Maidstone Integrated Transport Package (MITP)
Mr Boorman updated the Board on the progress of the Maidstone Integrated Transport Package (MITP). Mr Boorman highlighted that good progress had been made on a number of projects, however, there were issues with the A20 Coldharbour Roundabout and B2246 Hermitage Lane schemes. A conversation with the Secretary of State was due to take place in January 2019 to resolve an overage issue with the A20 Coldharbour Roundabout, while the B2246 Hermitage Land had been postponed as it did not demonstrate a satisfactory cost-benefit ratio. Further time was needed to devise a scheme that met the needs of stakeholders while also adhering to the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) criteria. Alternative opportunities had been explored should issues remain unresolved. Mr Boorman explained that the business cases had been completed, however, these had not been submitted to SELEP in November 2018. Instead, the business cases were to be combined into a Phase 3 Business Case. This was judged to better present the qualitative and quantitative benefits of the schemes. This would be submitted in February 2019, with a funding decision made by SELEP between March and April 2019. Members and the Board were to be updated with the risks associated with the projects at regular intervals.
The Board commented that:
· The capacity to deliver highways works was significantly impacted by housing developments being completed before supporting infrastructure was ready.
· The removal of traffic lights at the B2246 Hermitage Lane site meant that there were safety considerations for pedestrians and cyclists crossing the road.
· The report demonstrated that progress had been made since the previous Board meeting, however, it was regrettable that the schemes had taken so long to reach this stage.
· It was crucial for basic elements of the Hermitage Lane scheme, such as pedestrian crossings, to be delivered.
In response to questions from the Board, Mr Boorman stated that:
· Despite the postponement to the B2246 Hermitage Lane project, the scheme was still deliverable within the required timeframes.
· The B2246 Hermitage Lane scheme needed to demonstrate value for money to remain a part of the SELEP programme. If this was removed from the programme, then other funding streams could potentially be identified to deliver the work.
· Until the business cases were evaluated and a decision was made by SELEP, the £8.9m funding could potentially be lost. £8.9m of funding had, however, been reserved for the schemes.
· A mitigation scheme at Hall Road, which was estimated to cost £1.7m, had been identified.
· A benefit-cost ratio was the only approach that could be used for the SELEP business cases. The mechanisms underpinning the formula were to be shared with Members outside of the meeting.
Mr Tim Read, Head of Transportation (Kent County Council), stated that the approach to the business cases was designed to ensure that the right work was undertaken first time. This would avoid incremental changes being made to roads, and ultimately reduce the impact of the works on road users.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
Note: Councillors Wilson and Gooch left the meeting during consideration of this item.