To consider a report of the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration.
The Executive Member Housing and Regeneration submitted a report which advised the Executive that the HS2 Phase 2b Hybrid Bill had been laid before Parliament on 24th January 2022. On 25th January 2022 the consultation on the accompanying Environmental Statement began, with responses required by 23:45 hours on 31st March 2022. It was noted that responding to the Environmental Statement was the first principal mechanism whereby Trafford could request that HS2 either a) avoid, b) mitigate and / or c) compensate for the impacts that its construction and operation will bring. The response to the Environmental Statement would then lay the foundations of any future petition(s) against the Bill.
The report provided a high level overview of the Environmental Statement, and set out the likely anticipated issues / areas of focus that would form the basis of the response. Due to the deadlines set by government, delegated approval was sought to submit the formal response on the Environmental Statement and for Trafford to become a Qualifying Authority to ensure it had a more enhanced role in certain matters such as approving design and construction.
In introducing the report, the Executive Member noted that responding to the consultation, especially in view of the limited timescale, was a task of considerable magnitude, with significant resource being devoted to it. The current focus was to identify the broad issues on which the Council had concerns; an opportunity would be available later in the process to set out the specific detail of the issues now identified. It was the Executive’s intention to publish for Members a draft of the response as soon as was practicable to allow members to comment.
An opportunity was provided for Members to raise questions in relation to the report. A number of issues were raised for consideration, including in relation to: airport car parking; flood risk in various areas of the borough, including Broadheath, Timperley and Hale; envisaged funding for the airport link; additional traffic movements arising from construction and development; the impact on cycling and active travel routes; the impact and any mitigation in respect of environmentally sensitive areas, such as ancient woodland at Davenport Green; the question of local contributions to any infrastructure, and broad issues of the challenges both for members of the public and for political groups to contribute effectively to the process.
Where possible, responses were provided, and in other cases undertakings were given that responses would be provided, where it was currently possible to do so, outside the meeting. In terms of participation, attention was drawn to the Council’s own processes, and it was noted that a primary responsibility lay with HS2 to undertake its own explicit consultation. The challenges imposed by the Government’s timescale were, however, acknowledged. Members were reminded that this initial stage was designed to identify broad issues only, and advised that that a draft response would be shared with Members for comment; and all were encouraged to forward any comments and issues directly to the Council’s team handling the response. It was envisaged that a report would be made to Council in March; and Members were again reminded that the current consultation was addressed primarily at identifying broad areas of potential concern; issues of detail would be handled at a later stage.
(1) That approval be given to the framework and general direction of the Council’s response to the Environmental Statement outlined in the report.
(2) That authority be delegated to the Corporate Director for Place, in consultation with the Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration, to finalise and submit the formal response to the HS2 Phase 2b Environmental Statement.
(3) That it be noted that the submitted response on the HS Phase 2b Environmental Statement will form the foundation upon which any future petition must be based.
(4) That it be approved that Trafford become a Qualifying Authority in relation to the High Speed Rail Phase 2b (Crewe - Manchester) hybrid Bill.
(5) That authority be delegated to the Corporate Director of Governance and Community Strategy, in consultation with the Corporate Director of Place and Executive Member for Housing and Regeneration, to undertake all necessary steps required to become a Qualifying Authority, including the signing of the Planning Memorandum and Service Level Agreement.
(6) That, for the reasons set out in the report, this decision be deemed urgent and not subject to call-in.