Colin Chick, Strategic Adviser (Communities & Infrastructure) to update the Committee on current issues.
5.1 Colin Chick, Strategic Adviser (Communities & Infrastructure), updated the Committee on current issues. In particular, members noted that:
· At 2.3 the project remains on track and the purchase of necessary property at Hatherley Lane is about to complete.
· The assessment meeting for Junction 10 went well, but officers were informed the decision is likely to be closer to Christmas than the autumn. The project is still on schedule to meet the 2024 deadline, if funding is approved.
· The Junction 9 scheme is at a critical stage. As stated in the report no funding has yet been approved, but the scheme is vital for several other departments including Homes England and Highways England. As no one department can afford the scheme alone, officers are currently exploring the option of taking a presentation to the Houses of Parliament for the day to promote the need for joined up Government to deliver it.
· Rail improvements are beginning to gain traction. It is vital that rail becomes a viable alternative for travel in the county, our tracks run alongside the m5 and yet they service 1% of all trips. This is because many services are unattractive, especially for work commutes.
· The first stage of improvements are set to see a direct hourly services to London from December, allowing 2,500 extra seats going both ways each day and improved peak hour service availability. From 2021 a 30 minute frequency to Bristol and an improved service from North Cotswolds into London by the end of 2019.
· The second stage will be building the infrastructure to connect growth areas in a sustainable way.
· Javelin Park is now taking waste from all authorities.
5.2 There was a question on when the LED street lighting programme was due to complete. It was advised that there was a small proportion left to complete, mostly in tricky locations. A member asked for feedback on an area which had not been yet been completed.
ACTION: KATH HAWORTH
5.3 On questioning, the Committee were informed that if the Junction 10 bid is unsuccessful, the Council cannot afford to fund the scheme alone. There could be an option of using the County’s bid to Government through the Great Western Powerhouse.
5.4 There was a discussion about making rail use more attractive to run alongside all the improvements. Members advised the need to look at parking solutions for the County’s rail stations, as well as making pubic transport a more cost effective option. If there were to be a significant increase in people using rail stations, this would create enough people for bus companies to consider extra services/new routes.
5.5 A member paid thanks to officers involved with all continuing flood alleviation works. There was a request to circulate the Environment Agency National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management strategy consultation response.
ACTION: SIMON EXCELL
5.6 There was a question regarding electric vehicle charging points in Gloucestershire. The Committee heard a programme is being developed but there was nothing definitive to feedback yet.
5.7 There is a lot of research needed around how the County will achieve the Government’s target and understanding the implications for Gloucestershire. Officers need to understand the number of electric vehicles currently on the road, what the increase needs to be, the reliance of households on on-street charging etc. There was also a suggestion of looking at a ‘try before you buy’ scheme to alleviate any apprehension for users.
5.8 Members requested a formal update at the next Committee meeting.
ACTION: PHILLIP WILLIAMS
5.9 On questioning, members were informed that the summer hours roll out at the recycling centres have been well received and work continues to improve access at all centres.