Agenda item


Purpose of report: Scrutiny of Services


To allow Members to provide input to the Council’s Surrey Future initiative.


Declarations of interest:






Iain Reeve, Assistant Director Economy, Transport & Planning

Hannah Philpott, Senior Policy Manager


Key points raised during the discussion:


1.    Surrey Future had been set up to concentrate on large scale infrastructure programmes, such as the recently completed Hindhead Tunnel and Walton Bridge. These projects had taken a long time to be completed with the suggestion for a Hindhead bypass first being made in the 1930s.


2.    It was felt that it was important to begin thinking about the next large scale infrastructure project for Surrey, because although the Government will invest in projects, it takes many years to lobby successfully and funding is getting harder to win, with around only one in five bids successful.


3.    Surrey had a strong economic case for investment with the Surrey economy estimated to be worth around £30 billion but with huge problems with congestion both on roads and rail.


4.    The Rail Strategy priorities had been agreed by Cabinet and active lobbying had begun. In addition, a Rail Officer would be recruited to pursue investment in these projects.


5.    £2.8m had been successfully granted for the Redhill Balanced Network which had been successful due to the joint work with the Borough. It was important that joint working continued with Boroughs and Districts for both major and minor infrastructure projects to be successful.


6.    Five top priorities had been decided upon by Surrey Future partners –the A3 corridor, the major schemes programme, the North Downs Line, Crossrail 2 and improving journeys to airports.


7.    Members queried whether smaller scale schemes, such as looking at congestion in rural town centres, would be considered as there was a concern that these towns were suffering and would ‘die out’ in the long run. Officers confirmed that strategies were being looked at for pinch points in town centres.


8.    Members felt it was important to concentrate on the issues along the A3 as businesses were beginning to question how long they could stay why in Guildford with the current congestion issues. Officers informed the Committee that the Highways Agency was looking at highway improvements schemes, and that they had discussed congestion issues on the A3 and M3.


9.    Members queried whether officers were bidding when funding was released by the Government. Officers explained that often there was a very short window of opportunity to bid for these schemes and they felt it was important to maintain Surrey’s reputation for quality bids. This meant they only submitted a bid if they had a scheme that met the government’s criteria.  .


10.  Officers felt it was important to work with the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) as they were receiving more responsibilities and funding to distribute. The Cabinet Member stated that LEPs had £2 – 3 billion and needed to function effectively to ensure this funding was distributed appropriately.  The LEPs were preparing Strategic Economic Plans in order to negotiate Growth Deals with government.  These Growth Deals would influence how much funding each of the two Surrey LEPs receives. The Committee requested that the LEP Strategic Economic Plans are discussed in January 2014 when drafts have been submitted. 






Actions/further information to be provided:




Committee next steps:


The Committee will scrutinise Surrey County Council’s relationship with Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and their strategies at the meeting in January 2014.