View Cabinet Decision Record

Cabinet Decision: 3rd September 2009
Title of Item/Report
Tees Valley Transport Schemes
Record of the Decision
Cabinet were informed that there were some major transport projects being developed in the Tees Valley, and within the Borough, which would bring around £100m of investment into the sub-region.

Members were provided with background information relating to 4 major schemes, together with preferred strategies for their delivery and details of the next steps to be taken.

The following points were specifically highlighted

East Billingham Transport Corridor

The timescales involved in delivering the scheme would be challenging but achievable. The funding had been allocated over two financial years, £1m in 2009/10 and then a further £4m in 2010/11.

The majority of funding allocated for this financial year would be spent on land acquisition. The aim would be to achieve this through negotiations but, if this was unsuccessful, Compulsory Purchase Orders may be needed to achieve the objective.

As the proposed alignment of the EBTC was in the vicinity of the RSPB Saltholme Reserve and the medieval village of Cowpen Bewley, a full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) would need to be carried out to ensure the design and construction of the road had minimal adverse impact on the surroundings and that mitigation measures were in place. The EIA would also determine the route alignment and land acquisition required. This work would also be carried out during this financial year.

Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements

The scheme was approved entry into the DfT’s Local Authority Major Schemes Programme (Programme Entry) on the 23 June 2009. On granting this approval, the DfT set out the conditions that must be satisfied following Programme Entry and further work that would be required to gain the required Full Approval.

The further work required included further modelling work on a small number of individual schemes, confirming the Stockton Infrastructure Register, obtaining contractor prices for Year 1 schemes and processing and implementing any Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO’s) required for Year 1 schemes. TRO’s will be processed by the Corporate Director of Law and Democracy and any objections submitted will be considered.

Once this additional work was complete, a revised Major Scheme Business Case will be submitted to the DfT in a bid to gain Full Approval. It was anticipated that this Business Case will be signed off by the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements Project Board at their meeting on 2 November 2009 and submitted to the DfT the following day.

Tees Valley Metro

The estimated local contribution required from each of the partner Councils is £800,000 for phase 1 and it WAs anticipated that this would be taken from LTP3 since the contribution is due after March 2011. This contribution would be reduced through any third party contributions received, for example, through Section 106 agreements (Allens West). Funding for the subsequent phases (2 & 3) needs to be identified through the Regional Funding Allocation, the new franchise for local train services, developer contributions, the Third Local Transport Plan (LTP3) and Network Rail investment plans and would be detailed in further Cabinet and Council reports for approval.

Despite the wider economic benefits, it was unlikely that the project would secure DfT funding in one package given major scheme funding criteria. It was therefore recommended that delivery be carried out in three phases to better attract funding, to fit in with the renewal of the franchise for Northern Rail train services in 2013 and to ensure realism in delivering such a big project. In addition, each component part of a phase was separately funded, again to help ease the funding process. A phased delivery plan also meant that the benefits of each stage may be more easily assessed to help support the case for further funding.

Phase 1 of Metro (estimated cost £35m), scheduled for implementation between 2009 and 2012, was another scheme to benefit from the re-profiling of the RFA (as discussed in point 4) and funding had been granted for the following elements:

a. New Platforms at Darlington and Middlesbrough Stations;
b. Relocation of Stations at Durham Tees Valley Airport and Wilton;
c. Station improvements at Eaglescliffe, Thornaby and Hartlepool;
d. A new station at James Cook University Hospital; and
e. Refurbished trains with higher levels of passenger quality and comfort than that currently used operating four times an hour between Darlington and Saltburn during the day.

A consultation strategy would be developed to engage with communities and stakeholders.

In terms of elements proposed within the Borough; the improvements to Eaglescliffe and Thornaby Stations were scheduled for implementation during 2010/11 and will consist of upgrades to the current station buildings at both locations, a new footbridge with DDA lifts at Eaglescliffe and a contribution to a new footbridge and DDA lifts at Thornaby.

As an investment project on Network Rail land; the Metro project has to be assessed through Network Rail’s Guide to Railway Investment Projects (GRIP). This project management system has 8 stages with stage 6 being the construction stage. Currently, the majority of the component parts of the Metro project are at GRIP3. There was now a need to undertake a GRIP4 feasibility study at a cost of £1.25 million, to be obtained through the RFA programme, to prepare more detailed designs, confirm feasibility and refine cost estimates. The GRIP4 process would also include applications for planning permission where required and involves public consultation on the detail of station improvements.
It was anticipated that the GRIP4 process would take a maximum of 12 months meaning that any decision about whether to proceed further would be taken in summer 2010. In parallel to the engineering feasibility work contained in GRIP4, the Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit (JSU) and train operator, Northern Rail, would lead on work to refine the benefits expected from phase 1 in terms of improved reliability, estimated increases in passengers and improved accessibility. Members would need to consider the results of this stage of the feasibility work at the time, so that an application can be made for funding to the Department for Transport for all of the phase 1 works except for those at Darlington Station which would be subject to a separate Major Scheme Business Case.

Highway Agency Improvements to the A19 and A66

The Tees Valley A19(T) / A66(T) Network Management Strategy had been successful in securing £3.975m of funding to implement traffic signal control on slip road of the A19 and A66

RECOMMENDED to Council that:

1. Officers be authorised to proceed with the delivery of the East Billingham Transport Corridor scheme as detailed in this report and any amendments to the scheme as a result of the Environmental Impact Assessment be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Transport and the Head of Technical Services.

2. Officers be authorised to pursue the acquisition of land required for the delivery of the East Billingham Transport Corridor subject to any route realignment as a result of the Environmental Impact Assessment.

3. Officers be authorised to proceed with the delivery of the Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements as detailed in this report, in particular the Stockton Infrastructure Register (Appendix 2) and any amendments to the programme be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Transport and the Head of Technical Services.

4. Members note that further reports will be presented to Cabinet regarding the consultation strategies for each of the four transport projects, as those strategies are developed. This will include consultation with Ward Members, Town and Parish Councils and the general public.

5. Officers be authorised to proceed with the delivery of the Tees Valley Metro project as detailed in this report and any amendments to the programme be delegated to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration & Transport and the Head of Technical Services.

6. Members re-affirm the Council’s commitment to the financial contributions to the Tees Valley Metro Phase 1 (Maximum of £800,000 - reducing depending on third party contributions) and Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements (maximum of £2,212,720 - reducing depending on third party contributions and not including £4,000,000 for land acquisition which was subject to previous Cabinet decision) as detailed within the report.

7. Members note that a successful Community Infrastructure Fund 2 (CIF2) bid has secured £3.975m of funding to implement traffic signal control on slip roads of the A19 and A66.
Reasons for the Decision
Improvements to the public transport infrastructure are central to the delivery of key elements of the local transport plan and will make significant changes to the mode of travel available to the community.

The Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements are intended to not only halt the decline in bus patronage but to make positive changes to the way in which people travel to and from work and access services and facilities.

The Tees Valley Metro scheme will deliver improved facilities on the existing heavy rail network and pave the way for future improvements in frequency and quality. Again this will make positive changes to the way in which people travel to and from work and access services and facilities.

Central to these projects will be an improvement in the quality of the public transport services offered in the Tees Valley which will be measurable through the satisfaction level of passengers. Consultation programmes and publicity campaigns will raise the profile of public transport in the area and encourage modal shift towards more sustainable transport.

The East Billingham Transport Corridor will deliver improved access to the industrial areas to the east of Billingham and remove heavy goods vehicles (in particular tankers carrying hazardous chemicals) from residential areas.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Councillor Cunningham declared a personal, non prejudicial interest as he served on the Rural Development Agency which was referred to in the report.
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Not applicable

Date of Publication: 07 September 2009

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