Agenda and minutes

Highways and Transport Committee - Thursday, 25th January, 2024 10.30 am

Venue: The Capesthorne Room - Town Hall, Macclesfield SK10 1EA. View directions

Contact: Katie Small  Tel: 01270 686465 Email:  katie.small@cheshireeast.gov.uk

Link: Listen to audio of meeting

Items
No. Item

18.

Apologies for Absence

To note any apologies for absence from Members.

 

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

19.

Declarations of Interest

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

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

20.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the previous meeting held on 23 November 2023.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2023 be approved as a correct record

21.

Public Speaking/Open Session

In accordance with paragraph 2.24 of the Council’s Committee Procedure Rules and Appendix on Public Speaking, set out in the Constitution, a total period of 15 minutes is allocated for members of the public to put questions to the committee on any matter relating to this agenda. Each member of the public will be allowed up to two minutes each to speak, and the Chair will have discretion to vary this where they consider it appropriate.

 

Members of the public wishing to speak are required to provide notice of this at least three clear working days’ in advance of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

Ms Carol Jones attended to speak in relation to item 6 - Notice of Motion: £2 Bus Fare Cap and asked how the committee expected to increase bus use and awareness of the £2 fare cap to those who were not on social media.

 

In response, the Chair advised that the Council was working with local bus operators through the Enhanced Partnership Board and Forum, and the approach to engagement and promotion was set out at paragraph 15 of the report. Some examples included all member bulletins, Town and Parish Council newsletters, internally through the staff newsletter, local bus user groups and also increasing public awareness through vehicles operating in Cheshire East including Flexi Link and Ansa refuse collection vehicles.

 

Councillor Valerie Herbert (Prestbury Parish Council) spoke in relation to agenda item 5 (Medium Term Financial Strategy - Parking Review). Councillor Herbert stated that the Parish Council was mindful that Cheshire East needed to find money somewhere but believed there were better options than imposing car park charges. The revised proposal for free parking at Springfield School at pick up and drop off times was appreciated but did not allay fears. Prestbury Parish Council was strenuously opposed to car parking charges and felt there would be a negative impact on the economy of the village, both from a customer and employee perspective. Businesses had worked hard to recover from the pandemic and were dealing with the cost of living.Staff recruitment could become an issue and customers were likely to choose out of town shopping areas with free parking. Rail travellers had ‘voted with their feet’ when charges were introduced at Prestbury station a few years ago. Walking in many parts of Prestbury was not an option due to narrow or non-existent pavements. Voluntary organisations could seek alternative venues or see a dramatic fall in membership which may make them unviable. Generally poor mobile phone signal could mean not collecting as much money as envisaged. Residents may visit doctors in Alderley Edge or Bollington, both with free parking, leading to a loss in health services. Some residents had no parking for their homes and would need affordable permits to continue parking in the nearest car park. Councillor Herbert suggested that the committee should instruct officers to engage with Town and Parish Councils to find a better solution.

 

Mr Carol Hamilton spoke in relation to agenda item 5 (Medium Term Financial Strategy - Parking Review). Mr Hamilton stated that he had been Chair of Prestbury Business Forum and worked to ensure the sustainability of the village’s commercial centre which was small, with only 29 commercial premises. The loss of shops in the village would have a greater impact than in neighbouring towns. Prestbury had the added challenge of being surrounded by greenbelt which meant no population growth. Given these factors, Prestbury was not an attractive location for prospective business owners. Many of the business owners were approaching retirement age and replacements would need to be found. The two selling points that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Medium Term Financial Strategy - Parking Review pdf icon PDF 329 KB

To consider a report outlining the proposals on the implementation of changes to the public parking provision in Cheshire East, following statutory consultation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report which set out proposals on the implementation of changes to the public parking provision in Cheshire East, following statutory consultation.

 

There was an extensive debate, during which the following points were raised:

 

  • The provision of car parks was a discretionary service.
  • Cheshire East had increased parking charges only once since 2009 despite inflation increasing.
  • The proposals were seeking to address unfairness with some areas of the borough paying for parking while others did not.
  • The Council was experiencing financial challenges as a result of costs incurred in petitioning for HS2.
  • There was unprecedented demand for special educational needs provision which was affected the Council’s budget.
  • The Council was experiencing challenges as a result of high interest rates and inflation.
  • The Council was incurring costs of £400,000 for car parks that they were receiving no revenue for.
  • The proposals had responded to consultation feedback by not recommending on-street 30 minute waiting limits and retaining the ‘free after 3pm’ initiative.
  • Savings would need to be met from other services if these proposals were not approved.
  • There was evidence of other towns within the borough, such as Nantwich, not being negatively impacted by parking charges.

 

During the debate, amendments to recommendations 1-11 were proposed and seconded which sought to include the following wording:

 

That a half hour tariff should be available in at least one car park in each town or parish in the borough.

 

That pre-paid tickets should be usable on all Cheshire East car parks.

 

The proposer and seconder of the recommendations agreed to accept the amendments, subject to the latter including the wording that ‘this recommendation is added to the work programme as a matter requiring urgent attention’.

 

The amendments therefore became part of the substantive motion.

 

Following debate on the substantive recommendations, these were put to the vote and recommendations 1 – 11 were carried by majority.

 

During the debate on recommendations 12 – 16 an amendment was proposed and seconded which was that:

 

that payment by cash should be retained on at least one car per town or parish.

 

The proposer and seconder of the recommendations agreed to accept the amendment.

 

The amendment therefore became part of the substantive motion.

 

Following debate on recommendations 12 – 16, these were put to the vote and recommendations 12, 14, 15 and 16 were carried by majority.

 

Recommendation 13 was lost.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Highways and Transport committee:

 

1. Consider the outcomes of the statutory consultation on proposals to extend and revise the Council’s Pay & Display parking provision with a view to ensure car parks are provided and managed more consistently and equitably throughout the Borough.

 

2. Subject to a half hour tariff being available in at least one car park in each town or parish in the borough, approve the introduction of changes to the Councils parking regime, in accordance with the measures defined in Appendix 3 of this report and authorise the Director of Governance and Compliance to make all necessary arrangements  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Notice of Motion: £2 Bus Fare Cap pdf icon PDF 171 KB

To consider the Notice of Motion.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report in response to the Notice of Motion proposed at Full Council on 18 October 2023 which asked for the Director of Highways and Infrastructure to develop and launch a publicity strategy to locally promote the extension and usage of the £2 bus fare cap. The motion was proposed by Councillor A Gage and seconded by Councillor H Moss.

 

There was an option to use some of the next tranche of Bus Service Improvement Plan Plus (BSIP+) funding and this had been discussed at a recent Enhanced Partnership Board where operators were widely supportive of the proposal. The public strategy was outlined which included promotion through social media, Town and Parish newsletter, local bus user groups and advertising on vehicles who operated on routes in Cheshire East.

 

Members welcomed any scheme which increased bus patronage following the loss of funds related to HS2 but agreed that there needed to be more long term investment and commitment to a sustainable bus network.

 

Resolved (unanimously):

 

That the Highways and Transport Committee

 

1. Note the update on the £2 Fare Cap applying to local buses in England.

2. Endorse that the Council continues to work in partnership with local bus operators to publicise the fare cap.

3. Note the high level of public awareness of the fare cap and comment on the potential future opportunities for the Council to promote it further.

24.

Highways and Infrastructure: 2023/24 Mid-Year Review pdf icon PDF 198 KB

To receive an update on performance to mid-year across Infrastructure and Highways services for 2023-2024.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the performance to mid-year across Infrastructure and Highways services for 2023-4. The report provided an update on activity across the service and progress of the delivery of the maintenance and management services delivering major infrastructure projects and development of bus services, cycling schemes and management cost services.

 

Members welcomed the significant amount of work carried out around Active Travel with routes and projects around Macclesfield, Crewe and Handforth. In response to a question raised about what the timescales were for the commencement of the work in Handforth on the Manchester Road project it was agreed that a written response would be provided outside of the meeting.

 

In relation to a question raised in respect of whether trees were being replaced which had either fallen down due to the weather or were diseased, officers reported that it was dependent on location and that it would be considered on a case by case basis as it was a complicated process.

 

The Committee thanked the team for all of their hard work and welcomed the news that the Council was bidding for further funding from the Environment agency to address flooding issues.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Highways and Transport Committee

 

1.    Note the performance of Infrastructure and Highways Service to mid-year 2023-4.

2.    Note the on-going work of the Highways Service to support delivering the Council’s Brighter Futures customer strategy.

25.

Lead Local Flood Authority: 2023/24 Annual Review pdf icon PDF 224 KB

To receive an update on activity in relation to the Council’s role as Lead Local Flood Authority undertaken in Quarter 1 and 2 (mid-year) 2023/24

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on activity in relation to Cheshire East Council’s role as Lead Local Flood Authority for Quarter 1 and 2 (mid-year) 2023-24.

 

Four key areas were outlined from the report which were:

 

-       An improvement in responding to planning applications which had increased to over 90%

-       Preparations were underway to provide planning advice through an approval body which would allow the Council to influence on how developments go in and the drainage measures they would bring in the future.

-       Preparing and Maintaining a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

-       Applying for retrospective schemes which may allow the Council to recover money for betterment that it had previously spent.

 

In response to Members comment and questions officers reported that

 

-       In respect to highways maintenance a commissioned service was delivered through a thin client contract management team.

-       In relation to concerns about surface water flooding, one of the instances the team had to deal with was the increase in the number of extreme weather events which saw a lot of rainfall on already saturated land which created service flow. This meant that focus was on keeping the drainage infrastructure in as good a condition as possible with the funding that was available.

-       An additional resource had been introduced in the last six months to lead local flood team to deal with oversight of business cases and funding applications. This had resulted in an additional £20k of funding.

 

RESOLVED:

 

The Highways and Transport Committee

 

1.    Note the update on activity in relation to the Council’s role as Lead Local Flood Authority undertaken in Quarter 1 and 2 (mid-year) 2022/23.

26.

Third Financial Review 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

To consider a report on the third review of the Cheshire East Council forecast outturn for the financial year 2023/24.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received the report which provided the third review of the Cheshire East Council forecast outturn for the financial year 2023/24. Committee Members were asked to consider the serious financial challenges being experienced and recognise the important activities being undertaken to minimise the impact on services.

 

Members noted the difficult financial pressures facing the Council and that the Highways and Infrastructure Service had a gross pressure of £2.2m.

 

In response to questions raised in relation to the Lane Rental Scheme, it was noted that the Council had been initiating benchmarking with other relevant authorities that had put together proposals and delivered upon such schemes. This was to be able to understand the extent of the work, any constraints and whatever information necessary to put forward a positive case. The Council would have to develop a package on which they wished to consult, prior to the scheme and demonstrate that Cheshire East could manage such a scheme. The Council would then seek approval of the proposals. The purpose of the lane rental scheme was to encourage statutory undertakers to take on their duties on the roads when there was less traffic - and charge those who wished to carry out their work at peak times, so it would be important to be cautious on income potential.

 

A detailed report would be submitted to the Highways and Transport Committee in April 2024 which would provide further details on the process and timescales.

 

RESOLVED:

 

The Highways and Transport Committee:

 

1.    Notes the report of the Finance Sub Committee: Finance Sub Committee, 11th January, 2024.

2.    Notes the factors leading to a forecast Net Revenue financial underspend of £0.2m against a revised budget of £11.2m (1.8%), for Highways and Transport Committee services.

3.    Notes the forecast and the need for further mitigations to be identified.

4.    Notes the in-year forecast Capital Spending of £68.1m against an approved MTFS budget of £63.9m, in respect of Highways and Transport Committee projects.

5.    Notes the contents of Annex 1 and Appendix 6 and note that any financial mitigation decisions requiring approval will be made in line with relevant delegations.

27.

PROW: Graveyard Lane, Mobberley Definitive Map Modification Order Application pdf icon PDF 346 KB

To consider an application to modify the Definitive Map and Statement by adding a Bridleway between Newton Hall Lane and Moss Lane.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That this report be deferred to a future meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee.

28.

PROW: Toft Definitive Map Modification Order Application pdf icon PDF 244 KB

To consider an application for the addition of a Public Footpath from the east end of existing Public Footpath No. 6 near Toft Church to join Public Footpath No. 4 in Windmill Wood in the Parish of Toft.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That this report be deferred to a future meeting of the Highways and Transport Committee.

 

29.

Appointments to the Public Rights of Way Consultative Group pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To appoint members to the Public Rights of Way Consultative Group and to agree the Terms of Reference for the Public Rights of Way Consultative Group.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: (By Majority)

 

That the Highways and Transport Committee

 

1.    Retain the current Membership of Councillors L Crane and H Faddes of the Highways and Transport Committee to the Public Rights of Way Consultative Group.

2.    Agree the Terms of Reference for the Public Rights of Way Consultative Group attached as appendix 1 to the report.

 

Councillor Arthur Moran wished it to be recorded that he abstained from the vote.

30.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 312 KB

To consider the Work Programme and determine any required amendments.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Work Programme. It was noted that the two Public Rights of Way reports which had been deferred would be added to the Work Programme for 4 April 2024.

 

The following items would also be added:

 

-       In relation to minute 22, a report on pre-paid tickets being usable on all Cheshire East car parks be added to the work programme for 4 April 2024

-       A report on a review of Member Budgets at a date to be agreed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Work Programme, with the amendments highlighted above be noted.

 

31.

Highways Service Contract Peer Review pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To consider a report which proposes that a review of the Highways Service Contract (HSC) is undertaken.

 

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report which proposed a process and timetable to conduct an objective review and inform the Council’s decision in respect of the break clause in relation to the 15-year contract (the “Highway Service Contract” or “HSC”) that the Council entered into with Ringway-Jacobs Limited to deliver highway services. The Committee were also asked to consider the legal and financial implications of assessing the performance of the HSC.

An amendment was proposed and seconded in respect of recommendation 1c which be amended to read “Leader of the CEC Conservative Group or nominated person”. This was carried unanimously.

RESOLVED: (Unanimously)

 

That the Highways and Transport Committee

1. Agree that a review of the Highways Service Contract (HSC) is undertaken and:

a) Commence a peer review through which the Contract is assessed to inform future decisions regarding the HSC.

b) Delegate authority to the Director of Highways and Infrastructure to finalise the scope of the HSC Peer Review.

c) Approve that a Member Advisory Panel is established with the proposed membership as set out below and the Terms of Reference as set out in Appendix A.

The Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee

The Vice Chair of the Highways and Transport Committee

The Chair of the Finance Sub-Committee

Leader of the CEC Conservative Group or nominated person.

2. Note that a further report with a recommendation will be bought to the Highways and Transport Committee regarding the HSC in summer 2024 following the completion of the review.