Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence


APPENDIX 8

Memorandum submitted by the Docklands Forum

DOCKLANDS FORUM

1. As a major 24 year-old non-governmental organisation with membership of over 130 organisations throughout the region, the Docklands Forum has a considerable strategic function in utilising its enabling and capacity-building remit to develop cross-sectoral participation in various regeneration partnership projects.

2. Docklands Forum holds a deep conviction to protect and enhance the region's economic, social, natural and built environment and is working to ensure that the key riverside Millennium development and its associated transport strategy respects not only its importance but protects the wider local and regional interest.

3. Docklands Forum believes that its support of the principle of the New Millennium Experience has been clearly demonstrated by its three year old Millennium initiative, first undertaken in conjunction with the Greenwich Waterfront Development Partnership. Of late, and in association with the New Millennium Experience Company, the Docklands Forum has embarked on promoting the profile of the Dome and involvement in the Millennium Celebrations through the Thames Gateway London Partnership Community Network, which it manages.

4. The transport credentials of the Docklands Forum encompass membership of previous/current governmental transport steering groups and working parties, participation and coordination of European environmental and transport programmes (LIFE and Fourth Framework) and transport user representation as well as specific transport consultancy (DLR, LCA, LT etc.).

5. In particular, both the Forum's Chairman and Director, Ron Phillips and Daniel Dobson-Mouawad respectively, have been members of the Governmental Millennium Access Working Group and the Docklands Transport Steering Group. In addition, the Director, in his personal capacity, is a Governmentally appointed member of the London Regional Passengers Committee and a Director of the transport charity CILT.

6. Docklands Forum acknowledge the courage and vision shown in choosing the Greenwich Peninsula as the site for the UK's Millennium Celebrations. In particular, the Docklands Forum wholeheartedly welcomes—in line with the integrated transport strategy which the Government will set out in its forthcoming white paper—that "the Government therefore regards making a success of access to the Millennium Experience as one of its key transport challenges"[1]. However, regrettably, the Docklands Forum has come to regard the developing transport strategy as one which still commands serious concern within this region.[2]

NEW MILLENNIUM EXPERIENCE TRANSPORT STRATEGY

7. By the Millennium, there will be, at least under current plans, a variety of "attractive and convenient" means of travel available:

8. The Docklands Forum is working in partnership with Government, the New Millennium Experience Co., the London Boroughs and the transport providers to ensure that the developing transport and ticketing strategy and its implementation delivers the most sustainable transport package possible for this major international event.

PARK & RIDE SITES

9. "Road access problems were obvious to the promoters of the Greenwich bid and to the Millennium Commission. If the Commission had followed the received wisdom, about the importance of providing good car access to major events, they would have quickly ruled out the Greenwich bid and chosen one of the alternative sites"[3].

10. Planning permission was granted for the Millennium Experience site subject to a Section 106 Agreement (dated 20 June 1997). The Agreement requires Millennium Experience to provide 8,400 parking spaces in suitable off-site locations by December 1999.[4]

11. The 8,400 car parking spaces required can be divided between 'inner' and 'outer' zones. The outer zone covers locations in outer London which lie on a rail route to the Millennium site and where there is a station car park with spare capacity. Approximately 1,600 spaces have been identified to-date and are to be provided on such sites. The remaining spaces, which would be purpose built, were all being secured, until late, from inner London locations at a combination of up to five sites.[5]

12. NMEC announced that they were currently revising their park and ride strategy. Originally plans for formal park and ride sites were based on a much larger daily visitor numbers. In any event, it was recognised that the problems of getting large numbers of visitors from the car parks would be a significant logistical problem. NMEC were currently investigating the availability of spaces in existing car parks in and around the M25 area, chiefly at stations.

13. The original number of 'inner' London spaces (6,800 being sought) compared with 'outer' London (1,600) provision did not, in the Forum's opinion, constitute an appropriate balance. A far greater number of existing and temporary purpose built parking spaces ought to be secured at 'outer' London sites thus ensuring that the least number of vehicles are attracted onto existing inner London heavily congested roads.[6]

14. In particular, the Forum, in support of community opposition, was minded to make representation against the use of the Falconwood Site in Greenwich as it is designated a site of Metropolitan Open Land and its importance was considered such that its sacrifice for the creation of a temporary car park was not acceptable. This whole exercise, bar proving futile, has raised public anxiety over the potential adverse implications of the transport strategy and has highlighted a distinct lack of community and regional sensitivity on the part of NMEC to the issue of protecting East London's environment.

COACHES

15. "Traffic congestion and poor cross-river transport links have been significant problems in the Blackwall corridor (the area around the existing tunnels and their approaches) for many years and are getting worse. These problems will be further exacerbated when new developments on either side of the River and the M11 link to the A102(M) are complete"[7]

16. Coaches are seen by NMEC to be an efficient and popular means of bringing parties to the New Millennium Experience. Although they represent an efficient use of available transport infrastructure, the site's provision for up to 350 coach spaces will potentially generate more than 700 movements per peak day, of which a significant number would no doubt be using the Blackwall Tunnel. As future traffic forecasts, particularly in the Blackwall corridor, continue to grow, the potential for 'gridlock' becomes a serious possibility. The strategy to direct traffic movements to appropriate routes and crossings is critical and requires more than a ticketing marketing strategy to influence movements to the site. It requires publicised and enforceable contracts with companies involved and requires their services to be publicly identified, by way of posters in the front and back windows, as Millennium bound.

17. Indeed, a further problem associated with the use of coaches arises when coaches are permitted to leave their engines running while stationary on site as so often happens because operators claim they require power for air conditioning or to operate videos etc. While this behaviour is contrary to the Confederation of Passenger Transport's Code of Practice, the Government's air quality strategy provides a loop hole for such activity. As air quality is a major issue in East and South East London, clearly a code of conduct for on-site coach parking, reinforced with substantial penalties, must be developed and be in place to curtail a diesel emission hot-spot in such close proximity to a major international event.

RIVER THAMES

18. The River Thames flows directly past the site and is ideally placed as a transport route in both directions. Despite the difficulties commissioning the more appropriate Meridian Pier (located on the Meridian), the Millennium Pier (east of the Peninsula) will no doubt be more than capable of accommodating sufficient boats to facilitate one million visitors. The Forum, having consistently promoted the Thames as the "widest and most underused highway in Britain" takes particular delight that the Millennium Experience could well succeed in acting as a catalyst for a revival of passenger river traffic on the Thames.

19. In July 1997 the Deputy Prime Minister asked the Cross River Partnership (CRP) and NMEC to develop proposals for new river services and new piers in London using demand for river transport to the Millennium Dome site in Greenwich as a catalyst. This was followed with London Transport assuming responsibility for the tendering of river services and in December 1997 setting up a new subsidiary company, London River Services Limited, to manage this process.

20. On the 16 March 1998 the Deputy Prime Minister announced that during the year of the Millennium Experience the two companies named as preferred bidders, City Cruises and White Horse Ferries, will respectively operate fast 60 seater boat river passenger services between Central London and the Dome, and a local high capacity service running between the Cutty Sark and the Dome. The two companies will be investing a substantial amount (£6m) in new boats to meet the demand for services. About one million visitors are expected to use the river to travel to the Dome.

21. White Horse Ferries will also provide a "Hoppa" service in Central London linking up to ten piers at key attractions and transport interchanges along the river. City Cruises will also provide an express "legacy" service after the Millennium Experience linking upstream and downstream piers. The Millennium Commission will also provide a £6.83 million grant towards a package of new and redeveloped piers at four sites in Central London (Westminster, Waterloo Millennium Wheel site, Blackfriars and Tower). The Forum is delighted that the LRS will eventually take over and manage the piers currently owned by the Port of London Authority and play a vital role in securing the future services on the Thames beyond the Millennium[8].

22. The Forum acknowledges the increased traffic impact generated from Park & Ride sites that are serviced with bus shuttle connections to the Site. In preference, the Forum is particularly keen to support the furtherance of Millennium Park & Sail services down river. Such development would also help support key regeneration programmes currently being promoted in the Thames Gateway.

23. Although the Forum understands that there were no expressions of interest in response to the tendering process for Park & Sail routes from Woolwich and Barking & Dagenham, it is widely understood that this was a direct result of NMEC's floundering position in relation to the Park & Ride sites. No operator with any commercial interest would tender for such routes in the absence of any firm commitment from NMEC as to which of the potential Park & Ride sites will be utilised. It is quite clear that Park & Ride sites close to the Greenwich Peninsula will undermine the attractiveness of the Park & Sail sites further afield. The Forum suggests that the Park & Sail routes be re-tendered in the light of any firm Park & Ride site decisions.

HEAVY RAIL ACCESS

24. The Rail Network will only retain its competitiveness as a means of access to the site if there is a high-quality connection between the two. Although the current strategy favours a guided-bus link between the site and Charlton Station (on the North Kent Line—refer to section below), the option of linking the site to the rail network, in the Forum's opinion, remains particularly attractive. Technically, the rail link is feasible and indeed much of the infrastructure currently exists, in the form of the Angerstein branch. The estimated cost of £16-18 million would be a sound investment, particularly as the line could serve the new urban village which has received the Deputy Prime Minister's support on the basis of promoting sustainable developments. As the original assessment of this alignment was undertaken some time ago, when the Dome was not expected to have a significant life-span, the economic viability of such a heavy rail site access proposal must surely be worthy of greater current consideration. Furthermore, the North Kent Line peak demand Millennium bound services require reviewing and improvements secured.

MILLENNIUM TRANSPORT LINK

25. London Transport has issued invitations to tender for a new transit system linking the North Kent rail line at Charlton Station to the Dome. The transit will be a bus-based system, possibly segregated over a section of the 2 mile route, with scope for a guidance system if that is cost effective and technically feasible within the timescale. The industry are being asked to "provide the best that the bus can provide" in terms of technology. Bids are to be evaluated with a view to awarding a contract in July. This will allow the contractor 15 months to process the order and ensure that the vehicles are delivered by the Autumn of 1999 and available before the official start of the event. NMEC are providing £1 million contribution but the total had yet to be secured. The Forum is concerned that the proposed link which will materialise will prove nothing more than a glorified shuttle bus-link, and one which for considerable elements of its route would be subjected to the congestion which the area already suffers from. The Forum believes that the connections to and from the site secured for the Millennium Experience should be fully segregated.

26. Likewise, the Forum is of the opinion that there is much to be gained from promoting a dedicated service to Greenwich Town Centre which could link with the DLR at the Cutty Sark site. Such a provision along with other transport provisions should clearly remain as a lasting legacy contributing to the further development of better quality of public transport services for South East London.

JUBILEE LINE EXTENSION

27. Due to the fact that the JLE signalling contractor had "hit considerable technical difficulties" with the state of the art moving-block signalling system, London Underground state that the line would not now open until Spring 1999 using conventional "tried and tested" signalling technology. Forum concerns, over yet another postponement have been acknowledged, but LUL are "confident" that the date was realistic and that it would be fully running by the Millennium—perhaps using the moving-block system subject to LUL being satisfied with its safety and reliability.

28. It is currently envisaged that a through service from Stanmore to Stratford would operate running 24 trains per hour. While the capacity of the new Extension was ample for carrying forecast numbers to the Experience there would be some pinch points in the Underground system as on any typical day at peak times.

29. The current continued debate on the naming of the JLE station on the Greenwich Peninsula is important and an issue highlighted by the Committee in its previous report. The Forum is however more concerned with the prospects of further slippage in opening the extension. Indeed the Forum has already heard, very much on the grapevine, that further delays, since the last LUL commitment, have already set back the opening date until Autumn 1999. It is self evident that any further delays in securing the opening of the Extension would undermine the entire transport strategy.

30. Likewise, the potential breakdowns or major disruptions of the Underground System and its implications for passenger flows to and from the site must not be underestimated. A major incident on the line itself, as occasionally happens on other sections of the underground system, would leave significant numbers of people stranded on the site. No details of contingency transport plans are currently known, and the Forum would press that such plans be forthcoming.

31. Furthermore, LUL have consistently reiterated that the new station at North Greenwich was not just for the Dome but would also serve as a major bus/tube interchange. The Forum is particularly concerned to ensure that any new bus contracts awarded should be low floor services ensuring that the accessibility of the station and trains is likewise complemented by the integration of the bus services.

ROADS

32. Contracts for the Hackney M11 Link would be completed by autumn 1999. Refurbishment on the ventilation shaft of the southbound Blackwall Tunnel would be completed by summer 1999. Non urgent refurbishment of the tunnel will be deferred until after the year 2000. The Highways Agency is preparing detailing designs for slip road improvements to access local roads in the Greenwich Peninsula regeneration area, which includes the Millennium Dome and Village. The works will be 100% funded by English Partnerships under the Highways Act 1980 Section 278 agreement. Following a favourable Secretary of State's decision to the Public Inquiry into draft Compulsory Purchases and Highway Order, construction of access links to local roads would commence in July 1998 and finish in June 1999.

33. The Forum is concerned that the developments in upgrading infrastructure does not facilitate a spate of associated Millennium car dependent developments attracting very significant numbers of vehicles to the area. The Forum is particularly concerned by the current proposal to site a superstore and leisure development adjacent to the Millennium Site with an accompanying 1,400 car parking spaces. The Forum would also support Blackwall approach and link roads as well as one lane of each tunnel being designated as high-occupancy lanes.

34. The Highway Agency is also preparing contracts to resign the network in London. This will entail replacing many of the green-backed directional signs within the M25. Tenders for the area of East London affecting routes to Greenwich have been invited with completion programmed for Autumn 1999. There are also proposals for the NMEC to receive special dispensation to utilise unique coloured directional sign posts for the Millennium Exhibition. The concern here would be that the signs in themselves would promote the perception that car access to the site was acceptable. Clearly, any Millennium road signs should indicate targeted audience, for bus and HGV. The Forum is likewise only too acutely aware that the transport strategy for servicing the site has not to-date received detailed examination. The implication for surrounding communities, particularly residential areas on both sides of the River in proximity to the Blackwall approach roads might prove to be very significant.

MILLENNIUM CABLE CAR

35. The London Borough of Tower Hamlets and Greenwich have given planning permission for a £10 million cable car link across the Thames from East India station on the Docklands Light Railway to the Millennium Dome in Greenwich. Operator Meridian cable cars is set to begin work this summer on the scheme, which will be capable of carrying up to 23 fifteen-seat gondolas. The promoters envisage the cable car carrying up to 2,500 passengers per hour and will provide a novel means of reaching the Dome but, in NMEC's view, it is not a crucial element of the transport strategy. The cable car may prove to be an attraction in itself as will the sheer presence of the Dome, and as such may generate significant car visitors to the area. Although this issue to date has not been of sufficient concern to the local highway authorities for them to have opposed the scheme at the planning stage it is still a matter to consider in the totality of the transport strategy. The link is scheduled to open in October 1999 following safety tests next summer.

CYCLING

36. The main cycle access to the Millennium Experience will be via the Thames Cycle Path which is a pedestrian and cycle route running immediately next to the river. This is being developed by the boroughs with Sustrans, which is a charity that aims to create the national cycle network. The western section up to the Cutty Sark is being studied by consultants. Much of it utilises existing public ways that need to be brought to a higher and more attractive standard to accommodate cycling. One short stretch nearest to the Experience is not presently available and is the subject of consultation with the owners. In case of any delays alternative plans are being developed to bring the cycle route into the site via the footbridge over the A102(M). To the East, up to the Thames Barrier, there is a similar situation with major upgrading needed. The programme is for these sections to be complete by 2000 plus two other routes coming from the north and the south which will connect at the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. Secure storage for bicycles (and motorbikes) will be available at the Dome.

37. The Forum welcomes the promotion of such sustainable modes of transport but would highlight that the Greenwich Foot Tunnel is currently not well supervised and is, unfortunately due to space constraints, totally unsuitable for cycling as is the section outside the naval college due to width restrictions. Enforcement of the tunnel existing no-cycling regulation by the relevant agencies (local boroughs) is clearly required. The Forum would also suggest that the hours of operation of the tunnel lifts be extended. Furthermore, realising the already existing and potential increase in use by tourists and cyclists a new no-smoking policy and instructions to use the left-hand side of the tunnel to traverse it would be prudent.

RESPONSIBILITY FOR DELIVERING THE STRATEGY

38. Each of the access issues and transport schemes mentioned has a body which is clearly identified as having the lead responsibility for its delivery. LT is responsible for the JLE, Millennium Transit and for running the competition for river services. The Highways Agency is responsible for delivery of trunk road improvements and connections to local roads. London Borough of Greenwich along with Sustrans are responsible for the cycleway. NMEC has specific responsibility for issues, such as on and off site parking arrangements, and providing a pier for visitors arriving by boat and appropriate facilities for visitors arriving by bicycle. More generally, NMEC are in the lead on the management of the event, its promotion and its marketing.

39. The Forum is only too well aware that the importance of developing and delivering the transport strategy should not rest solely with those who have direct responsibility for delivering it. The Forum, like the London Regional Passengers Committee and the local authorities have played a valued role in helping shape the direction and thrust of the strategy to-date. The Forum has viewed its involvement in the Millennium Access Steering Group as the central tenet for representing the interests of the communities throughout the region that will be most affected by any adverse transport implications. The Forum will be requesting to the Minister for Transport in London that its continued involvement in the new steering group be secured and calls upon the Committee to endorse this stance.

TICKETING AND THE TRANSPORT STRATEGY

40. The current analysis of the tourist market suggests that the number of visitors to the Dome will be around 12 million during the Millennium year. The average length of time visitors will spend at the Dome is expected to be about five hours. The Dome will be operated on a seasonal basis with 35,000 visitors per session. Around 140 peak days are planned when two sessions will operate. These peak days will fall on weekends, school holidays, Bank Holidays etc. It is expected that around 60% of journeys (7.2 million) to the Dome will start from within Greater London[9]. Clearly the Forum views that as the majority of journeys will commence from London, the opportunity to integrate a travelcard with the price of an Experience ticket is critical to the realisation of the transport strategy for the "majority" of visitors to travel to the Dome by public transport.

41. NMEC's ticketing plans had identified that early visitor estimates had been scaled down and were now well within the capacity of the transport system. Peak hour use of the Jubilee Line was estimated at 8,300 compared with a carrying capacity of 20,000.

42. Visitors would be "strongly encouraged" to use public transport for the whole journey and the marketing strategy would discourage people from bringing their cars part of the way. Ideas about promoting public transport at the point of sale (including lottery terminals) were currently being considered. Although generally tickets would be sold on the basis of first come first served across its sale points, a proportion of tickets would also be allocated to rail and coach companies to sell. However, the 10 am start time for the normal session means that visitors would be travelling at peak times and therefore would not be able to benefit from usual off-peak fares unless it could be negotiated with operators. The Minister Without Portfolio has stated that affordable access to the Millennium Experience was one of the highest priorities and people should not be deterred by travel costs and the Forum certainly endorses this objective. For a family travelling from outside London—the car may be more economical than public transport. Negotiations, particularly with train operators, are thus imperative to develop marketing opportunities to facilitate access to the Experience ensuring that further road congestion is minimised.

43. Pre-booking for the Exhibition is the central ticketing strategy governing the control over access to the site. This is encouraging, particularly in controlling the routes that coaches are likely to take. However, as the Forum is keen to encourage Londoners to share in the Millennium Experience, it would be prudent for tickets to be made available at London Underground ticket booths and licensed distribution agencies.

ACKNOWLEDGING TRANSPORT IMPACT UPON LOCAL PEOPLE

44. The Forum is encouraged to see that the New Millennium Experience Company recognises the potential adverse implications of transport activities on Greenwich and have, one would assume as a sign of good faith, invited "local people" of the host borough to preview the Experience prior to its formal opening. The Forum strongly believes that this courtesy should be extended to local people on the north side of the Thames, across from the site, as it is those very communities who will suffer the main brunt of the traffic impact, as well as the noise and light intrusion of the activities on site. This issue is of particular importance to the Forum as it views the Millennium Experience as having a wider strategic remit of harmonising community involvement from both south and north of the River. It clearly would not be acceptable for the Thames to act as a social as well as a physical barrier as we enter the new millennium.

NATIONAL & INTERNATIONAL TOURISM

45. The significance of Millennium tourism for Docklands and the Thames Gateway lies in the fact that tourism and travel is the world's largest generator of jobs today and is forecast to be a significant growth industry. Two hundred thousand jobs in London are already supported by tourism, with significant growth potential.

46. In the UK tourism contributes over 5% of GDP and as an industry in London is top equal in importance with financial services. However, projected employment forecasts for the financial sector show that growth will not be as great as that for tourism.

47. The importance of London's International Rail and Air gateways must be recognised. Waterloo Station will be serviced directly by the Jubilee Line Extension. However, at present there are no convenient links from Stansted Airport to the Dome. The Forum recognises that although London City Airport is primarily a business airport, its leisure passengers account for 20% of total passenger flows. The Airport, particularly as it is located only a few miles from the site, could act as an alternative air gateway servicing East London and the Millennium Dome. This role could be developed with support from the NMEC, particularly as it has received planning permission to increase its throughput from 1 million to 3 million passengers.

BABY DOME

48. Although details were still being worked up, the "Baby Dome" would feature evening performances aimed at a different market from daytime and tickets for such shows would only be marketed in the London region. Due to lack of details, the Forum has expressed concern about the provision of late evening transport from the site for the expected to be 6,000-10,000 visitors and the fact that car access restriction might well be relaxed generating unnecessary traffic generation in local areas late into an evening.

A PRECAUTIONARY APPROACH

49. The accusation by Lord Melchett that the New Millennium Experience Company is "the most environmentally illiterate company Greenpeace has come across in recent years" in relation to its original decision to place an order for a PVC dome cover will hopefully never be applicable to its transport strategy. However overall, the Forum is of the opinion that the current transport strategy still lacks robustness and detail. Marketing strategies alone cannot curtail private modes of travel to the site or the surrounding inner London area. It would be prudent to adopt a precautionary approach and plan for the worst case scenario, but at the same time not encourage needless access to inner London park and ride sites. Most importantly a major enforcement exercise and a Millennium Traffic Control Centre requires commissioning.

REQUEST TO PRESENT EVIDENCE

50. The Forum remains committed to the Millennium Experience and would welcome the opportunity of presenting its evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS

1. The Docklands Forum is working in partnership with Government, the New Millennium Experience Co., the London Boroughs and the transport providers to ensure that the developing transport and ticketing strategy and its implementation delivers the most sustainable transport package possible for this major international event (para. 8).

2. Regrettably, the Docklands Forum has come to regard the developing transport strategy as one which still commands serious concern within this region (para. 6).

3. A far greater number of existing and temporary purpose built Park & Ride parking spaces ought to be secured at 'outer' London sites thus ensuring that the least number of vehicles are attracted onto existing inner London heavily congested roads (para. 13).

4. This whole Falconwood Park & Ride exercise, bar proving futile, has raised public anxiety over the potential adverse implications of the transport strategy and has highlighted a distinct lack of community and regional sensitivity on the part of NMEC to the issue of protecting East London's environment (para. 14).

5. The strategy to direct traffic movements to appropriate routes and crossings is critical and requires more than a ticketing marketing strategy to influence movements to the Site (para. 16).

6. As air quality is a major issue in East and South East London, clearly a code of conduct for on-site coach parking, reinforced with substantial penalties, must be developed and be in place to curtail a diesel emission hot-spot in such close proximity to a major international event (para. 17).

7. The Forum, having consistently promoted the Thames as the "widest and most underused highway in Britain" takes particular delight that the Millennium Experience could well succeed in acting as a catalyst for a revival of passenger river traffic on the Thames (para. 18).

8. The Forum is particularly keen to support the furtherance of Millennium Park & Sail services down river (para. 22).

9. It is quite clear that Park & Ride sites close to the Greenwich Peninsula will undermine the attractiveness of the Park & Sail sites further afield. The Forum suggests that the Park & Sail routes be re-tendered in the light of any firm Park & Ride site decisions (para. 23).

10. As the original assessment of the Angerstein alignment to the Site was undertaken some time ago, when the Dome was not expected to have a significant life-span, the economic viability of such a heavy rail site access proposal must surely be worthy of greater current consideration (para. 24).

11. The North Kent Line peak Millennium bound services demand requires reviewing and improvements secured (para. 24).

12. The Forum is concerned that the proposed Charlton-Millennium Dome link will prove nothing more than a glorified shuttle bus-link, and one which for considerable elements of its route would be subjected to the congestion which the area already suffers from. The Forum believes that the connections to and from the site secured for the Millennium Experience should be fully segregated (para. 25).

13. The Forum is of the opinion that there is much to be gained from promoting a dedicated service to Greenwich Town Centre which could link with the DLR at the Cutty Sark site (para. 26).

14. It is self evident that any further delays in securing the opening of the Jubilee Line Extension would undermine the entire transport strategy (para. 29).

15. No details of contingency transport plans are currently known for the potential scenario of an Underground system failure, and the Forum would press that such plans be forthcoming for the Site (para. 30).

16. The Forum is particularly concerned to ensure that any new bus contracts awarded should be low floor services ensuring that the accessibility of the JLE station and trains is likewise complemented by the integration of the bus services (para. 31).

17. The Forum is concerned that the developments in upgrading infrastructure does not facilitate a spate of associated Millennium car dependent developments attracting very significant numbers of vehicles to the area. The Forum is particularly concerned by the current proposal to site a superstore and leisure development adjacent to the Millennium Site with an accompanying 1,400 car parking spaces (para. 33).

18. The Forum would support Blackwall approach and link roads as well as one lane of each tunnel being designated as high-occupancy lanes (para. 33).

19. Any Millennium road signs should indicate targeted audience, for bus and HGV (para. 34).

20. The Forum is only too acutely aware that the transport strategy for servicing the site has not to-date received detailed examination (para. 34).

21. The cable car may prove to be an attraction in itself as will the sheer presence of the Dome, and as such may generate car visitors to the area (para. 35).

22. Enforcement of the Greenwich Foot Tunnel existing no-cycling regulation by the relevant agencies (local boroughs) is clearly required. The Forum would also suggest that the hours of operation of the tunnel lifts be extended. Furthermore, realising the already existing and potential increase in use by tourists and cyclists a new no-smoking policy and instructions to use the left-hand side of the tunnel to traverse it would be prudent (para. 37).

23. The Forum has viewed its involvement in the Millennium Access Steering Group as the central tenet for representing the interests of the communities throughout the region that will be most affected by any adverse transport implications. The Forum will be requesting to the Minister for Transport in London that its continued involvement in the new steering group be secured and calls upon the Committee to endorse this stance (para. 39).

24. The Forum views that, as the majority of journeys will commence from London, the opportunity to integrate a travelcard with the price of an Experience ticket is critical to the realisation of the transport strategy for the "majority" of visitors to travel to the Dome by public transport (para. 40).

25. The 10 am start time for the normal session means that visitors would be travelling at peak times and therefore would not be able to benefit from usual off-peak fares unless it could be negotiated with operators. The Minister Without Portfolio has stated that affordable access to the Millennium Experience was one of the highest priorities and people should not be deterred by travel costs and the Forum certainly endorses this objective (para. 42).

26. Negotiations, particularly with train operators, are imperative to develop marketing opportunities to facilitate access to the Experience ensuring that further road congestion is minimised (para. 42).

27. The Forum is keen to encourage Londoners to share in the Millennium Experience, it would be prudent for tickets to be made available at London Underground ticket booths and licensed distribution agencies (para. 43).

28. The Forum strongly believes that the courtesy of inviting local people from the host borough should be extended to local people on the north side of the Thames, across from the site, as it is those very communities who will suffer the main brunt of the traffic impact, as well as the noise and light intrusion of the activities on site (para. 44).

29. The Forum recognises that although London City Airport is primarily a business airport, its leisure passengers account for 20% of total passenger flows. The Airport, particularly as it is located only a few miles from the site, could act as an attractive air gateway servicing East London and the Millennium Dome. This role could be developed with support from the NMEC, particularly as it has received planning permission to increase its throughput from 1 million to 3 million passengers (para. 47).

30. Due to lack of details, the Forum has expressed concern about the provision of late evening transport from the site for the expected to be 6,000-10,000 visitors attending the Baby Dome activities and the fact that car access restriction might well be relaxed generating unnecessary traffic generation in local areas late into an evening (para. 48).

31. The Forum is of the opinion that the current transport strategy still lacks robustness and detail. Marketing strategies alone cannot curtail private modes of travel to the site or the surrounding inner London area. It would be prudent to adopt a precautionary approach and plan for the worst case scenario, but at the same time not encourage needless access to inner London Park & Ride sites. Most importantly, a major enforcement exercise and a Millennium Traffic Control Centre requires commissioning (para. 49).

32. The Forum remains committed to the Millennium Experience and would welcome the opportunity of presenting its evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (para. 50).

June 1998


1   GOL Report on the Millennium Access Steering Group presented to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Committee, April 1998. Back

2   The views expressed in this memorandum are those of Docklands Forum and not necessarily of any specific organisation associated with it. Members, such as T2000 South-East, may well make individual representation. Back

3   GOL Report on the Millennium Access Steering Group presented to the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Committee, April 1998. Back

4   Now revised with LB Greenwich to 6,000 spaces. Back

5   NMEC has secured conditional planning permission for three purpose built car parks, with a fourth deferred and a fifth rejected. Back

6   The London Boroughs of Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Southwark were introducing and/or extending existing controlled parking zones in time for the Millennium. Back

7   Extract from Summary of GOL Report on the Blackwall Corridor: Review of Cross-River Transport Options (1997). Back

8   The Thames, up until 1948, carried 2.25 million passengers. In 1993 the Riverbus carried 900,000 passengers. Back

9   This includes visitors from elsewhere in the UK and from overseas who are staying overnight in London. Back


 
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