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Manor Royal BID Publishes New Transport Study

Manor Royal BID Publishes New Transport Study

Manor Royal BID has published the results of a major new Transport Study commissioned in response to concerns raised in last year’s business survey about congestion and parking across the business district.
Prepared by leading independent transport consultancy Steer Davies Gleave and co-funded by West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council and Gatwick Airport Ltd, the report recommends a package of actions to alleviate congestion and parking problems across Manor Royal.  The full cost of implementing all recommendations is estimated to be in the region of £9.5m.

The business district, which is the UK’s largest industrial BID area, has become an increasingly popular location for businesses in the past few years, resulting in more traffic than ever.  The new study reviewed the current transport situation and proposes solutions to help support Manor Royal’s continued growth.  It addresses the key issues, namely peak time traffic congestion and increasing demand for car parking, both caused by the high level of travel to work by car. 

A combination of measures has been identified to encourage behavioural change, as well as infrastructure improvements to ease traffic flow and parking congestion across the business district. 

Recommended actions detailed in the report include:

  • Improvements to road junctions and greater enforcement of parking restrictions;
  • An area-wide review of parking restrictions and the better management of available road space;
  • Encouraging companies to adopt more flexible hours to spread peak hour demand and promote car sharing;
  • Cycle route improvements and safe cycle initiatives, including training and bike maintenance;
  • Increasing the number of pedestrian crossings and improving the condition of pathways;
    Improvements to the bus infrastructure, including bus lane enhancements;
  • Providing more buses to/from Manor Royal for staff arriving at Three Bridges Station by rail, plus real time information and shelters at all bus stops on Manor Royal;
  • Personalised travel planning for Manor Royal employees and actions to promote and incentivise public transport options.

The provision of additional parking at a multi-storey car park was raised by stakeholders as a potential solution although, along with the shortage of available land, there are fears that providing additional parking would encourage more people to drive and add significantly to the congestion experienced at peak times.

Steve Sawyer, Executive Director of the Manor Royal BID said: “Manor Royal currently provides employment for more than 30,000 people and some sites within the business district are being redeveloped with higher density, increasing the number of jobs further.  It is vitally important that we highlight these transport issues and lobby for improvements on behalf of the BID levy payers, to ensure our business district remains fit for purpose and attractive for employers and workers alike.  We are now collaborating with our public partners, local transport providers and employers to see how we can raise the funds to implement these much-needed actions.”

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development at Crawley Borough Council, said: “Manor Royal Business District suffers from serious rush-hour congestion and a lack of car parking so this transport study is to be welcomed.  He said:  “I’m pleased to see a combination of behavioural changes and physical improvements being recommended. Just creating more parking spaces or widening roads will not be enough; public transport, car sharing and cycling must be viable options for Manor Royal workers.”

West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Bob Lanzer, said: “Manor Royal is growing as an economic force, and as a consequence is an increasingly popular destination for business and employment.  This affects congestion and demand for car parking. It is encouraging to see this list of potential solutions and we will work with our colleagues and partners across the district to help turn this into action.”

Emma Rees, Gatwick Airport’s Head of Real Estate, said: “We welcome the report’s recommendations and will fully support our partners to ensure these improvements are implemented.  Manor Royal plays a vitally important role for the local economy and Gatwick is committed to supporting the business district’s continued growth.”

Partners and businesses involved in the study are already planning how to respond to the recommendations and hope to be able to make announcements on this in the near future.  The full Transport study may be viewed here.

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