Agenda item

Verbal Update: Business Views


The Thurrock Business Board Representative began by stating at the most recent meeting of the Thurrock Business Board they had discussed ‘what was in it for Thurrock’ in regards to the LTC. He discussed how they felt Highways England lacked vision around the A13 and Tilbury link, as well as the proposed rest area. He mentioned the Local Plan, and how the scheme could impact future housing, regeneration, and movement of goods around the borough. He felt that that the additional cost of the Tilbury link road would be offset by the connectivity it could bring to businesses. The HE Development Director replied that he would be happy to meet with the Thurrock Business Board to discuss, as Highways England were already meeting regularly with Tilbury Port. The Thurrock Business Board Representative stated that he would welcome meetings between the two, and in this time of economic uncertainty, as Thurrock was fundamental to the UK economy, improvement to the A13 and a Tilbury link road should be considered further. He went on to state the Thurrock Business Board felt the LTC was simply a ‘big bypass’ that wouldn’t benefit the area, particularly without the Tilbury link road. The HE Development Director replied that the LTC would improve journey times by 30%, which would provide extra capacity for businesses. He went on to describe how there was not enough traffic for a south bound Tilbury link, with only 18-20 lorries per hour in peak times. He added there may be future possibility to expand as Tilbury port and surrounding businesses grow.

The Chair then asked what was in the scheme for residents and businesses, as he agreed that the current form of the route was a bypass. The TCAG Representative added that the A1089 southbound served not just the port, but other businesses and residents too. She added that if there was enough traffic to justify a northbound link, there must be enough traffic to justify a southbound link, as if traffic travelled northbound it would have to go southbound first. The HE Development Director replied that northbound access to the LTC would decrease journey times by 30%, which was critical for expansion of the port. He added it would also decrease journey times on the A13 and M25. The Chair added that he did not want to see mistakes made 20 years ago with the A13 and East facing slips repeat itself on the LTC. The HE Development Director responded that they were working with the Department for Transport and local businesses to look at connectivity across the borough.

The Vice-Chair asked if the road was fit for a 100+ years, as to be environmentally friendly Highways England should consider a dual tunnel with a rail link to reduce the need for HGV freight. The HE Development Director discussed how rail had been considered but there was not a viable business case for this. He mentioned how tramways had also been discussed with private franchises, and again no business case had been viable. The Corporate Director Place added how this issue had been raised in the mitigation schedule, but they had not been aware of the tramways.

The Resident Representative then mentioned how the A13 was not just a network road, but also served local people and the impact the scheme would have on local traffic. The HE Development Director responded that a traffic model had been shared with Officers and the relief provided by LTC would speed up journey times. He added that a study of the A13 with every facing slip road connected had been conducted and was found to negatively affect the local road network.