Purpose of the report: Scrutiny of Services
To provide the Committee Members with overview of first year delivery of Project Horizon and update on Year 2 programme.
Mark Borland (Works Delivery Group Manager)
Jason Russell (Assistant Director, Environment & Infrastructure)
Key points raised during the discussion:
1. The Works Delivery Group Manager gave a brief overview of the report highlighting that in year one of Project Horizon targets had been met, totalling savings of £4.4 million. The savings made in year 1 would be put back into year two of the project.
2. Members commented on the positive feedback they had received from residents in relation to the work being carried out.
3. A member of the committee queried why Reigate and Banstead had not had much resurfacing work done in comparison to some of the other District and Boroughs. The member went onto further explain that residents had also complained about the condition of Redstone Hill in Redhill and asked what would be done to address these concerns. The Works Delivery Group Manager stated that Reigate and Banstead had the second largest resurfacing programme in place. The first years of the programme would focus on roads in the main strategic network with local roads being a focus in the latter years of the programme. The project had a resource constraint which meant that only certain roads could be resurfaced at certain times.
4. The Works Delivery Group Manager clarified that Reigate and Banstead BC had agreed to years 1 and years 2 of the programme. With reference to Redstone Hill, it was explained that all roads resurfaced in the programme had a ten year guarantee which was covered by the contractor.
5. Some members commented on the need for road closure signs to be removed straight after work had been completed.
6. A member queried whether minor roads with busy traffic periods were covered as part of the project. The Works Delivery Group Manager explained that the project would work on a range of roads which would also include D roads. Members were asked to let the Works Delivery Group Manager know if there were any roads they thought should be included as part of the project.
7. In a recent audit report it was stated that the first year of Project Horizon had operated at a cost of 170%. The Works Delivery Group Manager explained that the bad weather which had affected the county had meant that an additional £10 million had been included in year 1 of the project spend. This money was part of the total budget for the programme and had been bought forward due to safety reasons.
8. It was explained that tar was found on some of the roads included in the project. This would need to be taken to landfill but was very costly. Until a cheaper alternative for disposing of the tar is found, these roads would be moved further back in the project. The Assistant Director, Environment & Infrastructure anticipated that savings would increase as the programme developed.
9. Concerns were raised around the damage to roads and utilities as a result of the work being done. It was explained that ground radars were now being used to get a better idea of the location of utilities when resurfacing a road. For residents affected by the resurfacing work, measures were put in place to ensure access was achievable. Vulnerable residents were given controlled access to and from their properties whilst other residents were sent a letter explaining alternative routes whilst the work was ongoing.
10. It was recognised that some residents were unhappy with the lack of communications around resurfacing work and road closures. The Works Delivery Group Manager explained that in some specific cases resurfacing work had not been done for 40-50 years, this in turn made the resurfacing work complex especially as some utilities infrastructure and communication was lacking.
11. It was clarified that the vibrations being used on the roads met UK standards and would not harm buildings.
12. Schemes where project horizon could support cycling provision had been identified and would be developed going forward.
13. It was explained that if a utility company had done work on a road and had subsequently dug it up, it was the responsibility of the utility company to return the road to the state they found it in. The services relationship with utility companies had improved greatly especially with the introduction of the permit scheme. It was recognised that more work had to be done with utility companies going forward.
The Select Committee noted and commented on the first year delivery of Project Horizon and the update on the Year 2 programme.
Actions/Further information to be provided:
For the Assistant Director to send the Chairman a note considering how legislation in relation to utility companies could be changed for the benefit of the local authority.
Committee Next Steps: