North Herts. Highways Partnership Joint Member Panel Minutes

Date:
Monday, 25th July, 2011
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor Alan Bardett (Chairman), County Councillor M.R.Muir (Vice-Chairman), County Councillor D.A. Ashley, Councillor David Billing, Councillor John Bishop, Councillor Tom Brindley, County Councillor N.K. Brook, Councillor Lisa Courts, Councillor Bill Davidson, County Councillor Fiona Hill, County Councillor A.F. Hunter, Councillor David Kearns, Councillor Alan Millard, County 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 Manager
Stuart Izzard - Community Devfelopment Manager
Item Description/Decision
PART I
1 APPOINTMENT OF THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JMP FOR THE CIVIC YEAR 2011 - 2012
RESOLVED: That District Councillor Alan Bardett be appointed as Chairman of the North Hertfordshire Highways Partnership - Joint Member Panel for the Civic Year 2011- 2012.
2 APPOINTMENT OF THE VICE - CHAIRMAN OF THE JMP FOR 2011 - 2012
RESOLVED: That County Councillor M.R.M. Muir be appointed as Vice - Chairman of the North Hertfordshire Highways Partnership - Joint Member Panel for the Civic Year 2011 - 2012.
3 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Chairman advised that District Councillor Paul Clark and County Councillor R. Shakespeare - Smith had tendered their apologies, and an apology from Simon Young the NHDC Transport Policy Officer was also received.
4 MINUTES
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 April 2011 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chairman.
5 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
No other business had been notified prior to the meeting.
6 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
(1) The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting;

(2) 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.
7 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
There was no public participation.
8 REFERRALS FROM NHDC AREA COMMITTEES
The Chairman referred The Panel to the referrals from the Baldock, Hitchin, Royston and Southern Rural Area Committees and invited comment from the Area Service Manager and the Lead Assistant District Manager.

1.Letchworth Area Committee - 8 June 2011
The Area Service Manager (ASM) advised the JMP that the requests for two Traffic Regulation Orders should be addressed at Agenda Item 10. With regard to the Radburn Way Scheme the Area Service Manager advised the Panel that he would prepare a written update for the next meeting of the Letchworth Area Committee to be held on 28 September 2011. The Panel noted that there had been damage to the structure of the underpass on two occasions at a very close interval and this had delayed the repair programme as more detailed engineering work was required.

RESOLVED: That the highway schemes put forward by the Letchworth Area Committee at its meeting held on 8 June 2011 (Minute 10 refers) be discussed at Agenda Item 10 - JMP Discretionary Budget and that the Letchworth Committee should receive an update on the work programme to the Radburn Way Underpass.

2.Baldock and District Committee - 13 June 2011
The Area Service Manager advised the JMP that the following schemes referred by the Baldock Committee i.e. Resurfacing of part of Weston Way and Hitchin Street, Baldock, Resurfacing of road and footpath at The Tene, Baldock and resurfacing of part of Hadrian Way would be put forward to be considered for inclusion in the 2012 - 2013 Works Programme. With regard to the request for safety railings under the railway bridge at North Road, Baldock the Area Service Manager (ASM) advised the Panel that initial investigations had shown that the footway on both sides of the road were too narrow to incorporate railings as clearance for traffic was required in addition to the space taken up by the railings and that this would leave insufficient space for pedestrians. The ASM also advised that one footway was narrower than the other. The Vice - Chairman advised the Panel that this was very much a safety issue for children as there had been cases of children stepping off the footway. It was agreed by the Panel that the ASM should investigate further the possibility of installing railings on the widest footway and prepare a written response for the Baldock Committee at the meeting to be held on 12 September 2011.

RESOLVED: That the highway schemes put forward by the Baldock and District Committee at its meeting held on 13 June 2011 (Minute 11 refers) be considered for inclusion in the 2012-2013 Works Programme and that the ASM should advise the Baldock Committee of a works programme for one set of railings on the widest footway at the North Road Railway Bridge, Baldock.

3.Southern Rural Committee - 16 June 2011
The Area Service Manager advised the JMP that the allocation of £5,000 for highway schemes was welcomed and that any potential highway schemes could be put forward for consideration at Agenda Item 10.

The District Council Member for Codicote advised the Panel that six small schemes had been identified in Great Ashby which required a Traffic Regulation Order that was supported by the Southern Rural Committee i.e.
1.Great Ashby Way and The Beacons;
2.Cleveland Way;
3.Cleveland Way, Great Ashby Way roundabout;
4.Areas of Mendip Way;
5.Blackdown Close;
6.Junction of Whitehorse Lane and Knott Close.

The Member advised that the above locations were affected by parked vehicles which caused problems for the parking and movement of school buses, refuse vehicles, delivery vehicles, reduced visibility and in particular public and road safety.

A County Council Member wished to point out that enforcement of such Traffic Regulation Orders by NHDC could be a resources problem and in reply the Codicote Member in his role as NHDC Portfolio Holder for Planning, Transport and Enterprise confirmed that enforcement would take place as required.

The Panel agreed that these proposed schemes should be discussed at Agenda Item 10 with a view to be funded by the JMP and Southern Rural Committee.

RESOLVED: That any potential highway schemes that required Traffic Regulation Orders in Great Ashby should be discussed at Agenda Item 10 - JMP Discretionary Budget.

4.Royston and District Committee - 22 June 2011
The Area Service Manager (ASM) advised the JMP that an entry onto the Highways database was being explored to designate the highway above Royston Cave as a Site of Special Engineering Difficulty (SSED). This would then be flagged up to works promoters on an application for road space/occupation for any proposed works. The Panel acknowledged the problems caused at this location both by vehicles and road works and that the entry on the database would be an excellent alert for any future works. Royston Members along with the Royston Historical Society were agreed that there should be a visible notice on the footway and perhaps also the highway that would indicate the precise location of the Royston Cave underneath. The ASM advised that this proposal would be considered and that a written response on its viability would be passed to the Royston Committee at the next meeting to be held on 21 September 2011.

The ASM next considered the request for a pedestrian crossing on Baldock Road/Baldock Street. As there was more than one possible crossing point and the type of crossing (pedestrian refuge, zebra or pelican) had to be clarified, it was agreed that a written response would be provided to the next meeting of the Royston Committee to be held on 21 September 2011 that would give a cost estimate for undertaking the requested feasibility/eligibility assessment with guide prices for the various types of pedestrian crossing facilities.

RESOLVED: That the highway schemes put forward by the Royston and District Committee at its meeting held on 22 June 2011 (Minute 8 refers) be discussed as appropriate at Agenda Item 10 - JMP Discretionary Budget.
9 NORTH HERTFORDSHIRE DISTRICT COUNCIL - PARKING MANAGEMENT
The Chairman advised that due to the absence of the NHDC Transport Policy Officer the update on the NHDC Parking Management Plan would not be heard at this meeting.

The Chairman proposed and it was agreed that the NHDC Transport Policy Officer should be requested to prepare a written paper on this important issue and distribute such outside of this meeting to all Members of the JMP as soon as possible.
10 JOINT MEMBER PANEL DISCRETIONARY BUDGET
The Lead Assistant District Manager (LM) advised that there was a danger of the £100,000 budget being under utilised as £54,092 had been committed which left £45,908 to be allocated to schemes.

The LADM referred The Panel to the list of approved schemes at Paragraph 3.1 and advised Members that Scheme 6 (20mph restrictions in Hitchin) had a cost revision to £15,000 following the two additional sites being added by the Hitchin Area Committee, with a new contribution of £10,650 from the JMP. Rushby Mead junction with Rushby Place had been removed from Scheme 10 (estimate for progressing junction protection schemes) following confirmation that this scheme was to be progressed as part of the Safer Routes to School scheme. Scheme 11 (Hitchin Junction Protection) had a cost revision to £10,000, with a new contribution of £6,667 from the JMP and an adjusted Hitchin Area Committee contribution of £3,333. The LADM suggest that the Panel, in the first instance should consider match funding those schemes that had received joint funding from the respective Area Committees as detailed at Paragraph 3.2. The LADM advised that in addition to the joint funding contributions already detailed within the report, confirmation had been received from Letchworth Area Committee of their commitment to joint fund £6,000 towards the cost of progressing Junction Protection Schemes xxii, xxiii and xxv. The Panel agreed to progress Schemes v, vi and confirmed JMP contributions of £3,600 and £9,000 respectively. The Panel also agreed to progress Scheme xii and confirmed a JMP contribution of £2,000 and agreed to joint fund the Schemes xxii, xxiv and xxv having acknowledged the 50 per cent joint funding contribution from Letchworth Area Committee.

Following the update the Panel discussed various schemes for inclusion in the 2011 - 2012 Discretionary Portfolio, at times robustly, the merits of matched contributions and the relevance of each proposed scheme that could use up the remaining balance. The Panel agreed to support the Old Hale Way, Hitchin pedestrian refuge/island request with the JMP providing £3,250 with a request that Hitchin Area Committee consider a joint funding contribution of £1,250 towards the cost of the scheme, which would be subject to ratification at the meeting to be held on 13 September 2011. The long standing commitment by the Royston Area Committee to match fund wherever possible at 50 per cent was recognised by the Panel and following further discussion it was eventually agreed that the Royston Committee would commit the sum of £500 to the Old North Road verge parking scheme with the JMP providing £13,950.

After the agreements on schemes and financing as above there remained a residue of approximately £10,000 to be allocated and the District Council Member for Codicote put forward a strong case for the implementation of six relatively small Traffic Regulation Orders for roads in the Great Ashby Area (as described at Minute 8 (3) above) which would be supported by a contribution of £5,000 from the Southern Rural Committee. The LADM advised that having not seen the list of sites prior to the meeting he was not in a position to confirm whether it would be possible to progress all sites with the available budget. The Panel agreed to support the request for the TROs in the Great Ashby Area and to commit its remaining budget towards progressing these schemes. This commitment was made on the understanding that Officers would review the sites following the meeting to assess whether they were safety related parking issues and also undertake a revised estimate to establish whether all the sites could be funded from the available budget and to advise the Southern Rural Area Committee accordingly.

NOTE:
The following discussion on a highway scheme was made much later in the meeting but as the scheme was at one time thought to be a candidate for funding by the JMP it is recorded here.

County Councillor A. F. Hunter apologised to the Panel for not raising his concerns over road safety at the Odsey turn on the A505 between Baldock and Royston at Agenda Item 10 and queried why this highway matter was not on the list of schemes. The Member recalled that there had been Public Participation previously about the problems and officer reports back to the JMP on this issue.

The Area Service Manager (ASM) confirmed that there had been a lot of ‘history’ regarding the road safety issues at this particular location on the A505. Previous reports to the Panel investigated the appropriateness of the existing national speed limit of 70 m.p.h. and that the views of the Panel were reported to the HCC Highways and Transport Panel during the development of the new Speed Management Strategy (SMS). The outcome of this review was confirmation that this section of the A505 from Baldock to Royston was included in the new SMS as a type of road suitable for a 70 m.p.h.

The Panel had previously considered various other options such as anti-skid surfacing at approximately £30K, Vehicular Activated Warning signs at approximately £40K and landscaping measures at approximately £25. However, following this review of possible costs the Panel requested that these options should be removed from the potential schemes list as the cost estimates appeared unaffordable for the foreseeable future.

The County Member thanked the ASM for the reasoning behind the non progression of this scheme due to the very high cost estimates but expressed the view that there should be serious consideration given to a reduction of the speed limit to 50 m.p.h. at this junction to give drivers a relatively safer exit onto and across the A505.

RESOLVED:

(1)That the referrals from four NHDC Area Committees be noted (Minute 8 above refers);

(2)That the progress update on highway schemes in 2011 - 2012 be noted;

(3)That the six schemes proposed for Traffic Regulation Orders in Great Ashby be agreed for inclusion in the JMP Discretionary Budget for 2011 - 2012 as included in the schemes at (10) below with a financial contribution of £5,000 from the Southern Rural Committee noted;

(4)That the proposal to include the scheme in Old Hale Way, Hitchin for a feasibility study into the provision of a pedestrian refuge/island in the vicinity of Our Ladys Primary School be agreed for inclusion in the JMP Discretionary Budget for 2011 - 2012 as listed at (14) below subject to formal confirmation of a contribution of £1,250 from the Hitchin Area Committee to be considered at the meeting to be held on 13 September 2011;

(5)That the following highway schemes were approved as the final list for joint funding in 2011 - 2012 with the allocation of funding as follows:
Total = £149, 658
JMP = £100,000
Area Committees = £45,458
HCC Locality budget = £4,250

(1)Maintenance of VA signs
Scheme Cost = £1,000
JMP funding = £1,000
Area Committee funding = £0
Ward Member funding = £0
HCC locality funding = £0

(2)Scheme: Great Ashby Way- improve awareness of crossing points in the vicinity of Round Diamond School on approach to Whitehorse Lane/Great Ashby Way Roundabout, (Feasibility).
Scheme Cost = £2,000
JMP funding = £1,000
Area Committee funding = £1,000
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £0

(3)Scheme: A507 Baldock - Radwell , New Footpath,
(Design and Implementation).
Scheme Cost = £10,000
JMP funding = £ 8,000
Area Committee funding = £500
Ward Member funding = £0
HCC locality funding = £1,500 (Cllr Muir = £500 and Cllr Hunter
(£1,000)

(4)Scheme: Farriers Close, Codicote - Parking Issues,
(Design and Implementation)
Scheme Cost = £9,200
JMP funding = £5,200
Area Committee funding = £4,000
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £ 0

(5)Scheme: Vehicle Activated Signs - Old Hale Way, Strathmore
Avenue, Bedford Road, St. Michaels Road and Pirton Road,
Hitchin, (Investigation).
Scheme Cost = £5,700
JMP funding = £3,800
Area Committee funding = £1,900
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £ 0

(6)Scheme: 20 mph restrictions for various streets in
Hitchin, (Investigation).
Scheme Cost = £15,000
JMP funding = £10,650
Area Committee funding = £4,350
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £ 0

(7)Scheme: A505 j/w Willow Lane, Hitchin - no right turn
(Investigation)
Scheme Cost = £5,500
JMP funding = £2,750
Area Committee funding = £0
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £2,750

(8)Scheme: Whitehorse Lane (In the vicinity of Round Diamond
School) Great Ashby, 20 mph limit, (Investigation).
Scheme Cost = £3,150
JMP funding = £1,575
Area Committee funding = £1,575
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £ 0

(9)Scheme: Hill Road and Meadow Way, Codicote- Request for verge
protection measures using grasscrete (Design and
Implementation)
Scheme Cost = £14,250
JMP funding = £7,125
Area Committee funding = £7,125
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £ 0

(10)Scheme: Junction Protection Schemes in Royston, Great Ashby
and Letchworth (Design, Consultation And Implementation)
Scheme Cost = £35,108
JMP funding = £20,433
Southern Rural Committee = £8,675, Letchworth Area Committee =
£6,000
Ward Member funding = £0
HCC Locality funding = £0

(11)Scheme: Junction Protection Schemes in Hitchin (Nutleigh Grove
j/w Redhill Road, Willowtree Way j/w Old Hale Way) (Design,
Consultation and Implementation).
Scheme Cost = £10,000
JMP funding = £ 6,667
Area Committee funding = £3,333
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £ 0

(12)Scheme: A10 South of Royston - Gateway Feature (Design and
Implementation)
Scheme Cost = £4,100
JMP funding = £3,600
Area Committee funding = £500
Ward Member funding = £0
HCC Locality funding = £0

(13)Scheme: Gaunts Way, Letchworth - Verge protection and parking
Restrictions - (Feasibility Design and Consultation)
Scheme Cost = £13,000
JMP funding = £9,000
Area Committee = £4,000
Ward Member funding = £0
HCC Locality funding = £0

(14)Scheme: Old Hale Way, Hitchin - Pedestrian Islands in vicinity of
Our Ladys Primary School (Feasibliity)
Scheme Cost = £3,250
JMP funding = £2,000
Area Committee = £1,250 (to be confirmed on 13 September 2011)
Ward Member funding = £0
HCC Locality funding = £0

(15)Scheme: Old North Road, Royston - Verge Parking
(Design and Implementation)
Scheme Cost = £14,450
JMP funding = £13,950
Area Committee funding = £500
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £ 0

(16)Scheme: Flooding Sites in the Southern Rural Area
(Design and Implementation)
Scheme Cost = £4,000
JMP funding = £2,000
Area Committee funding = £2,000
Ward Member funding = £ 0
HCC locality funding = £ 0

(6) That the Area Service Manager be requested as a matter of urgency to convene a meeting with the Chairman of the Southern Rural Area Committee or the most appropriate Member of the Southern Rural Area Committee, and/or the County Councillor for Knebworth and Codicote, the Chairman and Parish Clerk of St. Pauls Walden Parish Council in order to reconcile differences concerning payments for the works in St Pauls Walden for a lay by/parking area next to the village school;

(7) That the Area Service Manager be requested to take the appropriate action to implement the work delivery programme for the schemes 1 to 16 as listed above and as detailed at Appendix D to the report (subject to amendment).

REASON FOR DECISION:
To ensure the effective deployment of the 2011 - 2012 JMP Discretionary Budget, maintain effective scheme delivery progress and mitigate financial risks.
11 2011 - 2012 INTEGRATED WORK PROGRAMME DELIVERY UPDATE
The Lead Assistant District Manager (LADM) referred the Panel to the officer replies to comments and questions raised by Members previously as presented at Paragraphs 3.1.1, 3.1.2, 3.1.3 and 3.1.4.

The LADM was pleased to advise the Panel that HCC had received a sum of £3.87M for additional road maintenance in Hertfordshire to undertake repairs following the severe winter weather and referred the Panel to the 41 schemes that would be funded in North Hertfordshire.

County Councillor N. Brook referred the Panel to the proposed works at the Three Moorhens Roundabout in Hitchin to make crack and joint repairs. Whilst the proposal had merit there would be much to gain by also resurfacing the Codicote Road leaving the roundabout. The Member also requested that much more care should be taken in the advised diversion routes during road works with appropriate placement of diversion signs as severe damage had been made to Mill Lane, linking London Road to Hitchin road, south of Hitchin during another recent phase of road works. The LADM advised that a diversion route must be signed and should be routed along the same classification road or higher which may not be the quickest route and consequently local residents would often know of and use a quicker route and it was very difficult to predict which route local residents would use. The LADM advised that much more detail on diversions could be ascertained from the HCC website. Another Member referred the Panel to the severe delays caused by the signed diversion boards during the recent Walsworth Cross Roads works and that it would be desirable to email local Members for any comments on temporary road closures and proposed diversions.

The Chairman thanked the LM for the update on the IWP for 2011 - 2012 and that officers should please heed the requests of Members to be contacted wherever possible on diversion routes.

RESOLVED:

(1)That the information provided in the report on the Integrated Works Programme final delivery programme for 2011 to 2012 be noted;

(2)That the 41 schemes in North Hertfordshire to be funded from additional monies from the Department of Transport as listed at Paragraph 3.2 be welcomed and noted;

(3)That the information provided on Super Category 2 sites in North Hertfordshire as listed at Paragraph 4 be noted;

(4)That the information provided on Category 2 Plane and Inlay Sites in North Hertfordshire as listed at Paragraph 5 be noted;

(5)That the list of Category 2 Plan and Inlay sites as presented at Paragraph 5.1 be noted;

(6)That the Area Service Manager be requested to continue with the presentation of an update on the 2011 - 2012 Integrated Work Programme to each meeting of the Joint Member Panel.

REASON FOR DECISION:
To allow the JMP to comment on the Integrated Works Programme for 2011 - 2012 and receive regular updates.
12 S106 CONTRIBUTIONS UPDATE
The Area Service Manager (ASM) referred the Panel to Appendix A which listed the current S106 Contributions held by HCC and the proposed use of each contribution.

The Panel noted the proposed contributions to specific schemes and in response to several enquiries the ASM confirmed that monies allocated to Land off Walsworth Road, Hitchin would be used for Hitchin Town Centre Improvements and that monies allocated against the development at the former Hideout club in Norton Way North Letchworth had been expended as per the description at Appendix A.

In response to an enquiry about how schemes were identified the ASM advised the Panel that all S106 funds would be allocated in accordance with the selection hierarchy as described at Paragraph 2.1 of the report. The ASM advised that if there were no priority 1 or priority 2 schemes then small scale local measures would be developed and local Members would be included in the process. e.g. would a scheme be more appropriate in an Urban Transport Plan that incorporated local transport issues and any proposed schemes could be broader in scope rather than for example installation of bus shelters.

A Member requested clarification on the status of the S106 contributions applicable to Beech Ridge Lodge in Baldock and the ASM advised that that first call on this funding was to promote the cycle route, subject to extra monies being secured as necessary, otherwise it would go towards passenger improvements in the form of Automatic Vehicle Location and Real Time Passenger Information facilities.

The Chairman thanked the ASM for the update on S106 contributions and verified expenditure.

RESOLVED:

(1)That the details of the S106 monies held by Hertfordshire County Council and as presented at Appendix A be noted;

(2)That the actions taken and the proposed use of S106 funds be noted;

(3)With regard to the S106 contribution that related to the former Hideout Club on Norton Way North, Letchworth it was noted that the sum of £6,522.70 had been spent and the works completed;

(4)That the proposal to use S106 monies (£68,380.77) allocated to Land off Walsworth Road to be considered by HCC and NHDC as a contribution to Hitchin Town Centre Improvements be noted;

(5)That the Area Highway Development Control Manager be requested to ensure that every effort was made to make use of the full amount of monies allocated under S106 Agreements and to avoid wherever possible refunds to developers.

REASON FOR DECISION:
To allow an efficient spend of S106 allocations within the development of the HCC Capital Programme.
13 OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
The Area Service Manager (ASM) referred the JMP to Appendix A which detailed the results against the five Performance Indicators for the period 1 December 2011 to 31 May 2012.

The recorded dip in performance for repairing hazardous pavements and potholes from January into March was explained as being due to the continued inclement winter weather was and the ASM advised that performance in these areas was closely monitored to ensure that normal service levels were sustained and every effort was being made to repair the very large number of potholes as soon as possible.

RESOLVED:
(1)That the data supplied on the Operational Performance Indicators at Appendix A for the period 1 December 2010 to 31 May 2011 be noted;

(2)That the slight dip in performance in responding to hazardous potholes for the period January to March 2011 due to the very high level of monthly reported faults (519, 389 and 345 against an average of 155) be noted;

(3)That the Area Service Manager be requested to continue with updating reports on Operational Performance Indicators to each meeting of the JMP.

REASON FOR DECISION:
To ensure that the JMP are regularly informed of the performance on key service activities.
Published on Tuesday, 16th August, 2011
9.06 p.m.