Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260
WEDNESDAY 7 FEBRUARY 2001
260. What about housing?
(Mr Balch) It is the origin of many trips and if people
are not able to walk from their house to their bus stop it is
not going to help you. If you get everything right at the destination
in the town centre and you have not got it right at the origin
then you are obviously not going to encourage walking in the way
in which you could.
261. Should more people be encouraged to live
in towns and city centres?
(Mr Tallentire) We are seeing the evidence of almost
every town and city having some form of strategy to bring into
use and re-use existing buildings. We have a research project
coming up very shortly on the re-use of existing buildings for
housing and other uses. If you refer back to the urban renaissance
of Lord Rodgers' report, they are saying that 90 per cent of our
present building stock will still be here in 25 years, so we must
learn how to re-use that for the benefit of the town centre.
262. In your evidence you refer often to people
friendly town centres, pedestrian friendly town centres. Give
us a brief description.
(Mr Tallentire) We all know them. I walk a lot and
I know when I am feeling comfortable. It is litter-free, it is
well lit, it is often with other people on the street, the pavements
are repaired, the linkages between crossing roads are accessible,
not being corralled, all of those things add to the experience.
263. Is bus movement within pedestrian priority
areas preferable to passengers having to walk to the perimeter
to access buses?
(Mr Tallentire) Our opinion is very much that so many
of the issues are local specific, as I said earlier, and therefore
what is appropriate in one place may not be as appropriate in
264. Give us your view then. You have got the
bus stations now on the perimeter of the precincts. Is that right
or should buses go into the precincts? What is your view?
(Mr Balch) I would echo Alan's point. I think it has
to depend upon the location.
265. What is your view then?
(Mr Balch) Generally if you are trying to produce
a socially inclusive town centre I would want them to penetrate.
266. Let me put another question to you. Should
the Association of Town Centre Management play a leading role
in developing quality walking routes to and from bus stops and
(Mr Tallentire) Yes.
267. What would you do then on that question?
Would you say buses should be penetrating the pedestrianised areas
or should people walk to the buses?
(Mr Tallentire) They should be penetrating. They should
be as much inter-modal as the physical structure will allow. This
is such an open ended question. One has to take into account the
physical location at the present time and the ability to change
what is there.
(Mr Balch) In historic Oxford the buses in the pedestrianised
environment I would say is not the right solution and therefore
they recognise that and try to produce a different solution.
268. The title of this examination is "Walking
in Towns and Cities". Either we believe in that or we do
not believe in it. If you are saying that buses should be able
to penetrate the town centres does that not cut across what we
are trying to do?
(Mr Tallentire) I suppose the difficulty is that people
want to access the town centre. Certainly if we are looking at
PPG 13 and trying to produce inter-modal means where people are
accessing locations we have to provide access by car, buses, trams,
all sorts of other things as well as walking.
269. And pedestrianised areas?
(Mr Tallentire) Yes. You could put the bus stop into
the centre with the pedestrianisation round about it so that you
are bringing the people into the centre, which is already what
we do with the tubes in London.
270. So this paragraph in your submission when
you say that this may mean allowing vehicles into better pedestrianised
streets at night is redundant because they are there in the daytime
(Mr Balch) I think we are talking about allowing public
transport to penetrate into centres but you will need to allow
certain vehicles to penetrate at different times of the day and
night for delivery.
271. Is that what you mean in this document?
(Mr Tallentire) No. We are saying that the car should
not be accessing the centre during the day but buses and other
environmentally friendly inter-modal means should be allowed.
(Mr Balch) In the evening there are certain situations
where it would be appropriate to allow cars in to park.
272. Give us an example.
(Mr Balch) Where for instance you have got a number
of leisure activities alongside retail where you have restaurants.
Why should cars be excluded necessarily, in certain circumstances?
273. What you are saying is that walking is
not the only thing. We want to be able to access with our cars
to be on the doorstep of the restaurants and so on. You heard
the evidence previously about encouraging people to walk. Is the
Association of Town Centre Management saying, "That is not
on. The buses should take them to the door of the store"?
(Mr Tallentire) No. What we are saying is that is
no one thing is a sole solution. There are a number of solutions.
We are talking about a thousand locations in the United Kingdom
and no single solution is the right solution everywhere. This
is one of the things that comes very powerfully out of Routes
to Success. We cannot come up with a simple solution, wave
a wand and you apply it across the whole of those thousand locations.
The location is specific and we have to provide an appropriate
solution to that specific set of issues, one of which may be to
provide access by public transport.
274. Is there ever a case for restricting the
amount of walking that goes on in pedestrian areas or shopping
centres, because my vision of hell is Croydon on a Saturday morning?
(Mr Tallentire) But that is a function of the success
of Croydon. The question is, do you want to restrict the success
of Croydon by the efforts and the investment that we are putting
275. I am thinking more also of the impact that
that has on people's shopping experience.
(Mr Balch) I suspect that that would be something
that is very difficult to deliver and in the end becomes self-regulating
because if you find it hell there will be lots of other people
who will find it hell and they will not go on Saturday morning
but may go on Sunday morning.
Chairman: On that note, can I thank you very
much indeed for your evidence.