MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON THURSDAY, 26 SEPTEMBER 2002 COMMENCING AT 9.30 AM
Mrs T M Butchers (Chairman), Mr J R Adams, Mr A C Bartlett, Mrs B D Clough, M J Cunningham, Mr J H Fleming
Mr C B W Chapman, Mr J Effemey, Mrs M Miller, Mr V J Morey, Mrs E Oulton, Mr A T Titlman
Portfolio Holders :
Mr E Fox, Mrs B Lawson
Also present (non-voting) :
Mrs B E Foster, Mr A A Taylor
THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 28 August 2002 be confirmed.
33. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations made at this stage.
34. BUDGET MONITORING REPORT AS AT END OF AUGUST 2002
Consideration was given to the report of the Strategic Director of Finance and Information and County Treasurer relating to budget position for both revenue and capital up to the end of August 2002.
Members attention was drawn to the increased costs of works to Coppins Bridge, Newport arising from the heavy rainfall experienced on 9 September 2002. This had highlighted the need for the Council to obtain sufficient details of drainage so that schemes could be properly designed. The Head of Engineering Services indicated that Consultants had been instructed to undertake survey work in relevant areas. It would also be necessary to commit additional expenditure to the inspection programme for bridges, structures and retaining walls and this could lead to a requirement for further routine maintenance costs for these.
The capital programme for 2002/03 was under review due to the demands being placed on the Budget by the additional costs of the Military Road scheme, the Newport to Ryde Strategic Corridor, Coppins Bridge and slippage from the previous year. This was likely to impact on the ability to undertake the work to the Cowes to Newport Strategic Corridor and advance highway design works. There would however be a saving arising from the revised traffic management improvement scheme for Newport. The Military Road scheme would require additional capital allocation in 2003/04 and the Council’s approval to this would be sought in October. Three other capital schemes, Carpenters Road, St Helens; Great Preston Road, Ryde and Mayfield Road, Ryde, would be deferred. This was to assess the cost benefit of combining all three into one contract.
In debating the capital programme the Select Committee believed that it would be beneficial if a tour of relevant sites could be arranged.
The Head of Engineering Services outlined the arrangements for inspecting works carried out by statutory undertakers.
(a) THAT a roads tour be arranged for the Select Committee.
(b) THAT the budget monitoring report as at the end of August 2002 be noted.
35. HIGHWAYS CAPITAL PROGRAMME - SCHEME PRIORITISATION
The Select Committee received the report that was submitted to the Executive on 26 September 2002 relating to highway scheme prioritisation. It was intended to utilise this system to assist in the production of a programme of capital works for 2003/04. This was in response to comments made in the Best Value Inspection and similar systems were used by other highway authorities. The methods of dealing with different types of schemes were highlighted.
In discussing the road safety and related issues members received details from PC C Bartlett, Traffic Management Officer with Hampshire Constabulary, of the regular liaison and exchange of information between the Police and the Council. It was however important to note that not all accidents were reported to the Police and only those resulting in injury or fatality were officially recorded.
The Select Committee queried the schemes not included within the capital programme. It was believed that when the programme for 2003/04 was submitted, following introduction of the system, details relating to the points score and ranking should be shown. The Head of Engineering Services indicated that monitoring of the success of schemes was undertaken so to ascertain whether the predicated cost benefits had ben achieved. It would not be possible to incorporate footway schemes into the prioritisation system at this stage.
(a) THAT the proposed introduction of a highway scheme prioritisation system for the capital programme be noted.
(b) THAT when the capital programme is submitted to the Select Committee, following the introduction of this system, all capital schemes be listed together with the relevant points score.
36. PUBLIC CONVENIENCES TASK GROUP - PROGRESS REPORT
The Select Committee considered a report from the Chairman of the Task Group, Mr H Adams, and the Lead Officer, Mr D Sedgeley, on the discussions held to date on the future provision of public conveniences. An outline was given of the various aspects that had been taken into account by the Task Group. The ability of the Council to transfer some existing facilities onto other organisations, other than Town and Parish Council’s, was being explored.
The public conveniences at East Cowes Esplanade had been closed due to drainage problems. These were however in a prime site and following discussions with the Town Council there was the possibility of these being brought back into use if a joint scheme could be concluded. Savings could also be achieved by the closure of facilities adjacent to the Prince of Wales public house in York Avenue.
Shanklin Town Council had also indicated its agreement to the closure of conveniences at Shanklin Theatre due to their poor condition and close proximity to facilities in Chine Avenue. The facilities at Ryde Canoe Lake and Ventnor Botanic Garden could be internally transferred so that they became the responsibility of Wight Leisure and Education and Community development respectively.
(a) That the Task Group
(i) continues negotiations with town and parish councils concerning the future provision of public conveniences.
(ii) explore a process whereby if town and parish councils agree to take over future provision of public conveniences, a diminishing grant process is employed to ease the process of transfer.
(iii) explore a process whereby if town and parish councils decline the transfer of provision, and where under utilisation can be proven by generic calculation, the facility should be permanently closed and either sold by auction or retained for storage purposes.
(iv) consider peak summer opening for beachside conveniences in close proximity to other facilities, where beach award status would not be affected.
(b) THAT the Executive be recommended :-
(i) To conclude negotiations with East Cowes Town Council concerning the repair of Esplanade and the permanent closure of the Prince of Wales conveniences.
(ii) That the public conveniences at Shanklin Theatre be permanently closed and the building used for theatre storage or leased to a third party.
(iii) That public conveniences are internally transferred as follows:
(1) Ryde Canoe Lake to Wight Leisure
(2) Ventnor Botanic Gardens to Education and Community Development.
37. ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT WORKING PARTY
The Head of Select Committee and Best Value Support reported on a proposal to establish a Working Party to deal with a number of cross cutting green issues. This would involve members from both this Select Committee and also the Resources Select Committee.
Consideration was given to the terms of reference.
(a) THAT an Ecological Footprint Working Party, comprising 10 members, be established.
(b) THAT the terms of reference be as follows :-
To promote and develop an environmentally friendly Transport Plan and actively encourage the Council’s workforce to encompass ‘green’ ways of working and sustainability.
To develop the means of reducing the impact of travel to work and transport activity associated with work.
Overall Objectives :
To make the Council as accessible for the public, visitors, staff and Members using a variety of transport modes.
To create opportunities for the public, visitors, staff and Members to use alternative means of transport to the private car, so that car use is increasingly confined to those people to whom other transport is not a realistic option.
To ensure that there is sufficient staff car parking for those whose only option is to travel by car.
To actively encourage alternative, sustainable transport modes.
Council Objectives :
To benefit staff and Members through greater flexibility in working practices and promote greater awareness of potential environmental and financial advantages generated through travelling by alternative means or by sharing costs with others.
To benefit the Council by developing a healthier, more motivated workforce, reduced levels of absenteeism, reduced parking requirements and a better environmental corporate image.
To benefit the community through reduced traffic noise and pollution levels and reduced conflict between vulnerable road users and motor vehicles.