Agenda and minutes

Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 7 March 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Laura Powick 

Items
No. Item

54.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs Jeremy Hilton and Patrick Molyneux.

 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson substituted at the meeting for Cllr Hilton.

55.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2018 were approved and signed by the Chair.

56.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the Committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.

 

Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

57.

Motion 787: Pavements pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To receive a report on measures to improve the inspection and fixing of pavements.

Minutes:

Cllr Vernon Smith, Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood, presented a report on measures to improve the inspection and fixing of pavements to the Committee.

 

The Committee noted that, on 7 December 2016, full Council considered Motion 787: Pavements, and resolved that the Cabinet Member report back to the Highways Advisory Group on measures to improve the inspection and fixing of pavements, before reporting back to Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee with a positive action plan. However, as the Highways Advisory Group was disbanded, the report was being received directly by the Committee.

 

The Committee was informed that the level of investment for footways throughout the County was anticipated to be £800k for the 2018-19 financial year, and, in addition to capital funding, there was also investment on the footway network from the revenue budget, contributions by members from their Highways Local allocation, and lengthsmen activities.

 

The Committee was advised that the 3600km of footways within the County were inspected according to a scheduled programme, in addition to reactive inspections following reports of defects by members of the public. Members were also informed that the Highways Safety Inspection Policy had been tested in the courts over a number of years, and that the judiciary had recognised the process as robust.

 

It was recommended to the Committee that the current best practice approach be continued and supported, and that members should continue to work closely with their Local Highways Managers to assign their Highways Local allocations towards footways works they wished to prioritise in their divisions.

 

Cllr Hodgkinson, who proposed the motion at full Council, highlighted the poor state of footways in his division, and the need for better measures to improve the inspection of footways.

 

Cllr Hodgkinson also highlighted his disappointment that it had taken over a year for the motion to be considered by the Committee. It was suggested that there needed to be better monitoring of actions resulting from motions at full Council. Following a discussion, it was agreed that the Chairman would raise the issue with the Head of Democratic Services.

 

There were queries from members regarding the assessment of town centres by walked inspections, and regarding the liability and cost of footways claims.

 

Several members expressed their satisfaction at working with their Local Highways Manager to identify and resolve problems with footways in their divisions.

 

Following a detailed discussion, it was agreed that the issue of footways would be added to the work plan for the Committee to reconsider in a year’s time. It was also suggested that the local highways satisfaction survey include a specific section for the consideration of footways and cycle ways in the future.

 

The Cabinet Member expressed his thanks to officers for contributing to the report, as well as to the highways crews who had worked to ensure transport could keep moving on the roads during the recent snow events.

 

 

58.

A417 'Missing Link' Consultation pdf icon PDF 409 KB

To consider a report on the A417 ‘Missing Link’ consultation.

Minutes:

Amanda Lawson-Smith, Transport Planning Team Manager, gave a presentation to the Committee on the A417 ‘Missing Link’ consultation, which was being undertaken by Highways England between 15 February and 29 March 2018. The Committee noted that it was on the Cabinet Forward Plan for a Lead Cabinet Member decision to be taken on 22 March 2018 on the response from the Council to the consultation.

 

The Committee was advised that, following a process of sifting and assessment, Highways England were presenting Option 12 and Option 30 as their proposed route options for the A417 ‘Missing Link’, and that Highways England had recommended Option 30 as the preferred route.

 

The Committee considered the options proposed by Highways England in detail. In particular, the Committee discussed how to raise the issue of noise pollution along the A417 and A419 with Highways England, in addition to whether an item on the consultation could be debated at the full Council meeting on 28 March 2018.

 

One member expressed their concern regarding the options proposed by Highways England, however the majority of members expressed their support for the work which was being undertaken to address the A417 ‘Missing Link’.

 

Following the discussion, the Committee voted on its preferred route option. The majority of members (7) voted in support of Option 30, whilst the remaining member voted against both route options.

 

The Committee agreed to present its view in a statement to the Cabinet Member for Economy, Skills and Growth, for him to consider as part of his decision on the Council’s response to the consultation. The Committee agreed to propose in its statement to the Cabinet Member that he consider:

 

-       Supporting the recommendation by Highways England that Option 30 was the preferred route for the A417 ‘Missing Link’;

-       Requesting, in the Council’s response to the consultation, that noise attenuation along the A417/A419 be addressed as part of the A417 ‘Missing Link’ scheme; and

-       Raising the A417 ‘Missing Link’ consultation as an item on the agenda for debate at the full Council meeting on 28 March 2018.

 

59.

A429 Task Group pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To receive an update report on the A429 Task Group recommendations.

Minutes:

Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure, updated the Committee on progress with the A429 Task Group recommendations. The A429 Task Group report and recommendations were previously considered by the Committee on 18 May 2016, before it was presented to Cabinet on 8 June 2016.

 

In particular, Cllr Moor highlighted to the Committee progress with recommendation 2 (promote the importance of the A429 to the economic health of the vibrant rural community through which it travels; and in the longer term, to seek reclassification of the road as a trunk road). It was noted that officers and the Lead Cabinet Member had concluded that the likelihood of the A429 being classified as a trunk road was low and that the Council should therefore focus its attention on opportunities for managing HGV traffic and dealing with capacity issues. The partial review of the Gloucestershire LTP in 2018 also presented an opportunity to consider the status of the A429.

 

The Committee was also informed, in relation to recommendation 6 (support air quality monitoring at key locations, including Stow-on-the-Wold and Moreton-in-Marsh), that there had recently been new investment in mobile air quality monitoring equipment, which could be used across the districts in Gloucestershire. It was also noted that a task group focussed on air pollution had been established, and that the Council budget for 2018-19 included investment into an Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Delivery Programme.

 

One member expressed their mixed feelings on the update report, highlighting a concern over a lack of short-term solutions to the issues raised by the task group. Clarification was also sought on the list of S106 contributions and CIL money which was available along the A429 corridor.

 

Cllr Moor thanked the Committee for supporting the work of the A429 Task Group.

60.

Chief Fire Officer Report pdf icon PDF 111 KB

The Committee to note a report from the Chief Fire Officer, detailing information on the portfolio of services provided by the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Stewart Edgar, Chief Fire Officer, presented the report to the Committee, which detailed information on the portfolio of services provided by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS).

 

In particular, members noted that GFRS had submitted its response to the consultation on the new Fire and Rescue National Framework for England; that preparations for the HMICFRS inspection, which was likely to take place in spring 2019, were progressing well; and that, following a comprehensive review, GFRS had developed a revised set of key and local performance indicators.

 

Attention was also drawn to the interim report for the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety, which was appended to the report.

 

In response to a query, it was explained that the inaugural meeting of the Blue Light Collaboration Board had taken place and that potential sites for joint blue light bases were to be considered in May 2018.

 

61.

Commissioning Directors Report pdf icon PDF 360 KB

Nigel Riglar, Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure to update the Committee on current issues.

Minutes:

Philip Williams, Lead Commissioner: Community Infrastructure, updated the Committee on current issues on behalf of the Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure. In particular, members noted that:

 

a)    The Structural Maintenance contract had been awarded to Tarmac, and that a decision on the Term Maintenance Contract was due in September 2018;

b)    The number of gritting runs as part of the highway maintenance winter operations was in the high 70s already for this year due to recent snow events;

c)    The tender for a replacement Park and Ride service at Arle Court in Cheltenham had been suspended to consider commercial interest from bus operators;

d)    The last phase of the library Growth Hubs would be rolled out by 31 March 2018, an Innovation Lab was being set up at Coleford Library, and there had been a lot of interest nationally in the Gloucestershire model; and that

e)    A recruitment process was underway within the Highways Development Management Team to recruit to vacant and new positions.

 

Members were also invited to attend the Bike Hire Members Seminar which was taking place on Tuesday 13 March 2018.

 

Members asked questions, in particular, on changes following the road safety review; gritting supplies; the relationship between parking and cycling routes; the Highways Contract; the shared space on Southgate Street, Gloucester; and highways maintenance within member divisions.

 

In response to a query, it was clarified that a report from the Cabinet Member on issues relating to Public Rights of Way, including timescale and officer capacity, which was referred to the Committee by full Council on 14 February 2018, would be received at the Committee meeting on 9 May 2018.

 

The Committee noted the report.

62.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings. (Work plan attached).

Minutes:

At its meeting on 9 May 2018, the Committee would receive a report on the recommendations of the Air Pollution and its Impact on Public Health Task Group. The Committee would also receive a report from the Cabinet Member on issues relating to Public Rights of Way, including timescale and officer capacity, which was referred to the Committee by full Council on 14 February 2018 following a proposed amendment to the budget.

 

It was proposed that items on electric vehicle infrastructure and libraries be considered at the July meeting, that an item on national park status for the Cotswolds be considered at the September meeting, and an item on Fastershire Broadband be considered at the November meeting.

63.

Future meetings

9 May 2018

11 July 2018

19 September 2018

7 November 2018

Minutes:

The Committee noted the meeting dates for the remainder of 2018.