Written evidence submitted by Ray Chapman Associates (MTP0025)

Funding of National Infrastructure Development

The pressures resulting from the UK’s national determination to be independently more competitive – and in parallel to meet imposed restrictions by tight carbon reduction measures and other regulatory regimes – offers opportunities for an acceleration in Private-sector investment where it can be most productive, without impinging further on the Public purse at a most critical time.  But we have to ask whether the whole process of infrastructure investment provides sufficiently efficient management - and therefore cost-efficient control.

Fundamental questioning of the policy makers and the Governmental mechanisms for determining priorities, coupled with the most efficient money management must be made, as poor levels as such can directly affect the most viable of schemes by silting up the funding arteries by pure wastage.

That is not the only concern.  Productivity restraints as the direct result of infrastructure shortcomings have spurred analyses of needs not only to relieve pressure on the national networks but also on the means of tying infrastructure development to the economics benefits of related residential and other potential investment schemes, relieving the national exchequer of having to consider more pressing politically driven projects ahead of those already in the approved pipeline.

Competition from all sectors of the United Kingdom for infrastructure investment has had one inflexibility constancy, the short-term parliamentary cycle and approval system which produces uncertainties in even the most stable proposals seeking central Government funding.  While various schemes seeking private funding-support have been proposed to supplement the main steam of national funding, evidence backs the encouragement of private sector funding based on a more effective assessment  and utilisation of private investment for both national and regional infrastructure improvements.

Analysis of a cross-section of requirements by regional government bodies and potential private sector funders infers that there is a large opportunity for the private sector holding a pent-up fund which could be released by re-evaluating the funding-approvals processes.

While Private/Public sector schemes have been rehearsed previously with limited success, controls adopted for their management have been insufficiently developed to produce a convincing record and therefore wider adoption.  A change in direction to capture private investment is suggested, in particular to cope with the unfulfilled need to increase the nation’s housing stock which is deemed well-below Governmental requirement and policies.

It is in the control and regulating mechanisms where the most likely efficiency in money investment can make the best advance.  It is concluded that there are too many influences that interject on schemes which then deny the ability to prove positive benefit, gain political support but yet take many years to bring to the point of cutting into the turf.  One such that catches the headlines each time it is aired is the upgrading of the main line connecting Dover to Southampton and the West Country.   The Victorians built the line in segments but on a London Centric bias – so once opened it was eventually electrified and so it has remained as a thwarted through route – with a remarkable lacking in imaginative change to make it more accessible to the largest economic zone in the nation after London. So what’s the hold up?   Because of that very London centricity regional policy makers until now have allowed the railway organisations to cater mainly for commuters, disenfranchising off-peak tourism and with a heavier blow to rail freight services and facilities, that are ideal for bulk transport over longer distances. Compared with road development schemes the land take for rail, even with the Channel Tunnel to London link and that projected for the HS2 extension – proportionally is minimal.

A particular Minister of Transport once suggested that the average time elapse from concept of a new rail project to delivery was then 10 years. While it is not difficult to identify both residential and road developments with some similar problems of actual time restraints, since original nationalisation the competitive commercialism was driven out of the thought processes and every flexibility coming from change effectively smothered.   Until now there has been virtually no link between rail development and residential convenience by being linked at the level of decision making that matches investment against time elapse.  Here though is a very strong financial attraction as the housing population grows and the thirst for travel by rail has flourished over a large slab of the last decade.

And yet the brakes continue to drag speed of development down.  In the South East, the Javelin speed, regular services.  An extension of that high-speed network has been argued as a real lifeline for the coastal and fishery communities from Ashford, Kent to Eastbourne and westwards to Brighton and on.   Feasibility studies throw light of attractive cost benefits to users and local economies.  The problem is not so much a mindset as a system that has been stuck since 1947.   The Railway network was worn out during the World War 2 and the bringing up to date ever since has absorbed all the effort and investment – and has forgotten how to move on.   

Low-cost road travel throughout the last century seduced so many from rail usage – and even now the roads lobby is in awe of the potential of the far greater development opportunities offered by rail. Privately invested proposals – such as the freight-only Dover-Glasgow rail route revival utilising over 90 per cent of existing railway property - failed often at the first hurdle due to parliamentary naïve understanding.  But then Governments often do not understand the necessity of strategic planning anyway, exampled by the cancelling of the Folkestone-Honiton Trunk road scheme, set out in the 1930s, killed in the 1970s.  |And that is where rail can come right back along the South Coast with a fully-fledged Main Line, serving populations, commerce and industry, sea and airports – and faster connections to the Capital, utilising funds to smooth to an uninterrupted through route.

Taking into account the requirement for monitoring of spend on infrastructure, particularly in the management of risk, such an opportunity is emerging which would allow for establishing a cross Governmental-departmental fund that focuses on delivering new housing and infrastructure through a Central Infrastructure Investment Bank – stepping outside the notorious restraint of the Public Borrowing Requirement. A development fund could be launched for Local Enterprise Partnerships and Councils in partnership with Sub Regional Transport Committees to explore Land Capture Valuation and private sector options to fund this huge opportunity. As quoted by the Railway Industry Association, every £1 invested in rail delivers £2.62 to the wider economy and KPMG suggested that every £1 invested in bus infrastructure delivers over £4 to the wider economy, for example a Bus Rapid Transit system.

Examples here show how Regionally-driven investment can match the dual needs of housing development with enhanced infrastructure – to provide and to meet head on the national need to improve productivity through new investment.

Sample Case Studies

Case Number One

Ashington, Blythe and Tyne Valley

A Beeching restoring your railways project with cycle hubs in the North East to deliver connectivity to rebuild communities and be an enabler to levelling up.  This project has already found an additional £30 million of private sector funding opportunity, through one of my associates, towards the conversion of this railway to enable passenger use on this current freight only line. This could be a showcase for other projects across the North and other areas of poor connectivity to drive decarbonisation and deliver on infrastructure, creating jobs.

Case Number Two

Fleetwood, Blackpool and Poulton Le Fylde

Extension of the Blackpool Tram along a loop to Poulton le Fylde as part of the Restoring Your Railways initiative, however using a light rail investment and cycle highways, to liven residential expansion.

Case Number Three

Wealden Rural Connectivity.

Through the enhancement of bus prioritisation to deliver a Hydrogen-Bus Rapid Transit System, supported by a Driverless Demand Responsive Transport for rural communities. This would include the building of new homes along the routes that were not so reliant on the car and therefore working towards climate change targets. This would also address the opportunity of Restoring Your Railways on the popular Lewes to Uckfield request for reopening by a clearer modelling of financial justification, coupled with connecting the town of Hailsham, growing towards a population of 30 thousand with no reliable connectivity.  But maximising utilisation of infrastructure needing minimal upgrading to deliver.

Case Number Four

Reconnecting the South West.

Substantial Land Capture valuation program across the South West along the Salisbury/Newbury to Exeter corridor to drive significant line upgrades and exploring of reconnecting Okehampton to Bere Alstom (Tavistock) to deliver a costed alternative to the line via Dawlish to Plymouth.

Case Number Five:

Kent & Sussex Connect

Through decarbonisation of the Ashford to Hastings route by fully utilising existing High Speed One services, by the delivery of a new Garden Village along the Kent and East Sussex border and a proposed Eden Bio-diversity Carbon capture and super cycle hub project by the South Downs National Park. Such a solution could show how infrastructure, bio-diversity and  residential development could be matched to satisfy key requirements but adding substantial economic development to  severely finance-starved Coastal and fishing communities.

Case Number Six:

Leicester and East Midlands

The Restoring Your Railways route from Leicester to Burton On Trent to transform Midlands-region interurban transit: and enabling public services to restore inter-city travel on the Leicester to Nottingham Great Central heritage railway route, relieving heavy road congestion, by enabling funding for councils to investigate land capture values to fund these enhancements.

Case Number Seven

London

We still need to find smart methods of investing in the financial capital of the world. I propose a land capture value investigation in the London Boroughs to look at the bifurcation of the Northern Line, with extension to Clapham Junction, Southside and providing better access to Roehampton (Home of Europe’s largest Social Housing Estate for partial repurposing and redevelopment), and extend in North London towards Elstree and St Alban’s in Hertfordshire; to look at Bakerloo Line southern extension to Walworth, Old Kent Road and Hayes and Land Capture opportunities to provide complete funding of these invaluable developments. There are many other boroughs that smart decarbonisation transit systems could be implemented with private funding using this model, such as new bus transit systems in West London, extension of the East London Bus Transit network and a bus transit system in  Waltham Forest and the connecting of the Cancer Centre, Royal Marsden with a Sutton Tram initiative.

About - Ray A Chapman

A proven Business Development, Strategic Planning and Communications Professional with over 30 years experience of working within the Retail, Transport, Logistics, Investment, Travel and Leisure sector. Articulate communication skills and strong relationship management across all levels of an organisation.  He has a  Strategic Marketing Management MA (Masters) degree from Kingston Business School and has delivered in complexed negotiations, software as a service and development  and fundraising for Infrastructure, Travel, Transport projects including Rail, Bus, Aviation and Maritime. Assignments include projects at CACI, Devatics, Amadeus, National Express - Eurolines, Pickfords, Going Places – Airtours PLC, Virgin Media (Telewest) and Arriva (Grey Green)

Through stakeholder engagement with local and regional transport and logistic action groups Ray Chapman Associates has set up a consultancy program with strategic business development partners to improve infrastructure to areas of deprivation across the nation.

Achievements Include

Leading business, community engagement and stakeholder groups, Chairing regional transport summits, including speaking alongside the Cabinet Ministers and C-Suite Transport Operators.

Working with LEPs, TfSE, ESCC, Network Rail, Rail Delivery Group, Train Operators both UK and International at C- level to make the infrastructure a priority to deliver a proposal for a £150 million pound business case for transport improvements to the region, circa £1.3 Billion to the econom. Political Engagement with Cabinet Ministers and the European Transport Commission.

Integration and coordination of local pressure and actions groups across London and The South East. Engaging with councils at local, district and regional level to improve transport access to the area

Ray has also worked on a number of tourist and economic projects such as the revitalization of Hastings Pier, transformed from a 140-year-old Victorian wreck into an award-winning Sterling Prize attraction, Ray chaired the Hastings Pier and White Rock Trust through the critical fundraising period. He also chaired the Trust through its fundraising phase for Rock House, delivering affordable housing and workspaces to the White Rock quarter on the South Coast and has served as a school governor at Ark Little Ridge in Hastings.

 

 

January 2021