Agenda Item No. 17

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 15th October 2018

Report of the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services and Transport

Assessment of Transport Projects within the Penarth Corridor

Purpose of the Report

  1. To provide Cabinet with an update of progress on a range of Penarth transport projects and to provide a summary of the results of the assessment of transport projects, within the Penarth Corridor, carried out recently by Arup and Sustrans.

Recommendations

  1. That Cabinet notes the contents of the report and provide any comments on the detail as appropriate.
  2. That a report is presented back to Cabinet produced under the WelTAG Stages 1 and 2.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To provide to Cabinet an accurate picture of the current state of development of a range of transport projects in the Penarth area and to provide an opportunity for Members to comment on those projects.
  2. To provide Cabinet with ongoing reporting on the development of the projects and any issues associated with them.

Background

  1. In November 2017 and following meetings between officials from the Welsh Government, Cardiff City Council (CCC), the Penarth Headland Link Group (PHLG) and the Council, a funding bid was submitted to Welsh Government (WG) to procure a range of additional reports, which assessed the impact of proposed schemes within the Penarth corridor.  The Council is currently considering a number of projects in this corridor.  They include:
      • Cycling and pedestrian routes (including Biglis roundabout to Dinas Powys and Penarth Headland Link);
      • Bus priority schemes including:
      • Merrie Harrier to Cardiff Barrage (and onwards to Cardiff City Centre), Cosmeston to Cardiff Barrage and onwards to Cardiff City Centre;
      • Bus Park and Ride facility at Cosmeston Park;
      • Cogan rail station upgrade (in conjunction with Welsh Government)
      • A Draft Parking Strategy.
  1. A Vale wide draft parking strategy document has been produced and whilst areas of Penarth are considered in this report, the issue will be further considered by Cabinet later in the year.
  2. Arup was commissioned to provide a Corridor Transport and Economic Impact Report for the range of projects as well as a Stage 1 Maritime and Geotechnical review of the Penarth Headland Link scheme preliminary design (based upon the PHLG feasibility reports).  In addition, Sustrans was commissioned to provide a Transport and Economic Evaluation of the Penarth Headland Link project (also based upon the PHLG initial feasibility).
  3. Following the submission of draft reports by these consultancies and a further meeting with Welsh Government, officers submitted a further Grant bid to Welsh Government for feasibility work associated with the projects.
  4. Whilst the bid sought funding to further develop the various projects there was initially some confusion regarding the specific references in the bid document to projects being taken through Stage 3 of the WelTAG approach rather than up to Stage 3. It was apparent that WelTAG stages 1 and 2 had not been undertaken for these projects and the programming, therefore, needed to be clarified. Officers recently met with Welsh Government, representatives of CCC and members of the PHLG to clarify the position.  Officers indicated that it would be the Council's intention to take the projects through the appropriate initial stages of the WelTAG process. This was accepted by Welsh Government and this was recently also agreed by the Penarth Project Board.
  5. Following these discussions, officers have sought to procure consultancy support for the WelTAG Assessments of the range of projects and to appoint consultancy support to carry out a Phase 1 Habitat survey in support of the development of the Penarth Headland Link project. The latter was authorised to proceed at this early stage in the WelTAG process as at least twelve months of survey work would be required and WG funding has been made available in this financial year.  Arcadis Consulting Ltd have been appointed to carry out the Phase 1 Habitat survey work.  No bids were received under the National Procurement Service framework for the WelTAG commission and this work is being retendered.
  6. As indicated above the final drafts of the consultancy reports have now been provided to the Council and a summary of results and issues is set out below.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. The Arup Corridor Transport and Economic Impact Report is attached at Appendix A and a copy is available in the Members' Room.  
  2. The Arup Maritime and Geotechnical Review is attached at Appendix B and a copy is available in the Members' Room.
  3. The Sustrans Transport and Economic Evaluation of the Penarth Headland Link scheme is attached at Appendix C) and a copy is available in the Members' Room.
  4. The Arup Corridor Transport and Economic Impact Report considers the projects in terms of their:
      • Strategic Context
      • Case for Change
      • Option Feasibility
      • Transport Impact, and
      • Economic Impact.
  1. The report utilises a series of transport models to assess the projects and whilst all the projects align well with the strategic objectives set out, the conclusions of the report are that the majority of the projects score low in the area of feasibility.  Indeed only one project, the Biglis-Dinas Powys cycle lane scheme, achieves a cost-benefit analysis score above 1.0. Benefit Cost ratio is a tool recommended by the Welsh Government and HM Treasury in their Green Book- Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government. If schemes score below 1.0 this is generally an indicator that cost outweighs the benefits which might be achieved and so these results are concerning at this stage of analysis.
  2. Additionally the report includes some wider scenario evaluations which cover possible scheme and cost changes which make it more robust in terms of risk assessment.
  3. A difficulty associated with the approach undertaken is that the report relies on transport modelling and the economic impacts appraisal and, as a result, merely quantifies the economic impacts associated with changes to transport patterns. For a project such as the Penarth Headland link proposal, this provides for a limited range of appraisal as both the Arup and Sustrans reports suggest a wider assessment of impacts giving consideration to health, wellbeing and tourism impacts. Careful consideration of this issue will need to be put in place as the proposed WelTAG assessments of the range of projects would not necessarily consider these additional issues as WelTAG is mainly a transport assessment tool.
  4. The Sustrans Report, providing a transport and economic assessment of the Penarth Headland link project, also utilised a number of transport models (developed by Sustrans) to evaluate the project. Whilst the conclusions of the Report were very positive across the whole range of assessments utilised, the conclusions are not totally robust and the report itself, on pages 22-24, sets out a significant number of considerations which question the validity/usefulness of the Report's conclusions.  Such considerations are understandable given the limited amount of data gathered and questionable validity of such data in statistical terms. As an example, the report discusses economic impact but the total sample size of responses was only 97 people and, of those, only 7 of them provided information on holiday trip spending. Officers have suggested, therefore, that the WelTAG approach might be utilised to consult a wider sample in order that a more statistically sound database might be achieved to further this form of analysis.
  5. The Arup Maritime and Geotechnical Review considered a range of analysis across the areas of topography, bathymetry, geology and hydrogeology with the objective being to provide initial assessment of the PHLG design option and to the key maritime engineering issue of required height for a causeway option, size of rock armour for such an option and the geotechnical issue of the location at which, without  a rock protection fence along the edge, the path might be used by walkers and cyclists with negligible danger of harm from rock falls.
  6. The Report concluded  that if a future sea level rise at 2120 is considered a crest level set at higher than +8.5MOD  (metres above ordnance datum [UK sea level measurement]) would be estimated  "safe" and so a minimum  crest height is proposed at +9.0mMOD.  The Report advises whilst this is lower than the Cardiff Barrage closure breakwater (set at 10MOD) different wave conditions might apply and will need to be considered in more detail.  Mitigation for the risk of overtopping by waves is considered and the options of an increased crest height or limited access to the structure are considered.
  7. The Report's conclusions on the rockfall issue is that a causeway with a height of 10MOD and 20m from the existing rockface would result in low risk of rock fall impacts on users.
  8. Although concentrating on these areas the report does suggest further consideration through any detailed design and evaluation process of the strategy and design of any required culverts, an assessment of the likely development of the beach area between the causeway and the cliff to consider silt and rubbish build up, an assessment of security issues and the environmental and landscape impacts of such a scheme. All of these might be considered during the later stages of the WelTAG approach now being utilised.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1.  The total cost of these studies was funded by WG Transport Funds and the 2018-19 Transport grant will cover the costs of the further WelTAG reports being procured.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. At this stage there are no sustainably or climate change implications resulting from this report. The WelTAG approach to appraisal of the various projects will, however, consider both sustainability and climate change implications and these can be reported in due course.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. At this stage there are no legal implications to report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. At this stage there are no crime or disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. At this stage there are no equal opportunity implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. W02 - An Environmentally Responsible and Prosperous Wales.

04 - Promoting Sustainable development and protecting our environment.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is matter for Executive decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. The Ward Members of Penarth and Llandough have been consulted.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Environment and Regeneration.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

John Dent, Major Projects Manager

Officers Consulted

Carolyn Michael - Operational Manager for Finance

Emma Reed - Head of Neighbourhood Services and Transport.

Committee Reports

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing.