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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 19th October, 2011

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation

 

Safe Routes in Communities (SRiC) Grant Bid 2012/13

 

Purpose of the Report

The purpose of the report is to:

 

1.             apprise Cabinet of the receipt of the Guidance Notes and the invitation to bid for funding for new or continuing Safe Routes in Communities schemes for 2012/13;

2.             to provide an outline of the intended content of the Council’s Safe Routes in Communities Grant bids for 2012/13;

3.             to retrospectively seek authority for the submission by the 18th October 2011 of the Council’s bids for 2012/13.

4.             to seek authority for the Director of Environmental & Economic Regeneration and the Cabinet Member for Planning & Transportation to accept any further funding that is offered through the Grant within year.

Recommendations

1.             That Cabinet approval be given to the contents of the 2012/13 Safe Routes in Communities bids as submitted to the Welsh Government (WG) on 18th October 2011;

2.             That a further report be presented to Cabinet outlining the results of the 2012/13  Safe Routes in Communities bids process via the Capital Programme reporting mechanism.

3.             That Cabinet approval be given to the Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration in consultation with the Cabinet Member of Planning and Transportation to accept any further funding that is offered through the grant within year.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.             To obtain Cabinet approval on the content of the 2012/13 Safe Routes in Communities bids to the Welsh Government.

2.             To advise Members of the Council’s Safe Routes in Communities award for 2012/13.

3.             The Welsh Government sometimes offers additional funding to the Authority to progress schemes when they have a surplus budget or other Local Authorities have been unable to progress their schemes within the year. There is usually a requirement to accept such funding at very short notice to enable the Council to deliver the scheme within the set timescale

Background

5.             I reported to Cabinet in October 2010 that 2011/12 was likely to be the final year that the Welsh Government (WG) would be inviting Local Authorities to bid for Safe Routes in Communities Grant before the funding is re-directed to the regional consortia and schemes funded through the Regional Transport Plans.  

6.             The Welsh Government has again decided to extend the Safe Routes in Communities process for a further year although they have also advised that the level of funding has not yet been determined.  They have advised that any funding available will be subject to the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and agreed Welsh Government Budgets.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.             On 8th August 2011, the WG invited local authorities to bid for Safe Routes in Communities Grant for new or existing schemes.  Bids originate from local communities, schools and any other groups who take the time to submit Travel Plans to identify local problems both with road safety and sustainable travel.  A Travel Plan champion from the community would be required to put a plan together and submit to the road safety unit of the Council who would then assess the Plan in accordance with any grant requirements.  The bids are assessed to form part of a Safe Routes in Communities bid.

8.             From the 6 bids submitted last year, only 3 elements of one was funded.  

9.             As officers were unsure as to whether bids would be invited for 2012/13, and due to the high number of existing unfunded schemes, no new schemes have been considered this year.  Details of all the proposed schemes are provided below, in order of priority.

(i)           Barry Comprehensive School – This bid originated from the pupils of Barry Comprehensive School who put together a Travel Plan in 2007.  The WG funded part of the scheme in 2008/09, 2010/11 and 11/12 for cycle storage, vehicle activated signs, a road traffic island and various shared cyclepath/footpaths along Port Road, Colcot Road, Highfield Road and through the Sports Centre at a total cost of £776k.  It is proposed for 2012/13 to further expand this scheme to include a cycleway, (either shared or on road), for the length of Colcot Road and from the end of the existing shared route on Port Road to the roundabout on the Barry Docks Link Road.  This will complement further funding awarded from Rural Grant funding for cycle routes from the Barry Docks link Road to Culverhouse Cross and proposed western Vale cycle routes.  It is estimated that the cost will amount to circa £400,000.  Given the links to previous work and other funded schemes this is afforded Priority 1.

(ii)          Dinas Powys Compendium – A Travel Plan was submitted in 2008/09 and 2009/10. Unfortunately this bid was unsuccessful for the same reasons as the following Llantwit Major bid.  The costs of the scheme were £490k and included works to widen footways, upgrade a signalised junction, drop kerbs for pedestrian crossing movements, a formal bus stop, a controlled lights crossing, a 20mph zone, a shared footway/ cyclepath, new footways and street lighting.  These works were envisaged to improve access the proposed Penarth Learning Centre as well as improve road safety for the residents accessing existing schools and facilities, including rail and bus. Some of the works to Dinas Powys Infant School (extension of footway) has been funded by the asset renewal budget this year. It is intended to re-submit this scheme for 2012/13 funding.  This is identified as Priority 2.

(iii)         Llantwit Major Compendium – A local resident of Llantwit Major submitted a series of Travel Plans for all schools in the area as well as a Community Travel Plan, with the assistance of the community and individual schools in 2008.  The bid for £996k worth of engineering works and sustainable transport infrastructure included cyclepaths, pedestrian light controlled crossings, traffic calming including a 20mph zone and widening of footways.  A significant element of this scheme was funded in a 2010/11 for a cyclepath/footpath at Llantwit Beach.  The other elements of the scheme were re-submitted for funding in 2010/11 and 11/12 but were unsuccessful due to limited WAG funding available.  The bid will be resubmitted for 2012/13 and is identified as Priority 3.

(iv)         Fairfield Primary School – The Travel Plan was undertaken by the school and submitted to the Council for consideration in 2009.  The works identified included significant cycle infrastructure including cyclepaths on various roads within Penarth that access the school plus cycle shelters, footpath upgrades, re-siting of the school gates and other minor improvements for the area to benefit the community at a cost of approximately £169k.  The Council is currently implementing cycle routes in Penarth to link to Pont-y-Werin through the RTP.  The aspirations for the Cornerswell Ward of Penarth would enhance the proposed provision for the links to the town centre, Pont-y-Werin and Cardiff.  Some minor works are currently being funded from the Load Road Safety Grant budget 2010/11 (approximately £6k).  (Priority 4)

(v)          St Helen’s Primary School – The Travel Plan was submitted by the school in 2008 and the works included protecting the pedestrian crossing and bus stops, some engineering works to the crossing together with warning signs and cycle shelters. Some of the works were funded by Local Road Safety Grant in 2009/10 as they failed to be awarded any funding from the SRiC Grant allocation.  However, the bus protection markings and raised kerbs will be funded by the Sewta RTP smaller schemes programme this year. There are still some elements of the scheme unfunded including a cycle shelter, a meet and greet shelter and a further road narrowing to complement the works recently carried out.  The total bid is approximately £50k.  (Priority 5)

(vi)         Gwenfo Primary School -The school submitted a Travel Plan in 2009 with aspirations for traffic calming measures and road safety improvements throughout Wenvoe.  The total cost of the works was approximately £285k but unfortunately the bid was unsuccessful for the same reasons as the Llantwit Major bid.  Some of this work will be funded by Local Road Safety Grant 2010/11 and it is intended to re-submit the rest of the bid for funding in 2011/12.  (Priority 6)

There has been some interest from various parties to submit bids in other areas, but there have not been any Travel Plans submitted to the Road Safety Unit to progress any suggestions.

10.        It is very unlikely that the WG will be able to fund all of the bids and there has been a need to prioritise the Council’s schemes before submitting to the WG.  However, whilst the WG will take the Council’s priorities into account, there is no guarantee that these priorities will fit in with the WG agenda and therefore they can opt to fund whatever schemes they feel fit in with their own agenda.  It should also be re-iterated that the WG has advised that the grant is totally dependant on the funding available which will be subject to the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and agreed Assembly Budgets.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.        If successful, the bid will provide additional capital funding for transport schemes within the Vale of Glamorgan. Allocation of grant support remains conditional upon Local Authorities commitment to meet any revenue and future management costs and these will be met from existing budgets.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

12.        Section 40 of the Local Government and Housing Act 1988 defines expenditure for capital purposes.  The Act also amended Section 88 of the Local Government Finance Act 1989 so as to apply this definition to the calculation of expenditure for SRiC. For expenditure to be eligible for SRiC on accepted schemes, it will need to fall within Section 40 definition and Section 88(4) as amended.  Revenue support for services may be provided under Section 156 of the Transport Act 2000.

Crime and Disorder Implications

13.        Whilst there are no direct crime and disorder implications associated with this report, the reduction of crime and the perception of crime on public transport, will form a significant element of the RTP. The RTP is a statutory Plan.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.        SRiC schemes can provide new transport measures that allow persons without access to a private car to travel to a wider, more efficient and faster public transport network.

Corporate/Service Objectives

15.        The submission of schemes for SRiC funding is a Planning and Transportation Service Objective as is the implementation of SRiC schemes.

Policy Framework and Budget

16.        This report is a matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

17.        All Ward Members have been consulted.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

18.        Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Welsh Assembly Government Background Papers for 2012 - 2013 Safe Routes in Communities Initiative.

Contact Officer

Clare Cameron - Senior Transportation Officer - 01446 704768.

Officers Consulted

Accountant - Finance

Operational Manager Strategy and Support

Operational Manager Legal Services

Operational Manager Engineering and Highways

Head of Strategic Planning and Performance

Major Projects Manager

Responsible Officer:

Rob Quick - Director of Environmental and Economic Regeneration.

 

 

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