Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Emma James/ Jo Weston  Overview and Scrutiny Officers

Items
No. Item

355.

Apologies and Welcome

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Mr J A D O’Donnell, Ms C M Stalker, Dr K A Pollock (Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure) and Mrs L C Hodgson (Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities).

356.

Declarations of Interest and of any Party Whip

Minutes:

None.

357.

Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by email indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 20 November 2019).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/email address below.

 

Minutes:

None.

358.

Confirmation of the Minutes of the previous meeting

Previously circulated.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 11 September 2019 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

359.

Residents Zonal Parking Schemes and Additional Carparks pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In attendance for this item were:

 

Worcestershire County Council:

Nigel Hudson, Head of Strategic Infrastructure and Economy

Sarah Gilmour, Intelligent Transport Systems Manager

Gary Williams, Principal Traffic Management Engineer

Alan Amos, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Highways

 

Worcester City Council:

Ashley Snookes, responsible for civil parking enforcement

 

The Head of Strategic Infrastructure and Economy drew the Panel’s attention to Appendix 2 of the agenda report which summarised the current situation, emerging schemes, and issues and challenges.  During the discussion, the following main points were raised:

 

·       The Intelligent Transport Systems Manager emphasised that the main purpose of the policy was to improve the quality of life of Worcestershire residents.

·       She went on to outline the key eligibility criteria for setting up a residents parking scheme as set out in the County Council’s current policy.

·       It was confirmed that there were currently schemes in each district council area.

·       Members were informed that it was the ‘Worcestershire way’ to introduce schemes with the intention of benefitting residents.  Other Local Authorities had introduced schemes to encourage residents to use public transport.  This had not yet been the case in Worcestershire.

·       A Member suggested that a main concern for residents close to town and city centres was commuter parking, which restricted residents’ ability to park close to their homes.  He suggested that if time restrictions could be imposed on non-residents this would be helpful, ie non-residents not being allowed to park between 12 and 1pm.  In response, the Principal Traffic Management Engineer confirmed that schemes such as this were in operation in the County and gave the example of St Georges Square, Worcester, a scheme which had been agreed with the local residents.

·       It was suggested that the bigger the zone covered by a scheme, the less knock-on effect there would be to surrounding streets.  The need for legitimate short-term parking for commuters was acknowledged and it was suggested that the charge for this should be the same as for off-street parking, to avoid incentivising on-street parking.  The Head of Strategic Infrastructure and Economy reminded the Panel that to date the County Council had not taken a town/city-wide approach, but instead had reacted to local issues to keep the traffic flowing.

·       In response to a question about how other Local Authorities approached residents parking schemes, Members were informed that, at the time that the original policy was devised, officers had written to all Local Authorities in England and Wales to ask how they organised residents parking schemes.  The responses had been very diverse, with authorities taking very different approaches.

·       Members were reminded that a decision to charge for on-street parking would require investment in new equipment.

·       A Member informed the Panel of a situation in his division where commuters were parking in residential streets near the local railway station, resulting in a lack of space for local residents.  As a solution, parking restrictions had been put in place for half an hour in the middle of the day to discourage those using the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 359.

360.

Countryside Access pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In attendance for this item were:

 

Ian Bamforth, Highways and Public Rights of Way Manager

Phil Coulson, Public Rights of Way Operations Manager

 

The Panel received a presentation, the slides of which had been included in the agenda papers.  In the course of the presentation and discussion, the following main points were raised:

 

·       The Public Rights of Way (PRoW) Team managed 4604km of network across the County.  This was the third densest network in the Country.  Managing the network was a statutory duty. There were 4.3 FTE staff (with one vacant post) in the PRoW Mapping Team and 7.4 FTE staff in the PRoW Operations Team.

·       The routes were used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders and had recreational and health benefits.  The network included a number of high-profile routes which attracted tourism into the County, such as the Worcestershire Way.

·       The PRoW Mapping Team’s duties included processing Definitive Map Modifications Orders (DMMOs) which may result in changes or additions to the definitive map.  It was confirmed that instances where the reality on the ground was not reflected on the Definitive Map would be prioritised.  The number of planning and other development applications requiring temporary closures was increasing each year.

·       It was confirmed that the County Council would be responsible for work in relation to large infrastructure projects whereas smaller developments would be looked after by the District Councils.

·       It was confirmed that work in relation to Public Rights of Way was not holding up any developments.  Engagement between District Council Planning Officers and the PRoW Team had improved recently leading to a better end result.

·       The Chairman of the Panel expressed concern about a particular DMMO in Badsey which had been on the list since 2012.  The Highways and Public Rights of Way Manager reminded the Panel that there was a defined amount of staff and the Team did what it could within available resources.  This reflected the national situation.  Work was managed and prioritised in an orderly fashion and to best effect.  It was suggested by the Chairman of the Panel that the completion of only one DMMO per year meant there would be a 55-year backlog.

·       A potential future challenge was the implementation of the Deregulation Act.  It was not yet clear when this would be put in place but the Service was watching to assess the possible impact.

·       A Member of the Panel expressed concern about the reduction in the useable bridleway network as a result of erosion and other damage.  Some riders had experienced following a route only to find some of the bridleway was unusable.  The Public Rights of Way Operations Manager reminded Members that, if riders were aware of an issue with the network, they should raise it with the team and it would be dealt with in a prioritised way.  Issues with the network could also be reported on the County Council’s website.  Members were reminded that not wanting to ride on a damaged bridleway was a matter of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 360.

361.

Performance and In-Year Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In attendance for this item were:

 

Nigel Hudson, Head of Strategic Infrastructure and Economy

Steph Simcox, Head of Finance

Dave Corbett, Management Information Analyst

 

In the course of the discussion, the following main points were made:

 

·       At the Chairman’s request, the Panel had received additional information on the completion of pothole repairs.  However, the figures did not provide the necessary transparency and further detail was needed with reference to how long it had taken to carry out repairs and when they had been fixed.

·       Members suggested that residents should be able to report potholes by uploading a photo from their smartphones, potentially removing the need for an engineer’s inspection.  It was reported that this was already done by Severn Trent in relation to leaks.

 

Q2 2019/20 Budget Monitoring

 

·       The Head of Finance advised that the financial situation was slightly improved from the end of Q1 and this was a positive position for the Directorate to be in.  The majority of budgets were showing underspends with only street lighting showing an overspend.

·       In relation to this overspend, Members were reminded that work was ongoing to reduce the energy kw usage and a further detailed report on the corporate energy contract was to be discussed at the Corporate and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel in December.  A Panel Member suggested that it may be necessary to undertake a ‘deep dive’ on street lighting so that scrutiny Members could understand why savings were not being achieved.  It was suggested that the Chairman of the Economy and Environment O&S Panel should be invited to attend Corporate and Communities O&S Panel on 10 December when the corporate energy contract was being discussed.

·       In response a question from the Chairman of the Panel, it was confirmed that the £673k proposed withdrawal from reserves/grants in relation to Strategic Infrastructure and Economy covered a number of small projects.

·       It was confirmed that waste contract negotiations were ongoing.

·       The Head of Finance confirmed that the figures for end of P7 were showing a slightly improved position.

·       In response to a question about the financial impact of the recent floods in the County, Members were informed that an element of reserves was available for winter pressures.  It was still too early to know the financial impact and this would be seen in the P8 report.

 

Areas of Success and Challenge

 

·       The Panel had received a summary highlighting the Directorate’s areas of success and challenge.

·       A Member of the Panel asked whether Envirosort were looking at new technologies to improve recycling rates.  A further question was asked about the level of contamination in recycling bins.  The Head of Strategic Infrastructure and Economy agreed to look into this and bring further information back to the Panel.

  • The Panel noted an improvement in the number of days taken to approve Section 278 technical submissions.  The average number of days had reduced from 279 days in 2018/19 to 219 days in 2019/20 Q2.  However, it appeared that the number of submissions by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 361.

362.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members of the Panel were asked to contact the Chairman following the meeting with details of any issues they would like to raise with Ringway at the Panel’s January meeting.

 

Members discussed how they would wish to carry out scrutiny of the 2020/2021 budget.  It was agreed that, once the Cabinet Budget report was available in December, the figures relevant to the Panel would be circulated to Members.