DfT Provide Much Needed Clarification on Shared Surface Schemes

As many of our clients and fellow consultants will be aware, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced in July a moratorium on shared space road schemes in response to concerns raised in the consultation of its new Inclusive Transport Strategy. The DfT suggested that this “pause” would allow them to carry out research and update guidance concerning shared designs, which involves the removal features such as kerbs, road surface markings, designated crossing places and traffic signs.

Since July’s announcement many Highway Authorities have applied the DfT announcement rigorously to all applications, irrespective of size or complexity, whilst we know of a few others that have taken a more relaxed approach, pointing to the fact that Manual for Streets (which has not been redacted) continues to advocate shared space design. This has led to significant uncertainty within the industry and has led to a number of our schemes being delayed whilst further clarity is provided.

Such clarity was thankfully provided in the DfT’s letter of 28th September 2018 which confirmed that “the focus of the pause is on level-surface schemes in areas with relatively large amounts of pedestrian and vehicular traffic, such as high streets and town centres”. It provides further clarity that the pause “does not apply to streets within new residential areas, or the redesign of existing residential streets with very low levels of traffic, such as appropriately designed mews and cul-de-sacs, which take into account the relevant aspects of the National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance.”

The recent clarity mirrors the predictions of Calibro in its advice to clients and it is pleasing to see that an element of common sense is now being applied. However, the announcement came as no great surprise to Calibro, who are were already working closely with key national partners to help address these concerns, to ensure shared surface schemes remain a viable option to support the place-making agenda.

For further information, please contact our Director of Transport, Stuart Choak.