The Housing Portfolio Holder presented the report, thanking the Strategy Lead Specialist for his work. Cabinet, on 3 February 2021, had recommended that the County Council be invited to submit a bid for a contribution of £75,000 from the South Lakeland Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) towards the project to replace the Gooseholme Bridge which had been destroyed during Storm Desmond in December 2015. The bid had now been received and the report provided detailed information on the purpose of the bridge, the proposed bridge and its benefits, funding and implementation and the CIL governance process. The bid had been reviewed by the CIL Technical Officer Group in consultation with relevant Members and, having scored very highly, had been recommended to Cabinet for approval.
The Housing Portfolio Holder further referred to the future CIL governance process and the need for alignment with the Council’s Commissioning Strategy which sought to ensure that commissioning decisions were taken at the appropriate level.
Members expressed support for the proposal, however, concern was raised regarding the fact that the bridge would not be lit and about how interaction between cyclists and pedestrians would be managed. In response to a query, the Strategy Lead Specialist explained that the bridge would not initially be available for cyclists but had been designed so that cycling could be accommodated, if and when issues relating to cycling on adjoining land were resolved Detailed design issues related to cycling would be addressed at that point. It was stressed, however, that the bridge was Disability Discrimination Act-compliant and was suitable for wheelchair use, which was a great improvement.
RESOLVED - That
(1) the payment of £75,000 from South Lakeland’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) to Cumbria County Council towards the construction of a DDA compliant and cycle ready bridge over the River Kent at Gooseholme, Kendal, be approved;
(2) the CIL Governance Framework attached at Appendix 2 to the report be amended by rewording paragraph 2.2 to provide that that future Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) payments of less than £100,000 be delegated to the Director of Strategy and Innovation in consultation with relevant Portfolio Holders; and
(3) the Council’s Monitoring Officer be authorised to make the necessary amendments to the Constitution.
Reasons for Decision
The funding will enable the construction of a new improved bridge link which is fully DDA compliant between the north-south routes on either side of the River Kent for use by pedestrians, the disabled and potential future use by cyclists.
The decision links to Council Plan Priorities as follows –
Working across boundaries – the funding will enable the construction of a bridge which will enable sustainable transport choices in Kendal, contribute to the efficient functioning of the transport network in Kendal, enhance Kendal Town Centre as a place to live, work and visit and contribute to the delivery of the Kendal Town Centre Strategy and Kendal vision and contribute to strategic economic growth and Covid Recovery.
Delivering a balanced community – in contributing to modal shift in and around Kendal, the proposal will enable the delivery of new homes and jobs through the current and emerging Local Plan and complement the objective of growing the working age population.
A fairer South Lakeland – the proposed bridge will be accessible and offer a traffic free route option for everyone including wheelchair users (the previous bridge was stepped). In linking two public spaces, the proposed bridge will also have health benefits in encouraging outdoor recreation and active travel.
Addressing the climate emergency – the proposed bridge will enable and enhance sustainable transport choices in and around Kendal Town Centre and offer an attractive option for short trips to and across Kendal Town Centre.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
South Lakeland District Council has invited the submission of the bid and the recommendation of the Working Group is that the bid meets the funding criteria. Whilst Cabinet could decide not to approve the funding, this would leave a significant funding gap which could affect delivery of the bridge.