Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP)
7. Future Demands and Links to Southend Borough Council's Strategic Documents
Southend-on-Sea is within the regeneration area of Thames Gateway South Essex and will benefit from public and private investment, leading to a growth in population, jobs and housing provision. Targets for growth are set at 13,000 extra jobs and 6,500 dwellings by 2021within the Borough.
The town is also the closest seaside resort to London and is a well-known tourist destination. This increase in population and tourism is expected to have an impact on the PRoW network and cycling provision.
Government guidance requires the ROWIP to be developed within the context of relevant plans and documents prepared by the Council. The following policy documents focus on the development of Southend-on-Sea and outline objectives that will contribute towards meeting the predicted needs created by the increase in employment and housing as referred to above. The documents and the objectives that are linked to areas discussed within the ROWIP are outlined below:-
Sustainable Community Strategy
The strategy is underpinned by the Southend-on-Sea Local Area Agreement which outlines priorities for the area and how they will be met as agreed between Central Government and Southend Together (a local strategic partnership for Southend-on-Sea).
This document sets out a number of aims that are linked to this ROWIP, namely:
Health and Social Wellbeingto provide opportunities for people to take regular exercise in order for them to lead a healthier lifestyle. Transport and Access to make the Borough more accessible. This will be achieved by a number of methods, including a proposal to increase the amount of walking and cycling. The current and planned action to achieve this includes;
- the continued implementation of the cycle network
- provision of safe walking and cycling routes
- increasing the level of cycling and walking, particularly to schools and for short journeys
Southend's Local Area Agreement
This document (2007 - 2010) sets out the Borough's key points where working together can make a difference. The document looks at "Growth and Regeneration" as Southend-on-Sea has been designated an area of change in the Thames Gateway and is one of four Growth Areas in Southern England within the Governments Sustainable Communities.
Southend Together Community Plan
The Community Plan is about the future for Southend-on-Sea and sets out the priorities for the town over the next ten years. The Community Plan is about bringing all the existing plans and strategies for Southend-on-Sea together, so there is one joined up approach to making Southend-on-Sea a better place to live, work and visit. "Southend Together strives to achieve these priorities".
Local Transport Plan 2 (2006 - 2011) (LTP2)
There are a number of commitments outlined in the LTP2 document that will also deliver objectives that are set out within the ROWIP and referenced in the Sustainable Community Strategy.
Commitments relating to Safer Roads and Tackling Congestion will also meet the shared objectives within the ROWIP, namely:
The Safer Journeys to School Programme encourages children and families to choose sustainable modes of transport for school journeys. The programme:-
- sets out a target to ensure that congestion reduction opportunities are realised where possible
- School Travel Plans are in place to encourage children and staff to travel by sustainable means
By linking the ROWIP to this policy, it will be possible to maximise the potential for rights of way improvements where they are connected to popular school routes.
The Walking and Cycling Strategies set out a vision to make the Borough more attractive and safer which will encourage greater use of these modes of transport. It is committed to providing appropriate facilities to encourage pedestrian and cycle movement across the Borough. This is supported by The Greengrid Strategy (an initiative from the Thames Gateway South Essex) which identifies a number of "Greenways", described as corridors offering a pleasant environment for walkers and cyclists between green spaces and urban areas.
The ROWIP will assist in meeting this vision.
The Walking Strategy sets out a vision to create a quality environment in which walking is the preferred mode of transport for trips under 2km.
To deliver the walking strategy, the ROWIP will seek to link with the LTP2 to prioritise maintenance and improvements of the PRoW network. This objective will also help to meet the vision to improve health and fitness achieved by an increase in physical activity afforded by increased walking.
The Cycling Strategy sets a target to increase cycle use by 5%.
- 50% of all cycling trips within the Borough are less than 3.2km;
- 46% of all trips to work within the Borough are less than 3.2 km.
To deliver the cycling strategy, the LTP2 seeks to complete the cycle network, which could require conversion of some public footpaths to cycle track.
The permissive rural link of the Prittle Brook Greenway cycle track within Belfairs Park has recently been constructed and the Secretary of State has approved the cycle track conversion orders (from footpaths to cycle track) for the continuation along the urban section of Prittle Brook Greenway.
The Thames Gateway South Essex Greengrid Strategy
Greengrid is a long-term strategy delivered through Thames Gateway South Essex to connect green spaces in South Essex. The vision will support the growth of a network of high quality open spaces and green infrastructure links, including footpaths and cyclepaths. This strategy will be primarily delivered through the planning system and will link to Parks and Open Space Strategies and PPG17: Open Space, Sports and Recreation.
Local Development Framework (LDF)
The LDF consists of a number of strategic documents that include "Green Space & Green Grid Strategy" (SPD2) and "Sustainable Transport" (SPD3) These documents will replace the Southend-on-Sea Borough Local Plan and are proposed to be adopted in January 2008 and May 2008 respectively.
Renaissance Southend Ltd (RSL)
Renaissance Southend Limited is the Urban Regeneration Company (URC) for Southend. It has been created to deliver the physical regeneration and redevelopment of key areas in the town. RSL have produced a 'Regeneration Framework' that aims to contribute in an holistic way to the broad regeneration and sustainable growth agenda required to achieve the step change needed in the town.
It is vital that opportunities are taken to improve the public rights of way network as part of the new development proposals.
Disability Equality Scheme - 2006 (DES)
The Government introduced a new disability duty to make a difference for the disabled community in general. The Council are committed to considering disability, along with the other five equality strands in their approach to all their services and all employees. To meet this requirement, the DES will become part of the way all services are delivered to the community at large and will be referred to throughout the development of the strategies and programme of delivery for the ROWIP.
By promoting the DES through the borough, services will be designed and delivered with disabled people in mind which will improve access for everyone and create a better Southend.