Proposed decision –
The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport is asked to give approval to progress the Thames Way scheme through the stages of development and delivery as indicated below and specifically for:
I. Approval to delegate the scope change decision, required to allow the scheme to proceed through to detailed design and for the Ebbsfleet Central Application to be determined, to the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport under the Officer Scheme of Delegations following prior consultation with the Cabinet Member.
II. Approval to delegate the decisions to enter into the appropriate land, development and funding agreements, and all other acts, consents and any subsidiary contracts required to allow the scheme to be progressed to the appropriate Corporate Director.
III. Approval to carry out any public engagement or consultation required for the Thames Way scheme;
IV. Approval for any further decisions required to allow the scheme to proceed through to detailed design to be taken by the Corporate Director of Growth, Environment & Transport under the Officer Scheme of Delegations following prior consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport.
The Kent Thameside Strategic Transport Infrastructure Programme (STIP) is a package of transport improvements with the broad aim of delivering improvements at key locations across the transport network that would enable the planned level of development to be realised supporting the growth agenda for Dartford, Gravesham and Ebbsfleet. Two previous decisions were taken on the matter (Decision 07/01108) and (Decision 12/01953). Considering the substantial time since the previous decisions and scale of development which has taken place during this time, it is proposed to seek a further Key Decision relating specifically to the Thames Way Scheme, a project within the STIP.
The Thames Way Scheme (formerly known as Thames Way Dualling) is a proposed junction upgrade and dualling scheme within the Ebbsfleet area (Dartford and Gravesham border). The scheme, as currently approved within the STIP programme, would upgrade 1600m of single carriageway to dual carriageway from Stonebridge Road to Springhead Road with improvements to four key junctions on this route. The Thames Way area is due to be developed by EDC, these plans include upgrading three of the four junctions within the scheme area but will not dual the Thames Way.
KCC have commissioned further modelling work to determine whether the updated trip data supports the dualling of Thames Way. It is expected that the dualling will not be required and the benefit from the junction upgrades alone, will be sufficient to realise the required additional network capacity. Full results of this commission will be included within the Decision Report.
Options to progress the scheme are discussed:
Option 1 (progress with the Thames Way scheme as previously proposed i.e. dualling and junction upgrades) - least preferred option. The dualling and junction improvements along Thames Way will increase the capacity of Thames Way. The dualling will likely have up to a moderate adverse effect on local species and adverse effects on landcover due to the destruction of local vegetation. Plans for the development of Ebbsfleet Central will not be able to progress in their current form, delaying housing build out for Dartford and Gravesham. The cost for this scheme, without considering current inflation rates, is predicted at £14.4m. This exceeds the available funding.
Option 2 (Halt the scheme) – Given the level of development in the area, by 2036, it is expected that the Thames Way Springhead Road junction will be unable to function effectively during both the AM and PM peak. Presuming Ebbsfleet Central receives planning permission, three of the four junctions within the original scheme will be upgraded by this development improving the capacity across the western end of Thames Way.
Option 3 preferred option (Descope the scheme to upgrade the Thames Way Springhead Road junction only) – The junction improvement will improve capacity at the Thames Way Springhead Road junction. Thames Way will remain single carriageway across the route. Presuming Ebbsfleet Central receives planning permission, the remaining junctions will be upgraded by this development improving the capacity across the western end of Thames Way. The descoped scheme will likely result in a reduced impact on the local species and landscape. There is also a reduced need for land acquisition.
How the proposed decision supports Framing Kent’s Future 2022-2026
Delivery of the Thames Way junction improvements supports the first three priorities of Kent’s Future 2022-2026 as follows:
Levelling Up Kent - The scheme will improve travel conditions, reducing journey time delays and queues and provide necessary connectivity to local housing developments in the Ebbsfleet area. In so doing, the Thames Way junction improvements will increase opportunities to access more skilled and better paid employment opportunities, and reduce unproductive time spent in traffic congestion. The scheme output of reduced congestion will make public transport trips more reliable.
Infrastructure for Communities – The descoping of the scheme will provide the necessary junctions improvements to support road loads as developments continue.
Environmental Step Change - Improvements to Thames Way junction aims to reduce congestion for traffic, thereby reducing NO2 emissions. The descoping of the scheme will have a less adverse impact on local environment and species.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Division affected: Northfleet & Gravesend West; Swanscombe and Greenhithe;
Notice of proposed decision first published: 13/12/2022
Decision due: Not before 11th Jan 2023 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Lead director: Haroona Chughtai
Contact: Abigail Roscoe, Assistant Project Manager Telephone no: 03000 414093.
Financial implications: The available budget for the project is £5.5m. This will be fully funded through Developer Contributions into the STIP funding pot. The STIP funding banked for the Thames Way scheme currently totals £3.385m, the remaining £2.115m is secured through S106 agreement with the following development sites: - £2.1m Northfleet Cement Works 16/0004 (Expected trigger date: 2026) - £150k Northfleet Embankment East (Expected trigger date: 2023) This budget, for the preferred scheme, is considered healthy with a significant contingency and risk provision, but will be kept under review. There is no expectation that KCC will be required to forward fund this scheme. An additional paper will be presented to ETCC at detailed design stage to determine whether the scheme can progress to delivery. Should the Cabinet Member choose not to approve the scope change as outlined above, the scheme estimate (£14.4m) will exceed the scheme budget and secured funding. As such, the scheme will be unable to
Legal implications: There are no legal implications associated with this scheme. The Section 106 Agreements associated with the scheme are signed, with most of the funding already banked.
Equalities implications: An updated EQIA Assessment will be included with the Committee report.