Venue: The Curve - William Street, Slough, Berkshire, SL1 1XY
Contact: Nicholas Pontone 01753 875120
To welcome Simon Ratcliffe and Malcolm Kempton to BLTB following their recent appointments by Thames Valley Berkshire LEP.
It was noted that two new Thames Valley Berkshire LEP representatives, Simon Ratcliffe and Malcolm Kempton, had been appointed to BTLB. A further appointment was due to be ratified by TVB LEP in the near future.
Resolved – That the new members be welcomed to BTLB.
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.
Charles Eales declared that he worked for Microsoft based at Thames Valley Park, which would be served by the East Reading MRT scheme.
Matthew Taylor declared that he worked for Stewarts Coaches, which could operate services on Mass Rapid Transit schemes supported by BLTB.
Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting of the Berkshire Local Transport Body (BLTB) held on 19th July 2018 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 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.
Updates were provided by scheme promoters on each of the approved schemes:
2.01 Newbury: Kings Road Link Road – the delays had been resolved and the scheme was on site.
2.02 Bracknell: Warfield Link Road – the scheme had been completed.
2.03 Newbury: London Road Industrial Estate – works had been completed on the transport scheme, although it was noted that legal issues had impacted on the redevelopment of the industrial estate.
2.04: Wokingham: Distributor Roads – update noted. Work on the DfT business case was progressing for the northern section. A planning application was expected in early 2019 to complete the southern section.
2.05 Newbury: Sandleford Park – update noted. The land ownership issues had been resolved and the scheme was on site. The risk rating was now ‘green’.
2.06 Reading: Green Park Railway Station – update noted. Interchange works were on site although design work on the station was not complete.
2.07 Bracknell: Coral Reef Roundabout – project completed.
2.08 Slough: MRT Phase 1 – the scheme was completed. A closed service had been running since July and a public service, delivered by Stewart’s Coaches, was due to commence from 2nd January 2019.
2.09.1 Sustainable Transport NCN 422 – update noted.
2.09.2 Sustainable Transport A4 Cycle Route with Bucks – update noted. Work was almost complete.
2.10 Slough: A332 Improvements – update noted. A January completion was expected.
(Councillor Clifford joined the meeting)
2.11 and 2.12 Reading: South Reading MRT phases 1 and 2 – update noted. The final part of the scheme was under construction.
2.13 Wokingham: Thames Valley Park & Ride (previously called 2.13 Reading: Eastern Park & Ride) – update noted. Planning approval had been secured and preliminary works had started on site.
2.14 Reading: East Reading MRT Phase 1 and 2.25 Reading: East Reading MRT Phase 2 – a revised planning application had been submitted after the first application had been refused by Wokingham’s Planning Committee. The new application would be considered first by Wokingham and then by Reading, if approved. BLTB was concerned about whether the timescales for delivery of the scheme by 2021 could be achieved. The scheme promoters provided assurance that the scheme could be delivered within the required timescale if planning was approved. Members considered the approach if planning permission was refused again. In such an event, the scheme would almost certainly not be deliverable by 2021 and the £20m LGF would most likely be available to invest in other schemes. There was a pipeline of alternative schemes in the agreed programme, although they would need to be progressed quickly. This process would be triggered when the scheme promoter confirmed it wouldn’t be able to deliver the scheme on time. BLTB recognised that this was a significant risk to the programme and Members agreed it was important to move forward urgently if planning permission was refused to ensure that all the available funds could be spent on schemes in Berkshire. A decision was expected by Wokingham’s Planning Committee in December 2018.
2.15 Bracknell: Martins Heron Roundabout – update noted. The final phase of work was starting with completion due in February.
2.16 Maidenhead Station Access – update noted. Agreement had been reached with Network Rail and work was due to start in January.
2.17 Slough: A355 Route – the scheme was complete.
2.18 No scheme.
2.19 Bracknell: Town Centre Regeneration and Infrastructure Improvements – the scheme had been completed.
2.20 No scheme.
2.21 Slough: Langley Station Access Improvements – update noted. Work was progressing on site.
2.22 Slough: Burnham Station Access Improvements – the scheme was completed.
2.23 Reading: South Reading MRT Phases 3 and 4 – update noted.
2.24 Newbury: Railway Station improvements – update noted. Work was due to start in the new year.
2.25 – see 2.14.
2.26 Wokingham: Winnersh Relief Road (Phase 2) – update noted. Planning permission had been approved and the business case was due for consideration shortly.
2.27 Maidenhead Town Centre: Missing Links – update noted. A report would be considered later in the agenda.
2.28 Bracknell: A3095 Corridor Improvements – update noted. Preliminary works had started.
2.29 Wokingham: Winnersh Parkway – update noted. A full business case was due to be considered in March 2019.
2.30 Thames Valley Berkshire Smart City Cluster – the programme had been amended but was on track.
2.31Slough: Stoke Road Area Regeneration – the full business case was due in March 2019.
2.32 Maidenhead: Housing Sites Enabling Works Phase 1 – the full business case had been due to be considered at this meeting, however, it had been slightly delayed. Councillor Bicknell proposed and Councillor Brunel-Walker seconded that an additional meeting of BLTB be arranged on 31st January 2019 to consider the full business cases for 2.32 Maidenhead Missing Links and 2.34 Slough MRT. Possible further items could be on the Slough: Stoke Road business case and, if necessary, on the reallocation of funds if East Reading MRT Planning Permission was not approved. This was agreed.
2.33 GWR: Maidenhead to Marlow-Branch Line Upgrade – this was a GWR scheme managed by Buckinghamshire County Council.
2.34 Slough MRT Phase 2 – as agreed at 2.32, the business case would be considered at an extraordinary BLTB meeting in January 2019.
(a) That the progress made on schemes previously given programme entry status be noted.
(b) That an extraordinary meeting of BLTB be held on 31st January 2019. The agenda would include the following:
· Financial approval for 2.32 Maidenhead Housing Sites Enabling Works.
· Financial approval for 2.34 Slough: MRT Phase 2.
· Financial approval for 2.31 Slough: Stoke Road Area Regeneration, if required.
· Reallocation of funds if East Reading MRT Phases 1 and 2 could not be delivered.
A report was considered that recommended giving conditional financial approval to scheme 2.26 Wokingham Winnersh Relief Road Phase 2 from the Business Rates Retention Pilot.
The project would deliver a new relief road to the west of Winnersh, avoiding the current Winnersh Crossroads junction. The new Independent Assessors, Hatch Regeneris Consulting, concluded that the scheme would deliver good value for money, although, some further evidence was required which meant that conditional approval was recommended.
After due consideration, the scheme was given conditional approval.
(a) That scheme 2.26 Wokingham Winnersh Relief Road Phase 2 be given financial approval in the sum of £6,260,000 (£3,000,000 in 2018/19 and £3,260,000 in 2019/20) on the terms of the funding agreement set out at paragraph 13 step 5 of the report, subject to meeting the following conditions:
(b) The supply of further evidence which supported the conclusions reached in the Full Business Case in respect of:
· The provision of cycle lanes and footpaths and their social impacts;
· Revisions to the net land value uplift calculation and adjusted present value of costs in the Economic Case;
· Sensitivity tests, scheme build cost, risk contingency, financial profiles, inflation, maintenance, renewals and optimism bias in the Financial Case;
· Procurement and management of project cost variations;
· The risk register, risk management, contract management and contingency plans.
A report was considered that recommended giving final approval to scheme 2.27 Maidenhead Town Centre: Missing Links. The proposal aimed to complete the ‘missing links’ between planned major development areas in and around Maidenhead and improve their connectivity to the town centre.
The report of the Independent Assessor at Appendix A to the report was noted. It concluded that it was a good scheme, however, conditional approval was recommended pending the supply of further evidence on a number of matters.
BLTB welcomed the scheme and agreed to give it conditional approval on the terms set out in the report.
(a) That scheme 2.27 Maidenhead Town Centre: Missing Links be given financial approval in the sum of £2,241,787 (£243,310 in 2018/19 and £817,718 in 2019/20 and £1,180,759 in 2020/21) on the terms of the funding agreement set out at paragraph 11 step 5 below, subject to meeting the following conditions:
(b) The supply of further evidence which supports the conclusions reached in the Full Business Case in respect of:
· the impact of disruption caused during scheme construction;
· the impact of interim arrangements for cycling and walking pending development of key sites;
· the impact of late- or non-delivery of inter-dependent development;
· the demand forecasts and monetised benefits in the Economic Case
· procurement, cost estimates, spend profile and inflation;
· the risk register;
· the monitoring and evaluation and contingency plans.
An administrative report was considered that sought approval for the transfer of preliminary costs relating to the scheme, Arborfield Cross Relief Road, to Wokingham.
The scheme was supported in the 2013 Strategic Economic Plan and was a “DfT-retained scheme” with a contribution of £24m. Wokingham had made sufficient progress with the development of the Full Business Case for DfT to release £874,176 as a contribution to the preliminary costs.
A resolution of BLTB was required to enable the LEP’s accountable body, Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the authority to transfer the money to Wokingham. This was agreed.
Resolved – That the transfer of £874,176 to Wokingham Borough Council in respect of preliminary costs associated with scheme 2.04.4 Wokingham: Arborfield Cross Relief Road be approved.
BLTB considered a report on the revenue support to local authorities for the development of a pipeline of schemes and on the new bid for a further year of BRRP funding for c. £10m to support priority investment schemes.
An allocation of the £600,000, “top-sliced” from the £25m BRRP, had been agreed by BLTB in July 2018 and the proposals were set out in Appendices 1 to 4 of the report for Reading, West Berkshire, Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead and Wokingham. Slough and Bracknell Forest’s proposals were expected in March 2019. It was noted that the revenue “top-slice” had been extended by £90,000 to allow the LEP to draw down revenue funding for the Berkshire Local Industrial Strategy and consequential amendments were proposed to keep the overall BRRP spending at £25m.
The six Berkshire authorities, led by Bracknell Forest and supported by the LEP, had made a further bid to the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government for a further c. £10m for 2019-20. It was not known whether the bid would be successful, but it was necessary for BLTB to confirm the priority projects in the event that it was. The priority schemes identified in the previously agreed prioritisation process were recommended to be allocated funding, which were Slough MRT Phase 2, Maidenhead Sites Enabling Works Phase 1, East Reading MRT, subject to planning permission and if not, South Wokingham Distributor Road Eastern Gateway and some further revenue support to future infrastructure business cases. In response to a question about the approach if a sum less than £10m was awarded, it was responded that the funding would be allocated in line with the agreed priority of schemes i.e. the lowest ranking scheme would not be allocated funding.
Members considered each of the recommendations in turn and they were all approved.
(a) That the revenue support proposals and the drawdown of BRRP funds by Reading, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead and Wokingham set out in appendixes 1-4 of the report be approved; and
(b) That the revenue support arrangements set out in appendix 5 and the drawdown of £90,000 from BRRP funds by TVB LEP be noted; and
(c) That the consequential switch of £90,000 support for South Reading MRT phases 3 and 4 from BRRP to LGF be approved, thereby reducing the unallocated LGF funds from £360,000 to £240,000; and
(d) That the following priorities for the allocation of BRRP funds in the event that the application for a second pilot in 2019-20 is successful be approved:
(i) Slough MRT Phase 2 £3.058m
(ii) Maidenhead Housing Sites Enabling Works Phase 1 £1.068m
(iii) Subject to Planning Permission, East Reading MRT Phases 1 and 2 (and failing planning permission, South Wokingham Distributor Road – Eastern Gateway) £5.000m
(iv) Further revenue support for the future infrastructure business cases, the balancing amount (£0.874m based on a £10m overall approval)
A report was considered on the Network Rail Access for All station improvement programme.
In July 2018, the Government had confirmed that it would make £300m available to Network Rail to continue the programme in Control Period 6 (2019 to 2024) to improve accessibility to stations. BLTB was asked to agree the stations shortlisted in Berkshire to be submitted to Network Rail for inclusion. Network Rail guidance set out the criteria to identify stations for improvement and the Berkshire Strategic Transport (Officer’s) Forum had applied these and recommended submitted a shortlist of Mortimer, Pangbourne, Reading West, Tilehurst and Winnersh Triangle.
BLTB discussed other options on the Long List, including the recommendation of Winnersh over Earley, however, the rationale was explained and it was noted that neither platform at Winnersh was accessible and it was therefore considered to best meet Network Rail’s criteria. After discussion, the shortlist in Table 3 of the report was agreed to be submitted to Network Rail who managed the programme.
Resolved – That the prioritised list of stations set out in table 3, paragraph 11 of the report be submitted to Network Rail for consideration for inclusion in the CP 6 Access for All programme.
The BLTB Forward Plan set out the matters expected to be considered at future meetings. The plan would be adjusted in view of the earlier decision to arrange an extraordinary meeting in January 2019.
Resolved – That the BLTB Forward Plan be noted.
Date of Next Meeting - 14th March 2019
It was agreed that an extraordinary meeting of BLTB would be held on 31st January 2019.
The next scheduled meeting would be held on 14th March 2019.