Venue: AS A REMOTE MEETING
Open session for members of the public to ask a question, raise a concern or provide feedback.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from public representatives, Mark Denton and Ian Roper.
Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
Transport Committee members only.
Exempt Information - Possible exclusion of the press and public
There were no items which required the exemption of the press and public.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 21 October 2020 be approved.
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and advised that Kirklees District Council’s elected members had been invited to participate in the workshop session on the Connectivity Infrastructure Plan.
The Sub-Committee noted a report which provided an update on matters relating to the Kirklees district.
It was noted that the Transport Committee received updates on regional and national issues and the latest information was available on the Combined Authority’s website. A list of current project activity in the Kirklees district was attached at Appendix 1 to the submitted report.
In line with government guidance, bus service levels have been constantly adapted throughout the pandemic. Services are currently temporarily reduced. However, bus operators have started to reinstate service levels from 8 March. This has initially focused on bringing Monday-Friday timetables back to normal levels so that all school journeys can be made. Some weekend services will remain reduced. There will be a further ramp up of services from 12 April when non-essential retail opens which should bring service levels back to normal.
It was noted that the Government had recently announced £3 billion funding allocated to a bus strategy to help the longer-term recovery.
Concern was raised and noted regarding one of the project schemes included in Appendix 1 to the report, Bradley to Brighouse Off Highway Active Travel route linking Bradley to Brighouse, which is currently in development and due to be on site early 2022.
Resolved: That the report be noted.
The Sub-Committee were given a presentation on the Combined Authority’s Connectivity Infrastructure Plan which set out a long-term transport infrastructure programme for the next 20 years.
The plan comprised a series of documents which brought bus, active travel, rail, mass transit and future mobility into a single integrated plan for the region, with plans and proposals supported by a series of evidenced based reports.
Feedback was being sought on all aspects of the plan and elected members of Kirklees District Council had been invited to participate in the workshop as part of the public engagement process.
The following questions and comments were raised:
· Clarification with reference to the mass transit proposals for Cleckheaton, Birstall and Birkenshaw (Birkenshaw is situated on the Bradford Boundary but is in Kirklees).
· Connectivity proposals between key areas.
· Request for Local ward Councillors to be involved in discussions regarding the different areas of Kirklees and the impact on a particular area.
· New housing developments and the impact on schools.
· Schools to be local avoiding the necessity for travel.
· Ward Councillors have local knowledge of local plans.
· What will the impact be post Covid on the number of road users?
· The Plan does not do enough to address connectivity between Dewsbury and Wakefield.
· Define what is considered a short journey when encouraging more people to cycle to work. A short journey is considered to be 400 metres to walk to a bus stop and five miles cycle to work.
· Accessibility for cyclists to take their bicycle on their chosen mode of transport and it was felt that we could learn from Europe.
· Kirklees Hospitals not included on the map.
· Bus travel to be made more attractive to car users.
· Connectivity from Cleckheaton as the only mode of public transport is by bus and the length of the journey time into Leeds.
· Improvement required to road surfaces.
· Has the Spen Valley route been identified?
· Park and Ride proposal for Junction 26, where would this be sited.
· Protection of Greenway routes, they are used for both cycling and walking and causes conflict.
· Transpennine route upgrade does not include upgrade to car parks, Mirfield a major intersection was given as an example.
· Definition of Mobility Hub - Marsden was given as an example as is a Peak District National Park Key Hub and an important hub for recreation and leisure. Presently there is no accessibility, even for passengers with slightly reduced mobility.at Marsden Station along with many other stations in West Yorkshire.
· The role of the car, as in rural areas this could be the only viable mode of transport so there is a need for a good quality alternative.
It was noted that all the information was on the website and the Sub-Committee and Kirklees Councillors were thanked for their valuable feedback.
Resolved: That the presentation and feedback be noted.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the rail and bus operators who provided the Sub-Committee with updates.
TransPennine provided an update and said they were currently operating a reduced timetable with a number of services removed due to the low number of passengers travelling and are launching a re-assurance campaign to encourage customers to return to travel. There will be an uplift in services in December 2021 and they confirmed they are in a good place.
There have been problems with trespass involving young people and are currently working with British Transport Police following this behaviour.
In respect of improvements to Dewsbury Station which will include male, female and accessible toilets and a changing area, the work will commence in May 2021 and end in August.2021. West Yorkshire Combined Authority was thanked by TransPennine along with three named individuals from Kirklees Council for their involvement.
Northern advised that patronage remained very low compared to pre-covid figures although the return to school had increased figures. The Combined Authority were thanked for their recent help in providing bus services to assist in the increased patronage due to young people returning to education.
A new timetable would be introduced on 16 May 2021 when it was expected there would be a significant upturn in patronage particularly due to the return to leisure activities.
Arriva provided an update on the current bus network in the Kirklees district which included the reinstatement of Monday to Friday services. As previously reported the services were working on reduced capacity but additional vehicles were being provided for busy services e.g. School journeys. From 12 April 2021, Saturday services would be reinstated to pre-pandemic levels and Arriva were looking forward.to welcoming passengers back.
Resolved: That the operators be thanked for their updates.