North Herts. Highways Partnership Joint Member Panel Minutes

Date:
Monday, 23rd April, 2012
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Jackmans Community Centre, Ivel Court, Letchworth Garden City
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor A. Bardett (Chairman), M.R.M. Muir (vice-Chairman), D.A. Ashley, Councillor David Billing, Councillor Tom Brindley, N.K. Brook, Councillor Paul Clark, Councillor Lisa Courts, Councillor Bill Davidson, K.F. Emsall, Councillor Fiona Hill, Councillor A.F. Hunter, Councillor Alan Millard, Councillor M.R.M. Muir, Councillor R.L. Shakespeare - Smith, Councillor R.A.C. Thake
In attendance:
Richard Jones - Area Service Manager - North and East Herts, Hertfordshire Highways
Roger Flowerday - Lead Assistant District Manager, Hertfordshire Highways
Nigel Schofield - Committee and Member Services Officer
Also Present:
Two members of the public.
Item Description/Decision
PART I
39 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
An apology for absence was received from District Councillor John Bishop.
40 MINUTES
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 30 January 2012 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chairman.
41 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
The Chairman advised the JMP that he would use his discretion to accede to the request from District Councillor Tom Brindley to raise the issue of the future of the Highways Joint Member Panel.
42 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
(1) The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

(2) The Chairman referred the Panel to the paper from County Councillor Stuart
Pile, HCC Executive Member for Highways and Transport tabled at the
meeting about the future of the Highway Joint Member Panels and transfer
to Herts Locality Budgets.

(3) Members were reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any
business set out in the agenda, and the nature of the interest, should be
declared as either a prejudicial or personal interest at the commencement of
the relevant item on the agenda. Members declaring a prejudicial interest
should leave the room and not seek to influence the decision during that
particular item.
43 REFERRALS FROM NHDC AREA COMMITTEES
The Chairman advised the Panel that there had been no referrals from the five NHDC Area Committees since the last meeting of the JMP held on 30 January 2012.
44 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
There was no public participation.
45 HIGHWAYS JOINT MEMBER PANEL SUCCESSOR ARRANGEMENTS
The Chairman referred the JMP to the Memorandum from the HCC Executive Member for Highways and Transport tabled at the meeting in which it was stated that the County Council was determined via the Highway Locality Budget to give local communities greater influence over highway services and for local county members to be a focal point for the service. Consequently there would be a review and change to the format, role and oversight of the local highway service provided by the Joint Member Panels. The JMP noted that HCC Cabinet would make a final decision on 16 July 2012.

The Executive Member would engage with District and Borough Councils to propose that the provision of the highway service would migrate to the Highway Liaison Meeting (as presented to the meeting of this JMP on 31 October 2011 - Minute 19 refers). The Executive Member stated that he intended to report to the next round of the Highways Joint Member Panels in July 2012 to report on the decision made by HCC Cabinet on 16 July 2012.

The second part of the Memorandum gave an update on the award of contracts for Highways Service Team contract and Client Services Team contract. The JMP noted that Ringway had been awarded the Highways Service Team Contract and that four contractors were in the final stages of dialogue with HCC for the Client Services Team Contract for award in May 2012.

The Chairman invited comments and or questions on the memorandum and the proposals made by the HCC Executive Member for Highways and Transport.

It was clear from the ensuing discussion that there was a considerable level of concern and uncertainty on what and how the new Highways Liaison Meeting (HLM) arrangements would work out in North Hertfordshire should the JMPs cease to function and that the Highways Locality Budget would be the way forward. Several Members expressed the view that the role of NHDC Area Committees should be continued and that perhaps other services such as Waste and Environmental Services should be included to establish a Liaison meeting beyond the single highways remit. Petitions should continue to be presented to Area Committees. Another Member questioned the make - up of the Highways Liaison meetings e.g. number of County Councillors and District Councillors. The Area Service Manager advised the JMP that the proposal presented at the meeting in October 2011 was for an invitation to be extended to all County, District/Borough Members as well as Town/Parish Councils wherever possible. It was proposed to be more inclusive than the current HJMP arrangements where only a set number of Members were included, so that any Member who had a highways scheme interest could attend the Highways Liaison Meetings.

The Panel accepted that more information would be available on procedures and protocol for the transference from Highways Joint Member Panels to Highway Liaison Meetings following the meeting of the HCC Cabinet on 16 July 2012 and that it would be appropriate for this JMP to meet in late July or early August to receive the outcomes of the HCC Cabinet meeting.
46 THE FUTURE OF THE JMP
District Councillor Tom Brindley thanked the Panel Chairman for the opportunity to include the future of the JMP as an additional item for discussion. Cllr. Brindley acknowledged the memorandum issued by County Councillor Stuart Pile (HCC Executive Member for Highways and Transport). Councillor Brindley accepted that most of his concerns about the future of the JMP had been discussed and he strongly supported the proposal to hold a meeting of this JMP in late July or early August. Councillor Brindley was advised that there would be a requirement for nominations to the JMP by NHDC that would meet in the new Civic Year and that a Chairman from HCC and Vice Chairman from NHDC would be appointed at this meeting. Councillor Brindley and the JMP noted that at the moment there would be only sufficient resource from Hertfordshire Highways for two Highways Liaison Meetings per annum.

During this second discussion on the way forward and the future of the JMP and progression into Highways Liaison Meetings Members again expressed concern with differing views about the way forward and protocol for highway issues, proposed schemes and the financing of such schemes.

It was subsequently agreed to hold a meeting of the North Hertfordshire Highways Joint Member Panel on Monday 30 July 2012 at the NHDC District Council Offices, Gernon Road Letchworth Garden City.
47 JOINT MEMBER PANEL DISCRETIONARY BUDGET 2011 - 2012
The Lead Assistant District Manager (LADM) advised the Panel that the Discretionary Budget had been fully committed for 2011-2012 and allocated to highway schemes by the JMP at previous meetings (Minutes passim). JMP, NHDC Area Committees, County Councillor Locality Budgets and District Ward Councillor Budgets had been assigned to approved schemes in 2011-2012 and were listed at Table 3.1 (details of each scheme and outcomes of investigations were presented at Appendix B).

The LADM referred the Panel to Table 3.2 (details of each scheme presented at Appendix C) which listed the potential schemes approved previously by the JMP (Minutes passim) that would be carried forward and considered under Highways Locality Budget Phase 2 in 2012-2013. The LADM advised the Panel that schemes proposed for implementation in Phase 1 under Highways Locality Budget in 2012-2013 were listed at Appendix D.

The LADM referred the Panel to Minutes of the meeting held on 30 January 2012 (Minutes 30,31 and 32) which described the background to the three petitions and the findings of officers which were presented in detail at Appendix E. The LADM confirmed that each petitioner had been advised of the officer’s findings.

The Chairman thanked the LADM for the presentation and invited questions or comments from the JMP.

Whilst Members noted the report and in particular the outcomes of the feasibility studies for Vehicle Activated Signs - where only one scheme in Bedford Road, Hitchin met all the criteria. The ASM confirmed that where the criteria for a VAS was fully met then HCC would place this VAS financing into Highways Locality Budget. and 20 mph speed restrictions in certain roads in Hitchin. Comment was made as to the way forward in terms of financing such schemes and how NHDC Area Committees could have the opportunity to consider the costs and whether matched funding would be approved.

There ensued a lengthy discussion on the provision of 20 mph speed limits and two Hitchin District Members were anxious that every effort should be made to take these Hitchin roads into a grouping as the criteria of roads longer than 400 metres had not met the Speed Management Strategy. The Lead Assistant District Manager advised the JMP that these particular roads did not meet the grouping criteria but if there were gaps between roads of less than 400 metres these could still be considered subjectively. Other Members advised officers that constituents wanted 20 mph speed limits in their towns and villages and this should be considered, and a Member advised that the accident criteria was not necessarily valid as accidents in urban roads were invariably two vehicles ‘coming together’ without injury. The Area Service Manager (ASM) understood the concerns of Members but he had to undertake studies within the parameters of the current HCC Strategy on speed limits established in 2009. Unfortunately none of the proposed roads seemed to be suitable for core funding by the County Council and that the feasibility studies had not identified any exceptional problems. The ASM advised the JMP that initial consultation with the Police had indicated no objection , but the Police questioned the need for an imposed speed limit in the urban streets as the Police considered that speeds were compliant and the speeds were under the 35 mph threshold for enforcement.

Not withstanding the replies made by the highways officers it was emphasised by the Hitchin Members that there must be a 20 mph enforcement in the group of roads identified and approved by the Hitchin Committee. Also that recognition should be made of the support nationally by Members of Parliament for a 20 mph speed limit in residential and urban areas and villages.

A Member enquired about the implementation of a 20 mph speed limit in Whitehorse Lane, Great Ashby and the LADM advised that as there were road humps in situ then advance notice to drivers of the speed limit via signing alone could be considered.

Another Member sought confirmation that once the JMP Discretionary Budget had migrated to Highways Locality Budget there would be arrangements made to continue the maintenance of Vehicle Activated Signs. The ASM advise that no decision had been made on this highways issue and that the ‘life’ of a VAS was estimated to be 10 years only and consequently costs for replacement VAS might have to be considered also.

Whilst there had been a sound debate on highway schemes to be funded next year it was clear that there remained a great deal to be done on clarification of funding streams and how Councillors would receive details of costs for highway schemes. The ASM proposed and it was agreed that Councillors should if possible put forward schemes at the next cycle of the NHDC Area Committees in July.

At the end of the debate several Members stressed the need to assess what could be achieved under the Localism Act, that the proposal within Herts Locality Budget was for all highways issues to be progressed via County Councillors, that the current policies used by HCC on highway matters should be respected and that officers had very little leeway against these policies. Financing would be via the Highways Locality Budget and decisions made at Highways Liaison Meetings, and if appropriate raise such highways matters at the HCC Transport Panel.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the updated list of approved highway schemes for 2011-2012 as listed at Paragraph 3.1 and in detail at Appendix B, supported by Appendix A be noted;

(2) That confirmation of the complete allocation of the JMP discretionary budget of £100,000 for 2011-2012 be noted together with contributions of £46,708 from NHDC Area Committees and £4,250 from Hertfordshire County Councillors Locality Budget;

(3) That the list of potential highway schemes identified for 2012 - 2013 under Phase 2 of Herts Local as listed at Paragraph 3.2 and in detail at Appendix C be noted;

(4) That the list of schemes to be progressed under Phase 1 of Highways Locality Budget in 2012-2013 as presented at Appendix D be noted;

(5) That the responses at Appendix E to the presentations and petitions made at the last meeting of the JMP held on 30 January 2012 (Minutes 30,31 and 32 refer) be noted;

(6) That District Councillors be invited to discuss at the next round of NHDC Area Committees whether finance from their own budgets would be available for support to any of the schemes carried forward to the Highways Locality Budget for 2012 - 2013.

REASON FOR DECISION:
To ensure the effective deployment of the 2011 - 2012 JMP Discretionary Budget, and maintain effective scheme delivery progress and mitigate financial risks.
48 INTEGRATED WORK PROGRAMME: FINAL DELIVERY PROGRAMME FOR 2012-2013, DRAFT 1 PREPARATION PROGRAMME FOR 2013-2014 AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME FOR 2013-2014 TO 2016-2017
The North and East Herts Area Service Manager (ASM) presented the report of the Forward Works Programme Manager. The report provided details of the IWP Final Delivery Programme for 2012 - 2013, the Draft 1 Preparation Programme for 2013 - 2014 and the Forward Work Programme for 2013 -2014 to 2016 -2017 with supporting details in Appendices A, D, and E.

The ASM advised the JMP that the primary method for Members to consider and influence highway programmes with effect from April 2012 would be through the Highways Locality Budget. Each County Member would receive a division specific Information Pack and although in a different format would contain the same divisional schemes as in this report and as previously presented to the Highway Panels. The Division Pack would also summarise the most common types and programmes of work promoted by Hertfordshire Highways with supporting information on how highway maintenance and improvement schemes were identified, categorised, selected and prioritised.

The ASM referred the JMP to Appendix C - Table 1 which provided officer’s answers to queries raised previously by Members on the draft IWP for 2012-2013 and in particular why certain schemes would not be included or brought forward from future years.

The Chairman thanked the ASM for the presentation and invited comments or questions from the JMP.

The JMP reviewed Appendices A,D and E and noted the proposed arrangements for the provision of Information Packs to County Members with the introduction of Highways Locality Budget in 2012 - 2013.

One Member enquired when the Real Time Passenger Information as listed in Appendix A would be available in North Hertfordshire and the ASM advised that he was unable to provide an answer but it was expected that financing would be from S106 monies.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the Final 2012-2013 Integrated Work Programme Delivery Programme as presented at Appendix A and as endorsed by the HCC Cabinet be noted;

(2) That the contents of Draft 1 of the 2013- 2014 Integrated Work Programme as presented at Appendix E be noted;

(3) That the contents and details of the Forward Work Programme for 2014 - 2015 to 2016 - 2017 as presented at Appendix D be noted;

(4) That the future distribution of the Integrated Works Programme (ongoing for 2012-2013), Draft Integrated Works Programme for 2013-2014 and the Forward Works Programme for 2014-2015 to 2016-2017 would be direct to each County Member within the procedures of Highways Locality Budget be noted;

(5) That the circulation of all (including Highways) S106 contributions between both authorities be considered and a process agreed as part of establishing successor arrangements to the HJMP.

(6) That should any Member of the JMP have any comment to make on any of the schemes within the Integrated Works Programme as listed at Appendices A, D and E that either the appropriate Divisional HCC Member or Highways Officers should be advised.

REASON FOR DECISION:
To allow the JMP to comment on the Integrated Works Programme for 2012 - 2013 and the Forward Work Programme for 2014 -2015 to 2016 -2017 be noted.
49 S 106 CONTRIBUTIONS UPDATE
The North and East Herts Area Service Manager (ASM) presented the report of the Area Highway Development Control Manager and referred the JMP to Appendix A which listed all the S106 Contributions held by HCC and categorised by the Traffic Light System (Red, less than 3 years remaining; Amber, 3 to 5 years remaining; and Green, no refund date or more than 5 years before refund date) as to expiry dates of developers’ obligations. All of the schemes would have a highways, transport and/or pedestrian link. The JMP were pleased to note that where possible links to Local Transport Plans were included in the listings.

The ASM referred the JMP to two potential S106 Contributions that were due to expire soon (Letchworth, November 2013 and Royston, February 2015). The ASM advised that £6,522.70 would be spent on improved parking restrictions, cycle stands and footway improvement in Norton Way North, Letchworth before expiry and £24,306.04 would be spent entirely on a cycleway scheme in Royston and completed by the end of the current financial year. The ASM also advised the JMP that an indication was now made where there was involvement in future Transport Plans against contributions with longer time frames.

The Chairman thanked the ASM for the presentation and invited comments and questions from the JMP.

A Member enquired how this S106 information would be distributed in the future and the ASM advised that all Members could access this information online on a daily basis using PROMS and that the information would be distributed on a quarterly or six monthly basis and to NHDC officers. Another Member stressed that the use of S106 monies held by HCC and NHDC needed action soon as the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy would mean a reducing sum of funds available via S106 agreements. The JMP agreed that the Area Committees should have their own S106 data sets applicable to each area and the ASM advised that the information is already sent to each District Council for onward distribution.

This discussion concluded with Members requesting that officers should make a concerted effort to allocate and spend S106 contributions and that consideration should be given to particular projects that could be grouped together. A Member advised the JMP that the formation of S106 Highways working parties was working well at NHDC.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the list of current S106 Contributions held by Hertfordshire County Council as presented at Appendix A be noted;

(2) That the proposed use for the S106 monies also detailed in Appendix A be noted;

(3) That the imminent expiry of two S106 contributions at Norton Way, Letchworth (Ref. 06/008/11/1) and Johnson Mathey, Royston (Ref. 04/01795/1) and the proposed use of such contributions be noted;

(4) That the circulation of all (not just highways) S106 contributions between both authorities be considered and a process agreed as part of establishing successor arrangements to the HJMP.

REASON FOR DECISION:
To allow the JMP comment on the proposed use of S106 Contributions within the development of the HCC Capital Programme.
50 OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
The North and East Herts Area Service Manager (ASM) presented this report which gave details of the performance of Hertfordshire Highways in the period 1 September 2011 to 29 February 2012.

The ASM was pleased to advise the JMP that there were no exceptions to report for the period 1 September 2011 to 29 February 2012 and that all performance levels were good. The ASM confirmed that the low results for potholes and pavement trips were due to the implementation of new management arrangements on a central basis, with a new reporting procedure from the field for the Cat1 mitigation service in December 2011 and January 2012 followed by the adverse weather in early February 2012.

The ASM anticipated that the next quarter would show an improvement.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the data supplied on the Operational Performance Indicators at Appendix A for the period 1 September 2011 to 29 February 2012 be noted;

(2) That the Area Service Manager be requested to present an updating report on Operational Performance Indicators to the next meeting;

REASON FOR DECISION:
To ensure that the JMP are regularly informed of the performance on key service activities.
Published on Friday, 4th May, 2012
8.40 p.m.