Agenda item

Executive Director's Report: Economy, Environment and Infrastructure

Colin Chick, Director of Economy, Community & Infrastructure to update the Committee on current issues.


7.1       As apologies had been received from Colin Chick, the department’s three Lead Commissioners were present at the meeting to cover this item. It was agreed that each would take their relevant sections of the report in turn and answer questions.


7.2       To begin, Simon Excell, Lead Commissioner for Strategic Infrastructure, covered the main points within section 4 of the report. It was advised that 4.1 and 4.3 were expecting imminent decisions on their funding, potentially by this time next week as this was budget day for the Government.


7.3       The West Cheltenham Transport Improvement project hoped to have site mobilisation shortly as contractors were currently being appointed and the Local Transport Plan Review had received a lot of public and member interest during its consultation period. This would be discussed in further detail at the Committee’s joint meeting in May 2020.


7.4       It was queried whether officers were concerned that a number of major infrastructure schemes would be impacted in the same way as the Heathrow runway project. It was advised that confidence still remained on these schemes but the team would continue to monitor the national picture and respond accordingly. In addition, GCC were very keen to work with district councils to make sure their local plans had sufficient and robust transport evidence within them.


7.5       A member asked if the final version of the GCC officer representations on the recent consultation for the Stroud District Local Plan could be shared with the Committee.




7.6       Second, Philip Williams, Lead Commissioner for Community Infrastructure, covered section 3 of the report. Members were advised that the changes to revert Boots corner back would likely take a few months yet. There were a lot of temporary safety barriers in place and the pedestrian crossing needed to be reinstated properly.


7.7       The Climate Change Strategy was in its first year of the action plan and the high level commitments. A temporary project manager started in the team last month and Gloucester City Council would be recruiting a countywide coordinator post to help align future activities.


7.8       A member raised an ongoing issue with the traffic light management system at the far end of Boots corner. It was advised that two junctions on the ring road were in the 2020/21 capital works improvement programme.


7.9       It was questioned how carbon emissions and the impact on climate change would be communicated through the due regards statement process for council policy. It was advised that it would have to be taken offline and discussed with the officer leading on the strategy as to how high of a priority this particular aspect was during the first year. It was recognised however that the impact on climate change should be taken into account across all the Council’s works.




7.10    Concern was raised that during the recent flooding incidents in Tewkesbury, traffic wardens were booking vehicles and it was requested that officers address this to make sure it didn’t happen during future incidents.


7.11    Finally, Kathryn Haworth, Lead Commissioner for Highways, covered the main points of section 2.


7.12    The recent Storm Ciara and Storm Denis experienced in the county had stress tested the highways teams emergency response capabilities and a review had been undertaken. On the whole, the response went well but there were always improvements that could be made. The staffing resource levels were sufficient but just, it was acknowledged that if there had been another extreme weather incident for example, it would have been a struggle to respond efficiently. The review had resulted in a reflection on o the department’s continuity plans.


7.13    A lot of the effected highways sites were still underwater but the gangs had started to review the damage caused to the network. Members would be kept informed if planned works in their division were to be effected by the need to reprioritise damaged areas.


7.14    A member raised an issue with the new highways ‘Report It’ system in that they were not sure all reported issues are showing on the website. It was advised that the system had been inundated with reports. Over the month of February, the team received something in excess of 6000 public reports of issues on the network, which was a significant increase. When issues were reported, the information goes straight into the work stream rather than being double handed and should put a dot on the ‘Report It’ map to show it had been reported. It was advised this concern would be taken away and the team could check the site for any issues.




7.15    A member also commented that sometimes a report was responded to with ‘no fault found’ and this was very difficult message to communicate back to residents with no additional information. It was noted for future consideration.


7.16    Discussing the recent floods in Tewkesbury, a member questioned why many roads were remaining closed when, with suitable traffic light management, they could open in some form. It was advised that the team were currently working their way through work streams like this following the incident. The point was noted and taken away to work on improving the approach for the future.


7.17    The Committee paid thanks to the Highways team for all their hard work in responding to the recent flooding in the county in a timely manner.

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