To consider the report of the Executive Director of Investment and Delivery and the Portfolio Holder for Inclusive Economy and Third Sector.
The LCR Combined Authority considered the report of the Executive Director of Investment and Delivery and Portfolio Holder: Inclusive Economy and Third Sector which sought approval to allocate £1.9m of Transforming Cities Funding to improve the bus station in Prescot.
Councillor Jeanette Williamson reported that the proposed ask of £1.9m from the Transforming Cities Fund would significantly improve the Bus Station in Prescot and also support the nationally recognised Shakespeare North Playhouse development. The proposed measures, which would be delivered in partnership with Knowsley Council, included public realm enhancements and improved access to the bus network for residents with mobility issues. Together with the completion of the Prescot Rail Station upgrades last summer, interventions at the Bus station would encourage more people to travel to and from the Playhouse via public transport. This investment would also kick start the Combined Authority’s Green Bus Routes programme, designed to transform bus journeys by improving punctuality, accessibility and air quality by reducing carbon emissions whilst boosting the local economy.
Councillor Liam Robinson emphasised the importance of this investment, which would deliver high quality bus shelters and other features. He also explained how the improvements would support both Prescot and the Shakespeare North Playhouse which was going to be one of the key assets of the city’s cultural offer and visitor economy. Furthermore, having this high-quality public realm and stock infrastructure in place and linking it as part of the Green Route programme would be the first link in a bus rapid transit network for the City Region. If this was then linked to the Hybus project it would significantly improve the public transport network and provide the type of transport network the Combined Authority wanted to deliver across the whole of the City Region.
Councillor Graham Morgan welcomed the report, which would play an important role in the work underway in Prescot, as it looked ahead to the opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse later this year. Councillor Morgan explained that excellent progress was being made in respect of the transformational plans for the area. The new playhouse would complete the Shakespearean triangle of London, Stratford on Avon and Prescot. He noted that the stunning theatre would add to the City Region’s global representation as a place to visit and the investment would help to make sure that as many people as possible across the City Region and beyond could enjoy everything which Prescot and the new playhouse had to offer. In conclusion, he noted how this investment was yet another example of how locally devolved funding was making a long term difference to the City Region. He thanked everyone involved in the project and welcomed the recommendations in the report.
(a) the provision of grant funding to Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council and Merseytravel from the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) – Transforming Cities Fund for the Prescot Bus Station Improvements project up to £1.9 million be approved;
(b) authority be delegated to the Executive Director of Investment and Delivery to finalise negotiations of detailed terms of the funding and associated agreements in consultation with the Combined Authority Monitoring Officer and Combined Authority Treasurer.