Agenda and minutes
Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Body
Friday, 6th April, 2018 10.00 am
Venue: Chester Town Hall-Northgate Street, Chester, CH1 2HJ. View directions
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 Councillors R Bailey and H Mundry.
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 25 October 2017 and to consider any matters arising.
The minutes of the meeting held on 25 October 2017 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.
Action for the A51
Matthew Waterhouse of the Action for the A51 Group Steering Committee spoke on the urgent need for a strategic review of the complete length of the A51 from Nantwich to Chester. The overall volume of traffic and the high number of HGVs using it meant a sustained and targeted investment programme, planned for its whole length not just specific problem areas, was vital.
The CWLEP responded that the Draft Transport Strategy, to be considered later in the meeting, included a number of short term priorities of which this was one. Current proposals included a study to consider options to tackle capacity constraints and network resilience along the A51 corridor between the M6 and the A51; there was also a Local Growth Fund Scheme to remove 3 specific pinch points between Tarvin and Chester. It was reported that finance for the strategic study was currently being assembled.
Phillip Jackson of the Cheshire Association of Local Councils also spoke in support of the need for this review.
Classic Compatible Trains and HS2
Andrew Needham asked whether consideration was being given to the use of classic compatible trains on HS2.
Richard Perry of the DfT responded to confirm that Transport for the North is developing plans for the development of Northern Powerhouse Rail and will complete work on a Strategic Outline Business Case later this year. This work is focussed on east-west connectivity between cities in the North of England. No work on rolling stock options has been carried out at this stage. Bi-mode trains have been proposed as options for the type of rolling stock that could operate over some short sections of HS2. Decisions on railway rolling stock to operate phase 2b for HS2 will not be made until the 2020s and a number of technical and operational issues will need to be explored before any commitments to the use of bi-mode trains on HS2 could be made
It was also reported that the classic compatible route from Stafford to Macclesfield via Stoke could be extended to Manchester; rolling stock was however a matter for the franchisee.
A51 South of Nantwich – Newcastle Rd/Ellwood Way/London Road
Phillip Jackson spoke on behalf of Stapeley Parish Council regarding the volume of traffic at this junction and in the vicinity. The regular queues had an adverse knock-on effect on adjacent junctions and roundabouts. In addition there were safety concerns due to the road camber at the roundabout.
Officers were aware of these matters and as part of the M6 study some funding was available to tackle the knock-on effects of traffic using the A500 when there were problems on the motorway. It was AGREED that the camber would be looked at further by Cheshire East Council to see if there were means by which it could be improved.
Ellesmere Port/Helsby Railway Line
Cedric Green of the North Cheshire Rail Users’ Group spoke on their support for a more useable service on this line, and requested that it be brought forward ... view the full minutes text for item 34.
a. the latest draft of the strategy and, subject to any amendments, agree that the strategy goes out to stakeholder engagement;
b. and the stakeholder engagement plan for the transport strategy.
Consideration was given to the latest draft of the Sub-Regional Transport Strategy. It was noted that responses were still being received and also that Cheshire East Council wanted to include a reference to a proposed study on the A50. It was however anticipated that the final amendments would be completed by the end of the following week in preparation for going out to consultation in May for 12 weeks.
In discussing the proposed Stakeholder Engagement Plan it was noted that care needed to be taken to avoid stakeholder fatigue and that a focussed and targeted process would be undertaken; wherever possible existing meetings and events would be used in conjunction with electronic means of communication.
1. That approval be given to the draft Sub-Regional Transport Study and for it to go out to stakeholder engagement.
2. That approval of minor amendments be delegated to the Chief Executive of the Local Enterprise Partnership, in consultation with the Chairman of the Local Transport Body
To consider the proposed distribution of the £5m available funding.
Consideration was given to the proposed allocation of funding from the £5 million Sustainable Travel Access Fund. Local Authorities had been invited to submit bids and 8 had been received which, following assessment, had resulted in the distribution now proposed.
That the proposed distribution of the Sustainable Travel Access Fund be endorsed subject to satisfactory business cases being developed.
To receive updates on:
a. Government’s Response to the Crewe Hub Consultation
b. DfT’s Rail Market Led Proposals Guidance
c. DfT’s new approach for rail enhancement schemes
d. Mid Cheshire and Middlewich Railway Lines Study
e. West and Wales Prospectus next steps (oral report)
f. Golborne Link (oral report)
Updates were given on the following matters:-
1. Government’s Response to the Crewe Hub Consultation
The Government response on this was considered to be very positive but pressure needed to be maintained for wider connectivity. Recent agreement to Crewe being the first ‘all digital’ station was especially welcomed and it would relieve many associated problems across the wider region
2. DfT’s Rail Market Led Proposals Guidance; and
3. DfT New Approach for Rail Enhancement Schemes
The Government was aiming to lever in funding from innovative ideas and so reduce the burden on taxpayers and fare payers. These Government reports set out the process for engaging the DfT.
4. Mid Cheshire and Middlewich Railway Lines Study
Consideration was given to a proposal to establish a working group to oversee the work of consultants to assess the potential for running passenger services along this line to the Crewe Hub, and that it should include a DfT representative.
It was noted that the wider stakeholder group would include the DfT, Network Rail, the Mid Cheshire Rail Users Association, the Mid Cheshire Development Board, Middlewich Town Council, the CPRE, Cheshire East Council, Cheshire West and Chester Council, other key local stakeholders and local MPs. The Transport Portfolio Holders from the two Cheshire Authorities would also be invited to attend.
West and Wales Prospectus next steps
It was reported that this prospectus had been well received at its recent Parliamentary launch. A working group now needed to be established and it was proposed that the same groups be used as that for the Crewe Hub, with the same officer group arrangements and the Area 7 rail working group. The Chief Executive of the LEP reported that he was due to have further discussions with the DfT about securing wider connectivity.
5. Golborne Link
It was reported that Warrington Council remained strongly opposed to proposals for that section of HS2 planned to provide a connection across the west coast main line, in the region of Goldborne, between Warrington Bank Quay and Wigan North West Stations. Extreme difficulty had been encountered in trying to arrange a meeting with HS2 to discuss the proposals. Discussions with the DfT had however been promising. It was hoped that the new status of TfN as a statutory body would be of assistance in the future on projects such as the development of Piccadilly Station.
That the updates be noted, and the proposals for the Mid Cheshire and Middlewich Lines Study (4), and the West Wales Prospectus next steps (5) above, be endorsed.
a. To receive a verbal update on TfN activity; and
b. To consider a draft response to TfN’s consultation on the Strategic Transport Plan.
An oral update was given on recent developments with special account being taken of the first meeting, held the day before, since TfN had been made the first statutory Sub-National Transport Body (SNB). The partnership, comprising the 19 constituent local authorities of Local Transport Authorities in the North, would be governed through the TfN Members Board the governance arrangements for which were in the process of being finalised. The vast quantity of work and tight timescales were recognised by all concerned.
Consideration was given to the draft response to TfNs Strategic Transport Plan consultation, the closing date for responses being 17 April. It was planned to be a high level strategy with the emphasis on key issues and responsibilities. With reference to rail it was reported that further comments in respect of the Crewe Hub were to be incorporated into the final response to maintain consistency with the HS2 response.
That the draft response to TfNs Strategic Transport Plan consultation be approved, subject to any LTB amendments.
To receive a briefing on the Government’s call for proposals for this Fund.
Consideration was given to how to how best to co–ordinate a response to a call for proposals from the DoT. The fund had been created for capital investment in transport to increase productivity and spread prosperity through investment in public and sustainable transport in some of the largest city regions. Half the fund had already been allocated to Mayoral Combined Authorities with the remainder to be allocated by a competitive process to a selected ten city regions.
There was no definition of a city region but the fund was looking for evidence of high workday populations to benefit from public and sustainable transport systems. Local authorities, including cross border to Wales for example, might bid jointly and proposals for places with populations of more than 200,000 people would score more strongly.
That the options for joint bidding between the local authorities and partnerships in the region be further investigated, that the Transport Advisory Group consider potential proposals in more detail, and that a further report be considered at the next meeting of the LTB.
Update on Major Scheme Progress
To receive oral updates from each Local Authority on progress of their major schemes.
Oral updates were given as follows:-
· Western Link Scheme – currently with the DfT and a decision was due in May
· J8/M62 – improvements with ongoing additions for local improvements
· Warrington West Station – under construction
· Birchwood Area highway Improvements – due to begin this summer
· Centre Park Link over River Mersey – due to begin this summer
· Crewe Green Junction Improvements – due to be completed in September
· Congleton Link Road – in progress
· Poynton – Public Inquiry date still awaited amid concerns that the slippage could result in loss of funding. Government was aware of the issue.
· Middlewich Eastern By Pass – ongoing
· NW Crewe Package – in consultation
· A500 Dualling – business case to be submitted in early summer
· Sydney Road Bridge - due to commence at the end of the year/early 2019
CHESHIRE WEST AND CHESTER
· Gadbrook Park Junction – funding received
· A51 Pinchpoint Schemes – business case finalised
· Ellesmere Port – funding received
· Local Plan Part 2 – now submitted
That the updates be noted.
To note the responses to
a. Highways England’s consultation on the Initial Roads Report, and
b. DfT’s consultation on the Major Road Network.
Consideration was given to two consultation responses. Firstly to the Highways England Strategic Road Network Initial Report, and secondly to the DfT Proposals for the Creation of a Major Road Network.
That the consultation responses be noted.
Any Other Appropriate Business
The LEP reported that at a recent West Coast Partnership Stakeholder Briefing it had been confirmed that three franchisees were to be asked to tender for the West Coast Franchise. TfN would be monitoring the process closely and the DfT, who were leading on the project, had been asked to keep the CWLEP fully updated.
Date of Next Meeting
To confirm the date of the next meeting will be on Friday 22 June 2018 in the Town Hall, Warrington.
It was agreed that the next meeting be held on Friday 22 June at 10.00 am at the Town Hall, Warrington.