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Venue: The Venue - The Curve, William Street, Slough, SL1 1XY. View directions
Contact: Nicholas Pontone 01753 875120
Declarations of Interest
It is a principle of the BLTB that the interests of the Thames Valley Berkshire area will take precedence over a member’s own interests or those of their nominating authority.
All members must declare, and take relevant action, if they believe they have a pecuniary or other interest on a matter to be considered at the meeting in accordance with the Code of Conduct of the nominating authority or LEP.
The Chair will invite any member representing a local authority seeking financial approval for a scheme to declare that interest.
None were declared.
Resolved – That the minutes of the Berkshire Local Transport Body (BLTB) held on 16th November 2017 be approved as a correct record.
Members noted a briefing note that summarised the process by which Thames Valley Berkshire LEP and the Berkshire Local Transport Body operated in investing in local transport schemes.
Resolved – That the BLTB ‘How we work’ briefing note be noted.
A report was considered regarding the process to allocate the retained money arising from the successful application of a Berkshire-wide Business Rates Retention Pilot in 2018-19. The Pilot was initially for one-year and a planning figure of £25m had been calculated to allocate to major investment projects which supported major housing development or regeneration projects.
The application for Pilot status specified that the investment would primarily be in the Slough Transit Network and the East Reading –Wokingham Mass Rapid Transit Network, subject to bids which met the required criteria. Any unallocated money would then be used for schemes to support large housing sites, major regeneration projects or pan-Berkshire digital infrastructure. The proposed process was set out fully in paragraphs 14-17 of the report and the key aspects were explained. In particular, it was noted that schemes previously funded through the Local Growth Fund (LGF) would be eligible for support from the Pilot which would release money back into the LGF ‘pot’.
Members discussed whether sufficient schemes would be ready given the tight timescales of the Pilot in 2018/19 or very early in 2019/20. Whilst it was possible the Pilot may be extended in the future, it was confirmed that only eligible capital schemes able to be delivered during the agreed period of the Pilot in 2018/19 could be funded. It was envisaged that BLTB would approve a prioritised list of schemes in July 2018 and approve final business cases in November with delivery in quarters 3 and 4 of the year. It was emphasised that the bid for Pilot status was to deliver schemes with a significant economic impact within the next year and Berkshire Leaders and Chief Executives were committed to this objective. After due consideration, the additional resources were welcomed and the process as set out in paragraphs 14-17 of the report were agreed.
(Councillor Brunel-Walker joined the meeting)
BLTB then considered the implications for the current LGF investment programme in that it was possible some “shovel ready” schemes could shift to the Pilot releasing LGF funds for reallocation. There were several scenarios regarding how much, if any, LGF would be released, and the options considered were to:
· A - allocate in accordance with the existing prioritisation;
· B – issue a further call for bids, subject to the agreement of the LEP Forum.
Option A was a clear and tested process but the primary risk was that the schemes previously identified as priorities two years ago may no longer represent the optimal investment. Option B would require a significant amount of work to develop new bids but would provide assurance that the schemes agreed were the most current in terms of offering maximum impact and best value for money.
Several Members supported Option B as they felt it offered an opportunity to refresh the list of prioritised schemes and ensure the investment was aligned to current transport strategy and priorities, including promoting modal shift. It was suggested an ‘away day’ or workshop be arranged within the next month to further refine the strategic priorities ahead of the investment decisions later in the year. This was agreed. A Member favoured Option A as the next schemes on the prioritised list were good schemes ready to be developed. It was noted that currently unfunded schemes in the prioritised long list would still be eligible to be considered for the additional resources and were likely to score highly.
At the conclusion of the discussion, BLTB agreed to support Option B and issue a further call for bids and commence a new prioritisation exercise, subject to confirmation by the LEP Forum on 27th March.
(a) That the process set out in paragraphs 14-17 of the report be approved.
(b) That Option B as set out in paragraph 19 of the report be approved.
A report was received on the progress of the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Growth Deal which set out the status of approved schemes, updated financial profile and identified risks.
BLTB noted that following a competitive tendering exercise, the new four-year contract for Independent Assessors of full business cases seeking financial approval had been awarded to Regeneris consulting. White Young Green were thanked for their services over the past four years.
Updates were provided by scheme promoters on each of the approved schemes:
2.01 Newbury: Kings Road Link Road – update noted.
2.02 Bracknell: Warfield Link Road – update noted. The road was due to open in the autumn of 2018.
2.03 Newbury: London Road Industrial Estate – update noted. The scheme was completed and the one year on evaluation was due to be considered by BLTB in July.
2.04.4: Wokingham: Arborfield Relief Road – update noted. The scheme was progressing well.
2.05 Newbury: Sandleford Park – update noted. Progress was being made on the delivery of the primary school. Discussions were ongoing on other aspects of the scheme with the developers and Newbury College.
2.06 Reading: Green Park Railway Station – update noted. Enabling works were due to start later in March 2018.
2.07 Bracknell: Coral Reef Roundabout – project completed.
2.08 Slough: Rapid Transit Phase 1 – update noted. The scheme had been completed and was due to go live with MRT services in September.
2.09.1 Sustainable Transport NCN 422 – update noted.
2.09.2 Sustainable Transport A4 Cycle Route with Bucks – update noted. The contractor was on site and work was due to be completed on the Slough part of the scheme in April.
2.10 Slough: A332 Improvements – update noted. Due for completion in May.
2.11 and 2.12 Reading: South Reading MRT phases 1 and 2 – update noted.
2.13 Wokingham: Thames Valley Park & Ride (previously called 2.13 Reading: Eastern Park & Ride) – update noted.
2.14 Reading: East Reading MRT Phase 1 and 2.25 Reading: East Reading MRT Phase 2 – update noted. Due to be considered by the Planning Committee in June.
2.15 Bracknell: Martins Heron Roundabout – update noted. There had been some delays with the groundworks but it was hoped the schedule could be brought back on track.
2.16 Maidenhead Station Access – update noted. Good progress was being made on the legal agreements.
2.17 Slough: A355 Route – the scheme had been completed.
2.18 No scheme.
2.19 Bracknell: Town Centre Regeneration and Infrastructure Improvements – the scheme had been completed and footfall figures were positive.
2.20 No scheme.
2.21 Slough: Langley Station Access Improvements – update noted. Work had commenced in March 2018.
2.22 Slough: Burnham Station Access Improvements – update noted. Due for completion by the end of April.
2.23 Reading: South Reading MRT Phases 3 and 4 – update noted. Work was on site.
2.24 Newbury: Railway Station improvements – update noted. Full business case was due to be considered by BLTB at the next meeting.
2.25 – see 2.14
2.26 Wokingham: Winnersh Relief Road (Phase 2) – update noted. Phase 1 was almost complete.
2.27 Maidenhead Town Centre: Missing Links – update noted. Progress was being made with a view to bringing the business case to BLTB in July.
2.28 Bracknell: A3095 Corridor Improvements – update noted. Business case due to BLTB in July.
2.29 Wokingham: Winnersh Parkway – update noted.
Resolved – That the progress made on schemes previously given programme entry status be noted.
A report was considered on the Government’s proposals to create a Major Roads Network (MRN) and the proposed response to the consultation which closed on 19th March 2018.
The Government proposed to designate approximately 5,000 route miles as ‘Major Roads’ sitting between the Strategic Road Network and the Local Road Network. Officers from the six local authorities in Berkshire had co-operated with Transport for the South-East (TfSE) to co-ordinate a response which included a technical report forming the evidence base for the response. The roads in Berkshire identified for inclusion in the MRN were set out in Table 1 of the report and there was agreement that these should be included. Table 2 included some proposed additions from the Berkshire authorities and TfSE to the MRN using the evidence base and technical advice.
Members noted the other key elements of the proposed response including the importance of public transport interventions, particularly in urban sections of the MRN. After due consideration, the BLTB endorsed the draft response as set out in the Appendix to the report.
Resolved – That the draft response set out in the appendix to the report be endorsed.
A report was considered on Heathrow Airport’s consultation on expansion which ran until 28th March 2018.
Heathrow had launched the consultation in anticipation of the Government confirming the Airports National Policy Statement later this year which would be followed by the Development Consent Order process. A further consultation would be carried out on the refined expansion proposals at that stage.
Thames Valley Berkshire LEP had joined the Heathrow Strategic Planning Group and would be able to make detailed comments through that body. It was proposed that the consultation response therefore restate the high level support for additional runway capacity in the South-East with a preference for Heathrow over Gatwick. It was noted that this was a majority position in Berkshire and was also conditional on there being a full range of mitigating measures addressing concerns over noise, pollution, congestion and other adverse impacts.
The BLTB agreed to endorse the response as at Appendix A to the report.
Resolved – That the response set out in the appendix to the report be endorsed.
A follow up report was received on the Mayor of London’s draft Transport Strategy for London. Transport for London had now published the response to the consultation, to which BLTB had responded, and the report set out how those views had shaped the final Transport Strategy.
It was noted that some of the comments had been acknowledged and incorporated into the recommended final version such as increased support for the West London Orbital Railway. The report was noted.
Resolved – That the report be noted.
The forward plan was considered which set out the pipeline of schemes anticipated to come to the LTB for funding approval at future meetings.
Resolved – That the BLTB Forward Plan be noted.
Date of Next Meeting
Thursday 19th July 2018 at 4.00pm at The Curve, William Street, Slough, SL1 1XY
The date of the next meeting was confirmed as Thursday 19th July 2018 at 4.00pm at The Curve, William Street, Slough.