Ambitious proposals for the future of the BCP Council transport network have been submitted to Government.
Following the announcement earlier this year that Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (part of the South East Dorset City Region) are amongst 12 local authority areas to be shortlisted, BCP Council in partnership with Dorset Council and local transport providers has now submitted the content of a draft Transforming Cities Fund (TCF) bid to the Department for Transport (DfT).
The bid, for up to £117m of capital investment from Government (the remaining £28m made up from local contributions*), focuses on linking residential areas to employment and education sites which could most benefit from significant improvements to encourage walking, cycling and increased use of public transport. The aim is to reduce the number of local journeys made by car thereby reducing congestion and bringing about a wide range of benefits associated with sustainable travel, such as improved health and wellbeing.
The main areas the draft bid focuses on are:
- Improving and creating new walking and cycling routes
- developing sustainable workplaces
- enhancing the bike share scheme offer
- bus and rail improvements
- improved network management, and
- a dedicated Travel App incorporating all modes of transport
Councillor Andy Hadley, Cabinet Member responsible for Transport, BCP Council, said: “A successful Transforming Cities Fund bid will be critical to improving travel in the BCP Council area, to create better access to major employment sites, reduce chronic congestion, better integrate different modes of travel and make the transport network fit for the 21st century.
“These are ambitious proposals that could make a real difference to people’s lives across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole. By improving access options between work, homes and schools we will contribute towards improving sustainability and tackling climate change and air pollution.
“Our aim is to give people the means to make healthy and sustainable choices about how they travel to work, and this funding is a significant opportunity to invest in the areas that need it most, tackling inequality and ensuring a better quality of life for all.
“It’s so important that we are ambitious with this Transforming Cities Fund bid, we are competing against other big urban areas for this money, and we’ve been working closely with partners across South East Dorset to ensure that our bid has the real potential to drive transformational change for our communities.
“We now look forward to working with the Department for Transport as we develop our detailed plans.”
Over three years, a minimum of £72m and a maximum of £117m is being sought from the TCF.
Central to the TCF bid is a focus on sustainable travel. The Unity Alliance have made supporting sustainable transport a key priority, exploring ways in which prioritising walking and cycling can improve people’s health, cut carbon emissions and reduce congestion. Ensuring public transport is better integrated and competes on speed and cost against dependence on car use is key to reducing our congested road space.
A draft business case has now been submitted to the Department for Transport (DfT) and a final business case will be submitted in November, so that the schemes can be considered as part of the DfT £1.22bn funding pot.
*local contributions comprise of increased investment from partner organisations (including bus, rail and bike), developer contributions and other sources.