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Agenda item

North East Wales Metro Update

To update Scrutiny on the progress of the North East Wales Metro Project, including the latest bids to Welsh Government for funding.

Decision:

(a)       That progress made to date on Flintshire County Council’s Integrated Transport solution and its links to the wider North East Wales Metro plans supported by the Welsh Government, be noted;

 

(b)       That the recent award of Welsh Government Local Transport funding be noted; and

 

(c)        That further consultation takes place with the wider business community

 

Minutes:

The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) introduced the report to provide an update on the progress of the North East Wales Metro Project, including the latest bids to Welsh Government (WG) for funding.  He provided background information and explained that to provide a long term sustainable transport solution it was essential that all modes of transport were successfully integrated.  Key to this was  maintaining and promoting a sustainable, affordable, and environmentally friendly Public Transport Service with links to all of Flintshire and the wider region.  Proposals provide a platform which can be widened in scope to provide a transport solution for other local key areas of employment, particularly Broughton and the nearby Airbus site, providing seamless access for people wishing to work in the area whilst living in other areas of North/Mid Wales and North West England.

 

                        The Chief Officer reported that further bids had recently been submitted to the WG ‘Local Transport Fund’ (LTF) for funding in the 2018-2021 period.  The Authority had been successful in securing £1,373,500 WG funding in 2018/19 with a further commitment of £2,675m in 2019/20 and £1,6025m in 2020/21 for the delivery of further schemes as detailed in the report.

 

                        The Chief Officer invited the Senior Technical and Performance Manager to report on progress on the following ongoing schemes within the wider project: 

 

·         Access to employment – active travel and bus stop infrastructure throughout Deeside Industrial Park

·         Developments for passenger growth – Deeside corridor

·         B5128 Queensferry roundabout to Denbighshire County Boundary

·         Partial signalisation of Parkway roundabout – Zone 2, Deeside Industrial Park

·         A5104 Broughton to Saltney cycleway phase 2

 

                        The Chief Officer advised that consultation on the schemes had taken place with the Deeside Business Forum, businesses in Deeside Industrial Park, local Town and Community Councils, elected Members, and the WG.  A public consultation exercise would also be undertaken in the near future.

 

The Chief Officer acknowledged the comments from Councillor Vicky Perfect on the North East Wales Metro  proposal and a link to the railway station in Flint, and said that the importance of the coastal rail line was recognised.

 

Councillor Paul Shotton  commented on the difficulty experienced by some people in gaining access to Deeside Industrial Park.  He spoke in support of the scheme for active travel and bus stop infrastructure throughout Deeside Industrial Park and welcomed the upgrade to the shuttle service with more emphasis on energy efficiency.  He asked for an update on the park and ride scheme.  Officers advised that work was taking place with the Welsh Government to develop the park and ride scheme and was currently at the  planning stage and funding should be secured in the near future.  A suitable site had been identified and the business community were in favour of park and ride.   Councillor Carolyn Thomas commented that the park and ride scheme would address the issue of congestion and provide a regular shuttle service.

 

The Chief Officer referred to the linking of Shotton station to enable access into the centre of  Deeside Industrial Park in addition to the link between Flint and Shotton which would allow further access to employment from the North of the County.

 

Councillor Patrick Heesom said he supported the concept of the North East Wales Metro but expressed concerns that there had not been proper consultation with Members and  emphasised the importance to the wider infrastructure of the County.  Referring to the integrated transport network he referred to the need for links from the major road arteries (A55 and A548) to connect to the Deeside Business Park .  He also expressed a number of concerns around the red route which he said would result in the transfer of blockages up to Northop.  He had made representations to the Minister in Welsh Government and felt that a solution would be a new bridge from the roundabout on Shotwick bypass to the junction of Bagillt/Flint.   He commented that the red route did nothing for Connah’s Quay and Flint.  He added that the report indicated that £13million was being used to resolve certain issues in Deeside but was not available to the rest of the Council area and expressed the view that the rest of Flintshire was being failed by the Council. 

 

Councillor Carolyn Thomas advised that the Committee had considered the routes as part of the WG consultation and had supported the red route.

 

Councillor Shotton also commented that the First Minister was also committed to the red route which was welcomed.

 

Councillor Chris Dolphin welcomed the report but commented that this was a significant amount of funding which was Deeside orientated. He took the opportunity to comment on Holywell High Street  and referred to the need for WG to support improvement works.  Officers agreed to discuss the matters raised by Councillor Dolphin concerning Holywell High Street following the meeting.

 

Councillor Owen Thomas asked if the shuttle bus service would take into consideration the needs of  employees who worked shift hours on Deeside Industrial Park.  The Senior Technical and Performance Manager  explained that that shift working patterns had been taken into consideration and the shuttle service would mirror shift patterns.  He also reported that streetlighting was being provided on cycle lanes across the river in response to feedback received.

 

Councillor Haydn Bateman asked for an update on the Mold to Broughton cycleway.  The Chief Officer explained that significant funding had been received and said that a presentation would be made to a future meeting of the Committee to update on progress.

 

The Chair raised a query on the dedicated bus lane through Shotton and asked how this would fit in.  The officer advised that  a transport planning survey had been undertaken and there was sufficient room to put in a bus lane from Asda junction to the Shotton traffic lights.  

 

Councillor Andy Dunbobbin welcomed the report and expressed appreciation to the Chief Officer and his team for the progress achieved.  He commented on the positive improvements in Zone 3 and referred to the benefits to be gained from tourism from an  integrated transport strategy for Flintshire.   Referring to the Park and Ride scheme he asked if there would be a charge for the service.  The Chief Officer advised that it was intended that the service would be pay and display with the use of permits allowed.    He commented that the majority of the business community shared a paid approach to park and ride. 

 

Councillor Cindy Hinds asked for an update regarding the timescale for the 3 hubs and referred to the need to ensure the bus network linked into hubs and train stations.  The Chief Officer acknowledged the comments and said that the Bidston line was key to progressing this. He added that this was a short term aspiration.

 

Councillor Patrick Heesom reiterated his concerns that  large areas of the County were not being consulted on the proposals and a strategy was needed for the rest of he County.  He also reiterated his comments that the red route would not resolve any of the issues around access to Deeside Industrial Park from other areas of the County.  He also said there was no support in the proposals  for the development of Mostyn Dock.

 

Councillor Carolyn  Thomas reassured the Committee that where possible there were “joined up” plans for the rest of the County and funding for development across Flintshire would be pursued.  She advised that consultation would be made available online.

 

Members agreed that further consultation would be of benefit and welcomed the commitment to online consultation.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That progress made to date on Flintshire County Council’s Integrated Transport solution and its links to the wider North East Wales Metro plans supported by the Welsh Government, be noted;

 

(b)       That the recent award of Welsh Government Local Transport funding be noted; and

 

(c)        That further consultation takes place with the wider business community

 

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