Agenda and minutes

Regeneration, Culture and Environment Overview And Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 16 August 2018 6.30pm

Venue: Meeting Room 9 - Level 3, Gun Wharf, Dock Road, Chatham ME4 4TR. View directions

Contact: Ellen Wright, Democratic Services Officer 

Items
No. Item

270.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Mrs Josie Iles, Paterson and Stamp.

271.

Record of Meeting pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To approve the Record of the Meeting held on 14 June 2018.

Minutes:

The record of the meeting held on 14 June 2018 was agreed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

A Member referred to Minute 84 (Work Programme) and commented that at the meeting on 14 June 2018, he had asked for the National Highways and Transport (NHT) Survey results to be attached as an appendix to the Highways Network Investment Report and yet information on the NHT Survey had been circulated as a briefing note.

 

The Democratic Services Officer advised that she would check her notes and respond to the Member direct.

272.

Urgent matters by reason of special circumstances

The Chairman will announce any late items which do not appear on the main agenda but which he has agreed should be considered by reason of special circumstances to be specified in the report.

Minutes:

There were none.

273.

Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and Other Significant Interests pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Members are invited to disclose any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests or Other Significant Interests in accordance with the Member Code of Conduct.  Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 4.

 

Minutes:

Disclosable pecuniary interests

 

There were none.

 

Other significant interests (OSIs)

 

There were none.

 

Other interests

 

The Chairman, Councillor Etheridge referred to item 5 – Member’s item: Flooding in Luton, Chatham and informed the Committee that he was one of the Council’s representatives on the North Kent Marshes Drainage Board.

274.

Chairman's Announcements

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Jean-Paul Collet from Southern Water to the meeting for the Member’s Item on Flooding in Luton, Chatham.

 

The Chairman also reminded the Committee that Tomasz Kozlowski, Assistant Director Physical and Cultural Regeneration had left the employment of Medway Council on 10 August 2018 to take up a post at Basildon Borough Council. On behalf of the Committee, the Chairman wished Tomasz all the best in his new job and thanked him for the work he had undertaken at Medway.    

275.

Member's item: Flooding in Luton, Chatham pdf icon PDF 174 KB

This report sets out a response to an issue, raised by Councillor Osborne, concerning recent surface water flooding in Luton, Chatham.

 

A representative from the Southern Water will be in attendance at the meeting to answer Member’s questions.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report setting out a response to a Member’s item from Councillor Osborne concerning surface water flooding in Luton, Chatham after a period of heavy rainfall on 29 May 2018. It was noted that the flooding incident was currently the subject of an investigation, the results of which were awaited.

 

Jean-Paul Collet, Operational Wastewater Network Manager from Southern Water was in attendance to respond to Members’ questions.

 

The Committee was informed that gully clearance formed part of the Highways Annual Maintenance Programme and a schedule detailing the regularity of gully clearance in Luton in 2018 was submitted. It was noted that where gullies had not been cleansed, this had been due to parked vehicles preventing access.

 

In addition to regular gully clearance, Highways Inspectors had inspected Nelson Terrace, Queens Road, Beacon Hill and Capstone Road on 17 April 2018 and no defects had been found in the gullies at that time. There was also no evidence of sedimentation or leaf collection that would impede water discharging through the gully system. Further inspections had been carried out following the flooding incident on 29 May and no defects had been found.

 

Southern Water advised that they had not received reports of flooding or blockages in Capstone Road that would have identified a requirement for cleaning. Following the flooding on 29 May, Southern Water had undertaken a survey of the sewer. The survey concluded that the flood had been a result of sewer overloading and overland surface water flow. The survey had also identified the need for a lining repair to part of the sewer and, as these works would require a traffic management system to be put in place, the necessary permits were being progressed with the Council and it was hoped that this work would be undertaken within 4 – 6 weeks.

 

It was confirmed that in response to reports of flooding at sites across Medway on 29 May, the Council instigated its Emergency Plan Procedures and Strood Leisure Centre had been put on standby to receive emergency evacuees. Officers attended all sites in Medway where there had been reports of flooding. In Luton, all residents at Nelson Terrace had either been rehoused, placed in emergency accommodation or were staying with relatives and neither Housing Association in Nelson Terrace had requested support from the Council.

 

The Committee discussed the report and expressed appreciation to Southern Water for attending the meeting to listen to Members’ concerns and answer questions.

 

The following issues were discussed:

 

·         Frequency of gully clearance

It was reported that the frequency of gully clearance was dependent upon the area and whilst some areas had an annual cleanse, two cycles of gully clearance were undertaken per annum in the Luton area. As a result of the recent flash flood in Luton, the area would be revisited to establish if extra cleansing would be beneficial.

 

·         Inability to clear gullies owing to parked vehicles

Councillor Osborne expressed concern that a number of gullies not  cleansed in Luton were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 275.

276.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 139 KB

This report advises the Committee of any petitions received by the Council which fall within the remit of this Committee including a summary of the response sent to the petition organisers by officers.

 

There has been one petition referred to this Committee concerning the removal of secure motorcycle parking from Commercial Road Car Park in Strood.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a report advising of petitions received by the Council which fell within the remit of this Committee.

 

The Committee was advised that the following petition had been referred to this Committee by the lead petitioner as he had been dissatisfied with the response received from the Director:

 

Petition against the removal of secure motorcycle parking from Commercial Road (Strood)

 

The Committee welcomed Stephen Mallett to the meeting and invited him to address the Committee on his concerns.

 

Mr Mallett outlined the basis of his petition and referred to two plans attached to the report which he had provided to support his suggested revised layout of the car park in Commercial Road, Strood which would provide secure and adequate motorcycle parking and safe entry and exits for cars.

 

The Committee acknowledged the concerns expressed by Mr Mallett, taking into account the increasing level of motorcycle theft nationally. It was suggested that if officers were minded to meet with Mr Mallett to discuss this issue, a timescale should be specified for any agreed work.

 

The Head of Integrated Transport advised that any feedback from users of the facility was welcome and he confirmed that a site visit with Mr Mallett and the Design Engineer would be arranged for a suitable date in September. Once proposals had been formalised, they would be programmed into other works taking place in Strood Town Centre.

 

Mr Mallett thanked officers for arranging the site visit and permitting him to address the Committee.

 

Petition to install CCTV cameras in Strood

 

Although this petition had not been referred for discussion by the lead petitioner, a Member referred to the comprehensive review of all fixed CCTV cameras and requested information as to the likely timescale of this review.

 

The Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive informed the Committee that the review of fixed CCTV  cameras was a joint undertaking between Medway Council and Medway Commercial Group. He agreed to circulate a briefing note to all Members on this review.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            noted the petition response and appropriate officer action set out in paragraph 3 of the report.

b)            noted the petition referral request and the Director’s comments at paragraph 4 of the report.

c)            noted that a site visit will be arranged for a date in September to assess the requirements for secure motorcycle parking provision at Commercial Road Car Park in Strood and that the lead petitioner will be invited to attend the site visit.

d)            agreed that Ward Councillors be notified of the date of the site visit referred to at c) above and invited to attend.

e)            agreed that a verbal update be provided on the outcome of the site visit referred to at c) above to the next meeting of the Committee on 18 October 2018.

f)             agreed that a briefing note on the review of fixed CCTV cameras be circulated to all Members of the Council. 

277.

Attendance of the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services pdf icon PDF 279 KB

This report sets out progress made within the areas covered by the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services which fall within the remit of this Committee.

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

Members received an overview of progress on the areas within the terms of reference of this Committee and covered by the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services as set out below:

 

·         Highways

·         Parking

·         Public Transport

·         Street Cleaning and Waste Collection/Recycling/Waste Disposal

·         Street Lighting

·         Traffic Management

·         Transport Strategy

·         Travel Safety.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services, Councillor Filmer responded to Members’ questions and comments as follows:

 

·         Pothole funding

A Member questioned whether the level of funding in the Highways Budget for repairing potholes at £406,000 was considered sufficient. In response, the Portfolio Holder advised that there was always a requirement for an increased level of funding to repair potholes, especially taking into account the effect of the weather through the winter of 2017/18. He confirmed that Highways had secured a Band 3 Award through The Highway Incentive Fund which had secured £430,000 funding for the current financial year to be invested in carriageway works. This was the highest Band Level available through this funding programme.

 

The Portfolio Holder suggested that if a Member had any concerns relating to potholes in their Ward, they should send details through to officers asking for an assessment.

 

·         Medway Tunnel

A Member requested an update on funding for the Medway Tunnel.

 

The Portfolio Holder advised that funding was available to undertake maintenance to the Tunnel. However, he was continually trying to obtain increased funding from the Government for Tunnel maintenance and a meeting with the Transport Minister had recently taken place to discuss this issue.

 

·         Use of RinGO cashless parking

A Member sought information on the use of RinGO, a cashless parking solution which levied a 12p charge on each payment. In response, the Portfolio Holder advised that parking systems were being investigated as part of the Council’s Transformation Programme. He confirmed that whilst some individuals were willing to use the RinGO cashless parking scheme, some preferred to continue to pay cash for parking. Therefore, it was not intended to go completely digital at this stage.

 

·         Flytipping 

A Member asked the Portfolio Holder what action was being taken to proactively reduce fly-tipping.

 

In response, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that fly-tipping was a national problem and that a proportion of fly-tipped rubbish in Medway came from outside of the area. He advised that following the re-opening of the household waste site at Pepper Hill, Gravesend it was hoped that this may reduce the level of fly-tipping in Medway.

 

The Portfolio Holder advised that during the closure of the Pepper Hill site additional pressure had been placed on staff at Medway’s sites and he commended the staff for the way in which they had coped with the increased usage of the sites.

 

The Portfolio Holder also confirmed that income received from bulky waste collections helped the Council to continue to provide a weekly collection of household waste, recycling and garden waste. He felt that Medway offered the best refuse collection service in the country and was the envy of many other local authorities.

 

·         The cost  ...  view the full minutes text for item 277.

278.

Highway Network Investment to maintain the current levels of technical performance pdf icon PDF 385 KB

This report advises the Committee on levels of Highway Network Investment to maintain the current levels of technical performance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee received a detailed report outlining the levels of Highway Network Investment to maintain the current levels of technical performance.

 

It was reported that Highway Network Investment was principally funded through four main funding streams:

 

·         Council funding

·         Department of Transport

·         External Funding

·         Highway Adoptions.

 

‘Our approach to Lifecycle Planning’ on Highway Asset Management was attached as an appendix to the report which set out medium to long-term financial plans for managing the Highway Asset and focused on the following key highway asset groups:

 

·         Carriageway

·         Footway

·         Structures

·         Street Lighting

·         Drainage (Gullies).

 

The Highway Lifecycle Planning was reviewed every two years.

 

The Committee discussed the report and in particular the following:

 

·         The conversion of street lighting to LED

It was noted that the possible conversion of street lighting to LED was currently under investigation. However, there were other possible options available for street columns including provision of electric charging points, notification of nearby parking availability and wi-fi. 

 

·         Parking on the footway

The Head of Highways and Parking Services acknowledged that  parking on the footway not only obstructed access for wheelchair users and parents with prams but could also cause damage to services under the footway. He confirmed that this issue was frequently raised by Ward Councillors and officers were investigating the introduction of a ban on footway parking. However, it was recognised that in certain areas of Medway parking on the footway was a necessity owing to the narrowness of the highway.

 

·         Requirement for increased funding to maintain the highway asset

Concern was expressed that there was insufficient funding available to maintain the highway asset and that strong representations should be made to the Government for an increased level of funding to be made available.

 

·         Clarification on Table 3 – Highways Budget

A Member sought clarification as to how the Highways Budget for 2018-19 correlated to the Lifecycle Planning Report. The Head of Highways and Parking Services advised that not all of the Highways Budget was captured in the Lifecycle Planning report and he offered to circulate a briefing note clarifying this issue.

 

In response to the concerns raised by the Committee on the level of funding required to maintain the technical performance of the highways network, the Committee requested that a letter be sent to the Government outlining concerns, with such a letter to include:

 

·         Recognition that investment in the highways is a national issue

·         An acknowledgement that Medway’s position is outperforming the national average

·         Encouraging the Government to provide an increased level of funding to be made available to local authorities for the maintenance of highways assets nationally.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)            noted the increased levels of Highway Network Investment required to maintain the current levels of technical performance and requested that the Director Regeneration, Culture, Environment and Transformation and Deputy Chief Executive write to the Roads Minister along the lines suggested above and requesting that the Government provide an increased level of funding available to local authorities for the maintenance of highways assets nationally.

b)            agreed that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 278.

279.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 145 KB

This item advises Members of the current work programme and allows the Committee to adjust it in the light of latest priorities, issues and circumstances. It gives Members the opportunity to shape and direct the Committee’s activities over the year. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Discussion:

 

The Committee considered its work programme for the remainder of 2018/19, noting a number of suggested variations from the pre-agenda meeting on 27 July 2018 and a recommendation from the Business Support Overview and Scrutiny Committee that all Overview and Scrutiny Committees receive a report on Transformation as it relates to their individual terms of reference.

 

A Member requested that a briefing note be provided on the reasons why the recent Castle Concerts made a loss.

 

Decision:

 

The Committee:

 

a)    noted the current work programme.

b)    agreed the following changes in line with the suggestions from the Pre-agenda meeting:

 

·         The further 6 month update from the Dementia Task Group be provided as a briefing note in line with the request of the Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

·         The 6 month update on the recommendations from the Task Group on Employment Opportunities for Young People in Medway be deferred until October 2018 on the basis that the post holder who will be undertaking this work only recently took up post and in line with the decision of the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

·         A briefing note be produced on the Cultural Activities Programme in 2019.

·         The Annual Action Plan reviewing the progress of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy be produced as a briefing note in 2019

 

c)    agreed that a report on Transformation be added to the Committee’s work programme for the December meeting.

d)    agreed to receive further Lifecycle reports for Highways Network Investment.

e)    agreed that a briefing note be circulated on the recent loss from the Castle Concerts.