Question 11

Surely more housing = more congestion?

Building new housing does not by itself, cause congestion. People driving cars and other vehicles cause congestion. If the population of an area is forecast to rise and if vehicle ownership and use continue to increase then congestion will worsen regardless of whether new housing is built or not. Similarly, not building housing will not reduce congestion as, if there is insufficient housing it simply results in more people having to drive further to access jobs, facilities and services. So, there is no single, easy solution to reducing congestion. The solution lies partly in new infrastructure ( such as roads, junction improvements, rail and bus improvements and better provision for pedestrians and cyclists ) so reducing the need for cars, but part of the solution is also changing journey behaviours.

The Council has been doing a lot of technical studies to assess how the impact that future development will have on our roads, rail network, cycle ways and paths and considering what are the best measures to address those impacts. This has meant that we have been able to plan improvements to these to enable future growth to take place without making congestion within the Borough any worse. We are currently working with colleagues at Hampshire County Council on ‘Traffic Modelling’ plans to understand the impact on traffic and how we can best ensure that traffic can flow. During Master Planning (which is where we look in detail at the development site itself such as layout, community facilities, green space etc) connections between sites and existing settlements is also considered, including walking and cycling to ensure that facilities are accessible without having to rely on cars.  

The Council has also made a commitment that where possible key infrastructure, such as roads, will be delivered in advance of housing developments to ensure traffic impact is minimised.