The Kent Thameside Homes and Roads Programme is an innovative programme of strategic transportation works designed to overcome constraints on the transport network in order to facilitate growth in housing and employment in north Kent, part of Thames Gateway. BBP were appointed by Kent County Council to help develop a financial model, assess viability and to prepare an economic appraisal based on HM Treasury Green Book principles to secure funding approval for an investment by DCLG.
The programme has been designed to deliver a package of strategic transport infrastructure works to facilitate significant planned growth in housing and employment in the boroughs of Dartford and Gravesham. The programme originally included 11 inter-related infrastructure projects costing £175 million. It included junction improvements to the A2; a package of traffic and demand management measures on both the strategic and local road network; selected highway improvements to the local road network and investment in the Fastrack rapid transit system. These projects span both boroughs and are required to provide transport capacity for approximately 24,000 new homes and 1.1m sq.m. of commercial floorspace to be delivered over the next 20 years or so.
DCLG’s investment was part of a wider public and private funding mix, including contributions to be made through a tariff raised on residential and commercial development across Gravesham and Dartford. Our work involved analysing various options for the amount and timing of investment through a detailed cashflow model, which profiled infrastructure costs against a variety of income sources, including public sector investment and contributions through a development tariff system. A key element of our work was to justify the proposed level of tariff. In order to do this, a thorough examination of comparable tariff systems elsewhere in the country was conducted, in order to benchmark the Kent Thameside tariff charges and the scale of infrastructure required, against similar schemes. Analysis of the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) was also undertaken, in order to understand how existing arrangements for governance and delivery of the tariff would fit into the proposed responsibilities of a ‘charging authority’.
In a very challenging environment for public funding, our work achieved endorsement from HM Treasury for the provision of £13m towards delivery of the first two transport infrastructure projects. A key feature of the programme was bringing together a number of central government departments, local authorities and private sector developers to deliver strategic infrastructure at scale. It is an approach which has great potential to be replicated elsewhere in our view.