle speeds which, in turn, was likely to increase instances of rat-running.
While the council isn’t consulting on the proposal to introduce parking restrictions as part of this project, it may be possible to consider restrictions if the road closure proves successful and is made permanent. The council will be monitoring this issue during the time the experimental Order is in place.
The scheme received positive comments about improving cycle route connectivity, making walking and cycling safer and more attractive, reducing traffic levels and speeds on Dovecote Lane, and how the proposals will enhance the environment.
Although there were a large number of objections, they mainly focussed on a small number of issues:
- The majority of comments regarded traffic diverting onto surrounding roads: either onto unsuitable nearby residential roads or onto Queens Road resulting in delays at nearby junctions (i.e., increased journey times and pollution).
- Concerns were raised about the difficulties experienced when turning into and out of Queens Road from Dovecote Lane and Waverley Avenue.
The Council was able to modify the proposed scheme to address some of the concerns about traffic re-routing onto other residential roads in vicinity of Dovecote Lane; and is implementing improvements to increase capacity at the Queens Road/Station Road junction which will increase improve its operation.
It was felt, therefore, that it was appropriate to carry out an experiment to determine whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.
Increasing cycling and walking can help tackle some of the most challenging issues we face as a society – improving air quality, combatting climate change, improving health and wellbeing, addressing inequalities and tackling congestion on our roads.
Beyond these more general benefits, there are several benefits that are specific to this proposal.
Dovecote Lane is a historic road dating from the 1800’s, and as with many ancient roads, it is very narrow at only 4.6 metres wide in places. Dovecote Lane also has no pavement on one side in places. This can be intimidating for cyclists and pedestrians as traffic passes very close by. Not only is the road an historic residential street, it also adjoins the Dovecote Lane Recreation Ground which houses a playground, and The Willows Open Space. Removing through traffic from Dovecote Lane would provide benefits for residents of the road and visitors to the open spaces, as well as providing a quieter route for cyclists and pedestrians.
It is acknowledged that there are also disadvantages to the proposals: residents have raised concerns about the increased traffic on other roads, the impact this increased traffic will have on congestion, delays and air quality; and the additional journey time that will be necessary for some trips.
Air quality is monitored by the borough council, and any locations where it falls below acceptable levels are subject to the creation of formal Air Quality Management Areas. This area does not suffer from poor air quality levels and the redistribution of traffic is not expected to worsen this noticeably.
It is hoped that this project – along with others the council hopes to deliver over the short, medium and long term – will encourage more people to walk and cycle, and that this will contribute to an improvement in air quality and reduction in traffic delays.
The county council carried out traffic speed and flow surveys along Dovecote Lane in 2014 in relation to complaints about those issues and parking. Further surveys were carried out in July, October and November 2021.
They recorded an average of:
- 861 pedestrian trips a day of which 5% were in the road,
- 84 cycle trips a day of which 8% were on the pavement,
When daily and monthly variation is taken into account, the survey estimates that Dovecote Lane carries around 1,300 vehicles a day on average. As explained in answer to the question ‘Has the council carried out any assessment of the likely impact of closing Dovecote Lane on nearby roads and junctions?’, this figure is likely to be lower than normal because of the on-going impact of the pandemic.
Traffic data was gathered in 2021. However, this was at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic was still affecting travel behaviour. This had a significant impact on traffic levels, especially during peak times. The results of any assessment using data gathered in 2021 were likely to give a false impression of any impact the proposed scheme might have on the remaining highway network, particularly at historically busy locations such as main junctions.
The county council is aware that it has been unable to assess the likely impact the changes will have. It is accepted that this is not an ideal situation, and the 5 January committee report makes reference to this, noting that this is one of the key reasons for proposing to introduce the scheme. The use of an experimental Order allows the council to monitor the impact of the closure as restrictions ease and traffic patterns settle down and carry out an assessment using real data rather than relying on assumptions.
The county council has used household size information taken from the Census and personal car trip generation data from the National Travel Survey to estimate the number of car trips on Dovecote Lane made by local residents.
It is estimated that local traffic accounts for roughly 950 trips on Dovecote Lane. The average daily traffic flow is estimated as 1,300 vehicles.
This suggests that roughly 350 trips a day (27% of the total traffic on Dovecote Lane) are not undertaken by local residents.
Broxtowe Borough Council is responsible for monitoring air quality and declaring Air Quality Management Areas where it is recorded that the level of pollutants exceeds specified levels. There are no AQMAs in Beeston, and the likely increases in traffic volumes on some roads are not expected to materially affect air quality levels. An equality impact assessment has been carried out. The county council was not required to carry out an environmental impact assessment as part of the bid process and is not required to carry one out prior to introducing traffic management measures.
Firstly, the government initially set a deadline for the introduction of Active Travel Fund schemes of 31 March 2022. Introducing a Traffic Regulation Order in this timescale was challenging but was made more difficult by the need to carry out an assessment of alternative options. Experimental Orders allow the council to introduce the scheme at the same time as the consultation takes place rather than after it. This would have enabled the council to meet the deadline set by the government.
Following comments received from residents, mainly about frustration in regard to the lack of consultation on the revised proposals, the Council negotiated an extension to the delivery timescales with the Department for Transport, meaning any proposed scheme can now be delivered next financial year.
Secondly, as noted in the question ‘Has the council carried out any assessment of the likely impact of closing Dovecote Lane on nearby roads and junctions?’, the county council hasn’t been able to accurately assess the impact of the proposal on the nearby road network, and an experimental Order allows it to trial the scheme, monitor the impact to assess if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and make an informed decision about whether to make it permanent.
Changes to the way a road is managed (such as road closures, making them one-way or introducing parking restrictions) require a Traffic Regulation Order. This is usually a permanent Order but sometimes temporary or experimental Orders can be more appropriate. Permanent Orders involve a short period of consultation prior to their introduction. Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs) are implemented when there is genuine uncertainty around the likely impacts of a proposed restriction and therefore the Council cannot determine whether the restriction proposed is the most appropriate.
If an ETRO is introduced, it does not mean that the scheme will be made permanent. The scheme is installed and the ETRO implemented for a minimum period of six months, during which time formal objections and comments on the scheme must be submitted. The County Council has to make the Order permanent or remove it within 18 months of the implementation of the ETRO. During the first six months of operation, changes can be made to the Order to resolve difficulties if considered appropriate.
Please ensure your response is submitted by the end of Wednesday 13 April 2022 when the consultation will close. The replies will be reviewed and fed back to the county council to support the decision-making process. Please contact us on 0115 804 2100 if you require the information contained on here and the questionnaire in a different format.
Officers will analyse the results of the consultation and will advise councillors so an informed decision can be reached on how to proceed. The results of the second round of consultation will be reported on the Active Travel Fund website following presentation of the consultation findings to councillors.