Agenda and minutes

Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Body
Thursday, 9th July, 2015 10.30 am

Venue: Westfields, Middlewich Road Sandbach. 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 M Jones.

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 51 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 4 March 2015 and to consider any matters arising.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 March 2015 be approved as a correct record.

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:

Councillor Les Gilbert (Cheshire East Local Ward Member for Dane Valley) spoke in respect of the Smart Motorway Scheme and his concerns for significant public health issues as a result of both noise and emissions.  Whilst Highways England said such schemes would not worsen an existing situation he considered that the matter needed to be addressed in his locality and along the length of the M6 corridor.  With reference to local proposals he considered the planned local exhibitions and consultations provided an opportunity to look at the position further. 

 

The representative from Highways England agreed to refer these comments back to the team leading on this work and for a detailed response to be sent to Councillor Gilbert.

 

Councillor Mike Parsons (Cheshire East Local Ward Member for Middlewich) spoke to reaffirm the importance of reopening the branch line between Middlewich and Northwich.  The Middlewich Rail Link Campaign had commissioned prepared a business case for it in 2013 which had been submitted to Network Rail but no formal response had been received.  The benefits to both local infrastructure and to the economy would be immense and he asked for it to be included in phase 2 of the Sub-Regional Transport Strategy Work Programme.

 

Network Rail responded that whilst they were aware of the report more work needed to be done on the business case and for there to be discussions between Cheshire East and the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) as to where it fitted in future plans; the LEP Strategic Economic Plan acknowledged there was unused infrastructure and bidders for the Rail North Franchise were aware of issue. 

5.

Cheshire and Warrington Transport Strategy-Study Update

To consider a study update by Leighton Cardwell from Jacobs on the Cheshire and Warrington Transport Strategy.

Minutes:

Leighton Cardwell from Jacobs gave an update on the Stage 2 Strategy preparation and the ongoing engagement with the local authorities and other bodies in order to achieve the necessary timescales. 

 

The aim was to develop a transport strategy across the region to support a £35b economy interconnected with the sub-regions, linking jobs to homes and centres of population growth.  The key themes for prioritisation included focussing on economic growth, including the wider economic benefits, that the schemes should be transformational and open up and secure developmental growth.  It was anticipated that a set of prioritised schemes would be available in the autumn and that these would be considered by the CWLTB.

 

The next steps would be to engage with partners in the regions and wider area to achieve a prioritised time line for development work with the LEPs and stakeholders.  The preparation of a long term strategy also needed to include schemes which could be achieved in the next 5 years and which fed into the work of Network Rail and Highways England, HS2, and links from Winsford and the M6. 

 

It was noted that the growth plans for the region were very ambitious and that the appropriate infrastructure was vital if it was to be achieved.  It was suggested that the current devolution debate could provide opportunities to establishment an investment fund, and to seek private sector investment similar to methods available to London.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the report be noted and that the CWLTB consider the prioritised schemes in the autumn.

6.

Pan North Transport Strategy

To receive a presentation by Jo Kaye/ Andrew Skidmore from Northern Rail and Andrew Cooke from the DfT on the Pan North Transport Strategy.

Minutes:

Jo Kaye of Network Rail, and Andrew Cooke of the DfT, gave a presentation on the Pan North Transport Strategy which was seen as an opportunity to create a single economy and rebalance growth to the north with the vision of a modern city region. 

 

The transport objectives were to provide better connections between the economic centres; a key contributor of this would be by rail, with the provision of reduced journey times and better overall connectivity.  Freight movements were also considered to be key to the improvements as they greatly affected the capacity of the road network. 

 

It was reported that since March 2015 work had included three highway schemes going out to tender, these being the North Trans Pennine A66/69, the Trans Pennine tunnel and the M60 NW Quadrant.  Additional funding of £10m had been added to the budget in order to help get it moving.

 

The Partnership Board, which included the six City Regions, was due to have a new governance structure which would be in place by early autumn.  It was expected that a revised Northern Transport Strategy would be available by March 2016, setting out prioritised options and objectives;   the way in which the City Regions worked with Cheshire East and the LEPs was also considered to be very important,

 

RESOLVED

 

That the update be noted and that the revised Northern Transport Strategy be considered in Spring 2016.

7.

Rail North update paper pdf icon PDF 39 KB

To consider an update report by Jenny Marston from Rail North.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was reported that Rail North was working closely with the DfT on the re-franchising programme for the Northern and Trans Pennine rail services, and on devolving more responsibility for managing rail services in the north of England.  Members were advised that all bids for the franchise had now been submitted and that overall the specifications were positive in supporting economic growth and contributing to the transformation of rail services across the north of England.  The announcement on the successful bidders was expected in November/December 2015.

 

Governance arrangements for Rail North were continuing to evolve, with there now being greater clarity on roles and responsibilities, and a senior officer needed to be appointed to the Rail North Steering Group on behalf of the Cheshire and Potteries Sub-Group by September 2015; Cllr David Brown had been appointed as a Director of the Board.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.    That the report be noted.

 

2.    That further consideration be given to the senior officer appointment to the Rail North Board at the next meeting.

8.

Update Reports pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To receive oral updates in respect of: -

 

·         Highways Agency –Bruce Parker

·         Department for Transport – Richard Perry

·         Network Rail – Jo Kaye

Minutes:

Highways England

i)     M6 Motorway J16-19: smart motorway work was due to begin in the autumn and would take approx. 2 ½ years.

ii)    Work on the pinch point scheme programme had been completed and it included the A55/A483 scheme.

 

DfT

An update paper was circulated and this has been added to the agenda reports.

 

Network Rail

i)     Noted that the electrification of the Trans Pennine line had been paused. 

ii)    Peter Hendy was due to be the new Chair and he would revise the delivery plan and report back to the Secretary of State in the autumn.

9.

Date of Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next meeting.

Minutes:

It was confirmed that the next meeting would be in Warrington at a date and time to be confirmed.