The JCS is a partnership between Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council which sets out a strategic planning framework for the combined area. The previous JCS was adopted in 2017 covering up to 2031, but this required immediate review due to insufficient housing to meet local needs. Since then, all JCS authorities have declared a climate emergency, prompting Gloucester County Council to prepare a Climate Change Strategy in 2019, identifying bold action needed to achieve net zero carbon emissions across the region by 2050. This requirement to achieve net zero meant that the transport infrastructure measures previously identified were no longer appropriate. The production of a Sustainable Transport Strategy will underpin the JCS Review - a strategic-level plan of the housing and employment growth requirements and the spatial strategy for fulfilling those requirements across Tewkesbury, Cheltenham, and Gloucester.
City Science employed an innovative analysis of transport and contextual datasets and carried out an extensive policy and strategy review. This was supported by close engagement with key transport stakeholders - including Highways England, Gloucestershire County Council, Homes England and Stagecoach West, through a monthly Transport Working Group - to understand key local opportunities and constraints. This evidence base formed the foundation for the development of a bespoke multi-criteria site assessment to evaluate the potential for the development of 55 possible sites aligned with sustainable transport objectives.
City Science Response
The assessment methodology was developed and agreed with key transport stakeholders through workshops with the Transport Working Group. Each of the 55 sites were subject to a transport accessibility appraisal which was based upon a RAG (Red, Amber, Green) scoring matrix using indicators such as:
- Road Capacity: Extent to which the surrounding road network provides capacity for forecast levels of congestion in a 2031 baseline scenario
- Employment Access by Public Transport & Private Car: Quantitative assessment and comparison of the number of jobs within a 45-minute journey by public transport and a 30-minute journey by private car
- Access to Key Services by Public Transport: Quantitative assessment of public transport journey time from the assessment area to key services
- Commuting Private Car Use Proportion: Proportion of people in the vicinity of the assessment area that travel to work by car
- Proximity to Existing Sustainable Transport Networks: General proximity of the assessment area to existing strategic walking or cycle routes, railway stations and high frequency bus routes
As the wider JCS Review progresses, City Science are working with the JCS Authorities and key transport stakeholders to develop further and more detailed site assessment methodologies, develop future site demand and mode share scenarios, and identify the role of strategic transport modelling in predicting the impact of site demand on the network.
City Science appraised 55 sites using a broad site assessment methodology and set out several recommendations for the inclusion or exclusion of sites. The results of this appraisal will feed into the wider JCS Review to support the selection of a smaller number of proposed sites to take forward for public consultation.
Following public consultation, City Science will develop and carry out a more detailed transport assessment of selected proposed sites, provide recommendations for individual site development, including necessary infrastructure options to support and enable sustainable transport, and develop a Sustainable Transport Strategy encompassing the learnings and outcomes of the project.