Memorandum by Legal and General (IT 53)
INTEGRATED TRANSPORT WHITE PAPER
1. Legal and General Property manages a portfolio
of retail, office, agricultural and industrial property investments
across the UK with a value of £4 billion. It has, over the
years, carried out significant and acclaimed developments, being
one of the largest investors in the UK.
2. When investing, Legal and General has a high
duty to its policy holders to obtain good returns without taking
excessive risk. Moreover, the investment market is most competitive,
and this means that in order to be attractive to investors, Legal
and General can only consider investments which give excellent
returns although as a very substantial institution it is able
to take long term view. One aspect of this is the ability to create
a successful retail or commercial development which appeals to
occupiers and their customers. Only successful developments will
give good returns, and Legal and General puts a lot of hard professional
work and effort into ensuring that its developments will be successful.
3. Development can only be successful and thus
be attractive to investors when certain market conditions prevail.
At present market conditions are quite favourable to development,
so Legal and General is keen to carry out development, but only
if it will be successful.
4. The Transport White Paper contains a wide
range of themes and policy initiatives, some of which will inevitably
impinge on development. Many of the themes are carried forward
in elaboration of policy which was already in place, such as that
in PPG 13, or the wider implementation of Quality Bus Partnerships.
Some, such as the intended taxation of workplace car parking,
are for new legislation and implementation at the local level.
5. Our view is that if not carefully considered
before implementation, such policy initiatives are capable of
giving rise to unintended and damaging effects which could impact
adversely upon part of the local economy. It has to be recognised
that a significant modal shift away from the car will only occur
gradually over time as pubic transport facilities improve and
public confidence in the service is established.
6. More significantly, however, the unwise implementation
of some of the ideas in the White Paper may be very discouraging
to development, and have an inhibiting effect on the development
of public transport. The inter-relationship between new development
opportunities, particularly those appropriately located, and the
creation of a public transport system that provides real choice
must be appreciated. Measures which will have the effect of stifling
development will equally stifle the opportunity to provide choice
and create a climate where public transport becomes a real option
for the travelling public.
7. Therefore properly located, new development
can assist and encourage the development of public transport.
Where, in an existing centre, development increases density, it
will increase the number of trips, and make public transport more
viable. If there is a viable market in public transport, more
will be suppliedmore buses will be laid on, new routes
will be developed, and more frequent services run. But such effects
will only occur when development takes place and intensified and
critical mass is created.
8. In most places outside London and the major
conurbations, the existing public transport network is insufficiently
dense for development to be possible without the provision of
adequate car parking spaces. In such a case new car parking is
necessary, and enough car spaces will have to be provided, or
the development would not take place. This is acknowledged in
the White Paper at paragraph 4.113, which says that in new developments
parking is to be limited by modern planning policies now being
implemented to the minimum necessary, with full provision being
made for public transport access.
9. This is particularly true of retail development
in town centre location, which is, however, capable of stimulating
the provisions of better public transport as a by-product of its
success, but it needs to be understood that adequate car parking
has to be provided, or development will not go ahead and the opportunity
will be lost. Ease of access is the key to success for town centre
users. This is why out-of-town retail and leisure proposals have
been so successful in the past and, notwithstanding the sequential
test embodied in the PPG6, remain a threat to the town centre
and the investment plans of institutions like Legal and General.
10. Legal and General owns substantial landholdings
in the south east of England where the principle of integrated
transport development can be put into practice, provided the right
commercial conditions are retained through the planning process.
Such opportunities occur where public transport provision, although
improving slowly, is not comprehensive, but there is a well developed
road network serving an existing centre. In such a situation it
is possible to enhance an existing shopping centre by introducing
additional shopping development in accordance with policy. This
will make the existing centre more attractive, building on its
location and the existing investment in it.
11. Provided there is the capacity for new provision
for public transport to be introduced into the system, it will
enable the development of an integrated public transport system
alongside the development. Such a system ought to enhance the
attraction of existing routes and create the opportunity for opening
up new routes available to the public. Where such conditions exist,
it will be possible for new development to go ahead which will
both enable the accommodation of better public transport and support
it by better patronage.
12. One example of this type of situation is
our present proposals at Bracknell Town Centre, which is being
promoted by Legal and General in partnership with the local authority,
Bracknell Forest Borough Council. This will make Bracknell, which
was one of the first new towns, more attractive to shoppers, and
retain its attraction to employers and office workers. The town
has been designed to provide this type of environment, and benefits
from an excellent road system which has to date only been used
to a fraction of its capacity.
13. In Bracknell, Legal and General is proposing
to provide a Bus Station in the south of the town, and a Bus Port
to the north of the town, as well as a new fleet of high quality
buses which will transport passengers to and from the town centre
safely, efficiently and comfortably. Legal and General has undertaken
detailed consultations with the regional public transport providers,
as well as with the Council. Discussions have focused on assessing
the viability and desirability of a wide range of additional public
transport and infrastructure proposals including provision of
bus priority systems, and encouraging the consumer to use the
bus by the offer of a fares rebate in shops when goods are purchased.
Our proposals in Bracknell are likely to be the first example
in the country of a tripartite "Quality Partnership"
involving Legal and General, Bracknell Forest Borough Council
and local bus operators. We see this initiative as being firmly
in our own commercial interest; an effective public transport
system will ultimately enhance attractiveness in both the town
centre generally and our development within it. The creation of
a public transport system in Bracknell, which will represent the
biggest boost to public transport in the history of Berkshire,
is only possible because of the scale of regeneration that is
proposed in the town centre, the viability of which is underpinned
by an appropriate level of car parking to secure retailers and
shopper interest in the proposal.
14. Our proposals will also improve access to
the town centre for both pedestrians and cyclists by providing
dedicated cycle and pedestrian ways which will provide a high
quality, safe and friendly environment to users. It will be socially
inclusive. On arrival in the town, it is intended that cyclists
will be able to leave their bicycles in secure areas and even
be able to use excellent showering and changing facilities.
15. Our research has suggested that the provision
of a location offering this level of critical mass will result
in an improvement of 50 per cent in the number of people using
public transport, raising the proportion of shopper journeys from
twelve to eighteen per cent. This equates to at least one million
more journeys by public transport every year in the region. Greater
improvements in public transport use may be possible in the future
depending upon the relative attractiveness of bus and car routes,
the eventual ability of the bus to by-pass car congestion, and
the wider environment of economic factors affecting the private
16. Such development will also lead to a reduction
in the number of private car miles driven both because of the
interception of trips to a high quality shopping centre, and due
to the availability of a more attractive public transport alternative.
However, it is only possible where an attractive development can
be created in the context of today's investment conditions.