Hampshire County Council
East Hampshire Highway Management Advisory Panel
3 October 2002
Blueprint Progress and Area East Organisation
Report of the County Surveyor
Contact: Colin Taylor, tel 01730 266411
1.1 This report covers the following issues:
(i) Blueprint Progress, including Progress in Districts/Areas;
(ii) Traffic Management;
(iii) Development Control and Searches.
2. Blueprint Progress
Progress in Districts/Areas
2.1 Hampshire Highways North
Main office based at Hook Motorway Compound
(i) Target date for ending of agency arrangements for highway maintenance in Basingstoke was 1 October 2002, with staff transferred to Hampshire County Council.
(ii) Arrangements with Rushmoor are still to be finalised, but a target date for ending of agency arrangements is 1 April 2003.
(iii) Highway maintenance in Hart district will continue to be provided by the County Council.
2.2 Hampshire Highways East
Main office based at The Old College, Petersfield
(i) Agency arrangements for highway maintenance in Winchester ceased on 1 May 2002 and staff transferred to the County Council. However, the county-wide term maintenance contract will not take effect in the Winchester Urban area until spring 2003.
(ii) Highway maintenance in East Hampshire district will continue to be provided by the County Council.
(iii) Agency arrangements for highway maintenance in Eastleigh ended on 1 October 2002, with staff transferred to the County Council. See section 2.5 below for further details about East Hampshire.
2.3 Hampshire Highways South
Main office based at Fareham Civic Offices
(i) Agency arrangements for highway maintenance in Fareham, Gosport and Havant ended on 1 May 2002 and staff transferred to the County Council.
2.4 Hampshire Highways West
Main office based at Totton Depot
(i) Agency arrangements for highway maintenance in Test Valley ceased on 1 May 2002. No staff transferred.
(ii) Target date for ending of agency arrangements for highway maintenance in New Forest is 1 January 2003, with staff then transferring to the County Council.
2.5 On 1 May 2002 staff transferred from Winchester City Council to form part of Hampshire Highways East. As from 1 October 2002 staff from Eastleigh Borough Council transferred to Hampshire County Council to complete the organisational structure of Hampshire Highways East. No staff transferred from East Hampshire District.
2.6 Additionally, on 1 May 2002 the County Council's existing Arboricultural Section, based in Ashburton Court West in Winchester, came under the management responsibility of Hampshire Highways East. In total there are 44 posts within the establishment; an organisation chart is attached as Appendix 1 which indicates the split of staff between the four offices in Petersfield, Winchester (County Council), Winchester (City Council) and Eastleigh.
2.7 The process of `slotting in' and selection for existing staff has followed an agreed protocol with the unions to place staff in the best position according to their experience and location. The positions of Chief Engineer and three Assistant Chief Engineers have been filled.
2.8 All three offices will be staffed to deliver the day to day highways management functions. These include:
(i) routine maintenance - potholes, minor repairs, gully cleansing and drainage, etc;
(ii) safety inspections;
(iii) maintenance of signs and lines;
(iv) utility coordination and sample inspections;
(v) licensing - skips, scaffolding, road openings, banners, temporary signs, etc;
(vi) notices - overhanging vegetation, unauthorised signs and vehicle accesses, etc;
(vii) status enquiries;
(viii) vehicle crossings;
(ix) public and local Member contact.
2.9 At Petersfield additional strategic functions will be carried out. These include:
(i) detailed highway and utility inspections;
(ii) street lighting defect reports;
(iii) coordination of winter maintenance and emergency works;
(iv) financial and administrative support and management;
(v) Member contact.
2.10 The three local offices are not operating independently and already there is a sharing of staff resources enabling cross-boundary working to deliver priorities. To help facilitate this the Assistant Chief Engineers have strategic responsibilities across the whole of the area, as well as their local responsibilities for the specific district.
3. Traffic Management
3.1 The offer has been made to district councils to enter into an agreement on the delivery of the Traffic Management function which would be in accordance with the existing arrangements in the full agency districts. A number of districts have indicated support for this arrangement in principle, subject to considering the details of a new legal agreement, whilst from some a response is still awaited.
3.2 In the case of East Hampshire, the District Council has indicated that it would not wish to take up these powers for the time being. However, a study is proceeding into the possibility of Decriminalised Parking Enforcement in the District and when a decision is made on the outcome of that study, further consideration will be given by the District Council to whether taking over the Traffic Management function would afford best value.
4. Development Control and Searches
4.1 An internal service review using Best Value principles is presently under way for the activities that are undertaken as part of the Highway Development Control function. The review will cover the main aspects of work, including land charge searches, major planning applications, minor planning applications, including Section 278 and Section 106 Agreements (Appendix 2 shows developer contributions for East Hampshire), agreements for highway works and contributions, Section 38 Agreements and the Advance Payments Code.
4.2 The work that is being undertaken may ultimately form part of a corporate Development Control Review which could commence in 2003. A Review Group was set up, comprising engineering and planning representatives from the County Council, New Forest District Council, Hart District Council, Havant Borough Council, Fareham Borough Council and Winchester City Council. The group also had links to the Hampshire Chief Engineers' Group (CEG) and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Chief Planning Officers' Group (HIPOG). The group is also linked into a Bench Marking Group from other counties in the South of England.
4.3 The first stage of the review was the preparation of scoping papers covering the various topic areas. These were then the subject of a Challenge Day, involving a range of stakeholders, including Councillors representing County and District Councils, developers, consultants, housing associations, district council representatives and design engineers. Following the Challenge Day the scoping papers were then modified to reflect the issues that emerged.
4.4 The Review Group has now been reconstituted to consider the options for delivery of the various activities and to provide enhanced links to both the CEG and HIPOG. Its membership has been reviewed and now includes the Chief Engineers from Test Valley and Eastleigh, replacing those from Hart and New Forest, together with the Chief Development Control Officer from New Forest District Council.
4.5 The second stage work is under way considering various options for delivery and the strengthening of links to the stakeholders. It is hoped that this work will be completed in the near future.
4.6 The ongoing work is being reported to both the CEG and HIPOG. On completion of the reports they will be submitted to the County Council's Environment Policy Review Committee and the Executive Member for Environment.
That the report be noted.
Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers
The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.
NB the list excludes:
Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.