- To receive a presentation from Highways England on the challenges of supporting partners with their growth plans.
- To receive an update on the GCC commissioned Connections Study and the work carried out to date to understand potential shared transport priorities with neighbouring areas.
- To receive a brief update on Highways England’s plans to investigate route options for improving the A417 Missing Link and the Public Consultation process (15 February - 29 March).
- To receive a position paper to advise on potential ‘lines of enquiry’ and particular issues of relevance to Gloucestershire.
GLOUCESTERSHIRE STRATEGIC PLANS
- To provide an update on the current status of the various Local Plans across Gloucestershire.
Highways England Presentation
The Committee received a presentation from Andrew Page-Dove, Regional Director, Highways England, on the investment priorities and challenges facing Highways England in the South West.
In particular, the Committee was informed about the potential impacts following the expected removal of tolls on the Severn River Crossing, progress with the A417 ‘Missing Link’ Scheme, and the Initial Network Report, which was published in December 2017. The Committee also noted the challenges facing Highways England in the South West, including the scheduling of planned works on the M5 Corridor, and the impact of planned and un-planned events on the strategic road network.
In response to a query, the Committee was informed that Highways England was committed to supporting the development of the Cheltenham Cyber Park and welcomed the opportunity for further conversations on the scheme.
In response to a further query relating to the Stroud District Local Plan, it was explained that Highways England could recommend conditions on planning applications, however was not able to impose direction. Andrew Page-Dove welcomed the opportunity for further engagement with Stroud District Council on its Local Plan.
There were also queries from the Committee regarding the economic impact of traffic growth, network management boundaries, the alignment of network priorities with housing development priorities, and the potential impact of developments to junctions along the M5. Additionally, Andrew Page-Dove stated that he was open-minded, in response to a query relating to the development of an additional River Severn crossing.
The Committee considered potential developments to the M5 Corridor, such as improvements at Junction 9, the development of Junction 10, and the creation of a new junction between Junctions 13 and 14. The Committee was advised, following the discussion, to agree and focus on the key priorities for development within the County.
The Committee invited Highways England to work with local authorities and partners within Gloucestershire more regularly at a strategic level moving forward. Andrew Page-Dove welcomed the opportunity for further collaboration and accepted the invitation.
The Committee thanked Andrew Page-Dove for attending the Committee and for delivering an informative presentation.
Ben Watts, Principal Planning Officer: Strategic Planning, Gloucestershire County Council (GCC), provided the Committee with an update on the GCC commissioned Connections Study.
The Committee was informed of the focus, outcomes, and conclusions of Stage 1 of the Gloucestershire Connects Project, and noted that the outputs would inform GCC’s Local Transport Plan review process. It was also noted that Stage 2 of the project would look at highway links within the County and provide a financial value to each link. It was expected that the Stage 2 analysis would be completed by the end of April 2018.
In response to a query, it was explained that the project relied on census data and a narrative based on the views of stakeholders, as well as a policy and literature review. It was also clarified that the focus of the project was on external connectivity rather than internal connectivity.
In response to a further query relating to rail connectivity, the Committee was informed about GCC’s Rail Policy and Rail Study. The documents could be accessed at the following link: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/transport/gloucestershires-local-transport-plan-2015-2031/rail/
A417 ‘Missing Link’ Consultation
Amanda Lawson-Smith, Transport Planning Team Manager, GCC, gave a presentation to the Committee on the A417 ‘Missing Link’ Consultation, which was being undertaken by Highways England between 15 February and 29 March 2018.
The Committee was advised that, following a process of sifting and assessment, Highways England were presenting Option 12 and Option 30 as their proposed route options for the A417 ‘Missing Link’, and that Highways England had recommended Option 30 as the preferred route.
Following a discussion on the process to date, the costing of the scheme, and other infrastructure priorities for the future, the Committee voted in support of the options presented by Highways England, with a preference for Option 30.
The Committee received a position paper advising on post-Brexit considerations for Gloucestershire.
It was requested that details of a recent study by the University of Birmingham on the impact of Brexit on the UK be circulated with Committee members.
The Committee discussed the report and noted that a more comprehensive review of the impact of Brexit on Gloucestershire would need to be completed in the future when further information was available.
Gloucestershire Strategic Plans
Mike Dawson, Chief Executive, Tewkesbury Borough Council, updated the Committee on the current status of Local Plans across Gloucestershire.
It was clarified that the Chesterton site, as identified in the Cotswold Local Plan, had not been granted permission, but there was a resolution to permit.
It was proposed that the Committee be updated on key delivery projects for growth over the next few Committee meetings. It was also suggested that the Committee receive an update on S106 and CIL funds at a future meeting.