North Herts. Highways Partnership Joint Member Panel Minutes

Date:
Monday, 31st October, 2011
Time:
7.30pm
Place:
Committee Room 1, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth Garden City
 
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillor M.R.M. Muir (Chairman), D.A. Ashley, Councillor John Bishop, Councillor Tom Brindley, Councillor Paul Clark, Councillor Bill Davidson, K.F. Emsall, Councillor Fiona Hill, Councillor T.W. Hone, Councillor A.F. Hunter, Councillor David Kearns, Councillor Alan Millard, Councillor R.L. Shakespeare - Smith, Councillor R.A.C. Thake
In attendance:
County Councillor C. Hayward - Executive Member - Hertfordshire Local and Libraries
Richard Jones - Area Service Manager - North and East Herts - Hertfordshire Highways
roger flowerday - Lead Assistant District Manager - Hertfordshire Highways
Ken Clowes - Assistant District Manager - Hertfordshire Highways
Nigel Schofield - Committee and Member Services Officer
Also Present:
NHDC Councillors:
B. Lovewell, J. Green, T. Hone, P.Marment,
G.Morris, Mrs L.A. Needham, L.Oliver, M.Paterson,
and M. Rice.
North Herts Parish Councils
Barkway, Barley, Codicote, Graveley, Great Ashby,
Kelshall, Knebworth, Offley, Pirton,
St. Ippolyts, St. Pauls Walden, Therfield and
Royston Town Council
Item Description/Decision
PART I
14 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
The Vice - Chairman County Councillor M.R.M. Muir advised the Panel that he would be Chairman for this meeting as the Chairman, District Councillor A. Bardett had tendered his apologies. County Councillor Nigel Brook had also tendered his apologies. District Councillors David Billing and Lisa Courts had also tendered their apologies. An apology from Simon Young the NHDC Transport Policy Officer was also received.
15 MINUTES
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 25 July 2011 be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chairman
16 NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS
No other business had been notified prior to the meeting.
17 CHAIRMAN'S ANNOUNCEMENTS
(1) The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting: County Councillor Chris Hayward (Executive Member - Hertfordshire Local and Libraries) The JMP, NHDC District Councillors, the petitioner and representatives of Parish Councils in North Hertfordshire;

(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.
18 PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Mr Terry Hutt a resident of Whaddon in Cambridgeshire thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the JMP and confirmed that he represented Royston Pensioners Action Group. Mr Hutt advised the Chairman that a petition with some 1000 signatures had been presented to Oliver Heald MP (North East Herts) which identified and supported the need for a controlled pedestrian crossing in Baldock Street near Tannery Drift for pupils and parents walking to Tannery Drift School and residents at the new old persons home in Baldock Street. Both Baldock Road and Baldock Street were highways with busy traffic and it was essential that a controlled crossing was provided as soon as possible for public safety. Mr Hutt opined that there was an accident waiting to happen and last year there was a near fatality in this location. Mr Hutt accepted that there were many demands on Highway Budgets but requested that funds should be allocated as soon as possible to provide a controlled crossing.

The Chairman thanked Mr Hutt for the reference to the controlled pedestrian crossing and referred to Mr Jones (North and East Herts Area Service Manager) for a reply. Mr Jones advised the JMP that the pedestrian crossing was an identified scheme listed at Agenda Item 8, Appendix A and that a cost estimate had been prepared for a feasibility study to assess the upgrading of the uncontrolled crossing to a zebra, pelican or puffin. Mr Jones reported that unfortunately a study of the numbers of pedestrians using the uncontrolled crossing to upgrade to a school crossing had not given sufficient numbers using the PV2 ratio to achieve a value of 4 million. Even though Hertfordshire County Council had agreed to reduce the value to 3 million there needed to be at least 15 children using the crossing. The survey data on three dates had shown the number of under 11’s: i.e. 6, 10 and 10.

RESOLVED:

(1) That Mr Hutt be thanked for describing the reasons for the petition;

(2) That the clarification of the reasons why a controlled pedestrian (schools) crossing could not be implemented be noted;

(3) That County Councillor M. Muir be thanked for his offer to contact the office of Oliver Heald MP with a view to retrieve the petition.
19 HERTS LOCAL - HIGHWAYS LOCALITY BUDGETS
County Councillor Chris Hayward thanked the Chairman for the opportunity to address the JMP, NHDC Councillors and representatives of the Parish Councils in North Hertfordshire. Councillor Hayward gave a brief synopsis of the background to Herts Local and confirmed that following the two successful pilot schemes in Broxbourne and Dacorum the County Council Highways and Transport Cabinet Panel had met on 19 September 2011 and agreed to roll out the Highway Locality Budgets to all other Districts and Boroughs in Hertfordshire in 2012-2013.

Councillor Hayward stressed that Herts Local would see a shift in power to the local community, decisions would be made at a local level, with delegation on expenditure to local County Councillors and was a key initiative for the County Council. The full total of monies allocated to Herts Local would be in the order of £7.7M which in turn was 15 per cent of the highways budget. With regard to more involvement with the local communities there would be an on-line polling facility for residents to place their requests for highway schemes.

Councillor Hayward commended the new approach to the funding of local highway schemes via Herts Local to the JMP and invited the Area Service Manager to clarify Herts Local in more detail.

Mr Richard Jones, the North and East Herts Area Service Manager (ASM) presented this item by way of a PowerPoint Presentation and confirmed that at the commencement of the 2012-2013 Civic Year there would be a new arrangement for the delivery of highway schemes in North Hertfordshire via the Herts Local - Highways Locality Budget.

The ASM advised the JMP that it was expected that each County Councillor would receive in the region of £90K plus their current £10K locality budget to allocate to highway schemes within their county division and that there was no restriction to combine with an adjacent division for say a large scheme. The ASM was pleased to confirm that the pilot projects had been a success and that some £1.2M had been committed and delivered on highway schemes in these two areas. One of the main objectives besides the main thrust of local community involvement was to retain an efficient and effective delivery of works.

The ASM reminded the JMP of the 5 Categories of highway works and that the main expectation for Herts Locality Budgets would be to concentrate on Category 3 - Member directed works opportunity got local choice and influence. The ASM suggested that a sum of £65,000 could be allocated to capital type works such as road resurfacing and the balance of £25,000 to be used for revenue type minor works which would be programmed throughout the year and the JMP noted that all monies would be ring fenced to highway schemes. The ASM stressed that the Locality Budgets were to cover all costs and that included any abortive costs on any schemes that had commenced and were then cancelled or perhaps altered in scope The ASM next advised the JMP that officer support to Members would; provide costed options, guidance on policy, technical, legal and safety, arrange for works delivery, manage each Member’s locality budget and provide reports on scheme progress. The ASM concluded his presentation by proposing the establishment of Highway Liaison Meetings to be held bi - annually which would give a high level view of spend allocations, the local highways works programme for the current year, an update on the appropriate Urban Transport Plan, HCC highway policies and the promotion of self help.

The Chairman thanked both County Councillor Hayward and Mr Jones for the introduction and presentation on Herts Locality Budget and invited comments from the JMP. One initial comment concerned the loss of the JMP and the displacement of the role of both the NHDC Area Committees and the District Councillors, Area Committees had supported the JMP with grants for highway schemes and there would be a loss of a public forum and that it would be more difficult for parishes to put forward highway problems. The ASM responded that Herts Local would in fact open up decision making at an increased local level and as requests would go direct to the County Councillor this would in effect be the new ‘Panel’, Petitions would go direct to the County Member, and that Area Committees would still be able to provide funds for highway schemes if they wished to do so. County Councillor Hayward accepted that there would be some initial problems and a strong commitment was required from all. The JMP noted that all decisions made by a County Councillor would be published on the HCC website giving full accessibility to the Herts Local process.

Other Members expressed support for the role of NHDC Area Committees and that it might be more difficult for petitioners to present due for the need to attend County Hall. Doubt was raised by one Member as to the success of the two pilot schemes and that evidence of such success was not readily apparent. Other comments concerned whether there was a cap on expenditure of £100K per scheme and the ASM advised that adjacent County Councillors could combine funds where a scheme might cross a divisional boundary. Also, that to date it had been difficult on some occasions for Councillors to engage with Highway Officers about highway issues and it was anticipated that this should be improved via Herts Local. The ASM considered that it might be appropriate for each County Councillor to look initially at schemes that cost £15K to £30K and that large petitions could be passed via the Member to HCC Committee Services and smaller petitions could go direct to the Herts Local Division.

Overall the JMP supported the move to Herts Local and all were agreed that to make the process of identifying local schemes through to implementation shorter and simpler was to be welcomed. The need for County Councillors and NHDC to work closely was endorsed by the JMP.

Upon enquiry from the Chairman there were no comments or questions raised on Herts Local by the representatives of North Herts Parish Councils.

RESOLVED:

(1) That County Councillor Chris Hayward be thanked for the introduction to Herts Local;

(2) That the information provided in the PowerPoint Presentation on Herts Local be noted;

(3) That the comments made by members of the JMP concerning the future involvement of NHDC Area Committees and involvement of all members of the community in Herts Local be noted;

REASON FOR DECISION:
To allow the JMP comment on any aspect of the proposals for Herts Locality Budgets commencing in 2012-2013.
20 REFERRALS FROM NHDC AREA COMMITTEES
The Chairman referred The Panel to the referrals from the Hitchin and Royston NHDC Area Committees: The Panel noted that there were no referrals on either Highway Schemes or confirmed Grants from the Baldock, Letchworth or Southern Rural Area Committees.

1. Hitchin Committee - 13 September 2011
The Area Service Manager advised the JMP that the Hitchin Committee had allocated matched funding to two highway schemes (Minute 55 (3)and (4) refers).

RESOLVED: That the confirmation of matched funding for highway schemes be welcomed and noted.

2. Royston and District Committee - 21 September 2011
The Area Service Manager advised the JMP that the Royston Committee at the meeting held on 21 September 2011 (Minutes 34 and 35 refer) had confirmed the allocation of matched funding for highway schemes and had referred to the Panel additional highway schemes and issues for consideration.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the confirmation of matched funding for highway schemes be welcomed and noted;

(2) That the referrals concerning commuter parking controls at four sites in Royston should be incorporated into the District Council’s town parking management review due in 2013-2014.
21 JOINT MEMBER PANEL DISCRETIONARY BUDGET
The Lead Assistant District Manager (LADM) referred the Panel to the report which detailed highway schemes currently underway, about to commence and potential schemes for 2012 - 2003

The LADM advised the JMP that following confirmation of a grant from the Hitchin Committee of £1,250 towards investigating the feasibility of pedestrian islands in the vicinity of Our Lady’s Primary School, Old Hale Way, Hitchin there was a balance of this amount available in the JMP Discretionary Budget for 2011-2012. The LADM proposed that it could be appropriate to allocate the sum of £1,250 to Scheme 16 - Flooding Sites in the Southern Rural Area (Paragraph 3.1) and this was agreed by the JMP. The LADM referred the Panel to the full list of schemes as presented at Paragraph 3.1 and to Appendix B which detailed each scheme for the current year.

The LADM next referred the JMP to Paragraph 3.2 and Appendix C which listed potential schemes for 2012-2013 bearing in mind the changes to the disbursement of budgets under Herts Local. The Panel noted the list of potential schemes for 2012-2013 but it was agreed that any schemes for 2012-2013 should be selected under the new Herts Local arrangements (Minute 19 above refers) but using this list as a guide for the County Councillors and local stakeholders.

A Member requested an update regarding verge protection measures in Hill Road and Meadow Way, Codicote listed at Item 9 in Paragraph 3.1 and the LADM advised that he was hopeful of resolving this issue soon as the land was owned by North Hertfordshire Homes and an easement was necessary for the work to be completed. Comment was also made that highways in Great Ashby (Mendip Way and Whitehorse Lane junction with Knott Close) which were referred as potential junction protection schemes were due to be adopted soon and officers were requested to monitor the parking situation and consider the promotion of junction protection measures if appropriate.

The JMP acknowledged the information and updating by the LADM and it was agreed that should any schemes not progress to completion then unused monies should be allocated at the discretion of the Chairman and Vice - Chairman of the JMP towards a suitable Category 2 project.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the referrals from the two NHDC Area Committees be noted (Minute 20 above refers);

(2) That the progress update on highway schemes in 2011 - 2012 as listed at Paragraph 3.1 and detailed at Appendix B be noted;

(3) That the proposal to re-allocate £1,250 of unspent monies in 2011-2012 to the costs of investigating flooding of sites in the Southern Rural Area (Item 16 at Paragraph 3.1) be agreed;

(4) That the highway schemes listed at Paragraph 3.2 be proposed for consideration under Herts Local in 2012 - 2013, together with the following suggestions made at this meeting:

(5) That the Works Programme through to March 2012 as presented at Appendix D be noted;

(6) That should any schemes not be implemented or progressed before the end of the current civic year the allocated funds should be re-assigned to a Category 2 Project in North Hertfordshire and any selected scheme must be subject to the agreement of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the JMP.

REASON FOR DECISION:
To ensure the effective deployment of the 2011 - 2012 JMP Discretionary Budget, and agree schemes for 2012 - 2013 and maintain effective scheme delivery progress and mitigate financial risks.
22 2011 - 2012 INTEGRATED WORKS PROGRAMME DELIVERY UPDATE
The Assistant District Manager (ADM) provided an update on the 2011-2012 Integrated Works Programme and referred the JMP to Appendix A which detailed the current status of projects at 30 September 2011. In summary, all surface dressing was complete, the two drainage sites in Royston were complete with the drainage site in Weston still under investigation. Footway schemes were progressing well of which nine required reconstruction and 33 schemes involved micro-surfacing.

The ADM described to the JMP progress on four Safer Routes to School Schemes, two of which were complete and two were planned for completion in 2012 viz. Highfield/Barrington Road and Rushby Mead/Ridge Avenue.

The ADM concluded his report with reference to the ongoing works funded by DFT (£3.8M to Hertfordshire) of which 34 were complete and seven were outstanding. The JMP noted that the Super Category 2 sites listed at Paragraph 5 were virtually complete, noted that the remainder were on programme and noted the list of the Category 2 Plane and Inlay sites. The ADM wished to advise the JMP that there were several schemes to be delivered in the coming months but had not been included in this report. The JMP noted that these works would be at a section of the A505 Royston Bypass and the A505 roundabout at Baldock Road, Royston.

The Chairman thanked the ADM for the update and invited the JMP to comment if they wished to do so. One comment was made that more effort should be devoted to the provision, retention and maintenance of bus stops and bus shelters throughout North Herts.

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 information provided in the report on Safer Routes to Schools at Paragraph 3.5 with two schemes completed and two schemes to be completed in 2012 be noted;

(3) That the update on the 41 schemes in North Hertfordshire funded from additional monies from the Department of Transport as listed at Paragraph 3.2 (34 completed and 7 to complete) be noted;

(4) That the information provided on Super Category 2 sites in North Hertfordshire as listed at Paragraph 5 be noted;

(5) That the information provided on Category 2 Plane and Inlay Sites in North Hertfordshire as listed at Paragraph 6 be noted;

(6) That the additional information provided on principal road surfacing to be completed at a section of the A505 Royston Bypass and the A505 Baldock Road roundabout at Royston be noted;

(7) That the Area Service Manager be requested to continue with the presentation of an update on the 2011 - 2012 Integrated Work Programme to the next two meetings 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.
23 INTEGRATED WORKS PROGRAMME DRAFT 2 PREPARATION PROGRAMME 2012 - 2013 AND FORWARDS WORKS PROGRAMME 2012-2013 TO 2016-2017
The Assistant District Manager (ADM) presented the report of the Forward Works Programme Manager which included the annual publication of the IWP as the statement of the schemes that HCC proposed to implement in the next 15 months or in some cases investigate. The ADM advised the JMP that Appendix B listed the index of IWP and FWP for 2012 -2013 onwards to 2016-2017 by County Council Division, and that Appendix C listed the schemes as Draft 2 of the 2012-2013 IWP. The ADM advised the JMP that the Draft 2 had been prepared on the basis of best current information. However, the list of possible Works in Progress and Committed schemes was not definitive and changes could occur as the implementation of the 2011-2012 schemes progressed. The JMP also noted that some schemes listed as to start in 2013-2014 would in fact commence implementation in 2012-2013. The JMP also noted that subsequent to the commencement of the Herts Locality Budgets Programmes in the next Civic Year it was proposed that each County Councillor would receive an individual IWP report for their own division.

The JMP reviewed Appendices B and C and the Chairman invited comments on the IWP for 2012-2013 and the FWP for 2013 - 2014 to 2016-2017 now at the meeting or by email and telephone to highway officers of any amendments to the programmes.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the information provided on the Draft 2 Preparation Programme for 2012 - 2013 be noted;

(2) That the information provided on the Forward Works Programme for 2012-2013 to 2016-2017 be noted.

(3) That the information provided at Appendix E - 2012-2013 concerning highway issues raised by Members and officer’s replies be noted;

(4) That all Members of the JMP be requested to submit any proposals for schemes whether new or brought forward in the Works Programme to the Area Service Manager or the Forward Works Programme Manager within the next three weeks.

REASON FOR DECISION:
To allow the JMP comment on or make suggestions for works that could be implemented in 2012-2013 and beyond.
24 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 March 2011 to 31 August 2011.

The ASM was pleased to advise the JMP that there were no exceptions to report for the period 1 June to 31 August 2011 and that all performance levels were good.

RESOLVED:

(1) That the data supplied on the Operational Performance Indicators at Appendix A for the period 1 March 2011 to 31 August 2011 be noted;

(2) 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 Thursday, 8th December, 2011
8.57 p.m.