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Agenda Item No.

 

THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL

 

CABINET: 26TH JANUARY 2015

 

REFERENCE FROM SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT): 6TH JANUARY, 2015

 

“ DRAFT LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN 2015 (REF) -

 

Cabinet approval had been sought on 1st December, 2014 to approve for consultation purposes a Local Transport Plan (LTP) for the Vale of Glamorgan and to set out the process by which the LTP was to be submitted to Welsh Government in January 2015.  Appendix 2 to the report contained the draft Local Transport Plan 2015-2020 which had been prepared to meet Welsh Government guidelines and which was to be submitted to Welsh Government for consideration by 31st January, 2015. 

 

The Principal Transport and Road Safety Officer advised Committee that in developing an integrated approach Welsh Government expected local authorities to work with the Plan to secure an efficient and effective transport system for Wales, where good connections for national and international markets allowed businesses to prosper and where everyone could access the opportunities they needed to lead healthy and fulfilling lives.  The report also outlined that the National Transport Plan was expected to run from April 2015. 

 

The consultation on the LTP had commenced on 18th December, 2014 and would close on 22nd January, 2015.  The Scrutiny Committee itself was part of the consultation process.  The final document was to be presented to Full Council for adoption in March 2015 following approval by Welsh Government in February 2015.  Given the timescales involved the report also sought the authority of the Director of Development Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation to consider the responses to the consultation and to make appropriate amendments to the Plan prior to submission to Welsh Government.  A further report was to be presented to Cabinet and Council after January to advise of the responses to the consultation, the feedback from Welsh Government and the final LTP. 

 

In response to a query regarding consultation, the officer advised that the Council had to consult with the City Region Board, Neighbouring Local Authorities, Health and Education and that no other specific consultation was expressed other than the Council’s own legal requirements to satisfy itself as an authority.  In considering the report regional and local plans were discussed which included the Local Development Plan, the Regional Transport Plan, the existing National Transport Plan, the Task and Finish Group recommendations as contained within the Plan itself.  Cabinet had also resolved that a further report outlining the results of the draft LTP consultation process and the feedback of Welsh Government be presented to the Scrutiny Committee during February/March 2015 before final approval being sought from Full Council.

 

Following consideration of the report a number of questions were raised as outlined below.  In referring to Reference 1 on page 13 and the outcome to improve access to jobs and the limited bus service in the rural Vale of Glamorgan, a Member queried whether there was evidence that people did not accept jobs because of transport problems.   In response, the officer advised that Welsh Government evidence available which emphasised the difficulties for people living in rural areas and that she would obtain the national statistics and forward copies to all Members. In response to a further question as to whether unemployment was ‘worse’ in rural as opposed to urban areas, again, the officer agreed to obtain the information and e-mail the details to all Members.

 

With regard to community transport and the Greenlinks Service, a Member requested that a comprehensive assessment of all transport throughout all Departments be undertaken in order to make best use of Council resources.  Members were informed that since the Greenlinks Service had been in operation it was increasing in demand and although it was heavily subsidised, the more people used the service the more efficient it was becoming. Further routes were also being identified which would again assist with value for money and capacity issues.  Welsh Government had also provided financial assistance for another pilot scheme to be undertaken with one of the school routes being utilised for the project.  The Council would also be considering diverting other vehicles to assist such services and a 16-21 concessionary pass scheme was currently being considered. In referring to the reference in the report of 5kms being the accepted criteria to be measured for acceptable walking distances, Committee was advised that this was taken from the legal walking distance  related to school transport provision as stated in legislation. 

 

A Member also suggested that the report should include reference to rail transport but was advised that Welsh Government guidelines stated that rail services were not to be part of the document.

 

Following further discussion, Members also recognised the conflict with increasing bus provision as it may exacerbate congestion issues and the Council may wish to consider integrated transport and the continuity of transport in all its forms not just two or three examples as identified in page 39 of the document.  In referring to congestion issues, Members were informed that “bus corridors” were a series of measures designed to improve bus traffic flow.  It was subsequently recommended that the Plan should include a full description of the terminology “bus corridor” and the various measures that can be used.

 

In referring to the Culverhouse Cross to Cardiff Airport Bus Priority scheme at page 32 of the report, a Member stated that many people had not been happy with the T9 service as this had not been widely used and queried whether the introduction of the new scheme would exacerbate the problem.  The officer, however, informed Committee that the scheme referred to in the report was not the T9 service but that it was a general service from Culverhouse Cross to Cardiff Airport, in the main, for the Enterprise Zone and access for all residents to Cardiff.    Some Members were also keen to ensure that whilst improving the flow of bus transport the Council needed to be mindful of not having a negative impact on traffic flow.  However, it was agreed that some future improvements could have a small negative impact in some areas and therefore it would be a balancing act as to the best course of action to be pursued.  Officers would also make Members aware of any negative impacts of schemes to be introduced as well as the positives of every scheme which would be detailed in future documents.

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to inform Members of the number of recommendations that had been made by the Task and Finish Group, some of which were being addressed in the document.  The officer advised that a number of other recommendations made by the Group e.g. a cycle route for Gilbert Lane had not been able to be assessed in the timescale provided and as such they had not been included in the document but had been identified to be considered in the future.  The Chairman also advised that a report updating Committee on the progress of the Task and Finish Group’s recommendations was scheduled to be reported to the Scrutiny Committee over the forthcoming months and that she would welcome in depth discussion on the recommendations at that time. 

 

A local Ward Member took the opportunity to commend the officer on the new 321 Bus Service from Llantwit Major to Talbot Green although recognising that further work was required in respect of rural transport and that the Green Links provision was only part of the answer.  Further concern was raised in relation to the junction at Pentre Meyrick Cross where a number of heavy vehicles were now appearing to utilise the junction from Llandow, advising that if further developments were to be made, the junction would need to be reassessed for access.  In response, the officer advised that a Highways element was contained within the Plan, which addressed the fact that where new developments were being progressed, additional schemes may need to be considered and, as a result, the LTP would need to be amended accordingly, where necessary.

 

Members, in welcoming the report, the reference to Active Travel and in accepting that the rail service was not to be included in the document as it was to be contained within the National Transport Plan currently out for consultation, were advised to respond directly to that consultation, if they so wished.

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the draft Local Transport Plan 2015, as appended to the report be accepted, with Cabinet being requested to include inserting a definition in respect of the term “bus corridors” and the negative impacts of schemes as well as the positives.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In recognition of the consultation process on the draft Local Transport Plan 2015 and in order to provide clear and further detail to the public on the definition of the term “bus corridor” and the impact of various schemes.”

 

 

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