Report of the Director of the Built Environment.
Members considered a Gateway 4 report of the Director of the Built Environment regarding the Bank Junction Improvements Project: All Change at Bank and the following points were made.
· The Chairman noted that the report’s recommendations had been approved by the Streets and Walkways Sub (Planning and Transportation) Committee.
· The Director of the Built Environment noted that the report outlined changes to the project that were necessary due to the impact of temporary public realm interventions that were in response to COVID, which had increased project risk ahead of Gateway 5. The impact of these changes would become clearer in the coming months. Overall officers believed that the recommended option provided a robust design that did not undermine the work done on the project to date.
· The Chairman noted the project had a clear interdependency with TfL as their strategic routes through Bank Junction had to be taken into account in project planning. He noted that Members would see this project again at Gateway 5, and in his view the request for costed risk provision was sensible.
· In response to a number of queries raised by a Member, the Director of the Built Environment noted that no further funding was scheduled to be received from TfL, and that officers had secured £4m of funding from the City’s capital bid process. Secondly, Princes Street could not be closed to buses without impacting journey times. Therefore it was proposed to narrow Princes Street to a single lane in both directions at one section, controlled by traffic lights. This would allow the route to be used by buses whilst creating more space of public access at Bank Station. Lastly, the Director of the Built Environment was unaware of a letter to the Town Clerk and Lord Mayor from external parties expressing dissatisfaction with the scheme and therefore was unable to comment.
· The Chamberlain confirmed that the City has provided £4m for the project as part of the capital bid process rather than the full £18m that had been requested. A request for draw down on the £4m would be considered at the Resource Allocation Sub (Policy and Resources) Committee on 22 October 2020.
· In response to a question from a Member, the Director of the Built Environment noted that officers were seeking to complete the project in alignment with the London Underground Lines upgrade of Bank Station that was due for completion by the end of 2022. Temporary COVID interventions into the street scene were being monitored with a view to determining which were likely to be made permanent and which would be removed. Some of the interventions would affect the project’s underlying traffic modelling and so this risk would need to be factored into the project.
· In response to a question the Director of the Built Environment confirmed that both Grocers’ Hall and the NED would have access for deliveries. The Director of the Built Environment acknowledged that officers had not undertaken as much public consultation as they would have liked, due to COVID. A wider stakeholder engagement plan was being prepared between now and early 2021. Major premises such as Grocers’ Hall and the NED would have the same access as they did at present.
· The Chairman concluded discussion by requesting that the Gateway 5 report include a section on risk arising from the impact of temporary COVID interventions into the street scene, and a section of what non-statutory engagement had been and would be undertaken.
RESOLVED, that Members,
· Agree that the project continues at the outlined pace to submit a Gateway 5 in September/October 2021 as per paragraphs 5-6 of the report.
· Approve that Design Option 1 is taken forward to detailed design (the closure of Threadneedle Street and further restriction of Queen Victoria Street and Princes Street).
· Agree that further investigation into permitting general traffic on the ‘open arms’ during the current restricted hours is not carried forward for further investigation.
· Approve a budget of £541,935 to reach the next gateway, giving a cumulative budget of £1,923,410 after allowing for the underspend to date of £201,983.
· Approve that funding for this budget be partially met from unspent S106 deposits arising from the underspend to date, with the balance of £339,953 to be drawn down from the central funding agreed in principle via the 2020/21 annual capital bid process, subject to the approval of the Resource Allocation Sub Committee.
· Note the total estimated cost of the project at £5-5.6 million (excluding risk)
· Approve a Costed Risk Provision of £95,000(to be drawn down via delegation to Chief Officer) subject to the Resource Allocation Sub Committee approval to draw this down from the capital funds if necessary.
· Agree that Gateway 4c Detailed Design is approved via Streets and Walkways Sub Committee and the Projects Sub Committee.