MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON TUESDAY, 25 NOVEMBER 2003 COMMENCING AT 9.30 AM
Mr G P Price (Chairman), Mr J R Adams, Mr A C Bartlett, Mrs B D Clough, Mr M J Cunningham, Mr J Effemey, Mrs M J Miller, Mr V J Morey, Mr A J Mundy, Mr R C Richards, Mr R A Sutton
Portfolio Holders :
Mrs T M Butchers, Mr E Fox
Also present (non voting) :
Mr R G Mazillius, Mr A A Taylor
THAT the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2003 be confirmed.
37. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
A personal interest was declared by Mrs T M Butchers in Minute 39 - Youth Transport Research.
38. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Valerie Lawson, Chairman of Cyclewight submitted a question relating to European ‘In Town Without My Car Day’. A copy of the question and reply given is contained in the Public Question Register.
39. YOUTH TRANSPORT RESEARCH
The Chairman welcomed Katy Blackburn, of the IW Youth Trust, who made a presentation to the Select Committee on research undertaken on youth transport. She outlined the 17 recommendations arising from the research, together with work that was currently being carried out on some of these. Miss Blackburn highlighted the recommendations that she believed were the key areas which could lead to positive outcomes. These were :-
· The active involvement of young people in the review of the public transport network prior to the re-tendering exercise in 2004 on the Council supported services.
· Greater flexibility in the conditions of use for concessionary offers for young people.
· Investigate transport provision for improved access to extra curricular activities.
· Review safety around school sites for all highway users.
· Encourage schools to produce a School Transport Plan and encourage use of rail, cycling and lift sharing.
The Select Committee was also advised of the pilot project operated by Wight Leisure, in conjunction with Southern Vectis and Island Line, on a Youth Mover Plus Leisure Access Scheme. Mrs Annie Horne, Managing Director of Wight Leisure, together with Mr John Sands, Project Development Manager, indicated that the pilot project commenced on 4 September 2003 and would end on 31 December 2003. The scheme was undertaken on the basis of information arising from the Connexions Youth Opinion Survey in 2001, One Stop Shop Survey in 2002 and the Best Value Review of Wight Leisure in 2002. The Youth Mover Plus card enable free travel on buses and trains at certain times for 11 to 18 year olds in full time education together with free admission to Wight Leisure’s main facilities. The project operated with grant assistance from the Children’s Fund and was available to the first 250 applicants. This was the only type of scheme operated by a local authority which linked concessions for travel and leisure facilities.
Members discussed the problems associated with encouraging young people to use public transport and the congestion created by parents outside schools when dropping off and picking up. The implications of any concessionary scheme on school transport would also be a major factor.
(a) THAT the recommendations arising from the Youth Transport Research be supported.
(b) THAT the initiative of bringing leisure and transport together be supported and Wight Leisure prepare a case for a permanent scheme.
(c) THAT officers look at the Council’s existing policies to ascertain whether these need to be amended in the light of the information contained in the Youth Transport Research.
(d) THAT officers investigate how other local authorities fund concessionary fares.
40. DECRIMINALISED PARKING ENFORCEMENT
The Head of Select Committee and Best Value Support indicated that at the Select Committee’s Awayday in March 2003 it was intended to review the progress made on decriminalised parking enforcement on the Island. Due to insufficient staff resources within Engineering Services it had not been possible to make any further progress since the matter was last considered by the Select Committee in April 2002. A revenue bid had been included within the Engineering Services Service Plan for £91,800 in 2004/05 and £139,800 in 2005/06 for staff resources and ancillary works required prior to any application being submitted to the Department of Transport.
The Select Committee expressed disappointment about the lack of progress and considered that funding should be made available to enable the Council to achieve its aim of decriminalised parking enforcement. The original financial projections suggested that a scheme across the Island could provide an operating surplus after 3 years. Any surplus could then be reinvested in public transport schemes and highway improvements.
THAT the Executive be requested to support the revenue bid to enable decriminalised parking enforcement to progress as a priority and that consideration be given to moving resources from non priority areas to achieve this.
41. BUDGET MONITORING REPORT AS AT END OF OCTOBER 2003
The Select Committee considered the budget and expenditure position on revenue and capital as at the end of October 2003.
On revenue there was still a need to closely monitor car parking income to ensure that it met the target figures. Officers were still concerned as to the effect of the Concessionary Fares Age Equalisation Scheme on the budget. There was a statutory requirement to meet any increased costs and discussions were ongoing regarding this.
The Chief Financial Officer detailed the latest position on the more significant capital schemes. The Executive at its meeting on 19 November 2003 had agreed to redirect uncommitted capital to urgent highway safety works arising from the drought conditions experienced in the summer. This would have an affect on the approved capital programme and the details of this would be debated later in the meeting.
THAT the revenue and capital position be noted.
42. HIGHWAYS CAPITAL PROGRAMME
The Head of Engineering Services reported that the Executive, at its meeting on 19 November 2003, had considered the need to undertake urgent safety works to a number of highways due to the summer drought conditions. These were remedial works only and would cost £600,000. It was estimated that at least £1.6m would be required in total to reconstruct the worst affected highways. A case was being prepared for submission to the Government Office for the South East for additional capital funding. Members were advised of those schemes, contained within the capital programme for 2003/04, which would not be undertaken as the result of the urgent remedial works.
The Select Committee noted that there was a net budget shortfall of £376,953 in the Ventnor Haven Project. The Head of Engineering Services explained the reasons behind the additional expenditure. Officers were investigating the ability to seek funding from other sources but there was a need to for a contingency to be agreed in case the shortfall had to be fully met by the Council. Members expressed concern as to how the position had been reached and believed that they should have been advised of the situation at an earlier date. The Select Committee was informed that processes had now been put in place to avoid such a situation recurring.
THAT the changes to the Highways Capital Programme, agreed by the Executive, be noted