The event in Durham began with dinner at Oldfields, a 'local food' restaurant in the old Durham Gas Company building, at which Alan Young of WSP, who had been closely involved with the Department for Transport's Manual for Streets, launched the EHTF Manual for Historic Streets.
The conference on Thursday was opened with a keynote presentation - 'Traffic in historic towns: challenges and opportunities' - by Malcolm Buchanan, Managing Director of Colin Buchanan. This was followed by Ian Poole (EHTF Executive and Bury St Edmunds) who introduced the evolution of Manual for Historic Streets from the Forum's work on traffic management and the public realm and in support of the DfT guidance.
Examples of the Transport Innovation Fund in Cambridge and the problems with pricing and why Shrewsbury needs a different solution, were followed by the Durham case study. The Durham City Vision and its implications for regeneration in the city, the travel study and the demand management strategy were explained. Transport Innovation Fund objectives, said Roger Elphick, closely matched those of Durham.
Speakers from the City and the County gave presentations on economic development and tourism issues and local urban and rural regeneration projects.
During the afternoon, study tours looked at various aspects of the Durham case study. This was followed by workshops on coach parking , park & ride, parking, bus management, walking and cycling strategies and car free historic centres facilitated by leading practitioners on each topic.
Chair, Brian Human summed up the conference with key messages:
- Historic towns are the seedbeds of innovation
- The need for Champions of the Street
- The need to be bold to meet the challenges- to take risks
- The importance of partnerships, linking the issues and a broader vision
- Local solutions for local places
- Visitors should be given the incentive and confidence to explore and to engage with a place