Report of the Group Director of Services
The Group Director of Services submitted a report (previously circulated) providing Members with an annual update on highways and transport from a regional and local perspective, outlining delivery, performance and public satisfaction in 2021/22 and outlining the 2022/23 programme, including details of funding; and providing an update on the Tees Valley Strategic Transport Plan and the Darlington Transport Plan.
The submitted report stated that changes in travel behaviour had been a visible sign of restrictions; that omicron covid- 19 had a significant impact on the delivery of bus and rail services; and that challenges continue, with recognition that work was required to increase bus and rail services and to encourage passengers to use these services.
It was reported that there had been good progress on the delivery of the transport capital programme; the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) continued to deliver elements of the strategic transport plan; the Department for Transport (DfT) was focused on progressing the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP) and the Bus Service Improvement Plans (BSIP); and Darlington had commenced the delivery of a priority scheme in the LCWIP with the creation of phase one of a cycling route on Woodland Road.
Details were provided of the capital and revenue investments in transport in Darlington 2021/22; reference was made to the transport initiatives developed by the Council in partnership with the TVCA; and details were provided of the key headlines for the performance data and public satisfaction for 2021/22.
It was reported that all of the transport funding from the DfT was now awarded to TVCA; this funding was included in the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement (CRSTS) which was expected to be announced in February 2022 and would include the funding to deliver Darlington’s transport plan; and a summary of the anticipated transport capital funding for 2022/23 was outlined. Members also noted additional funding from the BSIP and CRSTS would be available for schemes and initiatives in Darlington.
Members were informed that the Tees Valley BSIP had been published and work was ongoing to implement an Enhanced Partnership (EP), a statutory agreement between the TVCA, the five Tees Valley local authorities and the Tees Valley bus operators; the BSIP and EP had been structured around a five-point delivery plan; and delivery of this plan was dependent on government funding.
Members were informed that Darlington’s Transport Strategy, Darlington Town Centre Transport Plan and a revised Parking Strategy had been drafted and would be brought to this Committee for consideration; and Darlington’s Travel Plan Policy which formed part of the Supplementary Planning Document, used to set the policy basis for consideration of planning applications, had been revised.
Discussion ensued regarding the number of potholes repaired; cycling training provision; and following a question by a Member in attendance, the Assistant Director, Highways and Capital Projects confirmed that Officers would work with the Climate Change Cross Party Working group regarding the inclusion of climate change targets in the Local Transport Plan.
Members raised concern regarding the real-time information provided for customers at bus stops which was deemed unsatisfactory. Members were informed that the system was reaching the end of its life, was due to be updated and that real-time information was available on the Arriva app.
RESOLVED – a) That the progress in delivering the Transport Programme in 2021/22 be noted.
(b) That the changes to the funding process and how the funding is proposed to be used in 2022/23, be noted.
(c) That the Travel Plan Guidance and how this can secure better quality development in Darlington, be noted.
(d) That Members note the proposal for Darlington Borough Council to become party to the ‘shell’ bus Enhanced Partnership agreement, noting that there are no direct
obligations at this stage.