MINI HOLLAND – WOODBRIDGE/MELTON BRIEFING SEPTEMBER 2022
In March 2022, Suffolk County Council was one of 19 local authorities to be awarded £79,947 by the Department for Transport (DfT) to develop a feasibility study for setting out how a Mini Holland scheme could be implemented in Woodbridge and Melton (see Appendix A for a boundary of the Mini Holland area). The funding was awarded after Suffolk County Council submitted a bid to the DfT’s call for Expressions of Interest for areas outside of London that could be suitable for a Mini Holland scheme.
Presently, Mini Holland schemes exist in three areas in London and provide a holistic approach to improving access to an area for walking and cycling, whilst also balancing the needs of public transport and private car users.
Work on the feasibility study has commenced with consultants, WSP and Bespoke Transport Ltd, and meetings have taken place with key stakeholders to help develop the feasibility study. Meetings have been held with Woodbridge Town Council, Melton Parish Council and the local County Councillor for Woodbridge. Information has also been shared with East Suffolk Councillors for the area and district officers, as well as with residents and businesses. It is important that the feasibility study incorporates the views of local people, which must also be evidenced as part of the feasibility study.
Love Woodbridge and Melton branding has been developed for the purpose of giving the project an identity, which has been necessary for raising awareness about the project with councillors, the public and other stakeholders.
Suffolk County Council officers organised public engagement events in Woodbridge to promote the Love Woodbridge and Melton project. Events took place on:
- Wednesday 17th August at Whisstocks Place
- Thursday 18th August at Woodbridge Market
The objective of the events was to collect information about the travel habits and transport demands of the local population, businesses and visitors. This data will help inform decisions on the transport interventions that are needed, which will help provide safer routes for waking and cycling but will also seek to improve access by other transport modes.
A total of 68 surveys were completed across the two days and the overall feedback was positive and supportive of the project. Local residents and businesses were open for discussion and keen to share their ideas on how moving around Woodbridge and Melton can be made easier, more enjoyable and safer. Comments from visitors to the area were more focussed on the area of the River Deben and the river path in particular.
The public event on Wednesday was also attended by Cycling UK who provided Dr Bike sessions free of charge. These sessions were very popular with a constant flow of individuals with their bikes who varied from: local residents, commuters, families and visitors to the area.
On Thursday 8th September Suffolk County Council Officers walked around Woodbridge and Melton dropping off letters to local businesses about the project with a link to a survey. The aim of the survey is to collect businesses’ thoughts on the street / area their business is based and where we can improve local connections and access to help encourage more people to get out and about. Approximately, 100 letters were given out. The survey closes on 30th September 2022. Here is a link to the survey for businesses.
Work has also begun to engage with the local schools and other groups (such as disability groups). Primary Schools have been asked to cascade a survey to parents and Secondary Schools have been asked to cascade a survey to pupils about their school travel habits and what we could do to encourage more people to walk and cycle to school. An engagement event for pupils and parents is currently being planned with Kyson Primary School for a Friday before half term. This offer has been extended to all schools in Woodbridge and Melton.
In addition to capturing the views and opinions of local people and stakeholders, WSP is reviewing a variety of data on travel behaviours in Woodbridge and Melton to identify the transport interventions. This includes data on: traffic numbers, traffic speed, route demand and transport mode trends.
These are all initial tests at this stage and will be reviewed and revisited as the project progresses.
APPENDIX A – WOODBRIDGE AND MELTON MINI HOLLAND BOUNDARY