Agenda and minutes

Environment and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 16th March, 2020 10.00 am

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

Contact: Sarah Baxter  Tel: 01270 686462 Email:  sarah.baxter@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

66.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S Brookfield and D Jefferay.

67.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To give consideration to the minutes of the meeting held on 10 February 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 February 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman subject to the deletion of Councillor L Crane as Vice Chairman and replaced with Councillor M Hunter and subject to it being noted that Councillor S Hogben was a substitute.

68.

Declarations of Interest

To provide an opportunity for Members and Officers to declare any disclosable pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests in any item on the agenda.

 

Minutes:

Councillor M Hunter declared a pecuniary interest in respect of item 8’ Review of TSS Commissioning including Flexi-Link Service by virtue of the fact that he had recently been appointed as a Director of TSS.  In accordance with the Code of Conduct he left the room prior to consideration of the item.

69.

Whipping Declarations

To provide an opportunity for Members to declare the existence of a party whip in relation to any item on the agenda.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of a party whip were received.

70.

Public Speaking/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.

 

Note: In order for officers to undertake any background research, it would be helpful if members of the public contacted the Scrutiny officer listed at the foot of the agenda, at least one working day before the meeting to provide brief details of the matter to be covered. 

 

Minutes:

Two statements submitted by ADAPT and Gawsworth Parish Council were read out by the Democratic Services Officer.

 

The statement by ADAPT related it items 6 and 7 on the agenda.  In respect of item 6 ADAPT’s Transport Group wished to request reconsideration of the proposal to discontinue precautionary gritting on Coole Lane and Longhill Lane, near Audlem.  With support from Cheshire East Council, the group had been progressing the development of a safer all-year cycle link between Audlem and Nantwich to enable connectivity with the Cheshire East cycle network, which was at the heart of Cheshire East’s cycling strategy.  Coole Lane was a key part of this route. Alongside this Longhill Lane was an integral part of the only bus service serving Audlem.  Discontinuing the Winter gritting of these roads would reduce the practicality of sustainable travel options in the area under Winter conditions.

 

In respect of item 7, they were encouraged that the response had stimulated a comprehensive redraft of the policy but were concerned that the highlighting of Priority Actions with delivery dates did not appear in the latest draft.  The removal of dates was at odds with one of the main acknowledged outcomes from the consultation, namely the call for greater urgency.  The removal of the annual status reporting from the strategy was considered to be another step backwards in relation to the urgency of the matter which could potentially threaten the achievement of the 2025 carbon neutrality ambition.  It was suggested that these points be addressed prior to adoption of the Strategy by the Council.

 

The statement submitted by Gawsworth Parish Council related to item 6 on the agenda.  The Parish Council considered that the Well Managed Highway consultation was inadequate when it came to the decision to cut gritting routes.  The Parish Council considered the consultation thoroughly but did not recall suggesting that routes would be cut from rural areas.  It was felt that there should have been proper consultation with parish and town councils in advance of the decision to change gritting routes, and whilst the Parish Council were made aware of proposals in late 2019 through the area highways group (and had lodged a request for meaningful engagement to understand the rationale behind changes) the council was not consulted.  It was considered that for changes such as these, consultation with the parish and town councils was essential.

 

The Parish Council was also concerned that a number of roads were either not gritted or had been removed from the gritting schedule and urged the Council to reconsider the decision and undertake a meaningful consultation with parish and town councils to identify the most important gritting routes in their areas.

71.

Call In of Cabinet Decision-CE19/20-17 Well Managed Highway Infrastructure pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To consider the above call in.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the call in of Cabinet decision-CE19/20-17 Well Managed Highway Infrastructure.

 

The Chairman introduced the report.  Councillor J Clowes who was the spokesperson then explained the reasons for the call in which focused on the adequacy of the consultation processes conducted prior to the Cabinet decision to approve the Well-Managed Highways Infrastructure Strategy and the impact on Cheshire East Highways Gritting Policies.  In addition she raised concerns that information which should have been disseminated to partners in a more effective manner was not done so and therefore crucial information was not made available to Members and partners which included the availability of a grit bin policy and the Risk Assessment scoring criteria which determined which roads were to be gritted.

 

Councillor C Browne, the then Portfolio Holder at the time the decision was made outlined the reasons for the decision.  He explained in detail the consultation processes which had been undertaken from 2018 to present as well as the legal and financial impact on the Council as a result of the delay in implementing the decision made by Cabinet back in February 2020.  Councillor L Crane the current Portfolio Holder supported the case of Councillor C Browne stating that when she had been a Member of the Committee there had been no requests to rerun the consultation process at any point during the periods the Committee had considered the matter.

 

Members of the Committee then asked a number of questions of Councillor C Browne which were responded to relating to:-

 

           The consultation process with particular focus on the removal of gritting routes located near to primary and secondary schools and whether or not local Councillors should have had more involvement in the removal of these routes;

           General lack of local Member involvement in the consultation process;

           Lack of a single document containing the methodology;

           The £230,000 financial pressure within the place directorate;

           Further scope for Ward Councillors to challenge the scoring criteria which officers used and applied;

           The criteria for removing winter gritting routes;

           Cabinet Member awareness of on going consultations;

           Attendance at Area Highways Group and why Parish/Town Councils         weren’t invited;

           Possibility of holding further Area Highways Group meetings with invites to these meetings being extended to all schools and Parish/Town Councils to discuss the routes without going out to a full consultation.

 

Visiting Members, Councillors S Corcoran and D Brown attended the meeting and made a number of comments.  Councillor Corcoran reiterated that each criteria had been assessed in detail and there had been no objections to the consultation process previously.  In addition he stated that the Area Highways Groups had been given the opportunity to make comments and changes had been made as a result of the feedback.

 

Councillor M Simon, one of the call in Members then made a statement which reiterated the concerns of Councillor J Clowes stating the first she was aware of the consultation process was back in June 2019 which  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.

72.

Environment Strategy and Carbon Action Plan pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To consider the Environment Strategy and Carbon Action Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report on the Environment Strategy and Carbon Action Plan.

 

Members raised the following matters:-

 

(i)         Active travel/sustainable travel was not given sufficient consideration throughout the document.

(ii)        There was a lot to be welcomed from the strategy, however the Council could and possibly should do more, not least to have a chance of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025.  Only two other Councils in the country had gone for a 2025 target date;

(iii)       The plan needed to be more specific on what the ‘inset’ actions were or would be;

(iv)       A consultation with Members would be undertaken as agreed prior to the publication of the Bus Strategy;

(v)        More needed to be done to support cycling around the Borough and making it safer.  It was important to think cycle in everything that was done and opportunities had been missed to improve the cycling network  Capital Funding might be needed to achieve this and currently there was insufficient money allocated in the Medium Term Financial Strategy, however for the Borough to be compliant by 2050 then further financial contributions would need to be included;

(vi)       There should at least be a timeline of what the Council was going to do in terms of projects up until 2025 and an annual review of where the Council was, what it had achieved, what it said it was going to do and what it hadn’t done;

(vii)      No public electric charging points in Macclesfield and this needed addressing;

(viii)     The programme was too ambitious and the professional view was that a target date of 2025 was unachievable and that 2034 would be more realistic;

(ix)       Scheme or expo for electric cycles to be spearheaded by the Council or some other body;

(x)        The 2025 target would help the Council to focus;

(xi)       No reference to wildflower planting;

(xii)      Measures identified to contribute to a reduction in C02 levels, some good ideas but not specific enough;

(xiii)     Inclusion of a measure for the length of cycleways built each year;

(xiv)     Had a reduction in the frequency of roadside verge maintenance to promote wild flower growth been considered within the strategy;

(xv)      More pressure needed to be placed on central Government by local MPs with regard to the funding of electric buses.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.That the draft Environment Strategy and Carbon Action Plan be noted.

 

2.That the above comments be reported back to Cabinet for their consideration.

73.

Review of TSS Commissioning including FlexiLink Service pdf icon PDF 762 KB

To review the TSS Commissioning including Flexi-Link Service.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report on the delivery and performance of the FlexiLink service.

 

Visiting Councillor, Councillor H Faddes attended the meeting and spoke in respect of the FlexiLink Service with a specific request for the service to be increased.

 

Members queried when the bus strategy would be published and could they comment on it once it was made public.  Concerns were raised that the service was limited to Cheshire East and that it was important to lobby MP’s so that there was more cross boundary liaison whereby expanding the service out of the Borough could be looked at.  It was suggested that the local MP’s did meet regularly with the Leader and therefore this matter could be raised at one of their meetings.

 

The Deputy Leader suggested that the bus strategy and charging structure for cancellations was something that the Committee may wish to look at in the future.  Currently users were not charged for cancelling the service on the day.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the report be noted.

 

(Prior to consideration of the following item the meeting was adjourned for a short break).

74.

Performance Scorecard pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To give consideration to the performance scorecard for quarter 3.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the performance data for services within the Council’s Place directorate for quarter 3 of 2019/20.  Particular focus was given to any areas of poor or worsened performance.

 

In respect of Performance Indicator PEN024, concerns were raised that it was difficult to reconcile the target of 45% (which until it was explained appeared to be low) with the narrative.

 

95% of the Council’s residual waste went to energy from waste.  It was suggested it would be simpler for this KPI to be the % of residual household waste sent for energy recovery for which the target could then be 95%.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the performance scorecard be noted.

75.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 199 KB

To give consideration to the areas of the forward plan which fall within the remit of the Committee.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the areas of the Forward Plan which fell within the remit of the Committee.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the Forward Plan be noted.

76.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To give consideration to the work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the work programme.

 

It was agreed that the Bus Strategy and Charging structure for the Flexi-Link Service be included on the work programme.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the work programme be approved subject to the addition of the Bus Strategy and the Charging structure for the Flexi-Link service be included on the work programme.