Southern link road
Introduction / summary
The southern link load project seeks to secure a restricted vehicular connection between the Runnymede Halls Car Park and the Sports Centre. The link was included within the Estate Plan proposals which underpinned the 2015 outline planning permission for the campus.
A controlled access route will avoid the need for Royal Holloway service, maintenance and delivery vehicles to use the external road network (A30, Bakeham Lane and Prune Hill) to access the sports centre. Controlled access will prevent rat-running by car drivers.
Subject to ongoing technical investigations, the project will also enable any future Royal Holloway shuttle bus services to access the sports centre (and beyond) from its internal road network. The link road will therefore reduce total distance travelled, reduce overall emissions and remove vehicles from the road network.
Relevance to the Estate Plan
The Estate Plan was updated in November 2017 to reflect all recently completed developments including the student accommodation north of the A30 (George Eliot Hall), the Boilerhouse, Beatrice Shilling Building and Emily Wilding Davison Building. This was sent to the council as an informative.
The southern link road was retained as being of benefit in the 2017 revised Estate Plan. The reasons for the link road being part of the internal access and movement strategy across the campus are set out above.
The alignment of the link road, as shown on the Estate Plan, has been informed by highway engineer and arboricultural (tree) consultant’s advice. The alignment serves the needs of service and delivery vehicles in relation to road geometry and visibility splays, and minimises the loss of trees. A full tree survey was undertaken at that time and will be reviewed in the context of a submission in February 2020.
A working assumption Highway Plan is presented below. This is currently the subject of ongoing highway analysis. This will then help to inform the cost of the scheme, which at this time, has not been fully determined.
Other than being included within the 2014 Estate Plan proposals, project specific engagement has not yet been undertaken. The proposal is not considered to result in detrimental impact to nearly residential amenity. Opportunities to comment upon the emerging proposals were provided as part of the July 2019 engagement event and subsequent consultation period. Ongoing technical investigations relating to the detailed design are progressing and a further opportunity to comment upon these details anticipated prior to submission in February 2020.
Planning application / reserved matters submission
A reserved matters submission will be based upon the detailed highway drawing and supporting material, such as an integrated drainage strategy, lighting and barrier controls to prevent unrestricted car movements along the link. The barrier will prevent rat-running between the campus and Prune Hill and vice versa. An update tree survey will be completed and submitted. The submission will be made in accordance with the principles set out at the time of the original Estate Plan.
Once submitted, a link to the council’s website, where all information provided can be viewed will be provided on this page.
A formal planning proposal will be made to Runnymede Borough Council in February 2020. The university have investigated a number of options to accommodate a bus shuttle service from the Sports Centre (and beyond) through the Campus. The resultant design submitted for planning will involve widening the carriageway width in certain locations within the Campus. This will enable buses and larger service vehicles to move to and from the Sports Complex along university controlled (private) roads.
It is currently too early in the planning and design process for a contractor to be appointed to this project.
Link with other Estate projects and plans
The benefits of providing this internal link road are set out above. The link road forms part of a wider Internal Access and Movement Strategy embedded within the Estate Plan proposals. This strategy seeks to create direct connections to make the servicing of university facilities more efficient. The wider benefits include time and marginal fuel cost savings, a reduction in total distance travelled and a corresponding reduction in total airborne pollution. The link road will also reduce trips taken on the public highway and create an enhanced pedestrian connection to and from the sports centre.
In time, and subject to planning permission being granted for a new student village at the Rusham Park site to the south-east of the campus and railway line, the southern link road will also potentially be capable of accommodating a Royal Holloway shuttle bus service connecting the two sites.