Agenda and minutes

Venue: Room 116, 16, Summer Lane, Birmingham, B19 3SD

Contact: Carl Craney Governance Services Officer West Midlands Combined Authority 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence (if any)

Presented By: Chair


Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Majid Mahmood (Birmingham City Council), Nick Abell (Coventry & Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership) and Paul Brown (Black Country Local Enterprise Partnertship).


Notification of Substitutes (if any)


No notifications of substitutes had been received.


.Declarations of Interests (if any)

Embers are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests they have in an item being discussed during the course of the meeting. In addition, the receipt of any gift or hospitality should be declared where the value of it was thought to have exceeded £25 (gifts) or £40 (hospitality).


No declarations of interests had been received relative to items under consideration at the meeting


Minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 145 KB



That the minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2017 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.


Matters Arising


There were no matters arising from the minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2017.


Very Light Rail: Transforming Connectivity West Midlands (VLR:TCWM) pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Additional documents:


Rhian Palmer and Bill Kirk presented a report which sought the approval of £12.2 million for the Very Light Rail: Transforming Connectivity West Midlands (VLR: TCWM) programme via a Strategic Outline Business Case. They explained that VLR: TCWM was a programme of activity to help establish the West Midlands as a world-class business investment location by supporting urban public transport connectivity, developing significant supply chain opportunities and providing a focus for driving up skill levels, focussing on the development of VLR technology. The programme was being promoted by Coventry City Council (CCC) and Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council (DMBC) with support from Transport for West Midlands. They outlined the various aspects of the scheme as follows:

       I.        Dudley H2H TIC and Test Track (including (a) The Hub to Home Transport Innovation Centre and Test Track Project : Very Light Rail and Autonomous Technologies (HTHTIC) and (b) Metro Retaining Wall (Shared Wall);

      II.        Coventry VLR Phase 1 : Research and Development;

     III.        Coventry VLR Phase 2 : First Route.


Rhian Palmer and Bill Kirk responded to various questions from Members of the Board. Councillor Jim O’Boyle advised that Coventry City Council was particularly keen to promote this initiative which could have long term positive effects for the region both in terms of connectivity and employment and manufacturing opportunities. He commented on the potential for its use by Jaguar Land rover employees working at the Whitley site.


Councillor Robert Hulland commented that the proposal dovetailed well with the Government’s Industrial Strategy which had been published that morning. With regard to the Metro retaining Wall he enquired whether this was to be a feature wall or, alternatively, if it was likely to attract the attention of local graffiti artists. Bill Kirk explained that the wall would be masked by the Transport Innovation Centre. Councillor Hulland also queried the accuracy of the projected costs. Bill Kirk outlined the processes applied to define the anticipated costs. Linda Horne reminded the Board that in the event that the costs were exceeded such costs would be the responsibility of the Delivery Bodies and not this Board. Rhian Palmer advised that with regard to the Coventry City Council elements of the scheme, sufficient contingency sums had been included and that contributions towards the costs were also being sought from the private sector. 


Gary Taylor advised that whilst he was supportive of the proposal he questioned whether it could be delivered given the efforts made previously, without success, on the continent. Rhian Palmer advised on the recent advances in battery technology, that Warwick Manufacturing Group, partners in the proposal, operated at the cutting edge of new technology and that materials not previously available would be investigated for use. Phil Hewitt explained that the nature of public transport operations and funding regimes were fundamentally different in the United Kingdom compared to Europe inasmuch as the regulation and competition frameworks were markedly different. He commented that this was an excellent example of public sector and private sector partnership working.


Gary Taylor and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.


Wolverhampton Interchange Project pdf icon PDF 99 KB

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Paul Dransfield presented a report which provided an update on the Wolverhampton Interchange Project (WIP), the current funding package and the forthcoming reports to WMCA Governance. He reminded the Board of the history behind this scheme, on the production of an integrated business plan and that the Benefit Cost Ration (BCR) had improved as a result of the integration of the various elements. He assured the Board with regard to the financial costings which included contingency sums. He advised that, subject to the approval of funding, work on the new station building would commence on site in December 2017. He explained the financial breakdown and commented on the number of regulatory issues from the involvement of a large number of partners in the scheme.


Phil Hewitt reported that the financial costings of the original Metro elements had been under estimated significantly but that the Midland Metro alliance (MMA) had now provided a formal price: these costs had been audited by the Client and by independent auditors.


The Chair expressed concern with regard to the variation and suggested that lessons needed to be learnt. She outlined a series of steps which she wanted to be undertaken to offer comfort to this Board that this situation would not be repeated. Councillor Robert Hulland commented on the need for rigorous monitoring of this project to ensure costs were controlled. He enquired which parties would be responsible for meeting any over expenditure. He also enquired as to the affect on the Investment Board’s portfolio.


Linda Horne advised that the Board’s portfolio had been re-profiled but that there was no capacity for any new schemes. Gary Taylor queried whether this meant that the ‘headroom’ had been lost. Linda Horne reported that in respect of ‘the current profile this was the case. Paul Dransfield advised that the intention was to deliver the project within budget but that any over spend would be divided between the Responsible Authorities. He advised on the steps taken by the City of Wolverhampton Council to take client control of the rail station element including employing a ‘rail expert’ and a Quantity Surveyor to assess costs. This employment might be continued through the delivery phase. A report to the Integrated Governance Board was planned for December 2017 outlining additional governance requirements.



1.    That the progress with the Wolverhampton Interchange Project (WIP) be noted;

2.    That the funding package for WIP as detailed in section 3 of the report and the submission of a report to the WMCA Board seeking authority to commit the funding of £49.3 million of which £21.9 million WMCA Contribution (borrowing) to be funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) deed approved previously by the former Integrated Transport Authority (ITA) be endorsed;

3.    That the submission of a recommendation to the WMCA Board to approve the delegation to the Metro Programme Director and Head of Governance to enter into the necessary legal agreements be endorsed;

4.    That a Learned Lessons Review to:

·         Understand the reasons for the increase  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.