Agenda and minutes

Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Body
Monday, 23rd June, 2014 3.30 pm

Venue: Committee Suite 1,2 & 3, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions

Contact: Cherry Foreman or Sarah Baxter  Democratic Services Officers

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome, Introductions and Apologies for Absence

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

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor D Brown (Cheshire East Council), C Hindle (Cheshire West and Chester Council) and J Kaye (Northern Rail).

2.

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.

3.

Minutes of Previous meeting pdf icon PDF 44 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2014. 

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2014 be approved as a correct record subject to the inclusion of David Boyer in the list of Officers in attendance.

4.

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.

 

Minutes:

Andrew Needham (CPRE) expressed concern about the lack of regional governance and the resultant difficulty in influencing transport investment; in the light of the Chancellor’s recent announcement on regional growth, and the need for HS3, he considered it to be particularly necessary.  he stressed the need for the CWLTB to take account of neighbouring authorities in its proposals.  He confirmed that he had passed on to the Chairman a copy of the CPRE’s recently commissioned report on ‘Transport Strategy in South Manchester and East Cheshire’.

5.

Merseyside Strategic Transport Issues pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Presentation to be given by Huw Jenkins.

 

Minutes:

Huw Jenkins, Policy and Development Manager for Merseytravel, gave a presentation on the current growth and related transport aspirations for the Merseyside area.  He included the remit of the new city region-wide body and its Local Transport Body functions, its involvement with public transport, the Merseyrail concession, Mersey Ferries and tunnels, travel tickets, concessionary travel and non-commercial bus services.  The current priorities and growth plan for the City Region were outlined including the development of Liverpool as a ‘superport’ and various enabling schemes.  Other key priorities related to HS2, the long term rail strategy and Rail North Devolution were referred to.  (A copy of the full presentation had been attached to the agenda for the meeting.) 

 

Members stressed the importance of dialogue with neighbouring authorities and the need to bear in mind that growth aspirations in the City Region would have a knock on effect on Cheshire, Warrington and beyond.  Concern was expressed at the long term aspiration of Merseyside to attract HS2 services. With reference to the Superport Members considered that there should be greater involvement with Cheshire and Manchester, that the rail connections to it would be vitally important, and also that freight transport needed to be taken into account including the development of a new freight line in order to free up capacity on existing lines.  It was confirmed that studies on these factors were currently underway and that a report on the findings was due to be published in the autumn.  

 

Particular concern was expressed at the cost of the proposals in relation to the on-going revenue support implications for capital railway schemes such as the Halton Curve; the availability of finance for all railway services that require a level of operational subsidy in order to support the TOC should be clearly identified, and who would be responsible before the capital schemes were implemented. 

 

RESOLVED

 

1.    That the presentation be noted and that there be a further presentation when the reports were available

 

2.    That Huw Jenkins liaise with Andrew Ross to keep the CWLTB updated on progress.

6.

Mid Cheshire Railway Line pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To receive a written report. (Andrew Ross/Chris Hindle)

 

 

Minutes:

Further to minute no 50 of the last meeting, at the request of the Chairman, Henry Brooks from Tatton Estate Management and the Mid Cheshire Rail Partnership User Group, and Sally Buttifant of Network Rail, attended to support the report on the potential offered by improvements to the Mid Cheshire Line. 

 

The report detailed the vision for the line which provided east-west connectivity across the sub region linking Chester, Northwich and Knutsford with Altrincham, Stockport, and Manchester.  It was reported that since 2001 there had been a 164% growth in passenger numbers at stations served solely by the line and the re franchising of northern services provided an opportunity to make a case for additional investment.  Critical issues for the line included improving the frequency of trains at principal stations, increasing the Sunday service, and investigating service provision as lesser used local stations.  Other medium term opportunities for investment were referred to such as the electrification programme, the northern hub and HS2.

 

Information on the number of users of the route was considered to be the most accurate available following 14 months of work by the user group.  The current poor nature of both service provision and rolling stock, with the result that many people who would have used the train had to resort to travelling by car instead, was noted. 

 

It was confirmed that the proposals were being considered as options by the Northern Franchise Team.  There were, however, issues concerning the availability of rolling stock although it was possible that this would become available as a result of new stock being introduced elsewhere.

 

The Chairman confirmed that he was happy to support these proposals and that they would be supported as part of the Franchise consultation process.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.    That it be confirmed that the CWLTB will seek to influence Rail North and the DfT to investigate the business case for introducing a half hourly service for the Mid Cheshire Line as part of the new Northern franchise.

 

2.    That support be given for a detailed investigation into rail service provision at lesser-used stations to influence Rail North’s future franchise specification.

 

3.    That the CWLTB will continue to work with its key stakeholders and community rail partners to explore opportunities to improve rail services, stations and rolling stock and wider longer term goals for the Mid Cheshire Line corridor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7.

Confirmation of Relationship between Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership and Local Transport Body - Amended Assurance Framework pdf icon PDF 334 KB

To receive a written report. (Andrew Ross)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the amended Assurance Framework a copy of the changes to which was circulated at the meeting.  The changes had been made to reflect the current position and the evolving role of the CWLTB, especially with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP). Among other changes the LEP would have an ultimate power of veto over any CWLTB decision.

 

Richard Perry of the Dft clarified the position from their perspective with particular reference to the recent Heseltine report, the results of the Spending Review and the need for devolved funding.  The Chairman expressed his concern that the recent changes in funding arrangements diminished the role of the LTB but the Dft considered this was a premature assessment. The LTB also felt frustrated that its original long term vision, with a long term investment programme to 2021, had now been replaced by a focus on schemes that were ready to go.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the amended Assurance Framework be noted.

 

 

8.

Draft Guidance for Business Case Development pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To receive a written report. (Andrew Ross/NasarMalik/Sunil Gogna (Atkins)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the business case guidance for scheme promoters, the aim of which was to ensure that all schemes were justified by a consistent and proportionate methodology.  The guidance needed to be read alongside the Assurance Framework and was aligned to its two stage process of conditional then full approval.  Schemes needed to provide information to support the four key criteria, namely, contribution to important policy objectives, value for money, affordability and deliverability.  In view of its revised input the LEP had asked for the assurance framework to be updated so that the objectives of the two bodies were aligned. 

 

In response to concern that the LEP could now potentially over-rule schemes members were advised that the guidance would continue to provide consistency for testing value for money and for comparing the various schemes in the programme.   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

RESOLVED

 

1.    That the Draft Business Case Guidance shown in Appendix A be approved.

 

2.    That the Lead Officer seek advice on the draft guidance from DfT officials.

 

3.    That a final version of the guidance be presented to a future meeting of the CWLTB for approval.

 

9.

Sub Regional Transport Strategy pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To receive a written report. (Andrew Ross / Jamie Matthews)

Minutes:

Following the preparation of the Cheshire and Warrington Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership Board had asked the CWLTB to prepare a top level transport strategy for the area.  The SEP has started the process and it recognised the role transport had to play in supporting economic growth and regeneration alongside objectives relating to disadvantage, sustainability and wider quality of life issues.  It was considered to be a good time to do this as all local authorities were reaching the stage where they needed to consider refreshing their Local Transport Plan to reflect changes in a local and national context, operational position and funding climate.

 

Members considered this fitted in well with the report presented earlier in the meeting on behalf of Merseytravel and consideration was given to the level at which it should be pitched.  It was agreed that it should be positioned at a high level, with options for a 5 -15 year time frame, and include freight, airports and wider connectivity.  The Cheshire and Warrington area could be viewed as a gateway to areas across the north west including Liverpool, the Lakes, North Wales and beyond as the major rail, road and motorway links passed through it and it was, therefore, vital that the regions talked together to understand the cross boundary dynamics and it was aligned with related work such as that by Network Rail and the North of England Route Study which was scheduled for 2016.

 

It was agreed that an outline scoping report be shared by email with a draft report being submitted to the next meeting, and that the subject be added as a standard item on all future agendas.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.    That the need to prepare a Cheshire and Warrington Transport Strategy, and to align investment plans with the areas ambition for economic growth as set out in the SEP, be noted.

 

2.    That senior officers be invited to prepare a draft scoping report for approval by the voting members and, if approved, use it to prepare a draft high level transport strategy for the area, identifying any next steps, for presentation to a future meeting of the LTB.

 

3.    That the subject be added as an agenda item for all future meetings.

 

 

10.

Rail North Update pdf icon PDF 71 KB

To receive a written update. (Andrew Ross/Andrew Coates from Aecom)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was reported that Rail North, the interim organisation working to devolve franchising from Whitehall to the North of England, was continuing to develop and in the meantime a partnership arrangement was in place with the DfT to oversee the re-franchising. 

 

The main issues at present were continuing discussions regarding governance arrangements, Re-franchising on which the development of the Invitation to Tender continued, the Long Term Rail Strategy for which endorsement of the final version would be sought at the next Leaders meeting and the Electrification Task Force which was an initiative established by the Secretary of State to determine a programme for rail electrification across the North of England.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the CWLTB note the Rail North developments and continuing activities in respect of:

 

1.    Engagement at the Rail North Leader Forum by Cllr Michael Jones

2.    Plans for the Rail North Governance Roadshow on a date to be agreed.

3.    Responding to the Re-Franchising public consultation and attendance at the DfT/Rail North event in Preston on 3 July 2014.

4.    Ongoing officer support on the Rail North re-franchising specification work.

5.    Participation on the Electrification Task Force by Cllr Terry O’Neill.

6.    That a progress report be submitted to a future meeting of the LTB.

 

 

11.

Update Reports

To receive oral updates in respect of: -

 

·         Highways Agency –Bruce Parker

·         Department for Transport – Richard Perry

·         Network Rail – Andy Bliss

Minutes:

Bruce Parker - Highways Agency (HA) reported that:

The report on the HA pinch point projects was due at the end of the year; the Queens Speech included provision for the HA to become a Government company with effect from April 2015; the Inspectors report on the A556 was now with the Secretary of State and a decision should be announced shortly; proposals for the M6 J16-J19 to become a ‘Smart Motorway’ continued to be developed and it was anticipated they would be presented to LTB meeting in December; the A55/A503 would be delivered by the end of the year.

 

Richard Perry – Department for Transport (DfT) reported that:

The outcome of the SEP local growth fund process and of the LSTF bids would be known during July; additional money for the ‘pot hole’ fund had been announced, the Virgin franchise for the West Coast Mainline had been extended to 2017; the Secretary of State had confirmed approval for the Crewe Green Link Road; an announcement on HS2 was expected at the end of the year.

 

Andy Bliss – Network Rail reported that:

An announcement had been made that Crewe Station had been accepted as a gateway scheme and would now be dealt with as a project in its own right outside proposals for HS2.

12.

Date of Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That approval be given for Officers to make arrangements for the next meeting as appropriate.