Interchange and public transport
An important strand of this strategy is the need to improve the opportunities for and quality of interchange. Ensuring people have attractive choices for all or parts of journeys that are sustainable will support mode shift.
Having a structured approach to interchange and recognising different types of interchange will also help support the development of services and facilities that are usefully concentrated in and around interchanges. These could include transport facilities such as cycle hire and other facilities such as parcel collection.
Four interchange types and their broad locations have been identified for Cheltenham. These are shown on the plan opposite and described below. The Park and Interchange, Town Centre Interchange and Station Interchange are connected together by the Cycle Cheltways and core bus network. The purpose of this is to facilitate interchange to, from and between these modes, walking or the car.
Park and interchange
Park and interchange would build on the current success of strategic park and ride. It would replace park and ride by widening out its offer to encourage and support interchange from all modes to all modes. Additional facilities such as parcel collection and cycle hire would also sensibly be located in these locations. The Park and Interchange Sites would be connected by the Cycle Cheltways and by a high frequency, reliable, high quality bus network between park and interchange sites, the station and town centre interchange. Secure cycle storage should also be provided and travel information.
Feasibility studies for the sites need to be developed as a first step which explore both site options and also approaches to long term viability and funding. The bus services serving these sites will need to be commercially viable.
Town centre access and interchange
Bus interchange at Royal Well with simplified bus access and routing
The arrangements for bus pick up and set down and interchange in the town centre have a number of issues. The impact of bus pick up and set down on the Promenade harms its quality as a destination space and limits its use for events. The location of the bus stops also adds to pedestrian congestion on what is one of Cheltenham’s premier shopping destinations.
The town centre bus interchange is also effectively split over four sites which makes accessing bus services confusing and inconvenient. The quality of the waiting facilities and sense of arrival into the town centre is also variable and bus routing into and through the town centre is convoluted.
There is an opportunity to consolidate bus interchange onto one site within Cheltenham Town Centre and simplify bus routes into two two-way bus ‘cores’. This will also support interchange between buses and cycling in particular as it will then be possible to provide high quality and secure cycle parking or cycle hire close to bus pick up and set down. It can also free up the Promenade to enable its further development as a key destination and events space within the town centre
The plan illustrates interchange consolidated onto the Royal Well place site and the development of simplified bus access and routing to support this.
This however may not be the only option and an optioneering process will need to be carried out to identify and assess options for the location of the interchange, traffic management and public realm associated with it.
This would significantly improve the legibility of, waiting and interchange environment for the town centre. The sense of arrival will also be transformed.
Removing buses from the Promenade would allow that space to function as a key destination and events space within the town centre.
We expect costs to be at the upper end of the cost band £5 million to £20 million.
District centres and micro-hubs
The opportunities for lower order or local interchanges also need to be recognised. The details of each of these interchanges is likely to be different but should include safe and secure cycle parking. The provision of micro park and ride could be considered where the interchange is located within a larger local centre with significant parking such as Coronation Square. Travel information should also be provided.
As identified in the mode based strategy for buses partnership working will be key to delivering a significant increase in levels of bus use.
Railway station interchange
The station would be transformed to provide high quality facilities and sense of arrival, access and interchange between all modes. An improved relationship to the Honeybourne line and a direct walk and cycle connection to the A40 would be provided and the opportunity for improved rail connections explored.
Secure cycle parking and potentially expanded cycle hire should be provided.
To guide this change, the development of a comprehensive masterplan is needed. This would be informed by parallel work-streams to explore the options and economic benefits of improvements to rail service patterns and the consequential infrastructure requirements at and around the station.
The masterplan would also explore access arrangements and the opportunities for pubic realm enhancements around the station.
The role of and requirements for car parking at the station would also be explored.
Issues and opportunities for the development of Cheltenham Spa
Cheltenham Spa railway station is a small, two-platform station serving the Birmingham-Bristol mainline. Located approximately one mile from the town centre, the railway station is currently accessible via the existing road networks as well as the Honeybourne Line pedestrian/cycle route, providing direct pedestrian and cycle connections to both the town centre and north Cheltenham. There are a number of opportunities to significantly improve the station which are listed below:
- The allocation of use areas - separating concentrations of activities such as the bus interchange, taxi rank, station car parking and pedestrian arrival spaces, ensuring the station itself is legible and easy to navigate.
- Creating visual and physical connections with the Honeybourne Line - as the most direct pedestrian friendly link between the station and the town centre, creating a high quality enclosed public realm to draw visitors towards Honeybourne Line will be important for the increased legibility and sustainable use of the station
- Heightening the environment to the rear of the station - this failing space will heavily benefit from a high quality public realm scheme that brings the station and the retail provision opposite together into a single space
- Extending the cycle network - potential projects such as the extension of the Honeybourne Line and the creation of cycle routes to connect with Coronation Square and wider west Cheltenham are crucial to promote cycling as a competitive mode of transport
- Development opportunities - Opportunities exist to maximising the topography of the existing car park to provide a decked car park and provide some outward facing development to enclose the new station square and overlook the Honeybourne Line extension