Agenda and minutes

Leicestershire County Council Highway Forum for Harborough
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 4.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Harborough District Council offices

Contact: Sue Dann Tel: (0116) 305 7122 

Items
No. Item

1.

Chairman's welcome

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members, officers and members of the public to the meeting.  The Chairman informed Members that a policeman was due to attend for the petition presentation but has not yet arrived and that item will be delayed until his arrival.

 

The Chairman also introduced Mr Pat Clarke who is the new Head of Service for Highway Delivery for Leicestershire County Council and welcomed him to the Forum.  Cllr R K A  Feltham CC asked how he was linked to Matt Reedman.  Mr Clarke confirmed that Matt is a member of his team. 

2.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors Liquorish, Galton and Pain and District Councillor Bilbie.

3.

Any other items which the Chairman has decided to take as urgent elsewhere on the agenda

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

4.

Declarations of interest in respect of items on the agenda

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

5.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Minutes:

Minutes of the previous meeting held on Wednesday 25th October 2016 were confirmed and signed as a true record of the meeting.

6.

Chairman's update - Grass cutting pdf icon PDF 455 KB

Minutes:

The Forum considered an update by the Director of Environment and Transport regarding grass cutting.  This update was introduced by Mr Kirk with a copy filed with the minutes.

 

Mr Kirk took Members through the update and highlighted the key areas of the report.  He advised that the number of customer contacts with regard to grass cutting had reduced in 2016 which followed a number of changes to the service which moved in-house at the end of 2014. The frequency of the cutting reduced from 6 cuts to 5 in 2015 following a public consultation on the MTFS budget where the public fed back that they felt this was not a high priority and could be reduced, the level of customer contacts regarding the grass cutting that same year increased by 31% from those recorded in 2014.  A review was held as a result of this and a decision made by Cabinet in October 2015 to increase urban cuts to 6 a year.  Mr Kirk explained that the performance monitoring information showed that 2016 had the lowest number of customer contacts since 2013 when 7 cuts were carried out per year, substantially lower than 2014 and 2015. 

 

Mr Kirk confirmed that a small dedicated team had been set up to deal with visibility splays in response to customer reported safety concerns. 

 

Mr Kirk explained that the Council have a new responsive approach to grass cutting which will be more reactive to the growth of the grass and there may be more cuts earlier to deal with seasonal growing peaks.  He went on to say that a number of improvements were being made i.e. technicians will use a live dashboard which will ensure work is programmed more efficiently using ‘real time’ information. 

 

Mr Kirk advised Members that officers will continue to refine and embed the improvements once the grass cutting season starts. 

 

Cllr C Holyoak DC asked how much had been saved as the whole purpose of the changes was to save money. Mr Kirk explained that the number of cuts had reduced from 7 to 6 and then from 6 to 5 and then increased to 6 following feedback from customers so money will have been saved due to the reduction from 7 to 6 cuts. 

 

Cllr M Rickman DC asked if this level was going to continue into 2017.   Mr Kirk stated that due to feedback from Councillors and the number of customer contacts, the frequency will remain at 6 along with a more responsive approach.  

 

Cllr N Hall DC raised concerns about the Shearsby crossroads and the issues in that area due to accidents. He stated his concerns were mainly about the strimming around road signs and asked why weed killer was not used which he felt would be more efficient than strimming/cutting.   He also had concerns about the A5199 and kerbside cutting/strimming.   Mr Kirk explained that in the report it stated that the quality of the visibility splays in 2016 were not as good as the urban cuts and efforts were being made to improve this situation by carrying out visibility splay cuts earlier and in a more controlled way.  Mr Kirk urged Members to report any safety issues or grass cutting issues to Customer Services where they will be logged and prioritised. 

 

Cllr R Page CC agreed with Cllr Hall on the issues he had raised about cutting around signs and she raised concerns about signs and bollards being knocked over during the cutting process and asked if the money we are saving is being spent on rectifying the damage.    Cllr Page and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Presentation of petitions under Standing Order 36.

A petition with 109 signatures from Ms Joan Gray will be presented.  The petition requests that the speed limits in the Langtons be reduced to 40mph.

 

“On Tuesday 24th January at 4.30pm I witnessed an incident where a school child was very nearly hit by a car adjacent to the Bus Stop by the Cricket Pitch, Thorpe Langton, East Langton.  Exactly a week later there was an accident in the same place, resulting in the driver having to be cut from his vehicle by the Fire Brigade.  In December there was a crash at the cross roads by West Langton and a local school teachers’ car was written off.  In each case these incidents were caused by the excessive speed of motorists travelling between Thorpe Langton and the B6047.

 

The stretch of road, from the cross roads at the B6047 near West Langton, has a national speed limit of 60mph, but it is used by a wide range of vehicles to service the community.  It is also regularly used by school children.  This speed limit makes it a very dangerous stretch of road and there have been three Road Traffic Accidents in East Langton and a ‘very near miss’ involving a child in the last 6 weeks.

 

In addition, between the B6047 and just behind the East Langton turning there are 4 gateways in use, including into the Langton Stables, the turning at Church Causeway, a recognised footpath crosses the road, the “cut through” from the cricket pitch used by children and dog walkers, the bus stops, on both sides of the road, the turning into East Langton and finally the BT substation!  It is a miracle no one has been seriously hurt or killed thus far.  The road is frequently used by tractors, quad bikes, school buses, dustbin lorries, a milk float, post van, cyclists, horses and delivery bans along with high speed.

 

It is no exaggeration to say that it seems only to be a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or worse as a result of the excessive speeds of motorists travelling along this road, whether within or outside the speed limit.  There are no traffic calming measures at all, and no warning signs, despite the presence of a designated bus stop and the use of the road by school children.

 

I am asking for your help to raise this issue with Leicester County Council and the Police, and encourage them to reduce the speed limit to 30mph and/or provide traffic calming measures and to possibly move the bus stop further away from the ‘Give Way’ at the top of East Langton.  If a pedestrian is hit at the speed of 30mph they have an 80% chance of survival, at 60mph there is little chance of survival.”

Minutes:

A petition with 109 signatures from Ms Joan Gray will be presented. The petition requests that the speed limits in the Langtons be reduced to 40mph.

           

This item was taken last on the agenda as the Lead Petitioner was waiting for a member of the police to arrive.  PC Steve Winn attended the meeting but unfortunately was detained elsewhere and arrived just as the meeting ended.

 

The Chairman asked if Cllr Feltham would like to present this petition on behalf of Mrs Gray who was in attendance but didn’t want to speak. 

 

Cllr Feltham presented the on-line petition and stated that Mrs Gray had discussed this with him around four weeks ago about the issues of speeding traffic in the Langtons.  He stated that this was a route he used for cutting through to Cambridge and the speed varies through the different villages.  He added that along the route are bus stops and shelters and so is used by pedestrians and also farmers with tractors and equipment.  He went on to state that there have been a number of near miss accidents which don’t get recorded in the accident data but they are important to make a note of.  He felt that the 60mph limit should be reduced to 50 if not 40mph. Cllr Feltham stated that Cllr Philip King also supports this petition.

 

The Chairman stated that the petition will be investigated by officers and a report will be brought back to the next meeting.

8.

Response to petition: change the route of the Market Harborough town bus service No 33- so that it serves Knoll Street pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Forum considered a report by the Director of Environment and Transport in response to the petition – request to reinstate the Knoll Street/Gardiner Street/Highcross Street, Market Harborough routeing of the Centrebus Service 33. 

 

Mr Kirk took Members through the report and the investigation which was carried out leading to the report, following the presentation of the petition to Members at the last Highway Forum.

 

Cllr S Hill CC said that she felt that it was a shame when the bus driver had been doing something incorrectly that was acceptable to the residents and was now being asked to stop doing this to the displeasure of the residents and asked if there had been any complaints whilst the bus driver was using the incorrect route and, if not, can this route be reviewed when contracts are due to be renewed.

 

Mr Kirk advised that this route is tightly timed and has combined down to 3 separate route loops, from 4, over time and has had many improvements to straighten the route. He went on to say that bus drivers should have been operating that route since 2013 and the bus company has now been informed they must use the registered route.  Mr Kirk asked that any issues with the bus not picking people up as they have agreed to on the ‘Hail and Ride’ part of the route,  be reported to officers through the Customer Service Centre. 

 

The Chairman stated that the Lead Petitioner asked for her thanks to be passed onto the officers for their consideration on this report.

 

RECOMMENDATION

 

That the report of the Director of Environment and Transport be noted.

9.

Highway Maintenance Strategy and Policy Review pdf icon PDF 230 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Forum considered a report by the Director of Environment and Transport with regard to the Highway Maintenance Strategy and Policy Review.  The report was introduced by Mr Kirk with a copy filed with the minutes.

 

Mr Kirk took Members through the report and advised that this followed on from the report to the last meeting entitled A-Roads to Zebras – A Comprehensive Maintenance Review.  This  detailed the reasons for the review and the current financial challenges and the alteration in the way that funding is being made available by the Department for Transport, together with the changes that will need to occur to comply with  the new Code of Practice. We need to alter our approach to Highway Maintenance to maximise the quality of the highway network with amount of funding available.  We will need to take more of a risk based approach while at the same time operating within a considerably reduced budget envelop. 

 

Mr Kirk reported that the views of the public on services and priorities were fed into the comprehensive report to Cabinet on 13th December 2016, which set out a draft Highway Asset Management Policy and Strategy which have been produced and are attached to the report for information.  Mr Kirk encouraged Members to feed into the current public consultation on the draft policy and strategy that is now open and runs until 26th March and to also encourage others to respond.  The results will be used to formulate the final policy and strategy which will determine future years’ work programmes.

 

Mr Kirk went through the bullet points at para 3 (page 25) which detail the reasons that the review is necessary and highlighted the flow chart on page 27 which shows the journey to operational delivery.  

 

Mr Kirk advised that at the last Forum Members were interested in drainage and gulley emptying and highlighted the table on page 57 which gives the outline strategy for drainage.  It states that evidence will be gathered on where gullies need emptying the most and this will allow an assessment of the risk and a targeted prioritised approach will follow.

 

Cllr Page raised concerns about the damage to the road caused by lorries on route to and from Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome every day near to Cllr Hall’s house in Knaptoft, Lutterworth.  She stated that lorries take the junction too quickly, sway and have damaged signs.  Cllr Page asked as part of the strategy can officers gather this evidence for when planning applications are received we can claw back funding for example at Magna Park and other industrial parks.   Mr Kirk highlighted the table on page 46 which gives details about hierarchy and classification of highways and on page 47 the details about condition assessment. He went on to say that we do make recommendations to the Planning Authorities but it is incredibly hard to find evidence when the network is already there.  If we have evidence an insurance claim can be made but the normal wear and tear on the network is what this report is about. Cllr Hall agreed with Cllr Page and went on to raise concerns about access from A5199 crossroads which he thought was dangerous and not suitable for transporters.  He stated that if the weeds were dealt with at the crossroads at Shearsby there would be no need to strim this area.

 

Mr Kirk stated that the approach that is being taken is more risk based and will look at some areas more frequently and others less frequently to ensure efficiencies are made where appropriate.  He went on to say that in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

2016/17 maintenance and improvements programmes - information item pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the report.

11.

Programme of traffic regulation orders and signing and lining schemes - current position - information item pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members noted the report.

12.

On-going action statement - nothing to report

Minutes:

The ongoing action was noted.

13.

Items for future consideration

Minutes:

The Chairman asked Members to let officers have in writing any items for consideration for future agendas within 10 days of the date of the meeting.  These items can be sent to Sue Dann, email sue.dann@leics.gov.uk.

14.

Any other items the Chairman has decided is urgent

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

15.

Date of the next meeting - Wednesday 12th July 2017 (4.30pm) at Harborough District Council Offices

Minutes:

The Chairman confirmed the date of the next meeting is 12th July 2017 at 4.30pm.

                       

The Chairman asked Members to make a note of the date.

16.

Chairman's closing remarks

Minutes:

The Chairman asked Members to look at attending the ‘In Work’ event at Bruntingthorpe, he thought that some of the Members went to the last event with an official contingent from Harborough District Council.  He encouraged them to organise another trip as it was well worth a visit. 

 

The Chairman thanked Members, officers and the public for their attendance and contribution at the meeting. He stated that this would be his last Highway Forum as he was not standing for re-election.