Out-of-town new-build residents recount daily transport challenges

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What is it like to live in an area where day-to-day living is governed by a car? What impact does it have on you and your family?

Green group Transport for New Homes says that young couples are literally "trapped" in their vehicles because of a lack of shops and other amenities near newly-built estates.

Popping to a shop or a GP surgery can mean planning a longer journey than anticipated, as these residents have experienced.

Yusuf, living in Hamilton, Leicester

Yusuf, a cost consultant, moved with his partner from London to Hamilton in Leicester in order to get on to the property ladder.

After six months living in their new-build, he says getting around would be quite difficult if he did not have a car.

Their nearest bus stop is a 15 to 20-minute walk away and the nearest shop is at least a mile away.

"So if we run out of milk we could be looking at a round trip of 30 minutes, as opposed to five minutes when we were in London," he says.

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Image caption,
Hamilton in Leicester - Yusuf likes his house, but not the lack of local shops

Yusuf is surprised the new-build estates lack local amenities, like a community centre, but he does like the area.

His commute to Birmingham takes around an hour-and-a-half if his partner drops him off at the railway station. It would be much longer if he walked the 20 minutes to catch a bus and then took it to the station, so he finds it much easier to drive to clients, as long as there is not too much traffic.

On the whole he is happy to be in his own place.

"There's nothing wrong with the house we live in, it's just the lack of convenience on the estate. With the cost of fuel increasing, it makes you realise how expensive a pint of milk can be!"

Hannah, living on the edge of Loughborough

Hannah and her husband work in Loughborough. They have lived on a new-build development on the edge of the town since 2016.

Because of a lack of public transport in their area, having a car is essential. However, that can bring its own challenges, such as having to set off for work before 08:00 or risk getting caught up in traffic jams.

"It can take us up to 20 minutes to drive a mile-and-a-half to work. It's often really hard to turn on to the main road from ours because of the heavy traffic both ways," Hannah says.

She has contacted the local council to suggest introducing a park-and-ride scheme, but was told they could not afford to do this.

The nearest bus stop is half a mile away, down an unlit bridle path. The stop further along is on a dual carriageway, with no footpath. She feels she has no choice but to drive and says the estate lacks families with small children because "it would be too dangerous to walk".

The couple have also struggled to register with a GP in the area because the surgery is fully booked with patients. The nearest village will not accept them because they have a different postcode, so they have been forced to register in Loughborough.

"We bought a new-build to make things more convenient for us," Hannah admits. "But if we look to get somewhere else in the future, we will definitely be buying an older property that is actually close enough to everything that we need."

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Peter, living in Heathcote, Warwickshire

Peter lives on a new estate, Warwick Gateway, near Leamington Spa. He moved into his home in January 2018.

"The house is fine but there are no communal facilities," he says.

There is talk of doctors' surgery and a park at some point, but they are "all just promises at the moment".

It is a 20-minute walk to his local shop and much as he would love to walk to his local supermarket, there is no direct route. Peter feels it is a bit too far to walk into town and cycling is not an option, because the amount of traffic means he does not feel very safe on two wheels.

"South Leamington is becoming increasingly congested as a result of the additional traffic from new housing and businesses, not to mention the roadworks that are being carried out to facilitate even more housing that's being built around there."

Peter likes where he lives but had not thought about how much driving would be involved.

"I chose the place because of the proximity to work in Gaydon but even a taxi from my house to Leamington Spa station is £8. Luckily I've got a job and I can afford to have a car and drive."

By Sherie Ryder and Bernadette McCague, UGC and Social News team