Torridge Highways and Traffic Orders

Committee Minutes

Mon Oct 10 2011

Related Documents:
agenda for these minutes

Present

Devon County Council

Councillors Boyle (Chairman), Boyd, Eastman, Parsons and Robinson

Torridge District Council

Councillor Lee

*48 Minutes

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 3 June 2011 be signed as a correct record subject to correction in Minute 44 of Torrington to Bideford .

49 Devon Highways One Team

The Committee received a presentation from the Devon Highways Change Manager on the progress of the Devon Highways organisational changes pilot project including closer working with Devon Highways under the Virtual Joint Venture (VJV) arrangements.

The presentation covered the difficult budgetary background and required savings over the next financial years. This had resulted in the management review and approval of the pilot arrangements from April/May 2011 with on-going consultation with staff and union representatives. Other points covered and discussions included:

the decision making process leading to the current position and that subject to consultations (which were about finish in accordance with the time table) the new structure and arrangements including the VJV would formally operate from November 2011

the alternative options and models of working which had been considered by the Cabinet and Corporate Leadership Team

the current contract with SW Highways continues to at least 2014 and the new agreement and arrangements would operate concurrently with the existing contract

the implications of the job evaluation exercise resulting from the re-organisation

concern by members with increased centralisation and consequent limitations on the new neighbourhood teams (with which members have a good positive working relationship) local priorities would be considered against other identified priorities. This was an area of concern to committee members as it might result in local priorities being subsumed by others resulting in delay or no action

the need for effective communication at all levels and members concern about whether projected savings and efficiencies would be achieved as a result of increased centralisation and possible increased bureaucracy

the potential negative impact on staff morale of the whole process

members views that the changes appeared to be contrary to the national agenda with emphasis on localism

the potential efficiencies that would accrue working in partnership with SW Highways for example leading to reduced number of site/works visits and assessments and improved transparency of individual costs of jobs and profit margins

the need to review and update as a matter of priority IT Systems to improve compatibility with SW Highways and definition of thin client relating to IT terminals

management review of the County Council s Road Safety Travel Awareness Officer post following retirement, which was also of concern for members.

Further information on points of detail about the arrangements would be forwarded to the Chairman and Members.

It was MOVED by Councillor Robinson, SECONDED by Councillor Eastman and

RESOLVED that the Cabinet be requested that, as a result of the retirement of the County Council s Road Safety Travel Awareness Officer Road Safety Officer, the vacant post be filled as soon as possible.

50 Traffic Regulation Order: 40 mph Speed Limit, Westleigh Junction

The Committee considered the report of the Head of Highways and Traffic Management (HTM/11/10 - text only | pdf HTM/11/10) on a proposal to advertise the introduction of a mandatory 40mph speed limit between Westleigh Junction and the Heywood Road roundabout and a mandatory 30mph speed limit across the whole of the Heywood Road roundabout, consistent with national guidance and County Council policy.

The local Police Road Casualty Reduction Officer indicated his support for the recommendation.

In line with the Council s Scheme of Delegation the Head of Service had consulted the local Members on the advertisement of the proposed Order and while the Member for Fremington Rural had supported the proposal the Member for Northam had requested that the matter be brought to the Committee for consideration.

Members reiterated their preference, notwithstanding any decision on speed limits at this junction and as previously expressed (Minute 43 refers), for a roundabout solution at this location.

The Head of Highways and Traffic Management advised that the request for a 30mph speed limit was at variance with national guidance and County Council policy.

It was MOVED by Councillor Boyd, SECONDED by Councillor Eastman and

RESOLVED that, as an exception to the Council s policy, approval be given to the advertisement of an Order for a mandatory speed limit of 30 mph being applied between Westleigh Junction and the Heywood Roundabout as well as 30 mph across the whole of the Heywood Road Roundabout and the matter be submitted to the Cabinet for determination.

[NB: In accordance with Standing Order 32(4) Councillor Boyle requested that her abstention from voting be recorded]

*51 Bull Hill, Bideford (Minute 44)

The Neighbourhood Highway Group Manager reported on the enforcement of the waiting restriction to prevent access problems for local residents.

It was noted that no dispensations for inappropriate parking causing an obstruction would be granted and enforcement of the waiting restriction would continue.

*52 Impact on Bideford Residents Regarding the Installation of Traffic Lights at Westleigh Junction)

The Neighbourhood Highway Group Manager reported on local complaints about delays which had been attributable in part to the temporary traffic lights during the construction phase of this development. With diversion of traffic via a nearby roundabout the complaints had now significantly reduced. The Group Manager also referred to the anticipated queues when the permanent traffic signals were installed (approximately 12 vehicles projected) as opposed to the higher numbers experienced with temporary lights.

The Committee noted the position.

*53 Signage: Viewing Obstructions

(In accordance with Standing Order 23 (2) Councillor Parsons has requested that this item be raised at the meeting)

Councillor Parsons referred to concerns about viewing obstructions to signs as a result of overgrown bushes/hedgerows and other foliage etc. He indicated that he was reluctant to spend his limited locality budget for this core responsibility.

The Neighbourhood Highways Team Leader reported on the current arrangements including the responsibility of SW Highways under the VJV agreement; or by way of notice procedures to private landowners which was usually a lengthy process; or action could taken and then the landowner would be charged accordingly. If there was a safety issue the problem would be dealt with expeditiously by the Local Neighbourhood Team.

The Highways Change Manger also referred to the grass cutting agreements with local district councils and their sub contractors.

Following a request from the Chairman the Committee noted that further information on the Virtual Joint Venture agreement in this regard would be sent to members.

*54 Torridge Signs and Lines: Torridge Signage Register - Review of Outstanding Items; Directional Signage in Torridge District, Alterations to Parking Restrictions in Great Torrington

(In accordance with Standing Order 23 (2) Councillor Lee has requested that the above items be raised at the meeting)

Councillor Lee and the Parking Services Manager (Torridge District Council) referred to the various Road Traffic Orders in force in Torrington with different start/end times and other issues relating to loading bays and parking restrictions (restrictions could be eliminated for Saturdays when there was no loading/unloading for example). The local member requested that a review be undertaken resulting in rationalisation of these Orders.

The Neighbourhood Group Manager would advise the Traffic Management Team to look at a loading bay where concern was reported by the local member that it could not be enforced.

The Local Member Northam also referred to similar issues relating to local parking restrictions and the need for a review and action.

The Neighbourhood Group Manager reported that local Orders would be reviewed as part of programmed residents parking or traffic/safety schemes but to date there had been none in these locations.

The Neighbourhood Group Manager indicated that he would meet with members with his Traffic Management Team to discuss the issues for further report to the next meeting.

*55 Winter Snow Update

(In accordance with Standing Order 23 (2) Councillor Lee has requested that the above item be raised at the meeting)

The Neighbourhood Team Leader reported on the good progress being made including a an induction and formal training event for local Parish Councils on 18 October 2011.

Councillor Parsons also reported that he had requested the Head of Operational Services (Torridge District Council) to review the availability of salt storage facilities within the District.

*56 Dates of Future Meetings

Monday, 5 March 2012 at 10 am at Riverbank House, Bideford.

*DENOTES DELEGATED MATTER WITH POWER TO ACT

The Minutes of this Committee are published on the County Council's Website at:-

The meeting started at 10.00 am and finished at 12. 30 pm

Date Published: Tue Oct 18 2011