MD1508 Dingwall Road Loop, Croydon

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD1508
Date signed: 
11 August 2015
Decision by: 
Boris Johnson MP (past staff), Mayor of London

Executive summary

Approval is sought for £5 million of funding from the Mayor’s Resilience Reserve to be contributed to Transport for London’s Tramlink Dingwall Road Loop project in the London Borough of Croydon by way of an intra-Group capital grant. The project will enable the delivery of new homes and jobs in the Croydon Opportunity Area by implementing the first step in the Trams 2030 Strategy to increase capacity in the Tramlink network. It will provide a more efficient alternative tracking to the current one way system around the town centre and integrate with public realm enhancements to improve pedestrian connectivity between East Croydon station and the retail core.

Decision

That the Mayor approves £5 million of capital funding to Transport for London, by means of a grant under section 120 of the GLA Act 1999, as a contribution to the costs of its Dingwall Road Loop scheme in the London Borough of Croydon.

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1.    Croydon Opportunity Area

1.1.1.    Mayoral investment in Croydon’s future is being developed in line with the Opportunity Area Planning Framework (OAPF) published by the GLA in January 2013. The main objectives of the OAPF are to support the development of 7,300 homes, plan the delivery of the social infrastructure necessary to accommodate 17,000 new residents, promote the redevelopment and renewal of the retail core, plan for the revival of prominent high streets, encourage the location of new office/commercial space around New Town and East Croydon, plan for, and enable, delivery of new and improved streets and amenity spaces, promote high quality architecture and built form and ensure enhanced transport and parking capacity.

1.1.2.    The Croydon Partnership’s proposals to redevelop the Whitgift Centre into a new retail and leisure centre were granted planning permission on 25 November 2013. The project requires the demolition of the existing retail area bounded by George Street, Wellesley Road, Poplar Walk and North End in Croydon Town Centre and would replace the existing Whitgift Centre. The planning consent granted by London Borough of Croydon includes 600 new homes and a retail-led mixed-use development of 272,945 square metres in floor space. The land assembly process to allow for this redevelopment has begun. The GLA is supporting London Borough of Croydon in its efforts to proceed as swiftly and efficiently as possible. 

1.2.    Tramlink – Dingwall Road Loop

1.2.1.    Transport for London (TfL) owns the Tramlink system and is responsible for the planning of tram services and the supporting infrastructure such as tram stops, depots and potential extensions. TfL procures a contractor to operate services to specifications it sets. The tram network centred upon Croydon opened in 2000 and has since seen major growth in demand and consequent service frequency increases. By the 2013-14 financial year over 31 million journeys were made on the tramway.

1.2.2.    The Tramlink network has a one way loop through Croydon Town Centre via an on-street alignment, with four tram stops within close proximity of the Croydon Partnership development proposal. Based on initial forecasting work to date, the development is expected to increase Tramlink passenger demand by two million journeys per annum, adding pressure to an already busy network. 

1.2.3.    TfL has consulted on options for a second ‘loop line’ within the town centre utilising Dingwall Road and is moving towards a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to secure powers to construct it. A further more detailed consultation regarding the preferred route option is now underway. The Dingwall Road Loop would enable some trams arriving at East Croydon from east of the Town Centre to be returned back east more quickly, routing less trams around the current town centre loop and therefore maintaining overall network frequency and reliability.

1.2.4.    In the longer term further investment in trams, depot facilities and trackwork is expected to be essential. A Trams 2030 strategy has been developed and sets out initial proposals for a possible way of enhancing the existing network to secure the long term capacity and reliability of the system consistent with future growth. The Dingwall Road Loop is the next step in the Trams 2030 Strategy following completion of Wimbledon double tracking.

1.3.    Connected Croydon – Wellesley Road

1.3.1.    Connected Croydon is a programme of high street, public space and transport improvements that will transform the town centre and district centres by creating a more attractive environment to walk, live work, socialise and do business. A part of this programme, Croydon Council is delivering the Wellesley Road project in partnership with Transport for London and the Greater London Authority, supported by an £4.8m investment from the London Enterprise Fund (LEF). 

1.3.2.    The Wellesley Road project has been designed to create a public realm that is less dominated by vehicular traffic, creating an attractive public realm while maintaining traffic flows. It will deliver a comprehensive set of interventions to rebalance the streetscape and make the town centre more attractive and accessible to pedestrian users and cyclists. This includes the removal of subways and new at grade crossings at Lansdowne Road and Bedford Park.

1.3.3.    During the design phase of the Wellesley Road project it has been established that the pedestrian crossings will adversely affect the tram journey times prior to Westfield opening. It has therefore been proposed to integrate the surface level crossing at Lansdowne Road and associated public realm enhancements with the delivery of the Dingwall Road Loop scheme which will bring the required mitigation measures to journey times. It was agreed that TfL and the GLA will jointly commission and client the design and place making elements of the Dingwall Road Loop project.

1.4.    Funding

1.4.1.    This project is being developed in order to facilitate the current and future development of Croydon and is the first building block of the Trams 2030 Strategy to be implemented (subject to TfL’s future business planning prioritisation). Increased efficiency and capacity of the tram network will be essential to the delivery of the new jobs and homes in the Croydon Opportunity Area. 

1.4.2.    The tram loop project is budgeted in the TfL business plan at £26.81m. Third party funding current amounts to £22.9m, including £5m from the GLA. It will be TfL's risk to cover any funding gap either by finding additional third party funding or finding it from within its own budgets. Would the cost of the scheme escalate beyond £30m, TfL would need to re-assess the value and benefits of the scheme.

1.4.3.    Third party funding contributions are from the Westfield section 106 agreement (£15m), the Westfield section 278 agreement (estimated £1.4m as a contribution to the Wellesley Road bus stop and subject to agreement with the Croydon Partnership) and the Ruskin Square development (£1.5m). The GLA contribution is now being sought by TfL.

1.4.4.    The delivery programme is currently dependent on the proposed Westfield implementation programme. The start of Westfield construction will release an initial payment of £5 million for this project, with subsequent annual payments of £5 million (up to £15 million).  Until that point, TfL is developing the project at risk given the aspiration is to have the project delivered prior to Westfield opening. It is estimated that approximately £3m will have been sunk into development, consent and procurement before any contribution is expected to be received.

Spending profile
 

2014/15

 

£000’s

2015/16

 

£000’s

2016/17

 

£000’s

2017/18

 

£000’s

2018/19

 

£000’s

Total

 

£000’s

 

Estimated final cost

 

1,320

 

1,730

 

7,000

 

9,000

 

7,760

 

26,810

 

1.4.5.    The design development of the Dingwall Road Loop project is on a critical path to achieve completion in time for the Westfield development opening, and is being progressed while the governance arrangements and design and of the crossing/public realm enhancements are being agreed. Additional costs beyond the current budget and funding of £26.81m for associated public realm improvements and the Wellesley Road surface crossing linking Lansdowne Road with the retail core are yet to be finalised. This process does not preclude the progression of the tram scheme.   

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1.The Dingwall Road Loop project will support the manifesto commitment to regenerate town centres and drive investment. Without increased efficiency and capacity of the tram network, the regenerative and housing benefits within the Croydon Opportunity Area cannot be fully realised.
 

2.2.The project has the following objectives:
 

  • Improve reliability, by increasing the resilience and flexibility of the tram network;
  • Recover from tram service perturbation more quickly;
  • Accommodate the additional passenger demand from Westfield and other developments in the short-term without relying on higher frequencies across central Croydon;
  • Enable an increase of Tramlink network capacity to and from Croydon in the longer term (Trams 2030 Strategy);
  • Deliver integrated public realm enhancements in line with the objectives of the Connected Croydon programme, including a surface level pedestrian crossing over Wellesley Road at the junction with Lansdowne Road. (The crossing and enhanced public realm are subject to availability of additional funding beyond that shown at 1.4.4)

 

2.3.The project has the following outputs and outcomes:
 

Outputs

Outcomes

Tram loop constructed

Support delivery of OAPF targets, including new homes and the redevelopment of the retail core and new office space

 

Improved reliability of the tram network

 

Increase of Tramlink network capacity the additional passenger demand from Westfield and other developments in the short-term without relying on higher frequencies across central Croydon;

 

Increase of Tramlink network capacity to and from Croydon in the longer term (Trams 2030 Strategy)

1 no area of public realm improved

More direct pedestrian access between stations, retail, residential and office areas

1 no surface level crossing

Subjective wellbeing increased due to environmental benefits from areas of improved public realm

 

Reduction in anti-social behaviour following use of pedestrian crossings rather than subways

 

Improved perception of the town centre as a place to live, work and visit

 

Equality comments

The project will be developed and delivered in compliance with relevant Codes of Practice and in line with the public sector equality duty. All design proposals will be assessed in terms of accessibility to ensure we minimise disadvantages suffered by people who share a protected characteristic:  age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race, gender, religion or belief, sexual orientation.

Other considerations

a) Key risks and issues
 

Risk

Likelihood

Impact

Rating

Mitigation

Lack of co-ordination between multiple schemes being delivered at the same time

2

3

6

Strong GLA, TfL and Borough relationships through regular dialogue and engagement.

Westfield development is further delayed or doesn’t proceed

2

4

8

Regular contact with Westfield on programme and outcome of CPO Inquiry. Decision by Secretary of State expected in Autumn 2015 following enquiry hearings held in March 2015

Project goes over budget

2

3

6

Project costs have been validated by an independent QS. A contingency sum is retained. TfL would need to cover funding gap by finding additional third party funding or finding it from its own budgets.

Poor traffic management during construction causes delays on Wellesley Road / Park Lane / A232 and other local roads

2

3

6

A robust Traffic Management Plan will requested as part of the Tender which will be reviewed by the design team before works commence.

Attendance of the programme manager at quarterly utilities coordination meetings to ensure that all traffic impacts are fully understood

Delays in achieving necessary consents

2

3

6

Work with Programme Manager and TfL / LBC Highways to programme in lead in times and take early action on consents

Design does not fully integrate with high quality public realm improvements delivered as part of the Connected Croydon programme

2

3

6

Governance: TfL, LBC and GLA working jointly and collaboratively to develop and deliver the project.

Health and safety issues regarding new pedestrian crossings of the Tram system.

2

3

6

Conduct Road Safety Audit and liaise with TCL regarding MODS approval at a senior level to review appropriate approach given that the tram is established as an ‘open system’.

 

 

b) Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The project will support the manifesto commitment to regenerate town centres and drive investment. The project will also support the objectives set out in:

  • The London Plan;
  • Vision 2020 – The Greatest City on Earth;
  • London’s Great Outdoors;
  • Improving the Health of Londoners – Transport Action Plan;
  • Trams 2030 Strategy.

 

c) Impact assessments and consultations

A first round of public consultation was conducted in November 2014. This consultation included public exhibitions with the project team in attendance. Support was high, with 72% of respondents stating that in principle they supported a new tram loop to sustain reliability and improve capacity. Of the three options presented, the route via Dingwall Road and Lansdowne Road, with trams operating in an anti-clockwise direction was the most popular with 56% support.

This route, as illustrated in Appendix 1, is being developed further in the concept design stage. A new tram stop would be provided in Lansdowne Road and buses (which currently operate in the opposite direction proposed for trams) would be routed along Wellesley Road and George Street instead.

Early engagement with TfL Surface Transport has been positive as has the engagement with London Borough of Croydon, although there is still some detail to be worked through on direction of general traffic, vehicular access to businesses and the specification of the associated public realm works.

 

Financial comments

5.1       Capital provision has been made for the GLA’s contribution of £5m to Dingwall Loop, as follows:

 

(All £’ms)

2016-17

2017-18

2018-19

Total

 

Provision for Dingwall Loop

 

1.5

 

2.5

 

1.0

 

5.0

Investment and Performance Board

The expenditure of £5 million for the Dingwall Road Loop, to be transferred to TfL who will lead on delivery, was approved in principle at the Investment & Performance Board meeting on 17 June 2015. It was noted that the GLA’s contribution to this project would be capped at £5m. The Assistant Director of Group Finance confirmed that the £5m would come from the GLA’s capital receipts. The Executive Director, Development, Enterprise & Environment noted that under a planning agreement, the GLA was obliged to pay this money to TfL.

Planned delivery approach and next steps

8.1.1.    The existing Tramlink system was constructed and is operated through a Private Act of Parliament. The proposed Dingwall Road Loop Extension is to be constructed and operated through a Transport Works Act (TWA) Order. The TWA Order will provide Deemed Planning Permission which will have a number of planning conditions attached, to be discharged through and in consultation with the Local Planning Authority.

8.1.2.    The development and delivery of the project will be overseen by a project board comprising officers from TfL, Tramlink, the GLA and the London Borough of Croydon.

8.1.3.    A project team has been established for the development and submission of the TWA Order. The team is supported by discipline lead commissions which comprise engineering, environmental, public realm design, traffic modelling, Construction Design Management co-ordinator, risk and legal; all of which have been competitively tendered.

8.1.4.    The procurement strategy has been developed and is considering the procurement of the following as single or multiple packages, including the potential for early contractor engagement:

•    The management of and relocation of the utilities;
•    The detailed design of the alignment and associated works in accordance with the TWA Order;
•    The discharge of the planning conditions attached with the TWA Order;
•    Systems design and integration;
•    The management and relocation of utilities (including potential for advanced works);
•    The construction of the main works (track, overhead line equipment, public realm and streetscape);
•    A delivery partner.

8.1.5.    The delivery procurement will likely use a standard NEC contract. 

8.1.6.    The baseline programme for the project is set out below:

Activity

Timeline

Commence feasibility study

March 2014

Complete first round of public consultation

December 2014

Complete second round of public consultation

June 2015

Submit TWA Order application

Autumn 2015

TWA Powers granted

Autumn 2016

Start utility diversion

Late 2016

Start construction

Spring 2017

Project completion

Mid 2019