Agenda item

Paul Fishwick asked the Executive Member for Highways and Transport the following question:




Re Agenda Item 110: Firstly, my appreciation to the Officer for forwarding the business case on request. I am slightly surprised it isn't attached to the report, as it surely ought to be in front of decision-makers as the basis on which they are making their decision.


On reading the business case it indicates that that there are potential forecast benefits in decongestion of traffic along the A4 corridor (within the Reading Borough Council area).


However, I cannot find anywhere the potential increase in traffic along the Wokingham Borough Council section of the A4 due to residents finding the new Park and Ride more attractive, some who currently travel by rail from Twyford and Maidenhead stations, (as per DfT TAG unit M5-1 modelling parking and park and ride). Nor the additional journeys made by drivers by-passing the Winnersh Park and Ride and using the Thames Valley Park and Ride.


These switching of modes and additional journeys would add to more traffic, increase air pollution, noise, accidents etc and wipe out many of the forecast benefits that this Business case shows.


Has this assessment been made and if so, what was it?



I think the issue here is that the decision to actually build the Park and Ride, which was the one that the business case was related to, was made about three years ago.  So the reason the business case was not in the paperwork tonight is that the Executive paper is actually seeking to tender the bus service to service the park and ride because of some changes in circumstance.  Originally we were hoping to use the Thames Valley Park bus but that has not been possible so the reason the business case is not in there is because that decision has already been made; the horse has already bolted in that it was made quite some time ago.


The business case itself was reviewed both by the Local Enterprise Partnership and the Berkshire Local Transport Body and they were satisfied that the business case was adequate at the time as well.


Supplementary Question

It does not actually answer my question because my question was:  “where does that show it within the business case” because I cannot find it at all.  To me that is still background papers. 


However my supplementary is about the actual bus service itself because the business case on this project already has several major risks and one of these was the use of the current Thames Valley Park shuttle bus identified as ID 1.5 in the risk assessment with a risk assessment of very high and a cost impact of £250k-£500k. 


The Borough Council have dismissed the Thames Valley Park management request for an additional sum of money over and above the 50% previously agreed and I do not know what that is as I cannot find that in the business case either.  Now that the bus service is proposed in the report tonight to be put out to tender the Borough Council must have an estimated cost of running this service.  What is it compared to, the 50% contribution previously offered by Thames Valley Park, and how will that be funded?


Supplementary Answer

It would be very unwise of me to share in a public meeting any estimates we might have over the cost of something that we were about to tender so I certainly would not do that otherwise you can more or less guarantee what the answer to the tender will be. 


As I said before the reason the business case was not in this paperwork is that the decision was made long before my time, and indeed before your time, to actually build this park and ride and that was what the business case related to.  The business case does not relate to the tendering of the bus service.  I am hoping with the tender that we will actually get a good price from either alternative suppliers or indeed the Thames Valley Park buses.