Agenda item

Attendance by the Portfolio Holder for Front Line Services

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.




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


  • Highways and Street Lighting
  • Parking
  • Public Transport
  • Traffic Management
  • Transport Strategy
  • Travel Safety
  • Waste collection/Recycling/Waste Disposal and Street Cleaning


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


Potholes – In response to concern that repairs to potholes were often temporary and whether this was cost effective, the Portfolio Holder said that general carriageway repairs were undertaken as well as emergency repairs. It was acknowledged that emergency pothole repairs did not last as long and the aim was to increase the number of more permanent repairs made using pothole funding.


Deferral of Luton Road Scheme – In view of this being a road safety issue, the Portfolio Holder confirmed that this work would be undertaken when possible.


Bus improvement – It was questioned when improvements to bus services and reductions to bus related pollution would be realised. Concern was raised around changing bus routes and timetables and general service reliability. The Portfolio Holder said that bus companies had been significantly impacted by Covid-19 and that passenger numbers of some routes were still below pre-Covid levels. Ongoing conversations were taking place with companies. The Council currently provided around £800,000 of subsidies to bus companies and there was limited funding available. Bus companies could be encouraged to publicise changes to services in Medway Matters.


Traffic issues at new superstore – A Member highlighted traffic and parking issues at a new superstore that had opened in their ward. The Portfolio Holder was aware of the concerns and advised that these issues were being investigated.


Highways repair following utility works – A Member highlighted some concerns about the quality of repairs following utility works where new surfaces met old as well as likely deterioration during the winter. It was questioned what was being done by highways inspectors to ensure the quality of reinstatement after works and to ensure that the provision of utilities was not affected. Concern was also raised that action was only taken once complaints had been made. The Portfolio Holder agreed that these issues needed to be addressed and said that Medway Matters could be used to publicise works and potential disruption.


Installation of Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Points – It was questioned what the plans were for the installation of on-street charging points during the current year. The Portfolio Holder anticipated that a pilot could start early in 2023 and said that Gillingham could be a possible location for this. The usage of EV charging points already installed in car parks had to be monitored to ensure that it did not result in a shortage of parking spaces for residents.


Waste collection services and scanning of bus passes – A Member gave his thanks for the excellent waste collection service in Medway. He said that a number of residents in Borstal had reported that their bus passes were not being scanned, which was important for usage to be monitored. The Portfolio Holder requested that the Member submit evidence for this issue to be investigated.


Lack of co-ordination between utility works – Concern was expressed about a lack of co-ordination between works undertaken between different utility providers and that works sometimes took an excessive time to be completed. The Portfolio Holder said the way in which highways and street works operated was changing to bring them under a single service. It was important that utility providers were challenged where works were not completed on time. There needed to be more time spent on the planning and co-ordination of works.


Town centre parking – Noting that a Parking Strategy Group had previously been established to look at the issue of parking in town centres, it was asked if a strategic review could be undertaken of parking in town centres. The Portfolio Holder said that this would be taken forward.


Travel and cycle safety – Noting that road casualties had reduced, a Member asked how Medway’s figures compared to other areas. She also highlighted the need to teach cycle safety to young people and parking issues outside schools. The Portfolio Holder said Medway’s casualty figures were relatively good but that any number of casualties was too many. He considered that the Bikeability cycle training scheme was important and that engagement with schools was important for improving safety.


Abandoned supermarket trolleys, Household Waste and Reycling Centre booking – A Member asked what involvement supermarkets had in supporting volunteers who cleared supermarket trolleys from Jane’s Creek. She also asked whether it was possible for the Household Waste and Recycling Centre booking system to offer same day slots when booked after 11am, subject to there being capacity. The Portfolio Holder said that supermarkets were involved in removing their trolleys. The booking system for the Household Waste and Recycling Centres was working well and the current system provided capacity. Feedback received suggested that residents were happy to book in advance to avoid congestion. Providing a service for commercial vehicles was under consideration and there needed to be confidence that there was sufficient capacity.


In relation to Jane’s Creek, another Committee Member said that Morrisons Supermarket were due to be undertaking a clearance and that a clearance was also due to take place in Canal Road.


Christmas Collection Arrangements – The Portfolio Holder was asked whether the Christmas waste and recycling collection arrangements for 2021 would be repeated in 2022 and what the impact there had been on flytipping. In response, he said that he did not consider crew availability would be problematic but that waste facilities closed during the Christmas period and, therefore, there would be nowhere to take collections to. Medway offered weekly collections and therefore there were few problems caused by collection schedules.


Unplanned traffic issue – A Member, mentioning a closure of Cliffe Road and the congestion it was causing, asked what Council resources were available to deal with unexpected traffic problems. The Portfolio Holder said that there was capacity to send crews out but that consideration had to be given as to how to deal with emergency issues.


Advice for new Portfolio Holder – A Member asked what advice the Portfolio Holder would give to the next holder of his Cabinet Portfolio. He said that he would advise them to keep calm, look at their budgets and do the best they could with the budget available.


Access to Canal Road – It was asked whether any consideration was being given to opening Canal Road to traffic on a permanent basis, following it having been opened during construction of the Medway City Estate relief road. The Portfolio Holder said there had not been any complaints received in relation to the new slip road. Utility works were currently being undertaken in Canal Road and there was an ongoing conversation about access.


Four Elms Hill and speed camera locations – The Portfolio Holder said that the Council was not provided with data by the Police in relation to the number of offences recorded. It was asked if this data could be obtained and provided to the Committee. In response to a question about the location of mobile speed cameras, the Portfolio Holder said that the Council did have an input and could ask the Safety Camera Partnership to monitor a particular location.


ANPR System introduction – A Member expressed thanks for the engagement undertaken and how concerns had been listened to in relation to the introduction of the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system at Rochester Station car park. The Member also asked for an update on the scheme. The Portfolio Holder said that work was being undertaken to consider parking volumes ahead of rolling out the system.


Bus Services – It was suggested that the public should be incentivised to use buses and questioned how bus services could be improved. The Portfolio Holder said the aim was to encourage bus use and that the Council needed to make the case for bus provision to be better taken into account by Government.


Cuxton Waste and Recycling Centre – It was questioned whether there were plans to close this site as the volume of waste it handled from Kent reduced, which currently stood at 41%. The Portfolio Holder confirmed that there were no closure plans and that the possible provision of a service for commercial vehicles could help to ensure future viability.


Waste sent abroad – It was questioned whether the increase in waste being sent abroad was a concern and whether there was a plan to address this. The Portfolio Holder said that a breakdown of where waste was sent had been included in the report for the Annual Review of Waste Contracts, which was included in the meeting agenda. Veolia were responsible for residual waste. There were ways in which recycling figures could be increased although the Government had changed how recycling rates were calculated which had affected the figures slightly.


Christmas parking and roadwork contact details – It was requested that details of Christmas parking policy be published and advertised in Medway Matters as soon as possible. It was also requested that contact details be provided at roadwork sites so that any problems be reported by road users. The Portfolio Holder advised that details of Christmas parking arrangements would be published imminently. In relation to roadworks, an emergency contact number would be provided.


Household Waste and Recycling Centre travel figures – It was requested that the Committee be provided a briefing note to set out where users of the Household Waste and Recycling Centres travelled from.




The Committee thanked the Portfolio Holder for attending the meeting and answering questions and:


a)    Noted that the relevant Committee Member would supply the Portfolio Holder with details of residents’ bus passes that had not been scanned when using bus services.


b)    Requested that work be undertaken to take a strategic review of parking in town centres.


c)    Requested that information in relation to Bikeability Cycle training be shared with parents.


d)    Requested that data in relation to speeding offences recorded by mobile cameras at Four Elms Hill be provided to the Committee.


e)    Requested that the Committee’s thanks be passed to the Parking team for the engagement undertaken in relation to parking at Rochester Train Station.


f)      Requested that the Committee’s thanks be passed to the Household Waste and Recycling crews for the service provided in Medway.


g)    Requested that bus companies be encouraged to publicise changes to bus services in Medway Matters.


h)    requested that details of Christmas parking arrangements in public car parks in Medway be published and advertised in Medway Matters as soon as possible.


i)      Requested that contact details be provided at roadwork sites to facilitate the reporting of any problems.


j)      Requested that the Committee be provided a briefing note to set out where users of the Household Waste and Recycling Centres travelled from.

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