That the release of appropriate S016 funding totalling £263,000 to support an annual programme of sustainable transport initiatives within the Strategic Development Locations be approved.
The Executive considered a report relating to Travel Planning for Major Development Sites (SDLs) which will provide effective planning on these sites enabling residents to make informed, safe and sustainable travel decisions from a range of transport options and help to manage the impact of congestion.
The Executive Member for Planning and Highways explained that as part of any planning application developers were required to detail how they would promote sustainable travel to new residents. Generally these travel plans were limited by time, content and the area of influence and the developer had little interest in the success of the plan therefore they were often considered amongst other things to be ineffective and expensive and do little to promote sustainable travel. The Council was proposing an alternative approach whereby a charge of £450 would be taken for every new SDL house build and this would be used to undertake the management of residential travel plans on behalf of the developers and provide travel planning initiatives.
Councillor Kaiser further advised that this initiative would also provide revenue of £5.6m for the period of the Core Strategy up to 2026.
Councillor Haitham Taylor welcomed this proposal and asked if during the planned workshops an understanding of the profile of the new residents could be ascertained including where they worked and why they were moving to the Borough in order that this information could inform the new travel plans. In addition Councillor Jorgensen asked that information on where people were starting their journey from and where they would be going to within the Borough or outside the Borough be collected to ensure that the wider affects, and not just those of the particular development, were considered. Councillor Kaiser confirmed that this was the intention.
Following a query by the Leader on the recommendation and whether it meant that periodically additional reports would come forward requesting the release of S106 funds Councillor Kaiser clarified that the Council had already been collecting a charge on new homes in the SDLs and the purpose of the request was to use these funds. He asked that consideration be given to allowing future charges on new homes to be used without the need to come back to the Executive. The Executive Member for Economic Development and Finance believed that in future years spending of this money would be part of the Medium Term Financial Plan but for this year the Executive would need to agree any further release of funds for the project. To clarify the process that would be adopted for further release of funds the Leader of Council asked that the Executive Member and the lead Officers consider a workable proposal and provide the Executive with a report on how the Council would approve the release and utilisation of these funds.
Members asked if there was any intention to get contributions from Bracknell Forest to mitigate the effects of developments on the boundary of the two Boroughs? Councillor Kaiser agreed to include discussions on this matter in the regular meetings that were held with Bracknell Forest.
RESOLVED: That the release of appropriate S106 funding totalling £263,000 to support an annual programme of sustainable transport initiatives within the Strategic Development Locations be approved.