Agenda item

Cirencester-Kemble Transport Study Report

To receive a report on the Cirencester-Kemble Transport Study.

 

Minutes:

7.1 Hannah Fountain, Sustainable Transport Officer, gave this presentation. £65,000 of SEDF funding had been provided to explore transport links primarily from Cirencester to Kemble as well as exploring wider transport links for Cirencester. Roughly 2/3 of the funding had been spent so far across three study areas:

  1. Interchange location for Cirencester
  2. Cirencester-Kemble-Tetbury transport study
  3. Options or direction of public transport contributions from the Steadings development

 

Two locations for the transport hub had been identified and a 9am-7pm scheduled hourly bus service that aligned with rail services had emerged as the recommendation for the Cirencester-Kemble public transport provision.

7.2 Two further studies are expected to be completed by late summer:

1.       Study of Education transport in Cirencester

2.       Access and Movement study for Cirencester

7.3 It was asked whether they considered including Wiltshire in the study. The officer explained that they did evaluate including Malmesbury and the recommended option 7 did have flexibility in the timetable to extend the service.

7.4 A member also expressed a wish that this kind of study would be run in the Forest of Dean to link up towns with the hospital that had recently moved.

7.5 In response to a question about a bus service between Tetbury and Cirencester it was explained that there was a bus service, but it was infrequent, was not aligned with the rail service and did not operate long enough through the day. There was some uncertainty over the exact operation of the current bus provision.

ACTION – DSU to share information regarding the current Tetbury-Cirencester bus connections when the minutes are published.

7.6 There was considerable discussion whether this study was necessary, whether the money that had gone into the study had been appropriately spent and whether it had been conceived to support a pre-determined preference for a Very Light Rail (VLR) service. It was explained that the Department for Transport had accepted the strategic outline business case for the VLR and had provided funding for further business case assessment. This study was authorised to evaluate alternatives to the VLR proposal and it was important to make an objective measure of the available options. The money for the study had gone into projects beyond just the Cirencester-Kemble transport link so was delivering on planning for several projects and the study proposal had been supported by the County Council. 

7.7 The Cabinet member for Education, Skills and Bus Transport explained that a two-bus operation like the one recommended in the report would likely cost £700,000 and that would not feasibly sit within the bus subsidy budget. It was suggested that a single bus provision might fit within the current bus operating budget.

7.8 A member noted that the National Model for funding bus services was not working sufficiently, particularly for rural areas, and asked whether extending the evidence-based approach from this study had been explored for other areas. It was explained that bus operators had been engaged as part of the study and the study did involve developing a bus network for The Steadings. Discussions had not been had around rolling the approach out beyond these specific locations.

 

Supporting documents: