“We are inherently committed to our development with care policy. The traffic calming measures put in place at Hurworth are an excellent example of how we’ve consulted with and listened to the community and used that feedback to work with our business partners to deliver on our promises providing tangible benefits for the community of Hurworth for many years to come”

When considering any potential development scheme Banks Group follows clearly defined development with care principles to ensure that we deliver on the values and commitments we promise to our people, business partners, communities and the environment.

Roundhill Road in Hurworth, to the north of Darlington is a housing development nearing completion that will see 95 new quality family homes built by Bellway Homes.

The 5.4ha site developed by Banks Property was granted planning permission in February 2017. As part of our Development with Care approach, we met with members of the community to make sure their views and ideas were taken into consideration when designing our proposals and subsequent planning application.

The Banks Property team held several meetings with the local community, including residents surgeries, the parish councils, schools and a local mother and toddler group to ask their opinions on our proposed Roundhill Road development and what local improvements they would like to see that would benefit the village.

During the consultation process, there was a recurring theme that was evident throughout. The community wanted to see investment and improvements made in their village, rather than across the borough as part of any new housing development.

One area of particular concern was sustainable transport. Hurworth is a large village with a range of amenities including shops, cafes, pubs and a primary and secondary school. The community expressed concerns about the volume of traffic travelling through the village, especially when entering the village from the A66. Indeed, this viewpoint was proven by speed surveys undertaken by the local parish council showing regular speeding issues when entering the village from the A66.

The Banks team also met with the local primary and secondary schools who explained that they experienced problems with traffic travelling too fast near the school and parking in front of the schools.

As a result of this feedback, Banks Property instructed SAJ Transport Consultants to investigate possible traffic calming measures to address the concerns of the local community. As well as traditional transport assessment for any proposed development, the team of experts at SAJ designed traffic calming systems to slow traffic down when entering the village in addition o other solutions including 20 mph zones outside he local primary and secondary schools.

The drawings proposed by SAJ were based on years of practical expertise and experience to ensure that plans would provide a tangible solution to the problems identified in the brief.

James Seabury of Banks Property explains: “Working collaboratively and building long-term relationships with business partners is so important to Banks. We worked with SAJ to address feedback we received from the Hurworth community to deliver practical solutions to address their concerns. The traffic calming solutions designed by SAJ meant that we delivered on our Development with Care values and commitments to residents helping them to feel safe when walking in the village as a result.”

As part of our sustainable transport contribution to Darlington Borough Council, Banks Property specified in legal agreements that the monies given must be spent on the sustainable transport improvements specified in the planning application. Those improvements were accepted and have since been implemented by Darlington Borough Council.

Steve Jobey, director at SAJ Transport Consultants said “Driver behaviour is influenced by the characteristics of a highway corridor. It is not sufficient to simply change a speed limit sign and expect drivers to accord with the change. Any proposal needs to be self-enforcing. The proposed traffic  calming scheme extended an existing proposal and created a more substantial gateway approach to the village. The changes also recognised that to the north of Hurworth the speed limit change went directly from the national speed limit (60mph) to 30mph. The proposed scheme, along with the physical features, introduces a 40mph buffer zone between the section of national speed limit and the 30mph section, giving the driver a clear sense of the change in the characteristics of the highway corridor on the immediate approach to the village settlement.

The site access for the development was also located as far south as design standards would allow extending the footpath to ensure that the development was seen as part of the village and not remote from it.”