Councils publish plans for Transport for the South East statutory body
The South East is seeking to gain its own executive transport body, newly released board papers reveal.
Papers from an East Sussex County Council board meeting say that plans for Transport for the South East (TfSE) are developing “in parallel” with plans to form a combined authority for the region.
The papers describe TfSE’s purpose as developing “a single, strategic transport infrastructure framework” which would take over responsibility for the region’s transport network from Network Rail and Highways England.
TfSE’s membership would consist of East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire and Kent and Surrey County Councils, Brighton & Hove City Council and Medway Council, and their equivalent LEPs.
Discussions are due to begin to allow Hampshire Unitary Councils and Solent LEP to join TfSE. This would create an area large enough to allow the genuine strategic consideration and planning of transport infrastructure, which would fulfil the requirements for creating a sub-national transport body under the Cities and Local Government Devolution Act 2016. The councils aim to gain the Parliamentary order establishing the TfSE by 2018.
Transport for the North is in the process of seeking approval to become the first sub-national transport authority in England.
The councils will work with the Department for Transport, Highways England, Network Rail and port, airport and bus operators.
The paper asks East Sussex council to approve plans to create a shadow transport body ahead of creating the TfSE, in order to demonstrate commitment to the idea and prove to the government that the authorities have a strong strategic partnership.
The shadow body will be accompanied by a draft transport strategy for the region, including plans to establish TfSE, and a sub-national transport body leaders’ board, which will ensure the governance reflects the aspirations of local authorities.
The papers note that “subject to discussions with partners in Hampshire”, the board will include representatives from Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council, the Isle of Wight Council and their LEPs, as well as the member councils.
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