AT A MEETING of the NEW FOREST HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORT ADVISORY PANEL held at the District Council Offices, Lyndhurst on 21 September 2004.
Councillors: Mrs P.G. Banks (in the Chair); F.J. Bright; L.T. Dunsdon; Mrs K. Heron; M.J. Kendal; A.W. Rice T.D.; Mrs E.M.F. Randall.
Councillors: K.F. Ault; M.H.G. Fiddler; F.R. Harrison; P.E. Hickman; B.M.F. Pemberton; D.N. Scott; P.R. Woods; Mrs P.A. Wyeth.
53. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members were mindful that, where they believed they had a personal or personal prejudicial interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting, they should, normally at the time of debate declare their interest, and having regards to the circumstances described in paragraphs 9, 10, 11 and 12 of the County Council's Code of Conduct, consider whether to leave the meeting whilst the matter was discussed.
The Minutes of the meeting held on the 16 March 2004 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Item 41 - Chairman's Communications
Officers informed Members that the County Council's website could be used to report any highway maintenance issues, not just those relating to structural issues.
55. CHAIRMAN'S COMMUNICATIONS
There were no Chairman's Communications.
There were no deputations.
57. UPDATE ON DEVELOPMENT CONTROL AND VARIOUS AGENCY ARRANGEMENTS
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 5 in the Minute Book) providing an update on progress regarding the changing arrangements with respect to Development Control Services; Traffic Management Agencies; Grass and Shrub Maintenance Agreements; and Design and Implementation Agreements.
Discussion focused on grass and shrub maintenance, and the need to streamline current arrangements. The Panel proposed that a map be drafted indicating who was responsible for maintaining the verge (and vegetation thereon) on each road within the district. Officers agreed to investigate this proposal, but also informed Members that such a map would need to be very large in order to clearly display all the required information. Members were informed that as a general rule in urban areas or where lower speed limits applied, maintenance was undertaken on the County Councils behalf by the District Council. While in rural areas or where there were higher speed limits the County Council undertook the work directly, through its term maintenance contractors. Where more specific queries arose officers would be happy to deal with them on an individual basis.
That the report be noted
58. PROGRESS UPDATE ON SCHEMES IN THE CAPITAL PROGRAMME
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 6 in the Minute Book) outlining progress with schemes in the Transport Capital Programme.
In the ensuing discussion the following salient points arose:
· Station Road, New Milton - Puffin Crossing - There was a general consensus that this scheme should be progressed as soon as possible now that outstanding legal issues had been resolved.
· Ashurst to Lyndhurst Cycle Route - Following Members comments officers agreed to investigate the possible addition to the scheme of a pedestrian refuge opposite the Rufus Hotel. However concerns were raised as to whether such a refuge could be accommodated within the current width of the highway. In addition to this it was suggested that if appropriate the road surface outside Thatchers Caravan Park be coloured due to the volume of traffic using that junction.
· Water Lane, Totton - Members were in general agreement with the scheme but asked that consideration be given to implementing similar traffic calming measures to control speeds on the opposite side of Water Lane. Proposals such as this were to be incorporated into a further consultative workshop due to be held in October.
· A337 Pennington Cross Roundabout - Belmore Road Cycleway, Lymington - Concerns were raised that due to preferable alternative routes the proposed cycleway would not attract enough users, particularly in view of the prohibition of right turns from Belmore Lane into St Thomas Street. Officers noted these concerns and it was agreed to hold further detailed discussions with local Councillors outside of the meeting. However it was also reported that as it was anticipated that the majority of users of the cycleway would be of a young age and therefore an off road track had been considered the most appropriate option.
· Rumbridge Street, Totton - The scheme had recently received Executive Member approval and local residents would be kept up to date with developments as each phase of the scheme progressed.
Regarding the format and content of the report Members requested that, if possible, future reports include the percentage of the Transport Capital Programme budget spent on schemes within the New Forest.
That the progress with schemes in the Transport Capital Programme be noted and that the schemes approved for inclusion in the Transport Capital Programme for 2004/05 be endorsed.
59. HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE AND MINOR CAPITAL WORKS PROGRAMME 2004/05
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 7 in the Minute Book) outlining progress with regard to the 2004/05 Highway Maintenance and Minor Capital Works programmes and giving an update on the 2004/05 Highway Maintenance budget. The Panel also discussed the Traffic Management Act 2004 and Asset Management.
Members were grateful to see that, in addition to specific figures relating to that part of the budget earmarked for the New Forest, the report also contained information regarding the countywide Highway Maintenance and Minor Capital Works budget. However it was requested that future reports include the percentage of the overall centrally managed budget spent within the district. While Officers would attempt to include this in future reports it was suggested that this would lead to a very simplified view of the budget and could potentially be misleading.
Members went on to discuss the following key issues:
· the condition of Seaward Avenue and Chestnut Avenue, Barton on Sea;
· the anticipated materials to be used in the resurfacing of the footways in Station Road, New Milton;
· with regard to the Traffic Management Act 2004 (which was expected to be enacted before January 2005) particular attention was paid to congestion issues in Lyndhurst, and the resultant pollution problems. It was concluded that this problem was part of a wider issue which would be considered as part of the Local Transport Plan due to be published in 2005;
· the continued use of Totton High Street by heavy commercial vehicles (rather than the use of the A35 or A336). It was hoped that the improved signing as well as physical measures and restrictions which were envisaged as part of the proposed Totton Town Centre improvements scheme would discourage HCV's from using the High Street; and
· the benefits of a footpath along Wainsford Road, Everton.
That the report be noted.
60. TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT PROGRAMMES 2004/05
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 8 in the Minute Book) covering the main programmes of traffic management work in the New Forest area in 2004/05.
Following several questions regarding individual schemes within the programme there was a general discussion concerning speed limits on rural roads, and in particular on those roads which were currently derestricted. It was noted that speeding traffic on derestricted rural roads was a national problem to which there was at present no conclusive answer. However officers explained that rather than imposing blanket speed limits on large areas, which tended to be ignored by drivers, a more suitable approach was to establish targeted schemes appropriate to the local road environment, which drivers were more likely to respect. It was also noted that while specific speed limits may not be in force on certain rural roads the Highway Code did require all vehicles to be driven with due regard to the conditions. Members highlighted several potential schemes, which did not appear in Appendix 1 to the report, which officers agreed to investigate.
Members expressed concern at the increasing number of `yellow signs' directing drivers to new developments. While some of these were legal (i.e. the County Council had granted a six month permission) it was felt that the majority had been put up without authorisation. Where the County Council were aware of unauthorised signs they did write to the developer in question, however if the letter was ignored enforcement was generally very costly.
That the report be noted.
61. CASUALTY REDUCTION PROGRAMMES
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 9 in the Minute Book) outlining progress on the Hampshire County Council and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Safety Camera Partnership casualty reduction programmes.
Following a brief overview of the report copies of the Reducing Road Casualties leaflet published by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Safety Camera Partnership were distributed.
Members welcomed the report which was felt to be very positive; it was hoped that the Reducing Road Casualties leaflet would be widely distributed.
That the report be noted.
62. TRAVEL PLAN PROGRAMMES (INCLUDING SAFER ROUTES TO SCHOOLS)
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 10 in the Minute Book) providing a progress update on the workplace and school travel plan programmes, as well as the Safer Routes to School programme, for the New Forest area.
Councillor Hickman declared an interest as the School Travel Plan Champion for Pennington Junior School.
Issues regarding the progress made with several individual schools were raised, in particular it was noted that while the report stated that Pennington Infant School had made no contact with the County Council they were in fact developing their School Travel Plan in conjunction with Pennington Junior School.
Disappointment was expressed at the lack of interest shown by many schools, but it was felt that the situation would improve in light of increased resources being made available to the School Travel Plan programme. Members were requested to encourage those local schools who had not yet shown an interest in the scheme to contact the County Council regarding School Travel Plans.
That the progress made with the delivery of the workplace travel plans, school travel plans and safer routes to schools programme in the New Forest area be noted.
63. STREET LIGHTING REPORT - NEW FOREST
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 11 in the Minute Book) regarding the various elements of the street lighting service which affected the New Forest area.
It was noted that problems faced in Hampshire regarding the replacement of deteriorating columns were also national issues, which would require considerable investment to resolve.
Officers were informed that Minstead Parish Council had expressed an interest in contributing to a community safety initiative partnership.
That the report be noted.
64. OTHER HIGHWAY RELATED PROGRAMMES
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 12 in the Minute Book) covering a wide range of activities undertaken by specialist teams within the Environment Department.
Contrary to information contained within the report it was noted that the new puffin crossing on the A337 Milford Road was in Pennington rather than New Milton. Members commented on several schemes mentioned in the report; particular reference was made to the bridgeworks programme. It was acknowledged that, for safety reasons, it would not be possible to use timber for the construction of bridge parapets, however the possibility of timber cladding would be considered.
That the report be notes.
65. PASSENGER TRANSPORT REPORT
The Panel considered the report of the Director of Environment (item 13 in the Minute Book) outlining the services provided by the Passenger Transport Group and detailing the work undertaken in the New Forest area.
Contrary to information contained within the report it was noted that the Lymington CANGO service had been extended to include Efford Way in Pennington (rather than in New Milton).
Bus services in Totton town centre, the Waterside and between Bournmouth to Southampton (express route) were all considered to be underused. The Passenger Transport Team were working to resolve these issues and would be seeking Local Members views and suggestions in due course.
That the report be noted.