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Home Zones Consultation

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Home Zones Guidance Consultation

2 What are Home Zones?

Introduction

The idea of Home Zones originated in the Netherlands more than 30 years ago with the development of woonerf meaning 'living environment'. Woonerf involved comprehensive traffic calming schemes to create areas where children could play, safe from speeding traffic. Similar schemes have been introduced in a number of countries and the first examples are now being developed in Britain, including four pilot projects in Scotland.

Shared space

2.1 Home Zones are residential areas where street space is shared between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. The aim is that the traditional distinction between the carriageway and footways is removed and that the street as a whole becomes an extension of the local community's living space.

photo
Home Zones should create an extension to people's living space.
Surface treatment should highlight the fact that the street is shared
between people and vehicles.
Manchester Northmoor.

2.2 Home Zones involve the comprehensive remodelling of residential streets. Schemes are likely to include the creation of shared space across the width of the street in question and may use different surface colours or materials, together with street furniture, planting and car parking to create a series of measures that emphasise that this is a different type of street environment and that drivers should therefore slow down. The aim should be to reduce speeds to not much more than walking pace by the use of traffic calming measures.

2.3 Home Zones are based on a change in the way that people perceive the street. Motorists should feel they have left the normal highway and have entered an area where they can expect to find people using the whole of the street. In essence, the Home Zone should make motorists feel they are guests in a pedestrian environment. As a result they should adjust their driving behaviour, significantly. This should be reinforced by physical measures incorporated in the design of the street.

2.4 The low vehicle speeds and enhanced environment should change local people's perception and use of the street space. By providing areas for play, sitting out or simply chatting with neighbours, Home Zones should improve people's quality of life, making the street an extension of their gardens and even their homes.

Working in partnership

Several of the Home Zones that have been planned and implemented so far illustrate the importance of partnership working which involves all of the appropriate agencies and groups in the process. Examples include:

  • Henbury in Bristol, where Bristol City Council Neighbourhood and Housing Services, residents groups, Botany Bay neighbourhood watch, Redland Housing Trust, Henbury Court Primary School, and Henbury Secondary School joined in the process
  • Northmoor, Manchester, where the partners included Manchester Methodist Housing Association, community associations, the police, cleansing officers, volunteer groups, and various departments of the City Council.

Multiple benefits

2.5 Other benefits should include greater levels of community interaction and community spirit, greater levels of community supervision or self-policing and improved play opportunities for local children. Home Zones may contribute to safer routes initiatives and may encourage people to walk or cycle in preference to driving. There should be particular benefits for less mobile members of the community including older people and disabled people. Home Zones should enhance the local environment. By encouraging walking and cycling, and by developing the sense of community, they can also deliver direct and indirect health benefits.

Partnership

2.6 The emphasis on securing real benefits for the local community has two significant implications for the way in which Home Zone schemes are planned and implemented.

2.7 Firstly, community support and involvement are essential if Home Zones are to be successful in meeting their aims. While schemes may be initiated by the local authority it is essential that local people are provided with an opportunity to get involved as early in the process as possible. This will help build community ownership of the scheme, help ensure it is sensitive to local needs and aspirations and can help make people aware of the inevitable trade-offs that need to be made during the design process.

2.8 Some schemes will originate within the community. It is important that the local authority is able to support and harness this energy and enthusiasm and help the community translate its aspirations into a practical and affordable Home Zone proposal.

2.9 Secondly, unlike conventional traffic calming or 20 mph schemes, Home Zones are about more than just traffic management. While the involvement of traffic and highways engineers will remain essential, it will also be important to draw on the expertise of other professionals including architects and landscape designers, community and housing departments, social inclusion partnerships, Communities Scotland, planners, access officers, health boards and enterprise companies, together with any significant local landlords or other property interests.

2.10 Home Zones should engender a partnership approach between the local authority, the local community and other agencies and interests with an involvement in the area in question. Achieving partnership working, responding positively to different policy agendas and, in particular, working positively with local communities together represents one of the significant challenges in developing Home Zone proposals.

2.11 Section 6 of this guidance provides advice on achieving partnership working and involving communities fully in the process.

20 mph zones and traffic calming measures

2.12 Home Zones should not be confused with 20 mph zones and traffic calming schemes. The intention is that Home Zones should not rely on a mandatory speed limit to keep speeds low. Speed limits lower than 20 mph are considered to be impossible to enforce as vehicle speedometers may not be accurate at that level. The combination of physical measures and shared nature of the street space should therefore act together to keep speeds low. It is, however, possible, for Home Zones to lie within 20 mph zones, though it is important to ensure that drivers do not become confused about the status of different parts of the local road network.

photo
Home Zones may lie within
20 mph zones