The Forum has been campaigning since the early 1990's for fewer signs and lines and less street clutter. Over the years other organisations may have had a higher profile - for example English Heritage with 'Streets for All' - but EHTF has consistently published guidance which points to a better way: for example the Historic Core Zones Report (1999) and Review (2003) and Focus on the Public Realm (2003) (see publications).
Ben Hamilton-Baillie has worked with EHTF and continues to demonstrate the aesthetic and safety advantages of fewer signs, through the European 'Shared Space' programme. Bradford on Avon is the most recent Forum Member to ask for Ben's advice, which he gave at a meeting in the beautiful Wiltshire town on 8 September. He will also be the keynote speaker at a 'Transport Day' organised by the the West Suffolk Green Business Forum in Bury St Edmunds on 29 November.
CPRE and the RAC are now calling for less clutter on country roads, which although outside of the remit of EHTF, has significant impact on the approach to many historic towns, set as they are in rural contexts.
The fairly experimental traffic management schemes put in place in Halifax, Lincoln, Shrewsbury and Bury St Edmunds for the Historic Core Zones project were in consultation with, and with the approval of, the then Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) and may have involved "imaginative interpretation of the regulations" but have not yet resulted in any catastrophes!
The pressure is mounting to re-think the public spaces that have been obscured by a plethora of information and instructions, in an increasing risk-averse society. EHTF would like to offer Members the opportunity to share examples of best practice in order to encourage colleagues who may have difficulties convincing others that less is more!
The Annual Conference will continue to develop this theme and work in 2007 will include scrutiny of the new Transport Innovation Fund Initiative. Please contact Chris Winter, EHTF Director, if you would like your experiences shared through the website or the newsletter.