19.1 The Director of Communities, Economy and Transport introduced the report. Transport for the South East (TfSE) is a Sub National Transport Body (SNTB) which has been formed by 16 local authority bodies in the south east. The aim of TfSE is to facilitate economic growth by developing and putting in place strategic transport policies for the whole geographic area. The 16 bodies have formed a shadow body and have co-opted representatives from the five Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP’s) that cover the region onto the TfSE Board. The strength of having a SNTB is that the Secretary of State for Transport has to have regard to the strategic transport priorities established by TfSE.
19.2 ESCC is the accountable body for the shadow body, and is the hosting body for accounting, staff, and receiving Department for Transport (DfT) monies. There is a monetary contribution (levy) from each authority which is being used to fund a small interim staff team to take forward the submission to Government and develop the Transport Strategy. All staff costs are funded by the levy and there is an Inter Authority Agreement (IAA) to protect against redundancy or wind up costs should the Government not agree to formally establish TfSE.
19.3 So far TfSE has obtained £1m from the DfT to develop the Transport Strategy, which was helped by the partners’ willingness to contribute to development of the SNTB via the levy. TfSE has also responded to consultations (e.g. the second Road Investment Strategy RIS2; the Network Rail consultations on the East Grinstead pinch point; Hasting and Bexhill rail link development; and improvements to the A21and A27). It has also highlighted the impact of the Southampton and Dover ports on East Sussex economy.
19.4 The Committee discussed the report and raised a number of points which are summarised below.
19.5 The Committee asked from an East Sussex Resident’s point of view, what more is going happen than if ESCC did not take part in TfSE. The Director of Communities, Economy and Transport explained that once TfSE has official status, the Secretary of State for Transport has to have regard to the strategic transport priorities established by TfSE and cannot ignore them. This provides a strong cohesive view on where transport investment priorities lie for the area. The main benefit is that it allows ESCC to have an influence on the national transport infrastructure that benefits East Sussex, but is not in East Sussex. It fills the current gap in spatial planning between local and national planning policies. There is also the benefit of influencing where DfT money is invested in the future.
19.6 Some of the Committee Members felt that the £58,000 contribution appeared to be unfair on the smaller councils, and asked whether an allocation based on population or geographic area would be a fairer way of apportioning contributions. The Director of Communities, Economy and Transport responded that the view the TfSE Board took was that each county or unitary authority would have one vote and ... view the full minutes text for item 19
Report by the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport
18.1 The Cabinet considered a report by the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport
18.2 It was RESOLVED to –
(1) note the significant progress that has been made with the establishment of Transport for the South East as a Shadow Sub National Transport Body;
(2) note the recent award of a £1.1million of grant monies from the Department for Transport to fund the development of a Transport Strategy: and
(3) note that investment of £58,000 in 2018-19 has been made by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) as its contribution towards the staff costs and the development of the constitutional arrangements to secure statutory status for TfSE
18.3 Significant progress has been made with the establishment of Transport for the South East (TfSE) as a shadow Sub National Transport Body with ESCC being its accountable body and officers and members from ESCC leading its development. There have been a number of significant achievements in the last year and TfSE is already fulfilling its role of speaking with one voice about strategic transport issues across its geography. TfSE has gained traction with Government and this has resulted in the award of £1.1miliion of grant funding to take forward the development Transport Strategy. There is much work still to do to on this and the proposal to Government to achieve statutory status. As a consequence, it will be necessary to continue to levy contributions from each of the constituent authorities with ESCC making a contribution of £58,000 in 2018/19.