Transport Development Control (TDC)

Why and how we use TDC to ensure highway safety, convenience and amenity are not compromised

What's covered on this page

Why do we do TDC?

The role of Transport Development Control is primarily one of ensuring that highway safety, convenience and amenity are not compromised through developments. We do what we do because we believe unregulated development can lead to:

  • avoidable fatalities
  • environmental degradation
  • unhealthy urban networks where economic activity is not supported.

We believe in working collaboratively, especially with enlightened developers, to influence the approach and the details of this important aspect of development. Our customer is, therefore, everybody who uses the transport infrastructure in Oxfordshire. Manual for Streets encourages just such a collaborative approach. Our pre-application process is a way of ensuring this.

Our direct clients are usually the City and District Councils for whom we provide consultation responses, as well as overseeing County applications in the same impartial fashion.

The recommendations of these reports are interpreted through the democratic process with other considerations, when decisions are made on planning applications. We work to serve this process to optimise conditions for communities, from a transport point of view.

Our work contributes to the fulfilment of OCC’s Connecting Oxfordshire: Local Transport Plan 2015-2031 (LTP4) and therefore serves Oxfordshire’s constituents.

Our vision is: Development proceeding smoothly in transport terms, recognising the historic nature of Oxford and Oxfordshire building a prosperous, sustainable, secure and safe future with the infrastructure necessary to cater for this.

How we do what we do

We are more than willing to provide input before planning applications are made. This is in the form of pre-application advice from a transport perspective.

The correct level of supporting documentation for an application will ideally be determined at this stage (Transport Assessments, Transport Statements, Travel Plans, Travel Plan Statements, Design & Access Statement).

Our Transport Development Control team is a statutory consultee of the planning process and therefore gives technical advice on the transport and highway implications of each proposal.  We are not the decision-making authority, this is the Planning Authority.

Our main medium of operation is the consultation response to the relevant Planning Authority, at the Districts and the County planners.

There are many aspects of a consultation response, which relate to this, including:

  • assess the transport and highway implications of new development within the framework of government and council guidelines and make recommendations to the Local Planning Authorities as to whether the application should be permitted or refused on transport grounds
  • protect the highway network and existing transport infrastructure from the impacts of new developments
  • secure the upgrading of existing and provision of new transport infrastructure to mitigate against the impact of the development proposals
  • secure contributions to improve transport provision in a wider context to account for the cumulative effects of new developments
  • promote our sustainability objectives by encouraging walking, cycling and public transport
  • consulting widely including taking into account the wishes of parishes and councillors

Impartial advice is given as a consideration of engineering matters. This often involves coordinating responses from many parts of our department. We do this by reference to the standards contained in a series of design guides:

Three basic responses are ultimately possible:

  • no objection
  • no objection, with conditions and/or mitigation and/or developer contributions
  • objection/holding objection

By the judicious use of conditions, outright objection is rarely necessary, unless proposals are totally unacceptable with ‘severe’ implications and / or are likely to be ‘unsustainable’.

The generation of traffic by a development is essentially a form of externality produced as a consequence of its existence. By the principle of polluter pays, developer contributions are required in order to deal with, such negative consequences, as can be mitigated for and additionally under some circumstances what gain can be made to invest in future-proofing development.

What is the context for what we do?

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) published its National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on 27 March 2012.

The NPPF replaces all Planning Policy Guidance (PPG) Notes and Planning Policy Statements (PPS) with a single document of just under 50 pages.

This is in line with the Government’s ‘Localism’ reforms, to reduce the role of central guidance and emphasise the local. This places the onus firmly on local authorities to provide the policy framework for sustainable development – in accordance with the twin priorities of economic growth and management of adverse environmental impact.

National Design Guidance to achieve the above with a ‘sense of place is contained in the two volume Manual for Streets (MfS).

Our local guidance stems from the aims of the Connecting Oxfordshire: Local Transport Plan (LTP4) covering the period 2015-2031.

There are various levels of supporting documentation for a planning application, which should be determined as to which is appropriate in the pre-application process, these include:

Design guidance roadmap

Oxfordshire County Council presents its design guidance in this flowchart (pdf format, 82Kb).

This is done to help shape developments in a manner which has a ‘sense of place’ and are produced in a manner appropriate to context with all the infrastructure to make them viable and thriving communities.

The design guidance also provides advice on landscaping, outlines road standards and covers procedures for transfer of the responsibility of the roads from the developer to the highway authority.

This guidance sits amongst the National and Local Policies, Plans and Guidance. This relationship is made clear in the following flow charts.

Sustainable modes are naturally favoured by OCC and we have guidance as part of LTP4 as to how these might be accommodated into development.

New public highways

Often as a result of a planning application getting consent, the highway either needs to be altered or new highway is constructed.  When this happens a S38 and/or S278 application for the relevant legal agreement is required. 

OCC have a set of standard details to assist with the design of the highway works.