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14. Inclusive Access

Core Strategy Strategic Objective

To improve access for all groups in society to the built and natural environment through the location and design of new development;

SCS Strategic Aims:

Citizens are actively engaged in decision making and participate fully in community life

Everyone is able to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and sense of well being

Every child and young person including those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged has the greatest opportunity to be the best that they can be

Our older and vulnerable citizens are valued and live fulfilling and independent lives

Why is this a strategic objective?

14.1 Meeting the diverse needs of all people in existing and future communities is important in promoting personal well-being, social cohesion and inclusion, and creating equal opportunities for all citizens. Breaking down unnecessary barriers and exclusions can benefit the entire community and accessibility and inclusion for all, regardless of disability, age, ethnic background, religion, income or gender, is therefore a key component of strong communities.

14.2 Warwick District has seen in recent years a high proportion (over 95%) of new housing built within 30 minutes public transport journey time of a doctor's surgery, primary and secondary schools, employment areas and major retail centres. However, local surveys have revealed that some residents have found access to services such as hospitals and sports centres difficult with distance and availability of public transport highlighted as the main barriers.

Evidence:

Participation

14.3 In response to the "Issues Paper", over 60% of people considered reducing social exclusion a high priority. Most respondents considered locating key services and facilities close to where people live was important, particularly local shops.

Research

14.4 The following documents provide further evidence of the need to improve access for all groups to the built and natural environment and existing strategies to tackle them:

  • Warwickshire Local Area Agreement Survey 2007; and,
  • Local Transport Plan 2006-2011 includes an accessibility strategy to reduce or remove barriers that limit access to services, with a particular emphasis on those people who are most disadvantaged due to their accessibility.

National and Regional Planning Policies

14.5 Relevant national planning policy is contained within PPS1: Delivering Sustainable Development (2005). PPS1 requires local planning authorities to create socially inclusive communities that reduce social inequalities and address accessibility (both in terms of location and physical access) for all members of the community to jobs, health, housing, education, shops, leisure and community facilities. PPG13: Transport further promotes accessibility and requires local planning authorities to ensure that jobs, shopping, leisure facilities and services are accessible by public transport, walking and cycling in order to promote social inclusion.

14.6 In addition, PPS6: Planning for Town Centres recognises the role of 'local centres' in providing easily accessible shopping to meet people's day-to-day needs. Local planning authorities should improve access to local shopping and other services through directing investment, identify opportunities to remedy any deficiencies in provision, ensure there is a range of facilities in local centres and protect existing facilities which provide for people's day-to-day needs.

14.7 Regional Planning Policy requires local planning authorities to improve accessibility and mobility in its urban and rural areas.

What are the Options?

14.8 The Core Strategy must include policies to promote and deliver inclusive communities through controlling the design and location of new development. However, it is a strategic document and it is not its role to set out detailed policies, for example on how design can be used to ensure access for all to new buildings and public spaces. This guidance would be more appropriately set out within a Supplementary Planning Document. The only option available to the Core Strategy is therefore to incorporate a strategic policy which sets a framework for subsequent more detailed design guidance to be prepared to ensure physical access for all groups to the built and natural environment.

14.9 In relation to location, the Core Strategy must also direct new day-to-day services and facilities to locations which are accessible to all members of the community, such as local centres on public transport routes and within walking and cycling distance of residential neighbourhoods. Furthermore, it must also protect existing key services and facilities in these locations from changes of use to other uses. The only option for the Core Strategy in relation to locating facilities is to incorporate a strategic policy to direct new shops and community facilities to accessible locations, and to protect existing key services and facilities within local centres and other accessible locations from changes of use to other uses.

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