EAST WEST RAIL CONSORTIUM
MINUTES OF THE EAST WEST RAIL PROJECT BOARD
held on 13 March 2012 at 1:00 p.m. in Room 108, HCA, Midsummer Boulevard, Milton
Neil Gibson (NG) Buckinghamshire CC (Chair)
Patrick O’Sullivan (POS) EWR Consortium Consultant
Richard Harrington (RH) Aylesbury Vale Advantage
Trevor Marsh (TM) Buckinghamshire CC
Steve Watson (SW) Buckinghamshire CC
James Gleave (JB) Central Beds
Roy Newton (RN) Oxfordshire CC
Brian Matthews (BM) Milton Keynes Council
Hilary Chipping (HC) Aylesbury Vale Development Partnership
Glenn Barcham (GB) Bedford Borough
David Sexton (DS) Department for Transport (Rail)
Andy Kirkham (AK) AVDC
Calvin Bell (CB) Cherwell and South Northants
Jan Podkolinski (JP) CJ Associates
Jez Baldock (JB) Atkins
Andrew Pearson (AP) HCA
Martin Tugwell (MT) Oxfordshire CC
Chris Aldridge (CA) Network Rail
Allan Dare (AD) Chiltern Railways (EG3)
1.1 Roy Newton from Oxfordshire CC welcomed to the meeting
2.1 None received
3.0 Previous Meeting Minutes 27 January 2012
4.0 Action List from 27 January 2012
4.1 Number of PB members are still to notify SW when they have added a link to
www.eastwestrail.org.uk to their websites; they are also encouraged to include
statements of support onto their home pages.
4.2 SW noted that with links on MKC and Oxfordshire site has shown a significant increase in
traffic on the www.eastwestrail.org.uk website.
4.3 HC noted that SEMLEP have a new website and an appropriate link to EWER will be
located on their site. AP indicated that arrangements are in hand for links to the HCA
5.0 HLOS, Business Case and Local Contributions
5.1 DS explained that work is continuing on the development of the business case. Noted that
Network Rail is under pressure with other schemes but overall EWR is considered under
control. DS has received helpful comment from ATOC, colleagues from freight and TOC’s.
A potential 5 track at Denbigh Hall into MK Central can now be discounted. Modern
Railways is reporting on freight in the latest edition and EWR is mentioned. Conclusion on
the business case thus far is that it remains strong.
5.2 HC reported that she has spoken with 4 LPA’s. Oxfordshire is working independently of
her study. No LPA at this stage can commit but the intention thus far is to identify a level
of contributions that might accrue given appropriate political support. The next step would
then to have a dialogue with DfT.
5.3 HC has now gathered sufficient data from the 4 LPA’s which is focussed on CIL and New
Home Bonus (NHB). But this is not to say a local contribution is limited to CIL/NHB. CIL
charging schedules are to be in place in April 2014. HC has provided what would appear
to be a reasonable projection over the period 2014–2030 on what could be achieved.
Most authorities have a lot of development already in place covering the short to medium
term. Existing agreements for s106 do not include EWR.
5.4 Within the 4 LPA’s (AVDC, MKC, Central Beds and Bedford Borough) based on a
projection of housing growth up to 2030 a possible scenario that could provide up to £40
million split between CIL and NHB. It was noted that this does not represent a commitment
but is presented as what might be possible. It will also enable officials to open a dialogue
with their locally elected members.
5.5 Next steps: Open up a dialogue with elected members and DfT. Review with DfT how the
local contributions can offset the capital costs and at some stage legal agreement
regarding the contributions will need to be put in place. There may also be other ways of
raising the funds including business rates, contribution via LTP’s as well as the works in
kind previously discussed. HC stressed importance of ERC being included in the
respective CIL schedules across the Consortium.
5.6 RN reported on Oxfordshire CC. It is still early days, meetings still to be held with the
districts who are at different stages with CIL arrangements. What is clear is that all districts
already have substantial claims on projected CIL/NHB revenue. RN will be working with
the LEP to develop a mechanism to leverage private funding using an approach
developed and successfully deployed in Manchester. RN’s priority is to develop a suitable
funding model by July 2012. There is also a possibility that Oxfordshire CC will fund the
design and construction of the road bridge that will replace the level crossing at Bicester
Eastern Perimeter Road as a significant contribution as works in kind.
5.7 Discussion opened up for response.
AVDC have recently appointed a firm to advise on CIL and are now actively pursuing CIL.
MKC conscious that members are that warmed up to EWR. There is also concern that
local elections are approaching and it is recognised that a charm offensive will be
necessary after the elections.
Central Beds Members have been briefed on EWR. Nominated member for the board is
very supportive. CIL work is continuing and a draft development strategy is expected by
Summer 2012. Members will be asked about level of contributions. In addition as part of
their local plans they are looking at some modest improvements to the MV line such as
station improvements valued at c. £20k. as works in kind.
Bedford Enquired how much information will be fed through to the Delivery Board (JDB)
and how much should be managed “offline”. General mood in Bedford reported as ‘bring it
on’. Many questions being asked by residents to local members - this reinforces need for
active management of communication and understanding of Consortium approach.
5.8 NG summarised by saying the aim is for the new board to be in a position to give the DfT
confidence that money in the range of £30-50 million can raised. Both HC and RN have
discussed a number of different ways this can be achieved. Apart from CIL and NHB there
is the potential for the repatriation of business rates from next year, could be used to
borrow money. It is all around the political will and so if the JDB does not take a leap of
faith ten this board will have failed.
5.9 DS noted that EWR is a wider issue that just within DfT. It is in HMT National
Infrastructure Plan and is regularly reviewed by Policy Units in both No.10 and No.11. DS
attends a working group from BIS and DCLG to review EWR. There is recognition that
EWR approach is “new technology” and there is no intention to insist on absolute figures
and payment profiles as long as there is a commitment indicating that all and best
endeavours will be used to deliver the local contribution. The potential diversity in funding
strategies is also welcomed. It was noted that forming of a JDB sends a positive message
of commitment as does the commitments made by SEMLEP and Buckinghamshire TV
LEP towards EWR.
5.10 How to take this forward. Government is seeking a commitment and this has to be
through a suitable statement of support from the Joint Delivery Board. Each authority may
take a different approach with a variety of opportunities to be identified. But it is mainly a
prioritisation debate. HC’s advice is not to try and pin down individual LPA’s to a particular
number but rather adopt a bottom up approach which outlines a series of opportunities
(CIL, NHB, Business rates and Works in kind and possibly other sources) and aim to
agree what proportion of the available funding be allocated to EWR.
5.11 AVA RH considers HC’s work is valuable but sees great potential in RN’s approach that
looks at total added land value and how to tap in to that. One way forward is to remind
politicians of the business case and clearly demonstrate how that added value can be
sought from business. An opportunity perhaps for combining both approaches within the
overall commitment that the government is looking for.
5.12 NG invited HC/RN/RH to work together to urgently knit the work done to date into a
compelling proposition that could be presented to the JDB when it meets. It can be a
strategic investment paper covering an investment period of 15 to 20 years, demonstrate a
forecast return of the investment, (jobs, cars off roads, carbon footprint etc.) an estimate of
the amount generated over the payback period together with a firm statement of
commitment, including timescales and a process. An important element to bring out is that
the local contribution will be leveraging something in excess of £200m from Government
funds that will support annual economic growth for the area estimated to be in excess of
£38m and the prospect of over 12,000 jobs (as per Oxford Economics independent review
of the business case).
5.13 DS noted that there are records that show how land values increased as a result of, for
instance, the Jubilee Line Extension, as well as uplift of land values around new stations.
Information is available also from Airdrie-Bathgate re-opening.
5.14 A paper is required before the end of March in order to meet DfT’s deadline of mid to late
April. DS is already compiling a list of investments for Ministers and as soon as the
Budget announcement is made attention will be turned to HLOS. Therefore the first
meeting is urgently required for early April and MT had undertaken to ask Cllr David
Robertson to facilitate this setting up of this meeting. DS emphasised that this represents
a significant milestone for EWR if not a “make or break” point that will need to be made
clear to the JDB.
5.15 Cherwell DC CB commented that there is clear support from Cherwell with the Leader
joining the JDB. There is a lot of caution from other Oxfordshire districts, in particular the
City. They did ask for the full business case which they have now got it. There is a lot of
reticence within the other districts but Cherwell is fully behind it. It is recognised that
money has to be found. Noted that NHB is an interesting issue; if successful it may
pressure government to continue with it, as HMT is not seeing a return so it may not
continue for full 6 years? The other issue is the local government finance review and a lot
of nervousness surrounding it due to lack of detail. In principle CDC should be able to do
6.0 Permitted Development
6.1 POS introduced the item. As noted previously, a package of documentation had been
submitted to each LPA (Cherwell DC, MKC and AVDC) which described in great detail
the Consortium’s evidence on what aspects of EWR are considered to be PD. The
protocol adopted by NR regarding notifying LPA’s on what is considered to be PD has
been followed as opposed to the original strategy of applying for a CLOPUD
6.2 Cherwell DC have provided a written response and the response was precisely what was
asked for; it concluded that the works are Permitted Development when considered under
Part 11 of the General permitted Development Order 1995 (as amended), with the
exception of the new road bridge over the railway line at Bicester.
6.3 Work is in progress at MKC and AVDC have had a number of meetings and expect to
6.4 JP reported that Network Rail appear to be risk averse and consequently unwilling to treat
the deviated sections or ‘mothballed section’ as PD. Therefore this section of the line
would need to be authorised via a TWA or DCO. Elsewhere they take a very cautious
approach to PD.
6.5 Once a response is received from the MKC and AVDC a decision can be formulated on
the planning route to follow. To assist with decision making a risk spectrum report was
tabled. It was noted that following the problems with Evergreen 3 the TWA may be
considered as not fit for purpose and a DCO may actually become the preferred route.
DS offered to explore the possibilities with the IPC and in particular what opportunities
exist for speeding it up given that EWR is in the N.I.P.
6.6 It was concluded that an urgent response on PD is needed with possibly further work with
Network Rail and an early meeting with the IPC.
7.0 Governance Arrangements
7.1 POS re-introduced the governance arrangements in three parts - a programme leading to
implementation and estimated costs of the programme and an amended TOR which
reflected the discussions at the last meeting. The programme had assumed PD plus a
small TWA but given the moving situation re the TWA and Evergreen 3, the programme
probably needs to be reviewed once more with possibly introducing a DCO programme.
7.2 Therefore pending a decision on the route to be adopted for authorising the railway, there
is an option for carrying out early works that would be common to all planning routes.
Authority was sought to begin the process for identifying and procuring environmental
and consultation specialists and further engineering expertise that would support the
planning stages. The board agreed:
Line items 1 -3 (GRIP4 finalisation; construction strategy; review/finalise RoW
strategy) should proceed in advance of HLOS decision
Line items 4 -5 (EIA; Consultation) should start the thought process and general
preparations for procuring short of going to ITT – ITT to await HLOS decision
the continuing appointment of the project manger until at least July and thereafter
for a further 12 months subject to a successful outcome in HLOS
7.3 DS noted that discussions are under way with Chiltern with a view to possibly including
the complete double tracking of the railway between Islip and Bicester thus removing the
scope of this from EWR. Conversely all works west of Water Eaton including all works at
Oxford station will likely fall entirely to Network Rail.
8.0 PR and Communications
8.1 Draft Information papers have been placed in the member’s area on the website. The
purpose of these papers is primarily for use during consultation as well as a way of
informing members and in particular politicians about strategies and policies to be
adopted during the development stages. At this stage it was agreed that the papers
remain on the member’s area only.
8.2 An events diary was circulated and comments invited from project board members. It was
noted that an event in May between the APPG and the JDB might be a useful opportunity
for a PR event. SW and POS will be discussing this aspect with MP’s on APPG later this
week in Westminster.
8.3 Noted that Comms be added to the agenda of the JDB meeting.
9.0 Finance Report
9.1 TM reported that the £300k is forecast to be spent following last meeting’s authority
granted to the PM to identify and undertake additional works such as VE review of the
Bicester Perimeter road bridge and other works necessary to develop a delivery
9.2 It was noted that future income is dependent mostly on the GPF sourced via LEP’s and
this is under discussion within the LEP’s. There is an ongoing debate about capital versus
revenue but on the face of it EWR has been allocated £1 million from SEMLEP, £500k
from BTVLEP and it is anticipated that Oxfordshire will contribute up to £500k giving a
fund for the next phase of £2 million. RN to confirm the Oxfordshire commitment to find
the £500k and clarify when this might be made available eg potential instalment profile
over next 12/18 months?
10.0 Any other business
10.1 DS noted that the SoS for Transport and BIS are meeting this week and EWR is on their
agenda for discussion.
11.0 Next Meeting
1:00 p.m. on Tuesday 12 June March in Room 108, HCA Offices, CBXII at
Midsummer Boulevard, Milton Keynes.
Lunch will be available from 1:00 pm.