Agenda item


Purpose of report:


To share details of the Cabinet Members’ priority areas of work including strategy and policy developments and provide an overview of the budget position and performance of services within his/her portfolio.


Cabinet Member for Communities Update – Report to follow





Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport

Natalie Bramhall, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change

Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities


Katie Stewart, Executive Director – Environment, Transport and Infrastructure

Steve Owen-Hughes, Chief Fire Officer and Head of Surrey Community Protection Group



Key points raised during the discussion:



  1. The Cabinet Member was asked to provide additional information on the streetlight private finance initiative (PFI) renegotiation. The Cabinet Member stated that negotiations had been underway for the last year and LED roll out was proceeding, after which a discussion on refinancing would take place. The Cabinet Member stated that this was scheduled to be discussed at the next cabinet meeting.


  1. The Chairman queried how much of the first tranche of government funding for active travel had been spent or allocated. The Cabinet Member stated that twenty of the twenty-three tranche one schemes had been delivered and the remaining three would be completed by the end of September 2020. Some schemes had been withdrawn and this was largely due to lack of support from divisional Members. This had been anticipated and alternative schemes were in place to replace them. All tranche one schemes and all proposed tranche two schemes had been uploaded on the Council’s Commonplace transport map. The Department for Transport would confirm tranche two funding at the end of the month.


  1. A Member remarked that there had been good public engagement with Active Travel and asked how public responses would be integrated into the council’s Active Travel response to COVID-19. The Cabinet Member stated the top one hundred public comments on the Surrey COVID transport website that received the most support from other residents and were deemed viable by the Council were put on the  Commonplace transport map. Active Travel would be a rolling programme of which public engagement was an ongoing component.


  1. A Member asked for further information on the timescales for new road surface trials. The Cabinet Member informed the committee that the previous two trials had been a hydroblasting trial - using water to remove shiny elements from a road surface to improve surface grip – and an oil emulsion trial – an alternative to surface dressing. More recent trialling had been on plastic pellets in utility reinstatements trial, however there was a concern that there was a lack of understanding on the long-term performance of plastic. In the coming months, there would be an alternative road marking trial with the aim of reducing use of microplastics. A new thermal patching method had been successfully trialled on one of the worst areas of potholes in the county; it would also be trialled as a reactive treatment. Trial sites would be returned to in 12- and 24-month periods for monitoring purposes. The Cabinet Member stated that Members were informed of progress within updates at full council.


  1. A Member asked whether more electric vehicle charging points could be installed in areas which were accessible to all Surrey residents. The Cabinet Member stated that there was an electric car charging pilot: there would be approximately twenty charging points in each borough that had committed funding, and these would be concentrated in town centres. Part two of the pilot would focus on residential areas. The planning transport team had drawn up plans for how to incorporate electric car charging points in new residential developments to increase the accessibility of charging points to all members of the community.


  1. A Member queried what plans were in place for expanding Surrey’s public transport network and increasing the number of electric and ultralow emissions buses since the bid submitted to government the previous year had been approved and £41.3m granted. The Cabinet Member informed the Committee that the council had submitted a bid to the Department for Transport to make Farnham an all-electric town. In the east of the county, work was being undertaken with Metro Bus, who were committed with council support to switch over to a hydrogen fleet. The Member requested that the Cabinet Member provide additional information on these plans.


  1. A Member asked whether the 20mph speed restriction around villages centres and schools would be enforced. The Cabinet Member responded that policy stated that the 20mph restrictions had to be accompanied by appropriate traffic calming. The Cabinet Member was looking at what could be done around schools particularly those located on A roads.


  1. Members and Officers agreed that the Highways Member Working Group should convene before a Cabinet decision was taken on 29 September 2020.






  1. A Member asked whether the Cabinet Member could provide feedback on projects funded by council contributions and public donations to Surrey’s community foundation. The Cabinet Member offered to provide a full list to the committee after the meeting. Three applications to the hardship fund would be presented at the next Cabinet meeting.


  1. A Member emphasised the importance of ensuring the accessibility of the Making Surrey Safer Plan for all residents and suggested holding a live social media event to inform the public of the plan’s key elements. The Cabinet Member agreed that public engagement was key and informed members that a series of focus groups would be convened to test information due to be released to the public. There was a revised statement of assurance that had been published to help public understanding and engagement. The Cabinet Member stated that a live presentation to the community could be an option once there was confidence in the information being shared and engagement activities had been tested and validated.


  1. A Member questioned what actions were being taken to retrofit buildings with aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. The Chief Fire Officer stated that there were no high-rise buildings in Surrey with ACM however one high-rise with high pressure laminate composite was being proactively managed with remediation works taking place. In response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Report recommendations, there was a team working on planning and the implications of buildings over 11m high. An assessment of Surrey’s built environment was being undertaken on a prioritised basis following over a decade of unregulated building environment. The Member asked when the draft findings of this assessment could be shared with the Select Committee. The Chief Fire Officer could not give an exact completion date but would report the findings back to the Committee as soon as possible. 




  1. The Chairman asked how much money Surrey Wildlife Trust owed the Council. The Cabinet Member stated that the Trust had recently paid the council £94,342 however, there was still an amount outstanding from property income which now belonged to the local authority. This was estimated at £65,000.


  1. The Vice Chairman asked to be provided with further details on the funding for the Council’s tree planting programme. The Cabinet Member stated that some districts and boroughs, under the sill regime, were making funds available to their Councillors to facilitate small tree planting. Officers were exploring opportunities for an area of new woodland (incorporating approximately 50,000 new trees) to be planted during the current planting season by the Council, commencing in October.


  1. A Member asked whether maintenance of countryside signage could be improved. The Cabinet Member stated that a rebranding process was underway and all boards on the council’s countryside estate were being replaced; branding would be more impactful. She offered to share further information with the Committee once this project was complete.


  1. Members questioned when further details of the Eco Park could be shared. The Executive Director agreed to share an update on the Eco Park with the Committee after the meeting. It was also agreed that a discussion of the Eco Park could take place during the Private Workshop item of the meeting.


  1. A Member asked what funding was in place to spend on bridge repair and replacements. The Cabinet Member stated that recent repair works of two bridges had been paid for by capital funding. One bridge needing repair work was privately owned meaning repairs would be funded by the private owner; this was to be negotiated with the council. Work on the other bridge needing repairs could not be scheduled until August 2021 due to access restrictions.


Actions/further information to be provided:


i.              For the Cabinet Member for Transport to provide additional information regarding the Council’s local plans with Metro Bus


ii.             For the highways member reference group to convene prior to the September Cabinet meeting


iii.            For the Cabinet Member for Communities to feedback to the Select Committee projects that had been funded by Surrey contributions to the community foundation


iv.           For the Chief Fire Officer to bring the results of the assessment of Surrey’s built environment to a future meeting of the Select Committee


v.            For the Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change to share the outcome of the countryside rebranding programme with the select committee


vi.           For the Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change to provide additional information on the status of bridge repairs and replacements and funding required


vii.          For the Executive Director to provide a written update on progress of the Ecopark to the Select Committee




Supporting documents: