Business Rates Retention Pilot investment summary

The six unitary authorities in Thames Valley Berkshire have combined to act as a government pilot for the local retention of business rates growth in 2018/19 and MHCLG has since approved a second year of the pilot (2019/20). The Berkshire Leaders have agreed to invest £36m, c.70% of the retained business rates, into strategic infrastructure projects that will help drive our area’s productivity.

The Berkshire Local Transport Body (BLTB), on behalf of the Thames Valley Berkshire LEP, gave programme entry status to seven projects for the Business Rates Retention Pilot (BRRP) programme with a capital investment of £34.56m and £1.44m revenue investment.

This document provides an easy-to-reference summary of all the projects that will benefit from BRRP investment, their status, the delivery partner, main contractor, total cost of scheme and the benefits of the investment.


South Reading Mass Rapid Transit Phases 3 & 4

This scheme has also received Local Growth Funds

Phases 3 and 4 will provide a series of bus priority measures on the A33 between Rose Kiln Lane and Bennett Road, and connecting routes in Reading town centre. The scheme will reduce congestion and journey times, improving public transport reliability on the main corridor into Reading.

Delivery Partner: Reading Borough Council

Main contractor: Wills Brothers

LEP investment of BRRP: £7,808,000 (2018/19)

LEP investment of LGF: £2,340,000 (2017/18: £2.25m, 2018/19: £90k)

Total cost of the scheme: £12,684,000

Status: On site

  • The BLTB awarded financial approval for LGF for the full scheme in November 2017. The programme entry status award for the BRRP is for the remaining funds (see breakdown above)
  • Construction of the town centre elements of the scheme are complete, including commissioning of the pedestrian crossing on London Street
  • Detailed design being progressed for phase 4 scheme with procurement due to take place in summer 2019
  • Construction works ongoing including utility diversions currently being undertaken which has delayed progress in completing the element of the scheme currently on-site
  • Works along the A33, including an outbound bridge extension, are ongoing


Winnersh Relief Road (Phase 2)

The Winnersh Relief Road scheme will provide a new relief road to the west of the current Winnersh crossroads junction and will be delivered in two phases. The first phase was developed by Bovis / Persimmon to support new housing, opened in June 2018. The second phase by Wokingham Borough Council, will provide a new junction on the A329 Reading Road and will dual a section of Lower Earley Way (B3270).

Delivery Partner: Wokingham Borough Council

Main contractor: Balfour Beatty

LEP investment of BRRP: £6,260,000 (2018/19: £3m; 2019/20: £3.26m)

Total cost of scheme: £20,402,223

Status: On-site

  • The project has received the Full Business Case approval in February 2019
  • Early enabling works commenced in January 2019, including detailed surveys and vegetation clearance. These will continue through the spring
  • Lower Earley Way Dualling - Main Construction began Feb '19

South Wokingham Distributor Road – Eastern Gateway

Part of the South Wokingham Distributor Road, the Eastern Gateway scheme will comprise of a single carriageway distributor road connecting Montague Park with Waterloo Road, including a new road bridge over the Waterloo rail line.

Delivery Partner: Wokingham Borough Council

Main contractor: VolkerHighways

LEP investment of BRRP: £5,000,000 (2019/20)

Total cost of scheme: £20,159,263

Status: On-site

  • The project received financial approval at the BLTB meeting in November 2019


Slough Mass Rapid Transit Phase 2

The A4 forms the spine of a 12km strategic public transport corridor that links Maidenhead, Slough and Heathrow and plays an important role in providing surface access to the airport. Phase 2 will extend the Slough Mass Rapid Transit (SMaRT) project from its current end point at Langley and take it onto the Heathrow service road. Bus lanes and other priority measures will be provided in the new section between Langley and eastwards beyond Junction 5 of the M4 and onto Heathrow.

Delivery Partner: Slough Borough Council

Main contractor: SBC Direct Service Organisation

LEP investment of BRRP: £13,300,000 (2019/20: £1m; 2020/21: £12.3m)

Total cost of scheme: £13,300,000

Status: On-site

  • Full Business case has been approved in January 2019
  • Initial enabling works / trial holes in progress.


Maidenhead: Housing Sites Enabling Works Phase 1

This scheme has also received Local Growth Funds

This scheme consists of a package of traffic management measures to deliver additional capacity at key junctions around Maidenhead where modelling has indicated that severe peak hour congestion is likely to occur as a result of planned development and regeneration activity. The scheme will facilitate economic growth by unlocking major housing and commercial development. It will also improve journey times for passengers accessing the Great Western Main Line/Elizabeth Line. The works will be progressed in phases in order to minimise the impact on the local road network.

Delivery Partner: Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead

Main contractor: Volker Highways

LEP investment of BRRP: £1,068,000 (2020/21)

LEP investment of LGF: £4,213,000 (2020/21)

Total cost of the scheme: £6,334,500

Status: On-site

  • RBWM has appointed CALA Homes as its joint venture partner for the Maidenhead Golf Club development, and is submitting a Housing Infrastructure Fund bid for on and off-site transport infrastructure improvements, which is complementary to the LGF bid
  • Business case approved subject to conditions at the extraordinary meeting of the Local Transport Body held on Business case approved subject to conditions at the extraordinary meeting of the Local Transport Body held on 31 January 2019. Currently working to discharge conditions attached to funding
  • Traffic and topographical surveys have been completed to inform the preliminary design process. Modelling bases have been established and are undergoing calibration
  • Design of the A308 / Stafferton Way junction scheme is underway as the first element of the project

Berkshire Wider Projects

Superfast Berkshire

Superfast Berkshire is a collaboration between the six Berkshire unitary authorities and Thames Valley Berkshire LEP to bring high speed broadband solutions to residents and businesses, which are considered commercially un-viable by telecoms companies. The scheme is part of the government’s national scheme (managed by Broadband Delivery UK, part of DCMS) to expand high speed broadband across the country.

Delivery Partner: West Berkshire (Phase 2) Gigaclear & Callflow; East Berkshire (Phase 3): Gigaclear

LEP investment of BRRP: £546,920 (16/17: £43.5k; 17/18 £392k; 20/21: £111k)

Total cost of scheme: £21,027,382

Status: On site

  • The Superfast coverage stands at 96%
  • In RBWM 1,520 properties received access to a superfast broadband solution through an ‘open access’ network. Build completed in 2017
  • In West Berkshire the build is complete in 18 community areas with a total of 6,793 funded homes ‘Ready for Service’ and 1,957 live customers. There are 20 community areas still under construction
  • Phase 3 Wokingham - activity plans to be agreed

Scheme benefits:

  • Number of additional businesses with broadband access of at least 30mbps - 1,440
  • Superfast Broadband Coverage (Speed Greater than 24Mbit/s) for Berkshire:
  • After Phase 2 - 95.60%
  • After Phase 3 - 99.64%

Thames Valley Berkshire Smart City Cluster

This scheme has also received Local Growth Funds

The project will deliver a smart city platform across Reading, Bracknell, Wokingham and West Berkshire benefiting residents and employees, and encouraging economic development. A communications platform will provide a low powered wide area network (LPWAN), the platform for the Internet of Things, and open up huge opportunities for the low cost deployment of smart devices for business, developers and local authorities to use.

In addition to the LPWAN network, there will also be a data platform built around the existing open data service. The key will be using BSI Hypercat standards approach to ensure an open system that allows data to be shared between systems with sufficient security. This will enable the smart city cluster to grow organically with new systems added, but without ‘lock-in’ to an overall smart city platform supplier. A series of smart tech solutions will be built on this platform, including air quality monitoring using a wide dispersal of low cost monitors. The project will be delivered in 3 main stages, the 1st stage being the main capital investment for the smart city platform and air quality monitors, and the 2nd and 3rd stages being a two-phase capital investment in the IoT smart city sensors and supporting data systems.

To ensure innovation whilst also meeting procurement requirements, the funding will be offered in competitive calls requiring a level of match, mirroring the approach used by Innovate UK. This will deliver a range of projects within the Reading, Bracknell, Wokingham and West Berkshire areas around transport, energy, environment and assisted living, with a package focused on small scale funding for start-ups. It is hoped that the allocation of LGF core capital funding will be a catalyst for both the public sector and large companies looking to engage in smart city opportunities.

Delivery Partner: Reading Borough Council with project management from Peter Brett Associates

LEP investment of LGF: £1,440,194 (17/18: £83.4k; 18/19: £255k; 19/20: £802k; 20/21: £300k)

LEP investment of BRRP: £577,080 (19/20: £293k; 20/21: £284k)

Total cost of scheme: £9,952,654

Status: On site

  • Associated bid to Adept has been awarded £4.7m of highway and transport innovation funding with a detailed project plan to be developed by spring 2019
  • Revised milestones have been agreed with Steering Group to learn from first challenge fund
  • Detailed LoRa mapping was undertaken over the summer and a design completed to maximise population coverage using the remaining LoRa Units

Scheme benefits:

Economic: Attracting funding for research, business investment and start-ups in delivering smart products

Environmental: The project has the potential to deliver significant environmental benefits in that improved infrastructure network management services will smooth vehicle flow, improve fuel economy and reduce emissions and air quality risk

(C) Thames Valley Berkshire LEP Ltd November 2020