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Report of the KCC Director of Highways, Transportation and Waste - Local Transport Plan 2016-2031 Consultation Draft

 

Kent County Council Local Transport Plan 4: Delivering Growth without Gridlock (2016 2031) (Consultation Draft)

 

To: Joint Transportation Board           

 

Main Portfolio Area: 

 

By: Kent County Council Transport Strategy Team    

 

Classification: For Information

 

Ward: All wards                                                                  Division: All divisions

 

 

Summary:                  

 

Kent County Council (KCC) has a statutory duty to have a Local Transport Plan (LTP). The current LTP3 (2011-16) needs to be replaced. This report introduces the draft LTP4 (2016-31). It incorporates a refresh of Growth without Gridlock (Kent’s Transport Delivery Plan) and will be aligned with the Kent and Medway Growth and Infrastructure Framework (GIF) and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (SELEP) Strategic Economic Plan (SEP). In addition, transport strategies that support districts’ Local Plans should have regard for the policies and priorities within LTP4.

 

The LTP4 sets out nationally important strategic priorities (such as a new Lower Thames Crossing and a solution to Operation Stack), countywide priorities and priority transport schemes in each district. The local priorities pages for each district have been developed through close working with the district/borough councils. Kent-wide priorities (such as road safety, highway maintenance, and our policy on aviation) are also prominent in the LTP, as is an explanation of funding sources and how LTP4 will be used as a basis to bid for future funding streams and investment.

 

The draft LTP is currently undergoing a statutory 12-week public consultation alongside a Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report and an Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA). Following the consultation, a revised LTP4 will be adopted by KCC in 2017. Key stakeholders, including district councils, are encouraged to take part in the consultation at www.kent.gov.uk/localtransportplan

 

 

1.0  Background

 

1.1      This report details the purpose and contents of Kent County Council (KCC)’s draft Local Transport Plan 4: Delivering Growth without Gridlock, and focuses on the priorities for Maidstone. KCC invites the JTB to consider responding to the consultation.

 

1.2      KCC is in the process of developing a new Local Transport Plan, to replace the current Local Transport Plan (LTP3) 2011-16. Under the Local Transport Act 2008, it is a statutory requirement for KCC to have a Local Transport Plan (LTP) in place. The LTP is a critical tool in supporting and facilitating sustainable growth and in assisting Kent to attract investment from national government to priority transport schemes. It is thus vital that KCC has a robust LTP in place.

 

1.3      The existing LTP3 is a five year plan (2011-16), and as such, is relatively short-term in horizon and focus. The current refresh provides an opportunity to produce a new longer-term plan, enabling KCC to take a strategic view of transport to better support the county’s growth ambitions. By spanning the period to 2031, LTP4 will align with the Kent and Medway Growth and Infrastructure Framework (GIF).

 

1.4      KCC has also taken the opportunity to integrate LTP4 with Kent’s transport delivery plan, Growth without Gridlock (GwG). GwG was produced in December 2010, separate to LTP3 and set out the strategic aims for transport to support economic growth in Kent over a 20-year period. Many of the ambitions of that strategy have been achieved or significant progress made in the six years since publication, so LTP4 recognises this progress and reaffirms and refreshes KCC’s strategic transport priorities. Therefore, KCC will have one transport policy document covering both strategic and local transport priorities.

 

1.5      Critically, the GIF has fed into LTP4. The GIF identifies the county’s infrastructure needs to support planned growth to 2031 and is an important evidence base for LTP4. Transport priorities identified in LTP4 reflect those identified in the GIF and therefore provide a clear link between such transport priorities and the growth agenda.

 

1.6      A range of internal stakeholders across KCC were consulted in developing the draft LTP4.  These partners included officers from Highways, Transportation and Waste, Education, Public Health, and Environment, Planning and Enforcement teams. An informal Member Task and Finish Group was established, with one representative from each political party sitting on the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee. The objective of this group was as an advisory panel to provide a steer on the formation of the LTP.

 

1.7      Importantly, districts have also been extensively consulted regarding their transport priorities in advance of the full public consultation. This included a review of transport schemes for inclusion in the Plan. The views of the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership have also been taken into account.

 

1.8      KCC has a statutory duty to consult on LTP4. The consultation is taking place over 12 weeks, from August 8th to October 30th. District councils are invited to review the full LTP4 and respond to KCC with comments, following their pre-consultation input.

 

2.0      Summary of Local Transport Plan 4: Delivering Growth without Gridlock (2016 – 2013) (Consultation Draft)

 

2.1     The ambition set out in LTP4 is “To deliver safe and effective transport, ensuring that all Kent’s communities and businesses benefit, the environment is enhanced and economic growth is supported.” The draft LTP takes an outcomes-based approach and all transport schemes should achieve at least one of the five outcomes, as follows:

 

1.    Economic growth and minimised congestion: Deliver resilient transport infrastructure and schemes that reduce congestion and improve journey time reliability to enable economic growth and appropriate development, meeting demand from a growing population.

2.    Affordable and accessible door-to-door journeys: Promote affordable, accessible and connected transport to enable access for all to jobs, education, health and other services.

3.    Safer travel: Provide a safer road, footway and cycleway network to reduce the likelihood of casualties, and encourage other transport providers to improve safety on their networks.

4.    Enhanced environment: Deliver schemes to reduce the environmental footprint of transport, and enhance the historic and natural environment.

5.    Better health and wellbeing: Promote active travel choices for all members of the community to encourage good health and wellbeing, and implement measures to improve local air quality.

 

2.2     LTP4 is set out into three main sections: ‘Transport in Kent’, ‘Transport Priorities’ (Strategic, Kent-wide, and District) and ‘Our Funding Sources’. The summary structure of LTP4 is:

 

·      Foreword – Sets out the context for the LTP4, including Kent’s ambitious targets for growth. With potential opportunities for devolution from government, now is the time for us to set out our plans and our asks. This Plan articulates what KCC and partners will do to make sure transport is playing its part in making Kent a great place to live, work and do business.

·     Transport in Kent – Sets out the KCC’s achievements, anticipated growth, the background to our transport issues, roles and responsibilities, links to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) and the policy context of the Plan. It also outlines our ambition for transport, our strategic outcomes and supporting policies.

·     Strategic priorities – Sets out KCC’s strategic transport priorities, which is essentially an update of ‘Growth without Gridlock’. This section includes delivering growth in the Thames Gateway (to include A2 Bean and A2 Ebbsfleet junction upgrades and Crossrail extension), a new Lower Thames Crossing, bifurcation of port traffic, port expansion at Dover, a solution to Operation Stack, provision for overnight lorry parking, Ashford International Station signalling, Journey Time Improvements and Thanet Parkway Rail Station, and rail and bus improvements (by working with bus operators and influencing the rail franchise).

·     Kent-wide priorities – Sets out our approach to road safety, highway maintenance, home to school transport, active travel and our policy on aviation.

·     District priorities (see paragraph 2.3) – Sets out district transport schemes that have been identified as necessary in each district by the GIF, schemes funded by Local Growth Fund (LGF), schemes identified in the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) Strategic Economic Plan (SEP), and priority future schemes identified by the districts. We have worked closely with each district/borough council in preparing this section.

·     Our Funding Sources – Sets out what funding sources are available and alternative funding strategies. These alternatives include Kent receiving a fair portion of the income from the HGV Road User Levy, fuel loyalty discounts and port landing charges related to the impact of these activities in the county. In addition, LTP4 will be used to bid for future funds as and when they become available.

·     Technical annexes - Comprising a prioritisation method for the Integrated Transport Programme (ITP), the implementation plan for the ITP, and the implementation plan for the Crash Remedial Measures (CRM) Programme.

 

2.3     KCC met with Andrew Thompson, Dawn Hudd and John Foster, of Maidstone Borough Council, on May 18th to discuss the content within LTP4. The priority schemes in Maidstone that were identified through liaison with the Borough Council were considered for inclusion in the latest Local Growth Fund (LGF) bid.  As agreed policy once LTP4 is adopted, these schemes will form the basis of bids for future funding opportunities. The Maidstone schemes and accompanying text is available at the end of this report.

 

 

3.0      Consultation

 

3.1     The draft LTP4 is undergoing a 12 week consultation, along with an accompanying Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) report and Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA). The consultation launched on August 8th and will close on October 30th. All LTP4 documents can be accessed at www.kent.gov.uk/localtransportplan.

 

3.2     Following the consultation, responses will be analysed and a consultation report produced that summarises organisations’ and the public’s responses to the draft LTP. This will be reported alongside a revised LTP4 to KCC’s Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee before consideration by Cabinet to then recommend it to full County Council for adoption in early 2017.

 

4.0      LTP4 – Maidstone pages

 

Accompanying text included on the Maidstone page:

 

Maidstone is the County Town of Kent and has a road and rail network that is based on the historic development of the town. The town centre is at the point where several A roads (A26, A20, A229 and A249) converge and provide onward connectivity to four nearby junctions with the M20.

The constrained nature of the town centre has contributed to peak period congestion and the designation of the wider urban area as an Air Quality Management Area. A scheme to relieve congestion at the Bridges Gyratory is currently being implemented, although continued traffic growth on other parts of the network is expected to result in worsening delays for road users. These pressures are most evident on the congested A229 and A274 corridors in south and south eastern Maidstone and on the A20 corridor in north western Maidstone.  

Rail links across the district are comparatively poor, with Maidstone currently having no direct service to the City of London (although proposed Thameslink extension from 2018) and a slow journey into Victoria. In the south of the district, Headcorn, Staplehurst and Marden have access to direct train services to the City via Tonbridge and Sevenoaks, making them attractive locations for commuters.

Bus services within the urban area are largely focused around serving the town centre and hospital. Many outlying suburban and rural communities are afforded a more limited level of service that does not provide a convenient travel option for many potential users.

At times when Operation Stack is initiated Maidstone has no direct access to the M20 coastbound. This results in extensive congestion as motorway traffic diverts onto the A20. 

 

Identified Schemes on the Maidstone page:

 

 

5.0  Financial

 

5.1      Not applicable.

 

 

6.0  Legal implications

 

6.1      There is a legal requirement for KCC to have a Local Transport Plan and a legal requirement for KCC to consult on the proposed Plan. The consultation can be accessed at www.kent.gov.uk/localtransportplan.

 

7.0      Conclusions

 

7.1     The Local Transport Plan (LTP) is a statutory Plan which is currently undergoing public consultation. The draft Local Transport Plan 4: Delivering Growth without Gridlock (2016-2031) sets out KCC’s overarching transport policy and the strategic outcomes that all transport schemes must achieve. It also includes the strategic schemes that KCC supports and transport priorities in each district. District councils are encouraged to take part in the consultation on the draft plan by visiting www.kent.gov.uk/localtransportplan  

 

8.0      Recommendations

 

8.1     The Joint Transportation Board is asked to note the draft LTP and the opportunity to respond to the consultation, as set out in paragraph 3.1.

 

            

Future Meeting if applicable:

Date:

 

Contact Officer:

Katie Pettitt, KCC Principal Transport Planner

Reporting to:

Joseph Ratcliffe, KCC Transport Strategy Manager