Colin Kemp, the Cabinet Member for Highways will provide and update on current highway matters.
Declarations of Interest: None
Officers and members attending: Colin Kemp, Cabinet Member for Highways; Nick Healey, Area Highways Team Manager
Petitions, Public Questions/Statements: None
Member Discussion – key points
Colin Kemp, the Cabinet member for Highways, set out his plans for working
with the Local Committee going forward. His priority is to improve
communication with the Committee and he would like to share plans for
centrally funded work taking place in Epsom & Ewell at an earlier point in 2018/19
to allow Committee input into the process. He, therefore, intended to return to a future meeting in the Spring.
£90m will be spent on Surrey’s highway network in the current financial year.
This should be just enough to maintain the network at its current standards in
the short term, but if funding is not increased there will be a deterioration in
highway condition. Government funding is currently based on road length
rather than traffic volume. The County Council is lobbying the Government to
increase the funding, given that Surrey has some of the highest traffic
volumes in the country. It is therefore important to use what funding is available to treat the worst areas of the County and the amount of work done in each Borough and District will therefore vary.
Additional funding is being sought via bids to Local Enterprise Partnerships and other funding sources. However, the preparation of schemes to submit bids is costly and match funding is often required. Members were concerned that the recent bids which had been rejected had failed as the bids were not sufficiently robust. The Cabinet member agreed that there was a need to review the reasons behind this refusal and learn any lessons for the future.
Members asked whether as a result of the failure of the A24 resilience bid the Horizon schemes which it was linked with would still go ahead and if so when. The Area Highways Manager undertook to check and report back to members.
He highlighted that in commercial areas parking charges can help businesses by creating churn and he would be considering proposing schemes for pay and display parking in these areas. It would be possible to incorporate a short free period with charging for a longer stay. Any surplus income could be reinvested in the highways in the area by the Local Committee. Capital funding for equipment would be provided centrally if necessary on an invest to save basis. The final decision on whether to implement pay and display and in which locations would be a matter for the Local Committee and a report will be brought to a future meeting.
A member commented that whilst the project Horizon and pavement reconstruction programme had been good, the priorities for funding cuts were not those of local residents who would like to see more funding for local committees and for the street lights to remain on all night.
It was noted that some street lights had been turned back on at the request of the police and members had requested details of where these hotspots are. The Cabinet member reported that of the 10 areas requested by police 7 were already lit although the lit area had been expanded to allow police to pursue suspects more easily. The details of the areas could not be released until the police had indicated their agreement as it may affect ongoing investigations.
Members were pleased that the road in Stoneleigh Broadway which is the second largest shopping centre in the Borough had been recently resurfaced, but felt that the footway should also be considered as much of it is uneven. The Area Highways Manager agreed to review it for safety defects, but also mentioned that some areas are in private ownership.
Members were proud of the street trees in Epsom & Ewell and would like to see them replaced when they have reached the end of their lives. As such they have reached an agreement with the Tree Advisory Board to replant and maintain trees in the Borough and had offered some of their member allocation to help fund the project. However they had now been advised that they could not use their allocation for this work as it would result in an ongoing maintenance liability even though this had already been taken into account in the agreement. The Cabinet member felt that there was unlikely to be a change in the criteria for Member Allocations in the current financial year. The Area Highways Manager responded that the Borough had previously undertaken tree maintenance on behalf of the County, but the work had now been returned to the County. With a limited budget available there is a need to address the safety of existing trees across the County, but in the future it may be possible to consider replacing trees.
Noted the update report.