Aberdeen City Region Deal: Joint Committee Update June 2017
Summary of progress so far:
Four business cases have been approved so far, under the terms of the City Region Deal.
- Oil and Gas Technology Centre first approved in Aug ’16.
- Digital business case principles approved in Jan ’17
- Harbour options appraisal and Transport Links (two separate business cases) approved March ‘17
Coming up the committee will, in the coming months, see updates on a Bio-therapeutics hub, the Agri-food project, and a Transport STAG appraisal among other projects. It was also noted that an annual report is planned on behalf of this committee although no date has been set.
Below are the highlights of the meeting of the City Region Deal Joint Committee, held at Woodhill House, Aberdeen.
Appointment of chair and vice-chair
The committee agree the below as chair and vice-chair of the City Region Deal Joint Committee (appointed until next local government elections in 2021).
Chair: Cllr Jim Gifford
Vice-chair: Cllr Jenny Laing
A copy of the latest programme dashboard was noted by members on item 6 page 13 here.
Members got an update on the digital workstream from officers.
The committee was updated on the national broadband initiative R100. Once the R100 has been finalised by the Scottish Government, committee was told that money for digital will be directed into supporting this roll out in the region.
A concern was raised that Aberdeen is at the bottom of the table of broadband connectivity, from over 60 UK cities. It was stressed how important it is that broadband connectivity is significantly and promptly enhanced.
Members agreed to progress this work stream as a matter of urgency and requested a plan from the Scottish Government with detailed progress on the R100 national broadband strategy and regular updates are provided accordingly.
Members were updated on an upcoming £7 million transport appraisal which is in its early stages. The work programme for the coming three years has been drafted and modelling is underway.
The aim is to create a complete understanding of the long term transport needs of the region looking ahead for the next 20 years, and beyond. From that, a number of individual business cases will be developed and taken forward to ensure that the region has the transport links it needs into the long term future.
A detailed business case for the whole transportation workstream will come back to committee. Timescales for the transport review have been agreed in order to feed into national transport strategies.
Scottish Government projects update
An update was provided to members on some Scottish Government projects underway which do not fall squarely within the CRD funding but are closely associated.
Improvements to the rail link and connectivity times to the central belt were discussed first. A dedicate team is current reviewing the options for capacity improvements including some double tracking along the route. A group of partners including Transport Scotland and Nestrans are currently working on that local project as a priority.
There was then an update on improvements to the road junction at Laurencekirk. Committee was informed that emerging options are due to be presented to the public later this year with a preferred option agreed in 2018. Members challenged the timescales and wanted clarity on why this couldn’t be sped up but were told that due process must be followed and the timescales must be adhered to.
A housing update followed and committee was told that more work is taking place to develop housing infrastructure across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. It was noted that a number of developers have applied for affordable housing grants from the fund in Mintlaw and Balmedie, however these are still in their early stages.
Date of next meeting was set as 8th September 2017, the following on 10th November 2017, then meetings would be held quarterly for the remaining term of the joint committee.