TRANSPORT | Improving Safety


10.2.1  In addition to improved air quality, an increased take-up of sustainable modes of transport will help improve the physical and mental well-being of the community as a whole, through exercise and the sense of community that is gained by walking and cycling.

10.2.2  A well-connected neighbourhood can encourage sustainable journeys. Where connections that can be made on foot or bicycle are quick and convenient, people are more likely to choose these modes of travel. Where footpath connections are not short, residents may find themselves forced to take longer routes and consequently choose to travel by car.

10.2.3  In order to achieve the SWNP objectives, the town must offer an excellent walking and cycling network between and throughout the residential areas and the town centre, with special consideration to be made for school children and the elderly.

10.2.4  The SWNP proposes a “wish list” of infrastructure solutions which would make walking and cycling more attractive in the town. This has been drawn up by local residents, particularly families with children, and is listed in Appendix 3. The SWNP encourages Essex Highways to engage and consult with these proposals. If the District Council adopts the Community Infrastructure Levy and a long-term infrastructure delivery plan is drawn up these proposals should from an integral part of the plans.

10.2.5  The Manual for Streets published by The Department for Transport (DfT) sets out a user hierarchy to be applied to the design process, with pedestrians being considered first when designing, building, retrofitting, maintaining and/or improving streets. [1]

10.2.6  The Manual for Streets states that works to streets should be designed to keep vehicle speed at or below 20mph in streets and places with significant pedestrian movement unless there are overriding reasons for accepting higher speeds [2]. This is backed up by the Essex Design Guide and is policy across Essex.  

10.2.7  For clarity, all streets within the development limits of Saffron Walden are considered to already have, or wish to attract, significant pedestrian movement. Therefore, the SWNP supports all streets, both existing and yet to be built, being designed to keep vehicle speeds at or below 20mph. Some methods of achieving this, for example speed bumps, have since been discovered to be counter-productive. Thus, when designing new schemes, the best-known methods for achieving slower traffic speeds should always be used, bearing in mind the experiences of other local authorities which have already rolled out this measure.

10.2.8  In previous years, police policy was sometimes to object to porosity of developments on grounds that porous developments make it easier for crime to be committed and for criminals to escape along alleyways. Since then the police have issued new guidelines Secured by Design – New Homes 2014. These guidelines recognise that permeable developments are better for residents, and that it is possible to ‘design in’ crime reducing measures, for example by ensuring that all footpaths are well lit, are set out where they are overlooked, and surrounding landscaping planting is low. Moreover, as the police make increasing use of drones (something supported by 84% of the population according to DfT research [3]) a good network of footpaths need not be an obstacle to catching criminals.

10.2.9  Essex County Council, as the Highways Authority, has the final say in which highways schemes may be implemented. The barriers to the implementation of new pedestrian infrastructure are largely due to financial constraints. The barriers to the implementation of cycling infrastructure are largely due to Essex-specific design codes, for example on the mandatory width of cycle paths. It should be noted that the roads in Saffron Walden are generally too narrow to meet the Essex criteria for the installation of cycle paths, which is why previous requests have been turned down.



[1] Manual for Streets Table 4.1

[2] Manual for Streets paragraph 6.3.19

[3] Department for Transport Research and analysis Transport and transport technology: public attitudes tracker published 26th October 2018



1.  Development proposals which retain or incorporate safe, attractive and direct walking and cycling routes on site and which appropriately mitigate the impact of additional transport movements in the parish created through the development scheme will be supported.

2.  New developments must meet the following criteria:

  • Existing footpaths and pedestrian cut-throughs through town are protected;
  • New footpaths are designed to a standard that they can be recognised as Public Rights of Way and be adopted by Essex County Council Highway Authority;
  • All new developments are designed to be permeable, in order to encourage and enable pedestrians and cyclists to walk or cycle by the shortest route; and
  • Footpaths on new developments conform to recommendations made by Secured by Design – New Homes 2014 or a later equivalent.

3.  For developer contributions to any off-site highways schemes or improvements:

  • The scheme design will conform with DfT user-hierarchy guidelines, so that it will make provision for pedestrians first, cyclists second, public transportation third, and private vehicles last.
  • Until or unless an up to date highways study is carried out, when selecting schemes for funding, priority must be given to the SWNP infrastructure schemes.

4.  All new streets within the development limits of the parish must be designed to keep vehicle speeds at or below 20mph.

This policy supports the Neighbourhood Plan Objectives 1,2,3,4,5


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10.2.10  Travel Plans are projects run with the aim of encouraging people to adopt environmentally sustainable ways of getting about. Developers must deliver them for significant developments, and schools and businesses are encouraged to have up to date plans for their employees and pupils.

10.2.11  The SWNP supports and encourages effective Travel Plans, and the Town Council, which has the longest-term interest in the well-being of the citizens in the town, is keen to deliver travel plans in cases where otherwise they would be delivered by a developer or a company which is based elsewhere.

10.2.12  Travel plans must include measurable objectives.


  1. Developer travel plans will be expected to include provision for funding and delivery of sustainable travel initiatives.
  2. The Town Council will have the right of first refusal in delivery of travel plans.
  3. Travel plans must have measurable objectives.

This policy supports the
Neighbourhood Plan Objectives 2,3,4,5


Please use the relevant section numbers as reference markers when writing your comments.

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Neighbourhood Plan Objectives

Objective 1

Saffron Walden will be an economically active and self-sustaining town, offering equal opportunities to all.

Objective 2

Saffron Walden’s residents will be able to live as healthily as possible.

Objective 3

Saffron Walden will be an environmentally sustainable town.

Objective 4

Saffron Walden’s heritage assets, high quality landscape and conservation areas will be protected or enhanced.

Objective 5

Saffron Walden will retain its market-town feel and community spirit.


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