After producing three “choices” and then announcing a fourth as the prefered choice, the Co-operative Group complained when their fifth map was leaked by councillors and have now produced a sixth. Crucially the Co-operative Group have given up pretending that Pennbury is to be concentrated on the area solely around Leicester airfield and concluded that 15,000 homes will take up more room than that. But does it meet the government’s eco towns’ criteria?
Eco Towns will be Separate and Distinct
This map of Pennbury shows that it joins the Stretton Hall development in Oadby and the southernmost tip is a mere 120 metres away from homes in Heron Close, Great Glen. So not separate or distinct then.
Transport or reducing car use to a minimum
The Co-operative roup have stated that there will only be an average of 1 car space per two homes, ie 7,500 cars, plus a futher 2,500 for commercial and retail use. There would be a rapid bus service along Stoughton Lane, Manor Road, Knighton Grange Road, London Road. However, the Co-operative Group are holding a feasibility study into a tram. If the tram is feasible, the Co-operative would not pay for the bus service but put that money into the tram (there’s a funding gap here). The Co-operative Group say,
It can be argued that with moderate parking restraint levels the development would be viable, as outturn forecasts of residential skills mixes are not seriously out of line with comparable adjacent areas. However, traffic generation from Pennbury would in this case be significant, with associated deterioration in traffic conditions, particularly in the east of Leicester… The conclusion for thecurrent work that a bus rapid transit system can be implemented on a capacity neutral basis, and that a tram system would remove considerable existing highway capacity, must be regarded as provisional. …. There is a distinct possibility that any problems of both residential and employment viability will compound, possibly in quite a severe way.
Quite how they’ll implement the bus rapid transit system on a capacity neutral basis could take some explaining. Especially as the bus only goes into Leicester. Obviously anyone in Pennbury with jobs in Great Glen, Harborough, Rutland, Lutterworth, Hamilton, any of the A47 villages will be reduced to using their car. Perhaps residents who fancy visiting Rutland Water in their leisure time can walk?
After all this time, I was hoping the Co-operative Group would really have come up with something more solid. Now there’s a new housing minister in government and hence a delay in the latest round of consultations, the Co-operative Group really have no excuse for not producing something that’s yet another aspirational wish-list.