The report seeks to update the Arun Transport Apportionment Methodology prepared jointly with West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and obtain the Committee’s agreement that it be endorsed and be uploaded to the council’s evidence base website. This will help to ensure that the development of Arun provided for in the Adopted Arun Local Plan 2018 is sustainable and supported by necessary transport contributions that mitigate the impact of development.
The Chair, with the Committee’s consent, changed the order of the agenda to hear Agenda Item 7 [Arun Transport Apportionment Methodology Update] ahead of Agenda Item 6 [Local Plan Evidence Update - Biodiversity Net Gain Study] due to the presence of an external guest. The Chair then welcomed again Darryl Hemmings, Transport Planning and Policy Manager at West Sussex County Council, to the meeting. Upon the invitation of the Chair, the Planning Policy Team Leader presented the report which sought the Committee’s endorsement of the update to the Arun Transport Apportionment Methodology prepared jointly with West Sussex County Council, which would help to ensure that the development of Arun provided for in the adopted Arun Local Plan 2018 was sustainable and supported by necessary transport contributions that mitigated the impact of development. An increase in the scheme’s costs, driven by inflationary pressures particularly in the construction industry, was highlighted, as was a correction in paragraph 4.16 of the report [on page 30 of the Agenda Pack] with confirmation that, contrary to what it said in the report, a contribution from the Fontwell Strategic Development would go to the A29 Realignment project.
Members then took part in a full debate on the item where a number of points were raised, including:
· the dramatic decrease in the A259-Comet Corner Junction and increase in the A259-Oystercatcher Junction cost estimates and whether what was being proposed had significantly changed and would have any impact to the safety schemes at both junctions
· the impact of real and projected increases to interest rates on ensuring the appropriate levels of funding were received from developers and what flexibility there was to ensure contributions were proportionate to the final cost of a scheme
· questions about the relationship between schemes and lead developments, their lack of proximity to each other (for example, the Comet Corner junction and the West of Bersted development), and that for many schemes the lead development being Littlehampton Westbank over which there were question marks and whether it should therefore be removed completely from the list to avoid causing delays to road improvements
· the difficult position of wanting infrastructure improvements but them being dependent on planning applications that were viable to developers in terms of Section 106 contributions
· concern for the possibility that developers might try to increase housing numbers in order to fund the higher contributions and then being in the vicious cycle of more cars and even greater demand on infrastructure, thus challenging the notion of building our way out of congestion problems
· whether developers would be able to meet this extra cost which in some situations was significantly greater than previously estimated
· the policy context (low carbon transport, public transport) and infrastructure being and needing to be a lot more than roads
· the use of CIL funds for road improvements
· the need to ensure local infrastructure improvements were also made to mitigate for the impacts of the strategic sites in addition to those schemes identified in the traffic modelling and concern with the substantial increases in cost estimates on schemes closer to West of Bersted (Bognor Road Roundabout, Rowan Way junction)
· the need for other roads and junctions to be identified as needing improvements to mitigate the impacts of strategic site development, with the B2166 given as an example
The Transport Planning and Policy Manager from West Sussex County Council, with support from Arun’s Planning Policy Team Leader and Group Head of Planning, provided Members with responses to the points raised, including:
· that the Arun Local Plan did include relatively minor safety schemes at both the Oystercatcher and Comet Corner junctions to mitigate the safety impacts of the Local Plan and were the fallback position that could still be implemented from developer contributions if a major scheme did not come forward with the necessary scale of investment but that the plan was for significant change at the junctions if the funding (including central Government grant funding) could be identified
· that the decreases showed a decrease in the developer contribution rather than a decrease in the cost of the projects after bringing policy in line with the Department for Transport’s expectations around local contributions which was now set at 15% of the total cost of the scheme rather than an arbitrary figure as previously, and that as schemes evolved the apportionment estimates might also need to be updated to reflect changes in cost
· confirmation that all Section 106 contributions were index linked
· that this was a rebasing exercise to keep estimates up to date and provide a starting point for negotiations of major schemes yet to come online
· that lead developments were those strategic sites identified as having the largest traffic impact on a scheme based on traffic models in which scale might deem a development as having more impact on a junction than proximity (for example, thousands of homes at West of Bersted and accumulative impact to the Comet Corner junction)
· that West Sussex County Council and Arun District Council would continue to seek to deliver the Local Plan and the infrastructure needs identified in it, and that if developments did not come forward then infrastructure schemes might need to be revisited and reconsidered
· affordability and workability would need to be assessed on a case by case basis to ensure the additional costs to developers were viable
· this apportionment exercise also helped identify where the funding gaps were and whether applications for Government funding or other sources of funding might be necessary
· the improvements to the Bognor Road Roundabout were needed to mitigate the development identified in both Arun and Chichester District’s Local Plans, and the funding would come from development in both Districts and as such the scheme was substantially different to the one previously estimated for
· contributions from developments would be proportionate to their impact on a junction as identified in the traffic modelling
· the list of infrastructure identified in the report not being the full list of infrastructure that was trying to be delivered and rather the strategic infrastructure that multiple sites across the District would need to contribute to, and that there would be other schemes (perhaps more site specific and smaller scale negotiated as part of the planning process) identified to mitigate the impacts of sites in the Local Plan
After the Legal Services Manager confirmed that strategic development sites allocated within the Local Plan were required to pay Section 106 contributions rather than CIL, the recommendations were proposed by Councillor Edwards and seconded by Councillor Hughes.
RESOLVED – That
1. The Arun Transport Apportionment Study Report (ATS) be updated taking into account the revised cost of transport mitigation schemes, deducting secured s.106 contributions and apportioning the residual costs according to the ATS methodology;
2. The updated ATS 2022 be published on the Council’s website.