Residents of a new garden town have been told to get on their bikes to avoid gridlocked roads...and staff could even be asked to pay to park at their places of work.

In order to move some of the 11,400 homes Epping Forest District Council must build in the next 15 years away from the district's Green Belt, it teamed up with Harlow and East Hearts District Councils to form the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

While the 16,000 home settlement north of Harlow will help ease the demand for housing in the area, it will also put a lot of extra strain on its roads.

In order to mitigate this a transport strategy has been drawn up which proposes to change travel behaviour by increasing sustainable travel from 34 per cent to 60 per cent of all journeys in the garden towns and to 50 per cent of journeys across Harlow.

Sustainable modes of transport include walking, cycling and public transport.

A workplace parking charge is also being looked at.

Improvements in bus services will include upgrading of services and improvement in connections between services.

The report claims the strategy will have wider social benefits, such as addressing health concerns, thus reducing the demand on the NHS.

However, these improvements will come in conjunction with moves to make using a car less attractive, including making it more difficult to park in the town.

The report states: “The ready supply and low cost of parking in Harlow currently supports extensive use of the car.

“The Harlow and Gilston Garden Town will consider the implications and viability of introducing a workplace parking levy.

“The revenue would be used to fund sustainable transport investments such as improvements to public transport services.”

Funding for infrastructure is expected to come from developer funding, plus a Homes England bid of £151 million from the Housing and Infrastructure Fund.

Andrew Bramidge, project director said: “The development of the transport strategy will be an essential element of the delivery of the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town.

“The approval of planning applications for the development of new housing across the Garden Town Strategic Sites will, in part, be dependent upon, the developer’s ability to achieve the ambitions set out in the Transport Strategy.”

A six-week public consultation period on the plans is expected after the May elections including exhibitions and an online questionnaire.

The final transport strategy is expected to be presented to the council’s cabinet for approval at the end of this year.