Active Travel Tranche 2 – Summary Consultation Plan

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced on 20th November 2020 that Reading Borough Council had been awarded £1.179 million through the Active Travel Fund (ATF) to support the implementation of walking and cycling schemes in the borough. This was 100% of the funding indicatively allocated to Reading and followed a successful application for funding prepared by the Council earlier this year. The bid included a number of schemes costing in excess of the indicative allocation, therefore it may not be possible to deliver all schemes which form part of the consultation.

This funding will be used to design and implement schemes that reflect the latest design standards and support both national and local transport policy objectives.

An essential part of this process will be ensuring local residents, businesses and wider stakeholders are identified and engaged on our plans for these schemes, which will be delivered in the 2021/22 financial year.

This document is a Summary Consultation Plan outlining the general process and stages of consultation we will undertake. A Detailed Consultation Plan for the Council’s ATF funded schemes will be published in early 2021.

Requirements for consultation

Prior to scheme construction, the DfT requires confirmation that the Council has undertaken appropriate consultation, including:

  • Consulting with key local stakeholders.
  • Obtaining broad support and made changes to scheme designs to account for feedback.
  • Implementing a communications plan.
  • Discussing plans with local MPs and Councillors.

Consultation Summary

We will ensure that our engagement and consultation with local communities and wider stakeholders is appropriate and undertaken in an open, timely and consistent approach, embracing the followings key principles:

  • Engagement will be at a time when proposals are still at a formative stage;
  • We will provide sufficient information on each scheme proposal to ensure a good understanding for the audience;
  • Adequate time will be given for consideration and response by stakeholders.
  • Consultations will be widely publicised to achieve maximum engagement.

Consultation Objectives

We have identified the following objectives to ensure appropriate consultation with local stakeholders.

The programme consultation process will:

  1. Raise awareness of the Active Travel Fund and its purpose.
  2. Raise awareness of the proposed schemes among the local community and key stakeholders in the local area.
  3. Engage with stakeholders to ensure they are well-informed about the proposed schemes and their objectives.
  4. Involve stakeholders and encourage feedback on our emerging scheme proposals, focused on gathering a range of opinions of the proposals.
  5. Provide stakeholders with a real opportunity to influence the scheme designs as they are progressed.

Our Approach

We will adopt a two phase approach to consultation regarding the proposed ATF schemes, preceded by detailed consultation planning. This approach will ensure opportunities for early stage engagement prior to a period of more formal consultation.

The consultation phases we will follow are:

  • Consultation planning
  • Phase 1 consultation (stakeholder engagement)
  • Phase 2 consultation (formal)

Consultation Planning

Prior to commencing consultation, we will identify the stakeholders to be engaged with regarding the scheme proposals.

We will undertake a stakeholder mapping exercise to identify local stakeholders and the relevant statutory consultees relating to the proposed ATF schemes.

We will ensure this process captures a wide range of consultees including, but not limited to: local residents, local businesses, local interest groups, emergency services, public transport operators, Ward Councillors and local MPs.

Engagement and consultation will be inclusive, and we will identify groups that may be traditionally under-represented in consultations. This will include identifying equalities groups and organisations representing those with disabilities, or minority communities.

We will take all reasonable steps to provide materials in accessible formats. This includes providing a plain text version of the information materials, compatible with screen reader software.

We will identify the most appropriate channels to communicate and consult with identified stakeholders. The consultation information and survey will be available

from Reading Borough Council’s website.

Phase 1 Consultation

An initial stage of consultation will be undertaken to provide the opportunity to raise awareness of the scheme proposals, and to provide the earliest opportunity to provide feedback on schemes in principle.

This will help identify key constraints, issues and opportunities that may influence scheme design and implementation and help manage risks to successful scheme delivery.

Phase 1 Approach

We will use a range of channels to engage with local stakeholders under the Phase 1 consultation and direct them towards information and materials on a dedicated project webpage. Channels will include:

  • Consultation materials produced and distributed to local communities and business stakeholders, providing a short written summary of the scheme proposals and a broad illustration of the scheme improvement.
  • Posters sited in local community facilities to raise awareness of the consultation.
  • Use of the Council’s social media accounts to further raise awareness, which can be tailored to specific audience as required.

To ensure inclusive access to the consultation materials, hard copies will also be made available on request. We will make clear that other formats are available on request to ensure access for all.

The consultation information will be made available online and will set out the location, timeframe, and type of improvement being considered. Opportunities for initial feedback will be given via an online feedback form, allowing people to voice their opinion on the schemes in principle and to help inform the next, more detail stage of consultation.

The Phase 1 consultation period is anticipated to last for at least six weeks. Consultation will be undertaken with key local stakeholder groups, including online workshop events. The feedback received from these sessions will inform the scheme designs being consulted on in Phase 2.

Phase 2 Consultation

The second phase of consultation will follow analysis and feedback from Phase 1 and the specific approach will be outlined in a Detailed Consultation Plan. This will include presenting more detail on the specific design and traffic management aspects of the proposed schemes and offering greater clarity around the planned timeframe for scheme commencement and completion.

The scheme information materials will be made available online, with stakeholders notified via a combination of direct correspondence, posters and adverts in print and social media being used to raise awareness.

In Phase 2, this will be supplemented by a survey with local residents. To widen the potential for access to all, and in light of uncertainty around in-person gatherings due to COVID-19, this will be hosted on a specialist online engagement platform.

Further workshops with key stakeholders will be held to consider the emerging scheme designs and provide opportunities for comment prior to moving into the detailed design stage.

The Phase 2 consultation period is anticipated to last for approximately six weeks and responses can be submitted throughout this period through a range of communication channels.

Consultation Reporting

A concise consultation report will be prepared and published on the Council’s website following the conclusion of the Phase 2 consultation.

This report will summarise all of the key points raised through the consultation process. In addition, the report will set out how these points have been addressed through the development process for the active travel scheme. Linked to the consultation plan, a separate communications plan will be produced to provide on-going information and opportunities to engage throughout the implementation phase of the schemes being delivered through this programme. This will provide an opportunity to invite opinions before and after scheme delivery.

Next steps

Consultation dates

  • Phase 1 consultation – February to March 2021
  • Review Phase 1 consultation results – April 2021
  • Phase 2 statutory consultation – May to June 2021