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Seven-year Local Transport Funding commitment

3rd March 2024 @ 6:06am – by Cheshire West and Chester Council
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From Cheshire West and Chester Council ....

Seven-year Local Transport Funding commitment announced.

Cheshire West and Chester Council has received a commitment of £168,399,000 funding from the Department for Transport. The funding over seven years, starting in April 2025 is part of the £4.7 billion Local Transport Fund funding across the North and Midlands.

Welcoming the announcement, Councillor Karen Shore Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Transport said:

"This is a commitment, rather than an actual allocation. The Department for Transport have advised that detailed guidance will be issued before the end of this month.

"We don't know how the £168m will be distributed across the seven financial years or the scheme criteria at this stage, but early discussions suggest that this truly transformational funding will not be available until towards the back end of those seven years.

"The Council already has a strong policy framework, which has been subject to full engagement and consultation processes and sets out our priorities for investment. This includes the emerging Local Transport Plan and our new Borough Plan plus a series of detailed plans such as the Bus Service Improvement Plan and Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan."

The Local Transport Fund is from High Speed 2 (HS2) savings totalling £36 billion. The scope of the fund is broad, and can be used for improvements such as:

  • 'First and Last Mile' Connectivity Plan corridor investment – including things such as new bus priority routes, enhanced active travel provision, and associated public realm improvements.
  • Active Travel investment – to deliver corridor improvements in line with the council's Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), with projects which enhance walking and cycling across the borough.
  • Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) – to deliver the vision set out in the BSIP which looks to improve bus services, reduce fares and where greater priority is to be given to bus services to speed them up to help to further increase passenger numbers.
  • Further investment into network management in the borough to keep the traffic moving, including new traffic signal technology, and junction upgrades at key pinch points, addressing traffic congestion issues and with a focus on active travel and bus priority.
  • Rail stations -- the funding can deliver new rail stations which are to be located on the existing rail network.

Delivery plans, to cover the first two years of the settlement period (to be submitted to the DfT by Autumn 2024) will need to demonstrate alignment to three core priorities:

  • Drive better connectivity within our towns, suburbs and cities
  • Drive better connectivity between our towns and cities
  • Improve everyday local journeys for people

The reallocated HS2 spending is also benefiting bus travellers as the national £2 bus fare cap has been extended through this year and £150 million bus investment has been allocated across the North and Midlands.

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