Agenda and minutes
Homes and Environment Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 10th October, 2018 2.00 pm
Venue: Meeting Room 1, Guildhall
Contact: Craig Stevens Scrutiny Facilitator
Webcast: View the webcast
Apologies for absence
An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Paul Rogers.
To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 September 2018.
AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 12 September 2018 be signed as a correct record
To consider the report of the Head of Finance
The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/113/18s) to assist Members in agreeing a list of potential scrutiny topic areas for the next 12 months and possibly longer term.
During the discussion the following proposals were put forward:
· HRA Environmental Improvement Schemes – to be considered at the meeting to be held in February 2019.
· WCBC Residents Parking Schemes 2010 – Members accept the topic request form and consider this issue through the establishment of a Task and Finish Group.
AGREED – That, subject to the aforementioned amendments, the work programme as outlined in report HF/113/18s be agreed.
To consider the report of the Lead Member for Place – Environment and Transport.
The Lead Member for Place – Environment and Transport submitted a report (HEP/81/18s) presenting protocols for the approval and placement of street furniture within the highway to ensure a co-ordinated and consistent approach across the County Borough.
In introducing his report, the Lead Member advised that it had been 8 years since the Executive Board had approved a series of protocols for the placement of permanent items of street furniture and temporary obstructions and for the removal of non-approved temporary obstructions in the highway. He stated that whilst there had been no changes in highway legislation it was considered prudent to review these protocols.
During discussion the following points were noted, in particular:
· Some Members expressed concern that whilst the Council had protocols and legislation in place to deal with street furniture and other temporary obstructions of the Highway, these were ineffective in many instances, due to a lack of enforcement.
· The Lead Member stressed that it had sometimes proved difficult to apply standard policies and principles which were deliverable within reducing resources.
· Officers confirmed that whilst there was no fee for temporary yellow directional signs, an application process was adhered to and there was a requirement for the signs to conform to relevant standards.
· Officers confirmed that work was being undertaken to manage and improve the situation with regards to fly tipping.
· Members referred to a policy for “A” boards which had been prepared a number of years ago and queried if this could be re-introduced. Officers stressed that the previous policy as agreed had been referred to Town Centre Management to introduce and manage
· “A" boards were considered a particular problem for the visually impaired and those people with mobility issues and these problems were exacerbated in poor weather conditions. Concerns around encroachment had also been raised previously.
· Any policy would need to ensure that “A" boards were safe, displayed in close proximity to the relevant businesses and sturdy enough not to pose a hazard in poor weather conditions.
· Recognition that “A” boards were not classified as a highways issue.
· Some concern that the introduction of licensing for “A” boards would have a negative impact in terms of supporting businesses and promoting economic development within the town centre and the wider County Borough area.
· Charges that were levied for temporary obstructions on the public highway had been increased in recent years and were in line with those charged by other Authorities.
· Litter bins were removed and not always replaced, if damaged. There was no funding available for replacements and bins were repaired or refurbished if required. Litter bins can be provided if funded by Community Councils.
(i) That Members support the revised protocols for the placement of street furniture and other temporary obstructions in the highway.
(ii) That Officers consider a scope for a future report based on the discussions of the Committee and this is reported back to the Committee.