Agenda item


Rhian Palmer and Mike Haigh presented a report which sought the approval of £39.4 million for Coventry rail Station Masterplan (CRSM) requested via a Full Business Case (FBC). Rhian Palmer reminded the Board that approval had been granted in summer 2017 of the Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC) for ‘Coventry Centre First’ which was a package of transport interventions aimed at improving connectivity to UK Central and HS2 and boosting jobs and growth in the city centre, of which Coventry Station Masterplan was the largest component. The WMCA had approved the Coventry Station Masterplan project proceeding directly to FBC, recognising the advanced stage of the project.


She explained that the CSM was an £82 million programme of works to increase the capacity at Coventry Rail Station. £42.6 million had already been secured with funding having been awarded by a number of organisations including Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), Department for Transport (DfT) and prudential borrowing via Coventry City Council. The requested sum was the remaining element to be secured to enable a fully funded programme including a contingency sum of £12 million.


Mike Haigh explained the role of SLC Rail in the project and outlined the various scenarios with Benefit Cost Ratios including the prudent assumptions taken to ensure that the Business Case was robust, one of which was the potential loss of one fast train journey per hour from Coventry to London from HS2 opening in 2026. Rhian Palmer advised that this position was not yet confirmed and was the subject of on-going discussions with both the DfT and Network Rail. Councillor Jim O’Boyle advised the Board that this issue was the subject of lobbying by both Coventry City Council and the WMCA given the likely implications for other stations in the West Midlands and informed the Board that Coventry Rail Station was the fastest growing station outside of London in terms of passenger numbers.


Councillor Majid Mahmood reported that he was supportive of the scheme but questioned whether delivery of the scheme could be accelerated and also why ownership of the new car park would revert to Network Rail. Rhian Palmer reported if delivery of the scheme could be accelerated this would lead to cost savings and phasing of the works was being investigated. Similarly, alternative land for the provision of temporary car parking provision was being explored. Mike Haigh reported that there was a complicated commercial structure involved with building the new integral car park on land in the ownership of Network Rail. This would include Network Rail surrendering car park revenue which would be used to service the prudential borrowing. Discussions were underway with regard to the terms and length of the lease.


Gary Taylor requested confirmation that Coventry City Council would hold responsibility for any cost overruns on the project. Rhian Palmer confirmed this to be the case and advised that should the estimated cost of the project exceed the sums available a de-scoping exercise would be undertaken albeit reluctantly. Additional funding would also be sought from the DfT and Network Rail.


Sarah Middleton advised that she was supportive of the scheme but suggested that a summary of outputs be compiled before the report was submitted to the Strategic Economic Plan Group.



That the West Midlands Combined Authority be recommended to approve the award of £39.4 million of Devolution deal funding to the Coventry Rail Station Masterplan, promoted by Coventry City Council, this allocation falling within Coventry’s UL Central Plus (UKC+) Programme.

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