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MEDWAY COUNCIL CABINET 27 NOVEMBER 2007 CHATHAM BUS STATION

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MEDWAY COUNCIL CABINET 27 NOVEMBER 2007 CHATHAM BUS STATION Powered By Docstoc
					                         MEDWAY COUNCIL

                                CABINET

                         27 NOVEMBER 2007

          CHATHAM BUS STATION PROPOSALS
        RESULTS OF THE PUBLIC CONSULTATION
                     EXERCISE

Portfolio Holder:   Councillor Rodney Chambers, Leader
                    Councillor Jane Chitty, Strategic Development and
                    Economic Growth

Report from:        Robin Cooper, Director of Regeneration and
                    Development

Authors:            Sara Purvis, Chatham Project Manager

1.     Summary

1.1    This report is to advise members of the results of the public
       consultation exercise carried out on the new proposed location of the
       bus station at Globe Lane/Military Road.

2.     Decision Issues

2.1    The inclusion of a new bus station will be incorporated into the
       Chatham Centre and Waterfront SPD which is consistent with the
       saved policies in the 2003 Medway Local Plan. Therefore this is a
       matter for Cabinet.

2.2    The Cabinet is asked to accept this item as urgent given that Cabinet
       had asked for the results of the consultation to be reported to this
       meeting following its original consideration on 16 October 2007.

3      Background

3.1    In June 2004, Medway Council adopted the Chatham Centre and
       Waterfront Development Framework as Supplementary Planning
       Guidance (SPG) to the adopted Medway Local Plan. This document
       promotes improved public transport facilities for Chatham and proposes
       a bus station in the Sir John Hawkins Way area. In addition, the
       recently adopted Pentagon Development Brief which sits under the
       overall development framework is predicated on the relocation of the
       bus station providing the opportunity to improve and extend the
       shopping centre.
3.2   In May 2006 EDAW were appointed to work with the Council to co-
      ordinate the masterplanning of key sites to produce the Chatham
      Centre and Waterfront Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). The
      study area was divided into the following three masterplan areas:

      •      The Brook
      •      The Station Gateway
      •      The Waterfront.

3.3   In July 2006, three sets of masterplanners: Llewleyn Davies Yeang,
      Maccreanor Lavington and Urban Initiatives were appointed to prepare
      masterplans to stimulate and guide the development of each of the
      areas. Mott MacDonald and DTZ were also appointed to provide
      transportation and economic feasibility advice with respect to delivery.

3.4   The area covered by the SPD extends from Chatham Railway Station
      in the southwest to Fort Amherst in the north, to Luton Arches in the
      east and to the River Medway in the west. It incorporates both the
      ‘Core Retail Area’ and ‘Medway’s “City” Centre Riverside Allocation’, as
      defined on the Adopted Local Plan (2003) Proposals Map.

3.5   The consultation draft SPD sought to provide improved public transport
      infrastructure, including a proposal for a new bus station on land
      currently occupied by the flyover and the Sir John Hawkins Way car
      park.

3.6   During the public consultation exercise carried out during the summer
      on the SPD for Chatham there was significant support for improved bus
      facilities in Chatham including a replacement for the existing Bus
      Station. However many felt that the proposed site at Sir John Hawkins
      Way was not ideal. Many felt it was too far from the Pentagon Centre
      or High Street and in a location that would not encourage greater use
      in the evenings. The owners of the Pentagon Centre also expressed
      concerns that a relocation of the Bus Station away from the centre
      might have an adverse impact on the future viability of the Military
      Road end of the shopping centre.

3.7   Due to the negative feedback received during the consultation officers
      looked at other options for the location of a bus station. A bus station
      close to the Railway Station was considered but this option was not
      pursued as it was considered to not best meet the needs of the
      majority of existing or prospective users and would require significant
      and costly land acquisition which is likely to take some time to deliver.
      Improved services to and from the station can in any event be offered
      by delivering a bus station along the route of St John Hawkins
      Way/Globe Lane, which will allow the provision of more through
      services. It is intended to retain a bus facility at the station, which would
      form part of a new station plaza.
3.8    The location of a bus station on land between and incorporating Globe
       Lane and Military Road was also considered. This location known as
       The Paddock has for many years served as a focus for bus routes and
       it is still used by those services that do not have access to the
       Pentagon Bus Station.

3.9    After extensive analysis of each of these options and further
       consultation with the main bus operators and owners of the Pentagon
       Centre it was considered that the Globe Lane/ Military Road site could
       offer a good alternative location for a new bus facility in Chatham, and
       it would support the regeneration of the waterfront and refurbishment
       and extension of the Pentagon Centre both of which are key to
       Chatham’s regeneration.

3.10   The site is level, is in council ownership and could be developed whilst
       the existing bus station continued in use. Development of this site
       would also free up the Sir John Hawkins Car Park site for other
       development uses. It was therefore recommended to Cabinet in
       October that this location be supported and a planning application
       made to enable funding opportunities for the bus station to be pursued
       and detailed plans for the Pentagon Centre to be developed.

3.11   On 16 October 2007 Cabinet resolved to undertake a consultation
       exercise to assess the suitability of a new bus station between Globe
       Lane and Military road adjacent to the Pentagon Shopping Centre, and
       requested that the results of this be reported back to Cabinet in
       November 2007.

3.12   Details of the consultation exercise that was undertaken are set out in
       section 4 below.

4.     Consultation Methodology

4.1    Due to the timescale available to conduct the public consultation in
       order to be able to report the results back to Cabinet in November a
       relatively short period of consultation has been undertaken. However,
       despite the short timescale an extensive range of means of
       communication have been employed, to aim to reach as many
       interested people as possible. The consultation involved:
      •   Residents and businesses notified via the press (full-page
          advertisements in four local newspapers, plus coverage on BBC
          south-east news),

      •   Information available on the Council’s website,

      •   Posters in main council buildings, council contact points and 16
          local libraries,

      •   4000 flyers were distributed within the Pentagon Shopping Centre &
          High Street, the Universities at Medway, and at the four local train
          stations and the existing bus station,

      •   A two-day staffed exhibition was held at the Pentagon shopping
          centre on 16 and 17 November

      •   Consultees from the earlier consultation who had provided email
          addresses were contacted individually

      •   Key stakeholders such as the Pentagon Centre and the bus
          operators were also asked to give their views.

4.2   Three methods were provided for submitting comments: (i) writing
      comments on the flyer or the press adverts and dropping them into
      Comments Boxes provided at the local libraries, main Council
      buildings, council contact points and the Pentagon display; (ii)
      completing an online feedback form on the council website
      www.medway.gov.uk /chathamischanging; (iii) sending an email.
      Letters received and comments made by telephone to the Chatham
      project manager were also recorded.

4.3   The most important aspect of the results of the consultation is an
      understanding of the issues that are of concern to respondents, and
      not necessarily just the numerical information.

5.    Consultation Results

5.1   Despite the short period for consultation a relatively high number of
      responses have been received. In part it is considered that this is due
      to the consultation being on a single issue only, compared to the more
      lengthy consultation undertaken earlier in the year on the draft SPD. A
      total of 360 feedback responses have been received, of these 246 (69
      %) residents and stakeholders replied were opposed to locating the
      bus-station on the Paddock and 83 (23%) residents and stakeholders
      were supportive. 29 (around 8%) made comments but did not give a
      preference and 2 (under 0.5%) gave no opinion but asked questions.

5.2   Most responses received are from residents, with only few responses
      from individuals representing businesses or other stakeholders.
5.3   Of the 246 residents and stakeholders who were opposed to the bus
      station the greatest proportion (around half of those opposed) were
      concerned about the removal of the trees and the loss of open space, a
      large proportion of respondents (around a quarter of those opposed)
      said they would prefer the bus station to stay in its current location,
      particularly if the existing bus station could be improved, and several
      respondents were opposed due to the effect on traffic, in particular the
      proposal to close Globe Lane to traffic, and the implications for the
      closure of the flyover and Medway Street to through traffic. A number
      of respondents expressed a preference for the originally proposed site
      at Sir John Hawkins Way car park, or other sites around the town
      centre and at the train station.

5.4   Some 83 residents and stakeholders were supportive of the location on
      the Paddock site, although a number of these responses were
      conditional on the open space being replaced elsewhere, and trees
      being retained or replaced, some were conditional on a covered
      walkway being provided between the Pentagon Centre and bus station
      and some on measures to ensure free flowing traffic.

5.5   It is clear from the exercise undertaken that there are very strong
      feelings locally regarding the area known as the Paddock and a strong
      wish to retain this as an open amenity space. The trees there,
      particularly the horse chestnuts, seem from the responses given, to be
      highly valued as an asset to the town. The proposal to close Globe
      Lane to through traffic also caused concern, particularly in the light of
      the recent issues surrounding the closure, and subsequent reopening
      of the flyover. There was confusion that the bus station proposal would
      necessitate its closure again.

5.6   The two proposals for new sites for the bus station have both had
      objections raised against them during public consultation, however it is
      not a realistic option to leave the bus station in its current location, as it
      can not cope with future expansion and is not fit for today’s standards,
      and it is not considered that there are any other large enough, suitable
      and available sites within the town centre.

5.7   Following this consultation exercise there is a need to reconsider all
      options and report back to Cabinet in December with a report on the
      revisions proposed to the SPD, and this will include a recommendation
      for the proposed location of the bus station.

6.    Advice and analysis

6.1   Cabinet should note that the bus station in Chatham is a key element
      to the delivery of the infrastructure necessary for the overall
      regeneration programme. It forms the centre of an improved bus
      network for the area, developed from the Transport for Medway Study.
      A number of current bids for funding are dependent on the building of a
      functional new facility, and the cooperation of the bus operators. Our
      current bid for Central Infrastructure Funds has been recommended by
      the Regional Transport Board to the Department for Transport as
      priority for the area and comes to £111.4 million, of which £38 million
      relates to improved bus service provision across Medway. Failure to
      provide the dynamic bus facility in central Chatham in accordance with
      the current programme would jeopardise this bid.

7.    Financial and legal implications

7.1   The Chatham Town Centre and Waterfront Supplementary Planning
      Document has been prepared in accordance with the provisions of the
      Planning and Compensation Act 2004. It must conform with policies in
      the Medway Local Plan 2003.

7.2   Once the overall document is adopted, further publicity, in accordance
      with the regulations covering supplementary planning documents, will
      be required. This is to ensure it is brought to the attention of the public
      and all other interested parties.

7.3   The costs of producing documents, leaflets and exhibition material
      have been met from the approved Medway Renaissance budget. Post
      adoption costs can also be met from existing budgets.

7.4   It is proposed that the new Bus Station will be funded by government
      grant from the department for Communities and Local Government
      (CLG). A full ‘Green Book’ appraisal setting out the costs and benefits
      of a new Bus Station has already been prepared and approved by CLG
      and whilst this might need slight adjustment to reflect the proposed
      new site there is confidence that further funding should be forthcoming.

7.5   It is estimated that the Bus Station will cost between £5.5 and £6.0
      million to develop and sufficient funding from CLG is already in place
      up until March 2008 to cover the cost of detailed design, a planning
      application and preliminary works. It is proposed to submit an early
      application for further funding of £4.5 million to allow a projected start
      on site in Spring/Summer 2008 and an opening in Spring/Summer
      2009.

8.    Recommendation

8.1   That Cabinet notes the results of the public consultation exercise.

9.    Suggested Reasons for Decision

9.1   To ensure the Cabinet is informed of the results of the consultation
      exercise in advance of a report to Cabinet in December including
      details of the new bus station.
Lead officer contact

Sara Purvis, Chatham Project Manager, Eastgate House Annex, High Street,
Rochester
Tel 01634 337155. Email sara.purvis@medway.gov.uk


Background papers

Responses to public consultation – available from Cabinet Office

				
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