Issue - meetings
Growth Board: National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) Update and Oxford to Cambridge corridor and rail connectivity
Oxford to Cambridge Growth Corridor - growth issues
Purpose: to receive and consider a verbal update on the Oxford- Cambridge Growth Corridor.
Bev Hindle, Strategic Director Oxfordshire County Council, gave a short update on the working groups across the Oxford-Cambridge Growth Corridor.
Councillor Wood reported he had been elected as the new Chairman of the Oxford-Cambridge cross-corridor Leaders’ Group.
Nigel Tipple explained that the three LEPs and the Combined Authority across the corridor were recruiting consultants to work across the 4 areas to co-ordinate the Local Industrial Strategies, report back through the various project boards, with the aim of developing a coherent vision for the region.
Oxfordshire and cross corridor Transport update
Purpose: to consider a verbal update from officers.
Bev Hindle (Strategic Director, Oxfordshire County Council) informed the Board that there was no report for this meeting but there would be an update at the June meeting on the HIF bids, cross-corridor work and the rail connectivity study.
Cllr Mills reminded the Board that, in his view Highways England needed to ensure that when considering the impacts of the growth corridor that they considered the impacts upon Oxfordshire as whole and not just those districts through which the Corridor could potentially travel.
The Chairman asked officers to write to Highways England on this matter to state this point.
Oxfordshire Rail Connectivity update
Purpose: to receive a verbal update from officers.
The Board noted there were no updates.
Purpose: there will be a presentation about the Oxford - Cambridge Corridor from a representative from Highways England.
Matt Stafford (Project Director for the Ox-Cam Expressway, Highways England) gave a presentation to the Board on the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway project; key milestones, and strategic objectives.
In his presentation he:
· outlined the strategic context for the expressway as a whole and the ‘missing link’ 50km (30 mile) connection between the M4, M40 and M1, emphasising the scale of this scheme;
· outlined the strategic objectives, as the scheme had to provide value for money and significant benefits:
1. connectivity and creation of an integrated corridor
2. economic growth and improving access to employment and facilities
3. future-proofing including innovative and sustainable technology
4. and wider economic and environmental benefits including separating through and local traffic, providing adequate links to local destinations, and supporting transport modes other than private petroleum fuelled car;
· outlined the assessment criteria: resilience, reliability, shortened journey times and reduced congestion, support for potential growth along the corridor, impact on environment;
· outlined the consultation and desk-top evidence gathering undertaken to this point (a third of the way through the process for establishing the business case) including understanding traffic movements and geographical/ geological/ statutory designation/ land use constraints and features;
· explained that stakeholder and public views would be taken into account but were not given disproportionate weight in the evidence;
· described the options for the corridors through which the expressway would pass, with common areas from the M4 to Abingdon and then east from the M1, and three options for the section from Abingdon to the M1;
· explained the consultation phases and timetable for the project: the corridor being chosen mid-2018; formal public consultation on the shortlist of proposed routes within the chosen corridor in Autumn 2019 with an announcement in Autumn 2020; and construction from 2025 to 2030, subject to funding;
· explained engagement with several stakeholder groups and special interest groups (including a forum and stakeholder reference group) and the relevant All Party Parliamentary Group; and the request for considered feedback from local authorities along the wider corridor area.
The Chair permitted questions from Michael Tyce, CPRE representative, as set out below.
1. Are the options for the corridors now restricted to only those shown with all other options outside these areas shown in the presentation now rejected? For example has the original option ‘S4’ which ran south of option A been rejected?
A: The only corridor routes now under consideration are as shown in the presentation.
2. How is the ‘preservation of the rural character’ taken into account as this has not been discussed explicitly?
A: the rural character is part of the consideration, and is one of the objectives when assessing the wider environmental impact of each corridor.
3. Will the A34 form part of the expressway, as the treatment of this in the the maps is unclear about the inclusion of the A34 and the stretch over Boars Hill?
A: we are still considering the inclusion of the A34 – there is no decision as yet but if corridor routes B or C ... view the full minutes text for item 69
Purpose: to receive any updates.
A late report setting out information about the Government’s proposed Rail Connectivity Study for Oxfordshire is attached.
The Growth Board is recommended to:
2.1 Work with Department for Transport, Network Rail and Oxfordshire train operators to develop a brief and complete the Government’s announced Rail Connectivity Study for Oxfordshire; and,
2.2 Provide the governance framework and accountable body role (via Oxfordshire County Council) for the project from conception to completion, including establishing an Oxfordshire Growth Board Rail Sub-Group; and,
2.3 Agree to consider providing some element of local match funding in the form of officer capacity to support the completion of this project.
Members and officers had given evidence to the newly established Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge all-party parliamentary group, and saw this as a useful way of overseeing the processes and decision making.
The consultation on the expressway was set out and would run in parallel with the technical studies. The plans showed he stretch from the M40 to Cambridge but the Board was emphasising the need to connect to Oxford and beyond, and the need for sub-corridor connectivity. The corridor route would be decided in Sumer 2018, public consultation on the route within the corridor would be in Autumn 2019 in two phases, with construction starting in 2025.
Councillor Cotton, who is chairman of a group of leaders of local authorities in the corridor area; Councillor Price; and Nigel Tipple reported on the work on the corridor:
· Corridor leaders had sent a letter welcoming the NIC report and setting out options for on governance and management of the corridor, and received a clear message from NIC that they want to see progress that local authorities can be creative in tackling issues.
· Work on the corridor would be taken forward by the MHCHLG who were seeking a meeting with LA leaders.
· In the budget statement there was a request for LEPs to prepare a collective industrial strategy. LEPS were commissioning work building on Central Bedfordshire’s work on the corridor; a brief was ready to circulate; and requisite meetings set up.
· There was a commitment to fund rail improvements between Bedfordshire and Cambridge by mid-2020s.
The Board noted that a collective vision of the possibilities, ambition for, and potential of this project should be developed by local authorities and managing boards.
The Board considered a late report and recommendations submitted by Bev Hindle (Strategic Director for Communities Oxfordshire County Council) setting out information about the Government’s proposed Rail Connectivity Study for Oxfordshire as a result of a meeting held a few days earlier.
Bev Hindle reported that meeting had agreed that a sub-group of the Growth Board and an appropriate governance mechanism may be the most appropriate mechanism to support the Oxfordshire Rail Connectivity Study. The final decision lay with the Department of Transport.
The Growth Board noted proposals in the report to:
1. Work with Department for Transport, Network Rail and Oxfordshire train operators to develop a brief and complete the Government’s announced Rail Connectivity Study for Oxfordshire; and
2. Provide the governance framework and accountable body role (via Oxfordshire County Council) for the project from conception to completion, including establishing an Oxfordshire Growth Board Rail Sub-Group; and
3. Agree to consider providing some element of local match funding in the form of officer capacity to support the completion of this project.
Bev Hindle, from Oxfordshire County Council, will give a presentation on the National Infrastructure Commission report.
gives some background information
Alastair Gordon, from the National Infrastructure Commission, gave a presentation on the proposed new deal for the Cambridge to Oxford Arc.
The presentation is available as a supplement to the minutes.
In summary he made the following points during the presentation and in answer to questions:
1. The three cities in the arc drove prosperity in the sub-region and this mattered to the country as a whole, making a substantial contribution to the UK economy. Making the arc work better would therefore have significant national and regional economic benefits. However realising these required the provision of housing and infrastructure at a scale that necessitated both a different approach and a new deal between central government and local areas.
2. The fundamental challenge was the lack of sufficient and suitable housing to meet the need both for local residents and new employees. The shortfall pushed up prices: and placed pressure on the limited supply: this impacted access to labour and labour costs. Consequently firms then went elsewhere or struggled to attract staff. The NIC calculated that by 2050 the rate of housebuilding must d provide a million new homes. The challenge was also to build new towns with good community and high quality of life, not just add low density urban extensions. The vision was for about half of the growth on existing and half on new towns. There was no shortage of innovative ideas for new towns as a recent design competition has shown.
3. The NIC report concluded that poor east-west links prevented mobility between the hub cities and made commuting between areas difficult. Consequently East-west rail links should be developed as quickly as possible, with limited numbers of stations to increase transit speed. The NIC’s conclusion was that the Expressway should also traverse the same corridor to allow the development of high-quality well-connected new towns along a single connected route. There was no existing or long-term funding planned for infrastructure projects but this may come through bespoke deals, statutory levies from land value uplift, and local strategic levies.
4. Broadband provision was also vital to national economy and the NIC had addressed improved digital capability as a national issue.
5. There would need to be consultation to identify locations and options and to reach agreement on, not stall, delivery. This would be achieved through the planning process with full consultation although the NIC report noted that for national schemes the Secretary of State had reserve powers to designate new settlements.
6. Bringing this forward at a good pace required public and private large scale investment and planning: statutory development corporations are the most appropriate delivery vehicle.
7. The work of the NIC would be handed to the Cities and Local Growth Unit within DCLG to progress. Once government had formally responded to the NIC’s recommendations, the NIC had a role in holding government to account for progress on these.
Councillors commented that a positive response and engagement was necessary and high-quality delivery was essential. The dilemma was in ... view the full minutes text for item 43
Housing and Growth (Place Based) Deal update
Purpose: to provide a verbal update on the progress of discussions with Government officials on developing a housing and growth (Place based growth) package for Oxfordshire
Recommendation: that the Growth Board notes the progress.
Gordon Mitchell gave an update on the progress of discussions with Government officials on developing a housing and growth (Place based growth) Deal for Oxfordshire. He reported: progress with the discussions with government covering various funding initiatives (HIF, business rates pooling;); in return for commitments from Oxfordshire to promote the growth identified in the SHMA. Gordon reported that there was interest in transferring aspirations into reality; and it was hoped that the government’s commitments might become clear after or shortly before the Budget speech on 22 November. As well as working with government as a delivery partner, it was essential to work with all parts of the county to find an acceptable way to meet the terms and aspirations of any deal.
Kevin Bourner explained the HCA’s position that Oxfordshire was a key area for growth and development and the Agency expected housing to be a key part of the budget’s focus.
Nigel Tipple outlined the discussions with government on productivity including partnership working on innovation in business, skills, and young people.
The Board noted the updates.
20 Updates on progress with the Oxford to Cambridge (O2C) Corridor workstreams with the National Infrastructure Commission and development of a Housing and Growth (Place-Based) Deal for Oxfordshire. PDF 69 KB
1) This report is to update the Board with progress on a number of workstreams that the councils are currently working on with the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) on the Oxford to Cambridge corridor (O2C).
2) This report also updates the board on the progress of discussions with Government officials on developing a housing and growth deal for Oxfordshire
That the Growth Board:
1. Notes the progress with the NIC workstreams.
2. Notes the progress on the development of an Oxfordshire housing and growth deal proposition to government.
The Board considered a report setting out progress on a number of workstreams that the councils are currently working on with the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) on the Oxford to Cambridge corridor (O2C) and on discussions with Government officials on developing a housing and growth deal for Oxfordshire.
The Board noted the focus on first mile/ last mile and local schemes and on non-car routes and cycling. This work also needed to show the rationale for infrastructure and form the first part in a long-term realistic and ambitious investment programme.
The Board noted:
1. the progress with the NIC workstreams.
2. the progress on the development of an Oxfordshire housing and growth deal proposition to government.
1. This report is to update the Board with progress on a number of workstreams that the councils are currently working on with the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) on the Oxford to Cambridge corridor (O2C)
2. This report also updates the board on early discussions with Government officials on a housing and growth deal for Oxfordshire
Recommendation: that the Growth Board:
I. Notes the progress with the NIC workstreams.
II. Notes the progress on the development of an Oxfordshire housing and growth deal proposition to government.
The Growth Board considered a report and verbal update on these projects and noted the challenges and progress, including ongoing discussions on the middle (South Northamptonshire) section of the Oxford to Cambridge corridor.
The Growth Board resolved to:
I. Note the progress with the NIC workstreams.
II. Note the progress on the development of an Oxfordshire housing and growth deal proposition to government.