To note any apologies for absence.
No apologies were received.
ELECTION OF VICE-CHAIR
Members were advised that as the legislation allowing local authorities to hold meetings virtually came to an end in May, any meetings now held remotely would not be formal meetings.
This meeting was an introductory session to the Committee and therefore any formal business could not be carried out. Members were advised to give thought to their nominations for vice-chair ready for the next formal meeting of the Committee.
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.
No declarations of interest were received.
Lead Commissioners to introduce members to the service areas within the remit of the Committee. A copy of the Terms of Reference for this Committee are attached.
Presentations to be received as follows:
1) Strategic Infrastructure – Simon Excell, Lead Commissioner (presentation attached)
2) Community Infrastructure – Philip Williams, Lead Commissioner (presentation to follow)
3) Highways – Kathryn Haworth, Lead Commissioner (presentation attached)
4) Waste Management – Wayne Lewis, Head of Waste Management (presentation attached)
4.1 Colin Chick, Executive Director for Economy, Environment and Infrastructure (EE&I), introduced the department to the Committee and explained that introductory presentations would follow from four of the six Lead Commissioners/Heads of Service within EE&I, and covering the main areas that came within the Committees scope.
4.2 Members noted how closely linked the economic and environment agendas had become, meaning the department often had to find a balance between improving one but not damaging the other at the same time.
4.3 The first presentation was received from Simon Excell, Lead Commissioner for Strategic Infrastructure and members noted the following:
· Gloucestershire was a growing county, but also a very constrained county. Slide 1 showed the Central Seven Vale where 60-65% of the county’s future growth would be located.
· The natural constraints within this area were represented on the key, namely the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the green belt, active flood plains and the Forest of Dean area.
· In addition the second key showed different levels of development for the county from actively ongoing to future potential.
· Whilst it was not GCC’s role or responsibility to dictate future planning (this was the responsibility of the district councils), what it could and tried to do was heavily influence the quantum, location and type of future development.
· As an authority it had many duties to provide infrastructure which was often dictated by future developments e.g. highways and education provision.
· To give members a flavour, it was advised that there were currently between 3-4,000 new houses (county-wide) due each year.
· The team also undertook the role of Lead Local Flood Authority. Since the major flooding in 2007, the County Council had ring-fenced monies for delivering flood alleviation works. As a minimum, there was a £2.1m spend per annum.
· The team also commented on all major planning applications to make sure districts and developers were aware of any potential impacts on flood risk and how to mitigate these.
· As a predominantly rural county, GCC had a statutory responsibility and duty to produce AONB management plans for the three areas (Cotswolds, Wye Valley and Malvern Hills).
· The county is rich in heritage, and amongst other things it was home to important Roman settlements. The team therefore also comment on planning applications to help find a balance between enabling development but not to the detriment of Gloucestershire’s valuable history.
· There was a statutory responsibility to produce a number of plans including the Minerals Local Plan, Waste Core Strategy, Local Transport Plan etc.
· Gloucestershire was very rich in minerals; GCC was required to determine quantum and location of all future mineral extraction.
· Likewise the Waste Core Strategy outlined the location and management of waste (the waste disposal function is with the Waste Management team).
· It was the team’s responsibility to negotiate and secure appropriate developer contributions for housing developments. It was vital for these to be secured to ensure future growth was supported by the relevant infrastructure. There was a Local Development Guide which enhanced ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment & Infrastructure to update the Committee on current issues.
5.1 Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure, updated the Committee on current issues. In particular, members noted that:
· The term maintenance contract was in its third year and was going well. GCC had won awards for collaborative working.
· The Highways Skills Academy was also doing very well and was bringing through young people, generally from the county, into careers in the highways transport sector. It had just brought online its first advanced apprenticeship.
· Highways delivery was still feeling the affects of an incredibly bad winter (due to front line staff being on emergency standby from the flooding in December until early March from a ‘perfect storm’ of weather events impacting the road surfaces).
· This had resulted in 16,000 potholes being repaired from the beginning of January until end of April 2021, estimated at 1000 repairs per week, on top of all the other work of gritting etc.
· The highways winter maintenance budget overspent by £250,000 last financial year and £500,000 on responsive maintenance. Two months into this financial year, the team were still repairing damage from winter 2020/21.
· The impact on staff saw almost double the amount of gangs being needed on the network in comparison to last winter.
· M5 J10 was moving forward very well with the Preferred Route being announced yesterday.
· GCC were working with Tewkesbury Borough, acting as advisors on the design and implementation of the bridge at Ashchurch which would open up the first part of the Garden Town Development.
· The CPO orders for the South West Bypass development had been approved. There was now a Judicial Review period until the end of August with construction due to start in January 2022.
· This project had always been dependent upon funding being secured from Government. The initial bid had been made to the ‘Pinch Point’ funding scheme, however had now been incorporated into the ‘Levelling Up’ funding pot and therefore required a new application. A combined bid (to include the B4063 / A40 Highways England Cycling Scheme project) was therefore now being submitted.
· Funding had been secured from Government (£1.3m) for two demand responsive public transport trials in the FOD and Cotswolds.
· There were ongoing issues with the county receiving any monies from developments through the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). The potential financial loss to the council of this continuing could be millions.
5.2 Noting the major concern around CIL monies, it was added that the county had been trying for several months to secure agreement to commission an external study on the issue. Unfortunately this had only just made procurement and therefore once in place would be many months after it was initially needed.
5.3 The main issue with using the CIL arrangement over S106 was the amounts that could be taken off an already very limited pot of money. The districts were able to charge an admin fee against the monies and if there were any neighbourhood plans where the development was, up to 25% of the remaining fund could be ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings.
Members noted the future items in the attached work plan and suggested the following to be added:
· Issues surrounding the Community Infrastructure Levy and S106
· Highway repairs – methods and processes
· Local Transport Plan
· Flooding – lessons learnt from the December 2020 flood events and future action
· School street trials
· Climate Change Action Plan – to understand whether Gloucestershire is on track to meet its commitments and explore whether the plan is ambitious enough to address the crisis at hand
· E-scooters trial
It was confirmed the Chair would share a draft work plan proposal with members to consider following the meeting.