Agenda and minutes

Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Body
Tuesday, 8th October, 2013 3.30 pm

Venue: Walton Hall Gardens, Walton Lea Road, Higher Walton, Warrington, WA4 6SN. View directions

Contact: Cherry Foreman or Sarah Baxter  Democratic Services Officers

Items
No. Item

25.

Appointment of Chairman for the Meeting

Minutes:

Councillor Linda Dirir was appointed as Chairman for the meeting.

26.

Welcome, Introductions and Apologies for Absence

The Chairman will open and welcome attendees to the meeting of the Local Transport Body.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor M Jones, Councillor D Brown, and from Ruth Moynihan and Richard Eccles.

27.

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.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

28.

Minutes of Previous meeting/Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 15 July 2013 and consider any matters arising from the minutes.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 15 July 2013 were approved as a correct record.

29.

Public Speaking Time/Open Session

A period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to address the meeting on any matter relating 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.

Minutes:

There were no questions from members of the public.

30.

Presentation - Growth Deals: The Single Local Growth Fund and Strategic Economic Plan

Richard Perry of the Department for Transport will give a presentation and Andrew Ross will lead on a discussion on work to be undertaken to deliver a strong transport case in the Strategic Economic Plan.

Minutes:

Richard Perry, of the Department for Transport (DfT), gave a presentation on work to be undertaken to deliver a strong transport case as part of the overall Strategic Economic Plan.  The plans needed to be seen in the context of Government objectives for growth and funding, with £976m for maintenance and £258m for the integrated transport block to be allocated for the period 2015/2021.  This would enable a significant investment to be made in both the road and rail network; an additional £200m per year of the Integrated Transport Block (ITB) would be part of the Local Growth Fund (LGF) as well as £819m each year for major scheme funding; £100m LST capital funding would be added to the LGF for 2015/15.

 

Whilst the method of allocation had not yet been finalised it was proposed that the non ringfenced funding would be allocated, using a competitive process, to Local Authorities (LA’s) via the LGF integrated transport block and the local sustainable transport fund.  Local Economic Partnerships’s (LEP’s) would be expected to produce strategic plans for the next financial year with local transport plans included within them.

 

The funding would be flexible, meaning it could be spent on any transport purpose such as integrated transport, sustainable transport projects, maintenance, pinch points, or other growth priorities.  Transport improvements would not be expected to involve major schemes but to concentrate instead on a range of transport interventions to relieve, for example, local bottlenecks, open up development sites and improve access to town centres in order to ‘improve the quality of place’.  This would include collaborative schemes with neighbouring Local Authorities.  Some schemes would need to be ready for work to commence almost as soon as the funding had been agreed, allowing for planning to continue on others in the pipeline.  The first draft of the plans was due to be submitted to the DfT in mid December with settlements being expected from July 2014.

 

In response to questions it was noted that the finance was not intended for routine maintenance as the resources for that came from elsewhere; if it were to be allocated for maintenance purposes its use would need to be supported by a clear economic rationale. 

 

Concern was expressed at the time it would take to put together bids which might not be successful.  The LTB was informed that unfortunately this could not be avoided as the Government was committed to the view that competition drove up quality. 

 

As far as the preparation of the bids was concerned and following discussions with the LEPs, it was proposed that in order for the bids to be prepared in time for the December deadline the LTB should appoint a consultant to support the preparation of the bids on their behalf, with the LEP’s providing the necessary funding support.  A paper would be presented to the next meeting of the LTB on 16 December 2013 with the final bid submission being signed off electronically after that meeting in time for the deadline of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Rail Devolution Update - Rail North Consultation: Long Term Rail Strategy pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider a report on Rail Devolution Update-Rail North Consultation-Long Term Rail Strategy.

Minutes:

Andy Coates from Aecom presented a draft response to the consultation being carried out by Rail North on a draft Long Term Rail Strategy (LTRS) which had developed alongside its emerging proposals for rail devolution covering the Northern and Transpennine franchises.  The prime objectives of the Strategy were to establish how rail could support the growth of the economy in the north of England over the next twenty years whilst at the same time recognising the wider social function rail services play.  It sought to provide a framework for planning and prioritising future rail decision making regardless of whether or not rail devolution occurred.

 

A technical note (Appendix A of the report) had been prepared by Aecom and this summarised the key points contained in the LTRS and highlighted the key issues in relation to Cheshire and Warrington; it was proposed that this form the basis of a combined response from the CWLTB subject to the incorporation of any points raised by the current discussion.  Care would be taken to ensure that the strategy did not adversely affect the development of rail schemes within the Cheshire/Warrington area.

 

The LTB expressed concern that the LTS did not reflect strongly enough the importance of the economies of Cheshire and Warrington and the significant role that the sub regions play relative to city regions, the importance of the links with Manchester Airport for both business and leisure, and of connectivity in general within the area and with other areas.  It did not contain any sense of prioritisation and more detailed expert knowledge was needed regarding the importance of the railway itself. In addition it was considered that the problems of the current ticketing system, and the need for integration with that for the Metrolink needed to be addressed.  It was noted that subsidies would always be needed in the light of the large rural area serviced by the two franchises. 

 

 

RESOLVED

 

That the technical note be endorsed as the basis for preparing the consultation response subject to the inclusion of information in response to the points now made; that this be circulated electronically and signed off by the voting members prior to submission to Rail North by the deadline of 21 October 2013. 

 

 

 

32.

Local Transport Body Major Scheme Review Process pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To consider a report on the Local Transport Body Major Scheme Review process.

Minutes:

In accordance with part 3 of the LTB’s Assurance Framework consideration was given to the process required to be followed by the CWLTB in managing scheme approval and delivery.  It was noted that this was a fundamental part of the process and the LTB needed to show that it was capable of managing the funding, had a robust approach to programme management, and had independent scrutiny of scheme business cases.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.    That approval be given to the need for a budget to secure specialist consultancy support to assist with the major scheme review and management process, with funding approval to be sought from the LEP.

 

2.    That CWLTB commission the production of a Business Case Guidance document to guide scheme promoters through the process of developing robust business cases for their priority schemes and to ensure that a consistent approach is adopted in the development of business cases for all CWLTB schemes, and, that it be commissioned now so that it is available to scheme promoters before they commence any detailed work on the production of business cases

 

3.    That early engagement be held with scheme promoters to guide them in preparing the scheme business case, but particularly where the major scheme is not expected to meet the value for money threshold of achieving a BCR of 2 but where significant other economic benefits are expected; this should commence soon after the business case guidance is published

 

4.    That a scrutiny panel be established for independent review of major scheme business cases; whilst there is not an immediate need for business case scrutiny, the advisors in recommendation 3 above, should be from this panel to ensure continuation of support and consistency of advice.

 

5.    That the CWLTB develop the necessary protocols to effectively Programme Manage the approved schemes as whilst an approved process needs to be in place prior to any scheme business cases being submitted for Programme Entry; there is merit in having this process in place so that the early business case advice to scheme promoters is provided in accordance with this protocol.

 

6.    That the CWLTB develop and publish a process for the periodic review of the scheme prioritisation; and to bring forward new schemes for consideration.

 

 

33.

Presentation - Highways Agency Route Based Strategies

Ruth Moynihan of the Highways Agency will give a presentation on Highways Agency Route Based Strategies.

Minutes:

Steven Lee of the Highways Agency (HA) gave a presentation on Highways Agency Route Based Strategies (RBS), eighteen of which were being reviewed, along with a resume of a number of the policy papers which will underpin the new direction to be taken by the HA and inform their future investment strategy.  Stakeholder engagement had already taken place and initial comments needed to be submitted by 18 November 2013.

 

Draft Stage 1 RBS evidence reports were due to be published in January 2014 for comment and national priorities drawn from that would then be taken on to stage 2, the final findings from which would be published in Spring 2015.  It was expected that there would be further engagement with Local Authorities to build up greater local knowledge.  It was reported that a major change to occur would be in the way the HA reviewed development and the 10 year rule and mitigation.

 

The Trans Pennine Study and the M6 London/Scotland routes were two of the Strategies affecting part of the LTB area.  Local workshops involving stakeholders had taken place and the deadline for commenting had been extended to the beginning of November.  It was noted that the impact of problems on the M6 impacted very adversely on the local road networks. The consultation could be seen as an opportunity to link the RBS and the SEP and it was, therefore, important to show that investment plans were properly aligned and that the HA plans were integrated with both local transport provision and the strategic network

 

It was noted that as this was a national programme that there would be competition for funding, requiring evidence based bids, and that the focus would be on both safety and economic growth. 

 

RESOLVED

 

That the presentation be noted, and that there be regular updates to the LTB on this work and the development programme.

 

 

34.

Update Reports

To receive oral updates in respect of:-

 

·       Highways Agency – Ruth Moynihan

·       Department for Transport – Richard Perry

·       Network Rail – Richard Eccles/Andy Bliss

Minutes:

Richard Perry of the DfT reported that additional funding had been made available and that bids for it needed to be submitted by the end of October 2013.  In addition two new Ministers, Baroness Cramer and Robert Goodwill MP, had been appointed to the DfT in the recent Government reshuffle, details of their individual responsibilities would be confirmed shortly.

35.

Any Other Appropriate Business

Minutes:

It was reported that the HS2 consultation had been launched in July and was due to run until the end of January 2014.  The LTBs draft response would be presented for discussion at the next meeting.

36.

Date of Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next meeting as follows:-

 

Monday 16 December 2013.

Minutes:

It was confirmed that the next meeting would be held on Monday 16 December Town Hall, Macclesfield.