Venue: The Council Chamber -Town Hall, Sankey Street, Warrington WA1 1UH
Contact: Cherry Foreman or Sarah Baxter Democratic Services Officers
Welcome, Introductions and Apologies for Absence
The Chairman will open the meeting and welcome attendees to the meeting of the Local Transport Body.
Apologies for absence were received from Philip Cox (CWLEP), Lisa Harris (CWAC) and Richard Perry (DfT).
Declarations of Interest
To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 4 April 2018 and to consider any matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on 6 April 2018 were approved as a correct record.
Public Speaking Time/Open Session
A period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relevant to the work of the body in question. Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes but the Chairman or person presiding will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned where there are a number of speakers.
No members of the public wished to address the meeting.
Sub-Regional Transport Strategy
To receive an update on the consultation process for the draft of the strategy.
Members were advised that this consultation on this was ongoing and there had been a range of stakeholder events at key locations, the aim being to have an event in each geographic area. A number of useful comments had already been taken on board such as the inclusion of more detail for walking and cycling. People were keen to see delivery and improvements in their local areas.
The part to be played by public transport was discussed and it was reported that Manchester Airport was particularly interested in it for both users of the airport and its workers. The continuing increase in businesses located in and around the airport also reinforced the need for improved public transport links.
That a full update on the consultation responses and how they can be acted upon be prepared for the next meeting.
To consider the draft brief and feedback for the stakeholder reference group.
Consideration was given to this report and to the comments received at the first Stakeholder Group meeting on 30 May; the main comments of the Group were detailed. Recent advice from the DfT was that the study should aim to produce a strategic outline business case and discussions were currently taking place with CE and CWAC Councils to consider the potential funding implications arising from this.
In addition there was a new process by which the DfT would fund rail enhancements, as described at the last meeting. It remained unclear as to how much funding was available from the DfT to fund improvements and also their guidance indicated the need for local contribution. It was suggested that an additional section on finance and funding be added into the study brief in order to facilitate a wider discussion and also that the brief, with a covering letter of explanation on the ongoing difficulties, be shared with local MPs.
That an additional section on finance and funding be added to the study brief and, once updated to reflect the comments of the Stakeholder Group, it also be shared with local MPs.
To receive updates on:
a. Northern Rail (verbal update from the LEP)
b. West and Wales Prospectus – rail investment sequencing work (verbal update from the LEP)
c. HS2 Phase 2 b stakeholder briefing events (verbal update from the LEP)
d. HS2 Crewe Hub (verbal update from Cheshire East Council)
Updates were given as follows:
1. Northern Rail
In the light of current issues with the timetable and service limitations, and the contributing factors regarding lack of drivers and appropriately skilled workers, consideration was given to how the positon could be improved in the long term. Whilst taking into account historic working arrangements on the railways, and union influences, it was AGREED that a request be sent to the LEP for it to do all within its power to influence and improve the skill set available, to encourage and support young people into appropriate training, and to affect a change in the provision of skills and training within the railway industry.
2. West and Wales Prospectus
Members were advised that work on this was continuing and would be the subject of a report to a future meeting. Improvements to both the passenger services and rail infrastructure were being considered. CWAC was preparing a business case for improving Chester Railway Station.
3. HS2 Phase 2b
Engagement meetings were being held across the area with further consultations to be held in the autumn on environmental impact. The importance of capitalising on the associated work which would need to be carried out to the existing network to support these aspects was stressed.
4. HS2 Crewe Hub
It was reported that the Bill for this was currently going through the House of Commons. Proposals to use currently disused platforms at Crewe were being explored and planning for the construction, to include a new road bridge, had begun although a funding gap remained.
To receive updates on TfN work including Strategic Transport Plan consultation and West & Wales Strategic Development Corridor.
It was noted that the LEP and each of the three transport authorities had places on the Partnership Board. The TfN Strategic Transport Plan had been completed and the responses analysed. A scrutiny committee had been established to review the report and was due to meet on 30 August. It was expected that it would then be refined and published in December along with its associated investment plan. Work was ongoing on the West and Wales Strategic Development Corridor and on the outline business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail.
Update on Major Scheme Progress
To receive verbal updates from each local authority on progress of their major schemes.
· Positive feedback had been received on improvements to the Croft Interchange/M62. This was a pilot scheme to install traffic signals on the slip roads and would be assessed for it potential for use elsewhere
· M6 J16-19 smart motorway upgrade was on track and due to be operational in March 2019
· Increasing the average speed limit from 50mph to 60mph in motorway roadworks was being trialled with a view to extending its use on a case-by-case basis
· M62 J10/12 contract had been awarded and work was due to start at the end of the year
· M56 J8-10 and M6 J26 work was due to start at the end of the year
CHESHIRE WEST AND CHESTER
· A51 Tarvin/Chester funding was being sought with the case to be submitted early next year. A new roundabout at the entrance to Chester to be funded by Highways England was also being discussed
· Examination of the CWAC Local Plan Part 2 was due to start in September
· J8/M62 improvements had been completed
· Work at Omega was continuing
· Birchwood highway improvements were due to commence
· The Centre Park Link would begin in the autumn
· Western Link was still being considered by the DfT
· Warrington West Station was ongoing and progressing well
· Work on Crewe Green and the Sydney Road Bridge were ongoing
· The preferred contractor for Congleton Link Road was due to be announced that day with work due to begin in early 2019
· Public Examination of the Poynton Relief Road Scheme had now been set for late November
· The planning application for Middlewich Bypass was due to be submitted shortly
· A500 Dualling business case would be submitted to the DfT this week with work on the planning application continuing. Its importance as a construction corridor over the next few years was noted
· Funding to support the provision of 850 houses in Crewe had been received
Date of Next Meeting
To confirm the date of the next meeting will be on Friday 21 September 2018 in the Municipal Buildings, Crewe.
It was agreed that the next meeting be held on Friday 21 September 2018 in the Municipal Building, Crewe.