WEST CORNWALL TRANSPORT INTERCHANGE
PROGRESS REPORT JANUARY 2014
The West Cornwall Transport Interchange (WCTI) project is being developed by Cornwall Council in partnership with Network Rail and First Great Western and will provide a transport interchange serving west Cornwall at St Erth station. It will initially include the improvement of the existing junction of station approach with the A30 trunk road using traffic signal control, the provision of a new access road to the station frontage and land to the east, the construction of new car parks to the north and south of the station providing over 500 spaces, a new service tunnel under the railway to carry drainage and communications cables under the railway, a new step free access across the main line railway. Enhancements to the facilities within the station are also proposed as is an overflow car park to the southwest of the station but these elements will not be included in the first tranche of work.
Costing £9.7m, the initial scheme was expected to be funded from a combination of Council capital (£2.65m), European Convergence (£4.1m), and Department for Transport (£2.95m) sources.
Funding has not been secured from the European Convergence programme but alternative funding sources are being investigated to allow the project to advance in several stages.
A30 Junction Works, Station North Car Park, Under Track Crossing, and Station South Car Park
Planning approval for these elements of the scheme was granted in April 2012, for commencement within 5 years. Thus works need to commence before April 2017 if this consent is to be utilised without seeking a renewal.
These works have been designed in detail and tenders for construction sought. Tenders documents were sent to all contractors on Cornwall Council’s Framework Contract for Capital Works and bids were returned in November 2013. These have been assessed and a preferred bid identified so that Cornwall Council is now in a position to award the construction contract as soon as funding is confirmed.
Orders have been placed with the Statutory Undertakers for the diversion of utilities such as telephone, water, sewage, electricity and gas services which are required to be undertaken during the works.
Most planning conditions have either been discharged, or submissions have been made to Cornwall Council seeking discharge and are awaiting approval of these.
Legal Agreements between Cornwall Council and Network Rail for land exchanges and highway dedications are being formulated and finalised. These will release any Council land necessary for the construction of the step free bridge crossing to Network Rail, and will also secure the dedication of an area of Network Rail land in the existing northern Car Park as Public Highway. The public highway access road and roundabout serving the station and the land to the east will sit on this dedicated land.
A further Agreement is being developed with Network Rail to enable the under track crossing funded by the Council to be constructed by Network Rail’s contractor and then handed over to Cornwall Council for use. This will comprise both a funding agreement and a licence for the structure to be used and maintained under railway land.A Legal Agreement with an adjacent landowner to secure the diversion of an existing right of way across the site, between the northern car park and the level crossing over the St Ives line to the east, is being developed.
An agreement under S6 of the Highways Act has been developed with the Highways Agency (HA) to secure the necessary rights to carry out the required improvement and signalisation works on the A30 trunk road. This is expected to be signed by the HA shortly.
A lease for the two car parks is being developed with First Great Western, who will manage and operate the parking facilities.
St Erth Station – New Step Free Crossing
A Planning Application and Listed Building Consent Application for a ramped bridge proposal for the western end of the station, put forward by Network Rail, were considered by the West Sub-Area Planning Committee on 18 November 2013. Permission was refused by the Committee. Primarily, refusal was based on the proposal to remove the existing sub-standard footbridge to make way for the new ramped structure. This aspect resulted in an objection being lodged by English Heritage, which wanted the existing structure retained as it forms an integral part of the station which is a listed building. Concerns were also raised over the impact of the lengthy ramped sections of the proposed structure which were felt to be over dominant in visual terms. Objections were also raised by the St Erth Parish Council.
Network Rail are now preparing an alternative bridge design, incorporating lifts rather than ramps, and will need to submit the revised proposals to Cornwall Council for Planning and Listed Building consents. The views of St.Erth Parish Council and English Heritage will be key elements in the Planning Committee’s consideration of any revised application. Network Rail officers have attended recent meetings with St.Erth Parish Council to consult and obtain their views, and will take these into consideration in preparing the scheme for submission later in the spring of 2014.
Funding for the delivery of the bridge, which is estimated to cost in the region of £3m, will come from the Department for Transport’s Access for All programme through Network Rail’s delivery programme.
A bid for ERDF funding from the current Convergence Programme was submitted to the Department for Communities and Local Government in 2013 and we have been advised that it will not be funded in the current Convergence programme.
Alternative funding mechanisms are being investigated to secure a phased delivery programme. Until funding has been confirmed a revised delivery programme cannot be establised.
Ticket Office waiting room, café, and toilets changes.
A proposed scheme developed by Network Rail, to alter the internal layout of the existing buildings and build a new toilet block on the St Ives platform to the east of the main buildings, has been granted planning and listed building consent. However, the cost of this element of the wider interchange scheme is not considered to be supportable by the current funding mechanisms through either Network Rail or Cornwall Council and further scheme development has therefore been deferred. However, as the franchised rail operator, First Great Western will be considering alternative proposals for the railside elements of the station under its Station Improvement Programme and, if approved, this would be taken forward as part of a separate project.
Overflow Car Park west of Treloweth Lane
This element was conditioned in the planning approval for the car park not to be constructed until further justification of need was demonstrated. At this stage, therefore, it is not being taken forward. Once the main car parks are in place and being used, usage can be monitored and the need, or otherwise, of the overflow car park can be reassessed.
Cornwall Council remains committed to delivering the West Cornwall Transport Interchange. A revised delivery timetable will be advised once possible alternative funding is confirmed.
Please find below contact information for the West Cornwall Transport Interchange project:
Engineering Design Group
Customer Information Centre
Tel: 0300 1234 222