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The central Bus Station proposals are ill-formed and inadequate. The Council refused to answer at the LDP Inquiry and now say it’s deferred till June/July.
I hear the foul-up is due to 'major projects' and now Ramesh Patel is carrying the can:
Labours Ramesh Patel, cabinet member for Transport says the document quoted in the Echo’s front page on Friday is not adopted – but it was commissioned by the Council and changed in accord with Council comments in November 2014
- Submitted to the LDP Inquiry early February, that says Cardiff Bus would use it just for turning buses around and use stops on the street (like the 95 and 96 now use Wood St.)
- The Masterplan for Central Sq (incl. the current Marland House/Media Centre application) proposes use only by present services (41% of city buses) and no coaches at all. It includes narrowing Wood St and having a taxi rank there, presumably displacing bus stops.
- The Cabinet decision for use of the Marland House site has been finessed into CAB/14/ 80 Min No 102 Central Bus Interchange –
1. .. it be agreed that the new bus interchange will be located as part of the development of the Marland House/NCP Car Park site at Central Square.
This wording (part of) let them to continue to use the ‘Masterplan’ with inadequate space and accesses (below), instead of a “world-class” bus station on the whole of this side of Central Square. The new documents posted on 13 March (public ad 26th March) confirm only the NCP-site for buses, limited accesses and nothing for the Metro
Capacity much too low in numbers of stands, passenger flows and bus/coach flows
13/14 stands is too few; their ideas to meet capacity limits are
- National express etc. coaches to go elsewhere
- Cardiff Bus to continue or expand use of scattered terminals on-street
- Allow for only 15% expansion of buses, ignoring the LDP’s 50:50 modal split
- ‘hot stands’ with services switched to vacant slots and rapid loading, with no layover till time-tabled departure time
Last-minute reallocation of stands with screens/announcements means people rushing back and forth in a confined space. Worsened awkward turns from and into Wood Street across main pedestrian flows. No allowance for Metro along Wood Street/St Marys Street across pedestrian and bus access/egress.
- the Cardiff plan for the tram-train Metro issued at the LDP Inquiry runs along Wood St, with a stop opposite Havelock St… no design or space for two-way metro-style platforms (as Manchesters, in evidence to the LDP inquiry)
- the planning application (demolition of Marland House… + media centre; updates 11 March) shows buildings along the Marland Street frontage to Wood St as present, forcing the access/egress for buses into a restricted area, preventing direct egress into Havelock Street.
- Buses not normally to use Saunders Road for access (by the Great Western pub), as this is reserved for vehicles to a new car park (incl 213 spaces for the BBC, 100 for new offices) and taxis.
- During ‘event’ closures, buses would enter/exit via Saunders Road, but the metro-line would be blocked; no provision for Fri/Sat closures of lower St Mary’s Street, though the Saunders Rd-Westgate St route through the bus station appears feasible.
- no provision for a rail-Metro to join the rail-track, on or alongside Platform 0.
- A rail-metro cannot run in via the south side of the station as sketched, if only because the low voltage tram could not cross the high-voltage main line. Cardiff therefore have to leave space for in Saunders Rd/Central Square for this option, as well as on-street options.
- running the metro via Saunders Road would have advantages for either option, so should be left open in a changed Masterplan.
See extracts below from Max Wallis LDP submissions on the Regional transport hub, which includes the site plan in the Masterplan, with Bus Station on the NCP site only, as unchanged since. Mark Drakeford said he'd consult Kay Powell on whether to seek a call-in of the application on grounds that it would prevent the Regional Transport Interchange, including metro options. No answer on that yet.
Hearing Session 2: Infrastructure & Delivery - Wed 14 January 2015 Max Wallis https://www.cardiff.gov.uk/ENG/resident/Planning/Local-Development-Plan/Examination/Hearings-Timetable/Session2/Documents/HS2%20%282475%29%20Wallis.pdf
Central Square attempt to pre-empt an integrated transport interchange
A new Bus Station in an integrated transport hub has been delayed several times, because the previous Council and this one want maximum space for commercial development on Central Square. Cardiff Council plan to dispose of this publicly-owned land, even though it is not surplus to requirements for an integrated transport hub. They plan to dispose of the land 2 or more years in advance of a new bus station, on the excuse of waiting for leases to expire on the new Marland House site (instead of requiring the BBC/developers to buy out the leases). The Central Sq plans are heavily criticised (Prof Stuart Cole) as not transport-driven but commercial development-driven. The Council publicity denied this but the LTP’s s.19 confirms it. The Council mounted a ‘consultation’ on moving the bus-station off Central Square, as an isolated change unrelated to integration with trains and metro. The Council claims to be in partnership with the developer (www.rightacres.co.uk/capitalsquare/4584419104), but the latter says Rightacres is the exclusive developer of Central Square - Cardiff’s new premier financial and professional services destination at the heart of the Cardiff Enterprise Zone that will set a new standard for city centre regeneration. The 800,000 sq ft development will be office-led, but with a mixture of uses, providing high quality commercial, civic, residential, hotel, leisure and retail space in a carefully planned and managed environment. A contemporary integrated transport hub will be provided in the immediate vicinity of Capital Square.
Figure from Central Sq “Masterplan” CARDIFF_CENTRAL_MASTERPLAN_PART1.pdf
|Figure from Central Sq “Masterplan” CARDIFF_CENTRAL_MASTERPLAN|
Cardiff Council as property developer has signed a contract that would exclude areas of publicly-owned land being used for transport infrastructure. As planning authority, the Council could reject an application that does not leave proper space for the metro, coach and bus station and joint passenger facilities. The conflict of interest needs the LDP Inspector to intervene and require it to be set in the context of LDP decisions. Rightacres and the Foster partners operating for the BBC are writing the Masterplan, which has been long promised, never made public, but details of the proposed masterplan were leaked in October: www.propertymall.com/property-news/article/37005-Cardiff-Central-SquareMasterplan-unveiled Wood Street… has been completely revamped to create a new boulevard with high quality office buildings either side and the space is designed to accommodate the Metro as and when it comes in to play. The redevelopment project will include unrivalled local and international transport links, the latest in sustainable design and a vibrant mix of business, retail, leisure and public spaces.
The Council has now accepted a planning application for the BBC building with a masterplan that ignores requirements for integrating a metro station into the ‘integrated transport hub’, and expects to push the plan through before the LDP inquiry reports. I’d ask the inspector to issue an interim decision to stop this premature decision that pre-empts sensible planning; alternatively to ask the Welsh Government to call in the planning application.
The Central Bus Station and continual delays in delivering a new one as part of an integrated transport interchange goes contrary to Welsh and City policies. The LDP’s half sentence in clause j of objectives 1 (economic needs) "improving the city’s key transport hub... " and the LTP’s half sentence in s.19 “This will be further enhanced by … the relocation of the Central Bus Station” show the lack of regard to public transport.
The earlier discussions show Cardiff Council was set on providing a small capacity bus station with fewer stands (19-22, compared with 26) and about 3 layby positions (smaller than eg. Swansea and Newport). Hull has a recently-built integrated bus/train station and over 20 stands for smaller population (250 000 and no city-region). Cardiff planners did not allow space for expanding buses with population growth and modal shift (75% as above; less if the Metro takes a fraction). Press reports still talk of a smaller bus station though there’s no official report. The LTP (and LDP) give no figures for capacity. The Council planners apparently do not want to provide for long-distance coaches, though National Express said they want to stay. The following sentence in the LTP’s 3.1.5 is revealing “CCC will continue to facilitate the high profile use of Cardiff Bus Station by Traws Cymru services” This special regard to the Airport coach (and a daily bus to Llandrindod/Newtown,) highly subsidised by the WG, indicates an intention not to facilitate National Express and Megabus.
A new integrated transport hub as an ‘economic and social need’ requires extra clauses under objective 3: To deliver economic and social needs in a co-ordinated way that respects Cardiff’s environment and responds to the challenges of climate change. I propose adding
** to promote public transport as a means to achieve environmental objectives, to assist in relieving congestion and to encourage social inclusion
** to build an integrated transport interchange including a new bus station on Central Sq, which will have capacity to handle all city, regional and long-distance buses/ coaches and accommodate future expansion to meet the increase role for bus transport. It will include space for the various rapid transit systems envisaged in the LDP and be able to operate during 'event' days
** to meet the legal obligations of air quality re. the AQMA (Westgate St/St Marys St) by severely limiting new developments in the Central Square area to exclude non-essential vehicle access and parking, except where (more than) equivalent reductions in vehicle parking places and usage of Westgate St are also secured.
Air Quality. In relation to the third clause to be added on air pollution, I would point out
a) that the LTP and LDP lack policy on Air Pollution,
b) that the AQMA issue had been raised in relation to the Central Square development but suppressed by the Council (and the developers’ masterplan),
c) the recent Supreme Court decision that public authorities have a duty to implement an ‘action plan’ to meet the pollution limits transgressed in the AQMA and
d) Cardiff Council has no viable action plan or intent to draw one up.
Without a general policy on air pollution or AQMA-related policy as this one, the Council has no planning policies to implement its duty.
** two court cases against the Government have been prompted by a failure to meet EU nitrogen dioxide limit values. The first case, brought by Client Earth, led to a Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that the UK was in breach of its obligations under Directive. The Supreme Court referred the case to the European Court of Justice. The ECJ ruled on 19 November 2014 that the UK Government should have prepared plans to achieve compliance with limit values by January 2015. The Environmental Audit Committee’s new report Action on air quality (8 Dec. 2014) said New schools, hospitals and care homes must not be built next to air pollution hotspots to help reduce the tens of thousands of deaths currently being caused by nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate pollution (PM 2.5 & PM 10) every year in our cities. The EAC seek new planning laws; pending the Welsh Government issuing new laws, the LDP should come up with a policy on Air Pollution that pays heed to their information. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmselect/cmenvaud/212/212.pdf
Hearing Session 14: Transport Matters
The Regional Transport Hub’ (T4) is not only regional but a Welsh-national strategic transport interchange. On either account, leaving it vague in the LDP’s half sentence in clause j of objectives 1 (economic needs) "improving the city’s key transport hub... " is quite unsound. It would make the claims to a “world class integrated transport facility” just empty talk, a pretence to cover up the Council’s choice of commercial development of the Square above proper provisions for metro/bus rapid transit, city buses, regional and national rail and coach services. To conform with national policy, let the inspector insert specific clauses under objective 3: [To deliver economic and social needs in a co-ordinated way ….].
** to promote public transport as a means to achieve environmental objectives, to assist in relieving congestion and to encourage social inclusion
** to build an integrated transport interchange including a new bus station on Central Square, which will have capacity to handle all city, regional and long-distance buses/ coaches and accommodate future expansion to meet the increase role for bus transport. It will include space for the alternative rapid transit/metro systems and be able to operate during 'event' days.
This should include or refer to a plan (as in the SDG report) showing the rapid transit alternatives as they pass through the interchange, as well as bus-routing and cycle/pedestrian routes.
10. Does the Plan provide sufficient clarity and detail of the proposed Regional Transport Hub? No; the current specific proposals prevent options and undermine the basic purpose. The Steer Davies Gleeve report(SDG) used as basis for Central Sq plans is no more than an Appendix agreed by Cabinet prior to going for ‘Scrutiny’. Its proposing “a second location for a coach station in Cardiff be explored as part of a wider movement strategy” is contrary to LDP policy and has not been consulted on and adopted. It pays no regard to the Cardiff-Region metro study (cardiff-metro-update-report August 2014 is WG endorsed in the draft National Transport Plan) that requires “truly multi-modal transport interchanges, which include provision for active travel, at key locations. Cardiff Central Station, at the heart of the Central Cardiff Enterprise Zone, will be an early priority.” The LDP needs to define the functions of the Regional Transport Hub. The Cabinet-endorsed SDG report argues for a “world class integrated transport facility” and “a defining community feature instilling a sense of pride in users and the wider community”. Ticketing facilities, waiting areas, retail and catering specified; also design with legible spaces, direct convenient routes and visibility; adequate access points; efficient operations, spatial capacity for all station functions, appropriate space for all vehicles (including layover) and passengers. Usable, active and secure facilities for day and night use. well integrated with the surrounding urban context. Amenities need to relate to the type and frequency of services (eg. bus or coach) customers and dwell characteristics. They should also meet the changing need and use of bus services such as smart ticketing and quality information. The bus station needs to face onto Central Square and integrate with movements across it, not be dominated and conce4aled by the proposed office tower blocks of the Masterplan. SDG state the obvious – need for spatial capacity to meet predicted future demand, but then assumes figures that fail to do it (increase in buses by only 15%). In view of the Cabinet/SDG’s failure of this elementary planning principle, the LDP should specify assessing capacity for buses that could take advantage of the new bus station siting - with improved access/egress which allows it to include the BayBus, Airport coach T99 and city using St Mary’s Street. The LDP needs to specify road design to enable easy efficient bus access/egress to Bus Station, priority over other traffic, including running the metro-tram and BayBus etc. via Saunders Road.
The LDP should specify the need to operate the Bus Station continuously from present, not close it down for 2 years or more to prioritise a development (BBC) that’s not part of the declared purposes of Central Sq (integrated transport objective) or the Enterprise Zone(prof & financial business services). With the failure of the LTP to state the case against closing the Bus Station, the LDP should do this and specify improving operations of our neglected station to handle further buses until the new bus station is ready. The LDP should also specify need to operate both metro-trams and buses during road closures on event days and Fri/Sat evenings. Saunders Road running is essential to avoid the regular closure of lower St Mary’s Street during Friday/Sat. evenings (an issue ignored by SDG). It is also essential in some options for routing the metro-tram ignored by SDG. SDG’s Fig. 2.13 indicates metro routing into a platform on the southern side of Central Station (south of Platforms 6/7). As Mr Davidson stated, the different electric power requirements will not allow a traintram to cross the main line, as required to serve NW Cardiff. Instead, an option needs to be retained to join the main line on the north of the Station, passing along Saunders Road or a viaduct over it. The metro train-tram needs space for high-quality waiting facilities and ‘station’ within the interchange. I showed examples from Manchester’s metrolink with its train-style platforms and ticket machines etc. The cardiff-metro-update-report-august-2014 “detailed investigation of a variety of possible Metro interventions” The LDP needs to state that option must be kept open, pending further decision. Legal limit on air pollution in St Marys Street/Westgate St AQMA. The assessment disregards the increased air pollution from traffic to and from the transport interchange, and disregards the exposure of people bus-users; the only receptors are said to be residents, yet air pollution law requires regard to numbers of people exposed for significant periods of time. Siting bus waiting there is incompatible with the unlawful levels of NO2. An Action Plan could include measures that affect the operation of the Regional hub eg. #limiting traffic, # introduce electric or hybrid buses # limiting taxis and/or requiring low emission taxis. It could also affect the and the development of the ‘strategic site’ in eg. tying any car parking in Central Sq to closure of car parking spaces. In the absence of a general policy on air pollution (as eg. in the Cycling Campaign’s case),the LDP should specify in regard to the Westgate/St Mary’s AQMA that the Central Sq development should be at least ‘air quality neutral’ and not lead to further deterioration of existing poor air quality (a policy in London). Because of the transportation importance, the LDP should specify that developments in Central Sq be limited to ones related to its functions for # prof & financial business services, #serving stadium crowds and # transport interchange, including facilities and passenger amenities ( as SDG). This would reject AECOM’s “wider regeneration vision … likely to include a number of land uses including retail, private residential apartments, student accommodation, a hotel and further office floorspace”. Taxis are part of integrated transport but given too high priority by Cardiff Council, in over-issuing licenses and not enforcing on-street waiting restrictions. Their proposal to displace taxis from the Station into Wood Street is wrong; buses and coaches need all the priority there, unless a study shows otherwise.