Agenda and minutes

Environment and Prosperity Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 20th December, 2011 2.00 pm

Venue: Committee Suite 1,2 & 3, Westfields, Middlewich Road, Sandbach CW11 1HZ. View directions

Contact: James Morley  Scrutiny Officer

Items
No. Item

154.

Declarations of Interest/Whipping Declarations

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any personal and/or prejudicial interests in any item on the agenda

Minutes:

There were no members of the Committee who wished to declare a personal interest

155.

Public Speaking Time/ Open Session

A total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to make a statement(s) on any matter that falls within the remit of the Committee.

 

Individual members of the public may speak for up to 5 minutes, but the Chairman will decide how the period of time allocated for public speaking will be apportioned, where there are a number of speakers

Minutes:

There were no members of the public present who wished to address the Committee

156.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on the 22nd November be approved as a correct record and sign by the Chairman.

157.

Strategic Highways Update

To receive a presentation from the Principal Transportation Officer updating the Committee on the Council’s Key Transport Projects

Minutes:

The Committee received a presentation from the Strategic Highways and Transportation Manager and the Principal Transport Officer about the current position of the Council’s key transport projects. The presentation outlined how infrastructure planning and delivery would be integral to the implementation of the key economic strategies of the Borough as well as the proposals in the Local Plan. The presentation proceeded to give updates on the current projects supporting ‘All Change for Crewe’, ‘Make it Macclesfield’ and the Sustainable Towns strategies as well as how national infrastructure proposals in the area will affect the Borough.

 

After the presentation the Committee asked questions and the following information arose:    

·         Members of the Committee looked forward to having an opportunity to have an input into the Council’s response to the proposed High Speed Rail Network “HS2”. Currently there were four possible routes being considered and the preferred route would be chosen for consultation in September 2012. The main priority for Cheshire East would be to support mitigation of the environmental impact of HS2 whilst maximising the economic benefits.   

·         The Committee believed that when consultation with local members was conducted on projects such as Junction 17 of the M6 and the Middlewich Bypass local members in the surrounding areas should also be consulted as these projects would have a wider impact on traffic in their wards.

 

RESOLVED: That the presentation be noted and the Strategic Highways & Transportation Manager and the Principal Transport Officer by thanked.

 

 

158.

Planning Enforcement

To consider a report of the Head of Planning and Housing.(to follow)

Minutes:

This item was withdrawn from the Agenda

159.

Car Parking - Income pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To review the budgeted and actual income from car parking in the first quarter of this municipal year.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on Car Park Income from the Parking Services Manager and were asked to make recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services. The Committee were asked to receive a report by the Council’s Scrutiny Chairmen’s Group (SCG) which was concerned by the underachievement against budgeted income for the first quarter of the municipal year.

 

The report suggested that nationally local authorities experienced shortfalls of between 5 and 15% which was attributed to the difficult economic conditions and reduced customer spending power as well as lower footfall on high streets due to internet shopping. A regional comparison showed that over the previous three years Cheshire East had performed consistently and maintained a reasonable position against the average.

 

The Parking Services Manager assured the Committee that car parks were being maintained to a good standard, were open whenever possible and that enforcement was performing well both on the streets and in car parks.

 

Some Members of the Committee suggested that the income deficit may be due to the tariffs being set too high. The Parking Services Manager stated that the figures that SCG had questioned were from before the recent tariff rise in August 2011 and income had shown a 5% increase since the tariffs increase. Analysis showed that parking demand was more price sensitive in some towns compared with others and there was no overall correlation between price rises, income and demand. Car Parking was subject to the laws of supply and demand and in many cases lowering the price would not increase income through greater demand because many car parks were already filled to capacity most days due to limited supply of spaces.

 

The Parking Service Manager stated that there had been positive feedback from the ‘Pay by Phone’ trail that was being conducted. This actually cost customer slightly more due to the phone charge however customers preferred the convenience of the system. Parking Services was also looking into installing pay machines that accepted cards payments which it was hoped would make paying easier for customers and encourage the use of car parks.

 

Members of the Committee suggested that perhaps the budget was too optimistic about the income that car parks were able to generate. Income had been relatively consistent over recent years however it had continued to fall short of the budget figure that had been used in previous budgets. The Committee suggested that next years budget needed to be more realistic and reflect historical/actual income which was achievable in the current climate.

 

RESOLVED:

(a)  That the report be noted and the Parking Services Manager be thanked for attending.

(b)  That the Committee believe the budget for car parking income had been set too high and that the Committee recommend to the Cabinet Member for Environmental Services that historic data be used to create a realistic budget figure for the 2012/13 budget.

 

The Parking Service Manager left the meeting.

160.

Car Parking - Parking Charge Scale Proposals pdf icon PDF 228 KB

To consider the proposed parking charge scales for Cheshire East Council’s car parks.

Minutes:

This item was withdrawn from the Agenda.

161.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 67 KB

To give consideration to the Committee’s Work Programme

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the Work Programme.

 

RESOLVED: That the current Work Programme be agreed.