Chesterfield Waterside is an inspirational £300 million scheme to create a vibrant, thriving community from a 60-acre site which is largely vacant situated on the edge of Chesterfield town centre, in Derbyshire, England.

At the heart of the massive regeneration project will be a new canal basin, which will connect to the adjacent River Rother and Chesterfield canal to create a stunning waterside environment. Around 30 per cent of the surrounding site will consist of open space, including an outdoor event venue, an ecological park and play areas for children.

The development, which will use sustainable technology where possible, will include 30,000 square metres of office and business space, creating 2,000 jobs, as well as 1,500 new homes, and shops, restaurants, galleries and leisure facilities.

The scheme is a public private partnership between specialist urban regeneration company Urbo and Chesterfield Borough Council, who together formed Chesterfield Waterside Ltd in 2006 in order to deliver the development.

Royal HaskoningDHV’s Highway and Transport Planning group experts, were commissioned in 2006 by Chesterfield Waterside Ltd to provide advice and technical analysis around transport issues to support the project’s planning application. This included producing a Transport Assessment, Travel Plan Framework, and preparing the traffic and access input into the Application’s Environmental Statement. Craig Francis, Director said: “Royal HaskoningDHV was brought in to use its considerable experience of sustainable transport planning and travel infrastructure design. The development required careful planning to produce effective long-term transport solutions to manage access to the site, including traffic from ongoing phased construction work as well as business and residential traffic. It was also essential to develop a sustainable travel plan for transport flow within the site.”

The Transport Assessment, Travel Plan Framework and traffic and access section of the environmental statement are all intrinsically linked and the team’s ultimate objective was to develop an innovative transport strategy for the whole of the site.

This was based on the Department for Transport’s 2009 Good Practice Guidelines: Delivering travel plans and, dueto the size of the development, is one of the most complex transport plans the team has ever worked on. As the site has not yet been constructed, a flexible approach was essential, so a range of transport scenarios were forecasted and planned.

Establishing access to the area was the first challenge and involved negotiation with local highway authorities who highlighted concerns about the primary road nearest to the development, the A61, being close to capacity during peak periods. Detailed analysis was needed to gain a clear idea of how access to the area would be managed. It was vital to strike the right balance between sustainability and reducing the need for immediate off-site highway infrastructure costs, as well as introducing measures to accurately predict future scenarios to reduce the need for highway improvements in the future.

It was decided that three separate junctions on the A61 dual carriageway would be used to access the site. High, median and low traffic prediction scenarios were integrated within the strategy and checks were built in to keep traffic volume towards the low end of the scale. This was a sustainable solution as the financial implications for the client were reduced, as was the need to deal with transport issues in the future.

Other features to reduce the volume of traffic onto the site were included within the strategy, including a ‘car club’, which would offer financial incentives for car-sharing, and a car rental scheme which would be available within the site itself. As well as reducing the volume of traffic accessing the site, this would mean fewer car parking facilities were necessary onsite and free up more land for potential development.

Royal HaskoningDHV used expert techniques to model a range of scenarios forecasting differing transport methods required by business, leisure and residential site users. Their analysis was used to find ways to generate revenue by using the site’s travel plan measures to guarantee funds for dealing with future issues. Accurately predicting likely transport outcomes and how they could be managed sustainably, meant that building large car parks at the outset could be avoided.

The planning application for Chesterfield Waterside received a resolution to grant planning approval in April 2010, subject to the completion of legal agreements and the initial construction works for the new canal basin have been completed. The detailed design and then construction of buildings and infrastructure is due to begin after Planning Reserved Matters Approval is granted for aspects of the site subject to planning conditions. It is estimated that the site will take between 10-15 years to complete but Chesterfield Waterside will then become a visually impressive, thriving and successful new part of Chesterfield centre.