Cheshire West and Chester Council along with Cheshire East and Warrington Councils will oversee the region’s future investment in transport after establishing a new decision making body.
The Cheshire and Warrington Local Transport Body (CWLTB) has the power to invest in schemes that support economic growth and regeneration across the region and has been given the devolved decision-making powers by the Department for Transport.
CWLTB has a single strategic objective: ‘to improve transport infrastructure to secure significant connectivity gains in the support of economic growth and prosperity’ and will be a publicly-accountable body.
It is estimated the region will need over a billion pounds worth of investment over the next 20 to 30 years in order to meet the sustainable needs of its communities. This funding will also be drawn from the private sector and the transport industry.
The Department for Transport has already committed £21.8m for the period 2015/16 to 2018/19, the details of which will be officially announced next month. This represents an initial pot of funding with the three councils working together to attract further outside investment.
Councillor Lynn Riley, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s executive member for community and environment, said: “This funding gives Cheshire West and Chester Council, along with our partners in Cheshire East, Warrington and the Local Enterprise Partnership, a real opportunity to determine and decide for ourselves where transport investment needs to be targeted to support economic growth and jobs.
“We hope that this funding will enable us to take forward a number of potential high priority schemes in the Borough during the four year funding period including opportunities for a new bus interchange in Chester, improved access to a significant employment site in Ellesmere Port and measures to reduce traffic congestion in Northwich town centre.”
The new body will have the power to approve schemes, release funding and scrutinise individual schemes for consideration.