Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment (PTE/19/36) which provides an update on the project as well as seeking approval for elements to allow the project to progress, attached.
An Impact Assessment is also attached for the attention of Members at the meeting.
(Councillors Atkinson, Biederman, Connett, Dewhirst, Hannaford and Whitton attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment (PTE/19/36) which provided an update on the project and sought approval for certain aspects to allow progression of the project, circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The Report followed the successful bid which had been submitted to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) in September 2018 for funding from the
Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF). The bid was for £55.1 million towards infrastructure to support development at South West Exeter. The Council was working positively with Homes England, who were acting on behalf of MHCLG, to enter into a contract for the funding.
In order to ensure the project remained on programme, the Council had been progressing those elements of infrastructure which were on the critical path, outlined below;
Eastern Junction – a new access junction to a development parcel between the Devon Hotel and Matford roundabouts, the delivery of which would ensure the junction was able to unlock both landownerships. Subject to modifications of the planning conditions, delivery of the junction by the Council would include a mechanism to ensure that both parcels could be unlocked.
Interim School Access Junction - a free school had been secured and to facilitate the delivery of this, it was necessary for the Council to deliver a suitable access. The proposal was for a signalised junction, with sufficient capacity.
Interim School Access Earthworks - the location of the new school (above existing road level) meant earthworks were required. Earthworks were also required by the developer, therefore it was proposed to undertake these in a single contract. As the developer would need to be recompensed, it was suggested this cost be offset against future repayments of the HIF funding, thereby being cost neutral to the Council.
Pedestrian / cycle bridge - linked to the delivery of the proposed all-through school was the delivery of a pedestrian / cycle bridge across the A379 to provide a safe crossing. The proposed design was of a skew parabolic arch, plans of which were included in Appendix I of the Report.
Peamore Park and Ride - employment development was proposed at Peamore, therefore it was proposed to deliver a roundabout to access the development as well as upgrade the electricity infrastructure. It was also proposed to try and secure land for a park and ride site. A feasibility study had been undertaken which identified a preferred option, which was included
in Appendix II. The Local Member asked (and the Head of Service agreed) that consideration be given to extending the planned cycle route (past Peamore) towards Kennford (over the A30) to prevent 'rat running' from the village to the proposed Park and Ride site.
The Report outlined the Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement proposals for all elements of the scheme. The Cabinet Member assured the Local Member that consultation would include the local Parish Councils as well as relevant local Members from District and City Councils. The Report highlighted the financial considerations highlighting that HIF funding was a capital grant to the Local Authority. Once the funding contract was signed, the Council could draw down funding in arrears on a monthly basis. The Cabinet Member highlighted that in relation to the Park and Ride a full stakeholder consultation would take place. Subject to this, a more formal consultation would be carried out as part of any planning application.
The Cabinet noted that the planning applications for the 2,500 dwellings and employment, including the infrastructure required had been supported by Environmental Statements. Negotiations were taking place between the developers and planning authorities to reduce the carbon generation of the development. The proposals such as pedestrian/cycle provisions and Park & Ride provided an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions further through reducing vehicle movements.
The Head of Service’s Report incorporated an Impact Assessment for the attention of Members at the meeting. There were positive impacts in terms of new homes, including affordable housing and a new school, including nursery provision, although during construction works, it was anticipated that some negative impact would be realised
as a result of traffic management (but this would be mitigated through highway co-ordination
and traffic management groups). The proposals had no adverse impact on a specific audience, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation and religion / belief. Improvements would improve journey time reliability benefitting all road users. The proposals had no adverse impact on a specific audience, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual orientation and religion / belief. Improvements to the roundabout approaches and shared paths improved journey time reliability for road users benefitted pedestrians and cyclists. The Impact Assessment had also been updated since its publication to reflect how disabilities would be taken into account.
The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability (including carbon impact), risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Head of Service’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:
it was MOVED by Councillor Davis, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and
(a) that the update on the project and progress with Homes England in entering into the funding contract be noted;
(b) that authority be delegated to the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment
in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure, Development and Waste to award the contracts for the Eastern Junction and Interim School Access Junction within a budget threshold of £4.5m, subject to funding being secure;
(c) that in relation to a Park & Ride site at Peamore, approval be given to undertake stakeholder consultation and conditional on the response, approval for the submission of a planning application also be given; and
(d) that the proposal to recover repayments from developers against work undertaken to assist the delivery of the infrastructure, subject to a review of costs of this work, also be approved.
[NB: The Impact Assessment referred to above may be viewed alongside Minutes of this meeting and may also be available at: http://new.devon.gov.uk/impact/].