The Connecting our Garden Communities plan sets out our aspirations for delivery of a network of walking, wheeling and cycling routes across the town, intended to meet the needs of future residents and workers in connection with new developments (Garden Communities) as well as improve connections for existing communities.
The Connecting our Garden Communities plan was adopted by Full Council on 7 February 2023, as a material planning consideration in the preparation of masterplans, pre-application advice, assessing planning applications and any other development management purposes across Taunton Garden Town and as corporate policy to inform future policy and project development and funding bids within Taunton Garden Town.
The plan includes:
- The Connecting our Garden Communities Plan (main document)
- Appendix A – Route Auditing
- Appendix B – Route Summaries
- Appendix C – Route Prioritisation Matrix
- Considers key off-site services that people living on the Garden Communities will need to access,
- Considers how existing communities can access services within the new Garden Communities,
- Appraises route options, and
- Proposes a network plan identifying “core” “aspirational” and “other connecting” routes.
The plan doesn’t focus on detailed design, which will follow. It focuses on the routes themselves.
Increasing levels of walking and cycling is central to the Vision for our Garden Town. We want our citizens to feel confident and safe to walk, wheel and cycle more through the creation of better places, linked through a network of connected routes.
We believe this will help to create a healthier, more sustainable, economically vibrant, safe and social place, and make Taunton a truly great place to live and work. This plan can help people to make the healthy and sustainable choices they want and need to, with infrastructure that can ensure their journeys are safe, comfortable, attractive, direct and part of a coherent network.
Our Climate Emergency commitment to working towards carbon neutrality by 2030 sharpens the focus. Through our Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience (CNCR) Action Plan we commit to working towards Taunton becoming a Beacon Cycling Town – this plan is central to achieving that target.
A material planning consideration, "Vision and Validate"
Whilst mainly relating to the development of the Garden Communities around Taunton Garden Town, other developments may be relevant, and the principles involved build on national and local policy and are applicable across the board for new development proposals and master planning.
Applicants and developers of relevant schemes need to actively respond to the plan as part of planning applications, showing how they can and will accommodate movements to key destinations via active travel. In appropriate cases, the Council will require applicants to provide / fund concept planning of relevant routes, will seek to secure the necessary connections into and through development sites, and will seek proportionate financial contribution towards overall route delivery where justified.
The Plan sets out that applicants should use the Transport Assessment and Travel Planning process to demonstrate how their development proposals can enable future users of the site to travel sustainably. It is expected that a “vision and validate” approach is taken, where traditional road traffic is just one element amongst many to be considered in how we design for an attractive, climate conscious, safe and healthy development. We encourage applicants to set out a vision to achieve significant and quantified modal shift, set out for journeys to specific destinations. Specific evidence-based interventions are then identified as being necessary and fairly and reasonably related in scale and kind in order to achieve and validate that vision.
Draft plan consultation
The Council consulted the public, local communities, technical stakeholders and the development industry on a draft plan from 29 July 2022 until 30 September 2022. Whilst this consultation has now closed, you can view the draft documents and comments provided online via the consultation portal. A Consultation Statement has also been produced which sets out summaries of comments received, officer responses and how the proposed final plan document has changed as a result.