(1) This item had been placed on the agenda for discussion by the Chairman and Spokesmen. Circulated with the agenda was detailed information on the project including the responses from the Environment & Transport directorate to questions raised in relation to the decision to endorse the Lorry Park Network (Phase 1) project.
(2) Mr Crick introduced the item by outlining that the project had arisen as a result of the identified need for Lorry parking provision which was detailed in the Growth Without Gridlock KCC Strategy. The method of delivery had changed over time in line with reduced resources and updated demand models but the main issues it sought to address remained the same; reduce disruption from Operation Stack and to alleviate the anti-social behaviour linked with HGVs parking inappropriately in residential and industrial areas. He continued by explaining that the M20 had been identified as the priority due to evidence of the traffic flow of HGVs being primarily along the M20 / A20 corridor. Furthermore, Mr Crick stated that a detailed Commercial Assessment had been undertaken to evaluate whether a KCC developed Lorry Park Network would be a viable business decision, providing a return on investment and remaining affordable.
(3) On being asked to clarify the financial position of the project, Mr Tilson explained that KCC’s Treasury Policy was to ensure best value was obtained and that all financing options should be considered and that only the most appropriate and the most beneficial to the authority should be pursued. He stated that the £12.7million loan (Public Works Loan fund) that had been secured for the delivery of this project had been declared – and approved by Full Council - in the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) in February 2014 to ensure all protocols had been followed and that this was a viable option to fund the project. It is/was not however a definitive stance on how the project would be funded. This loan has not been drawn down, nor a formal loan agreement entered in to, but was presented as a viable option due to the favourable interest rate and high anticipated return on investment. Its presence in the MTFP gave the authority to use the secured finance if required but a future decision would be made on how the scheme was to be funded This is completely separate to the authority’s current stance on Treasury, whereby due to the level of cash reserves currently held that, at this moment in time, KCC would look to borrow/lend internally and not utilise external funding. That stance is reviewed weekly and therefore the two issues are not mutually exclusive. One is having the relevant authorities in place to fund a specific scheme, the other is the current stance that KCC may not choose this route as it has funds internally that could be used, albeit they still need to be paid back so it is not free funds.
(4) Ms Carruthers summarised the process used for the assessment of potential sites. She ... view the full minutes text for item 61
To receive the report from the Cabinet Member for Environment & Transport and the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport and to consider and endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member.
(1) The Cabinet Committee received a report of the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport and the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport which contained information on the Lorry Park Network (Phase 1) for the consideration of the Committee.
(2) The Chairman announced that a letter had been received from the Leader of Shepway District Council and she had also had a written submission from the local KCC Member, Miss Carey. Both documents are attached to these Minutes.
(3) Ann Carruthers, Transport Delivery Strategy Manager, and Fayyaz Qadir, Principal Transport Planner - Delivery, were in attendance to introduce the report and in particular referred to the following:
(4) Due to its position as the gateway between the UK and Europe, Kent suffers from issues caused by inappropriate overnight lorry parking as well as the effects of Operation Stack when it is called. In order to address these issues over the past 12-18 months preliminary investigation work had been undertaken. This included a three stage process of:
(i) Site identification and assessment
(ii) Assessment of demand for additional lorry parking; and
(iii) Commercial viability assessment
(5) The first step in the initial lorry park site identification had been to review all previous work considering potential sites for lorry parks including Operation Stack lorry parking facilities in the county. This led to a long list of 54 possible sites.
(6) Discussions took place with relevant local planning authorities (Ashford, Dover, Shepway, Swale, Tonbridge and Malling, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway), Kent Police, the Highways Agency and a number of KCC internal consultees which had resulted in 31 sites going forward for further assessment.
(7) The 31 sites did not include the Aldington site that had previously been considered for a large scale Operation Stack lorry park because of high land costs and need for the construction of slip roads to the M20.
(8) Further assessment was made against the criteria below which reduced the number of potential sites to eight:
· Transport (access to site, strategic network junction capacity);
· Site characteristics (topography, capacity);
· Environmental considerations (designations, AONB, heritage, drainage); and
· Planning considerations (current land use, local plan allocations, proximity to residential)
(9) Five of the sites identified were on the M20/A20 corridor and three on the M2/A2 corridor reflecting the higher percentage of HGV (80%) that use the M20/A20 corridor and for a number of these sites their capacity could be increased if necessary.
(10) With regard to the demand assessment it was established that five to six nights a week current lorry park operators were turning lorries away. Work was also carried out to assess the level of demand for truck parking in future. HGV volumes were obtained from the Highways Agency and growth factors were applied from the Department for Transport (DfT), Eurotunnel and Port of Dover in order to forecast volumes to 2060. The latter two were used to account for growth in international traffic which was used as the basis for assessing demand for overnight parking. Along with data on ... view the full minutes text for item 32