Venue: Ashburton Hall - HCC. View directions
Apologies for absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillors Barry Dunning, Tim Groves, Sarah Pankhurst and Stephen Parker. Councillors Pam Bryant and Mark Cooper attended as deputies.
Declarations of interest
All Members who believe they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting must declare that interest and, having regard to Part 3 Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members’ Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore all Members with a Personal Interest in a matter being considered at the meeting should consider, having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 4 of the Code, whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 5 of the Code, consider whether it is appropriate to leave the meeting while the matter is discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.
Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in any matter considered at the meeting they must declare that interest at the time of the relevant debate and, having regard to the circumstances described in Part 3, Paragraph 1.5 of the County Council's Members' Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with Paragraph 1.6 of the Code. Furthermore Members were mindful that where they believed they had a Personal Interest in a matter being considered at the meeting they considered whether such interest should be declared, and having regard to Part 5, Paragraph 5 of the Code, considered whether it was appropriate to leave the meeting whilst the matter was discussed, save for exercising any right to speak in accordance with the Code.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting that took place on 18 September 2023.
The minutes of the last meeting were reviewed and agreed.
To receive any deputations notified under Standing Order 12.
The Select Committee received two deputations
at the meeting, from Susan Davenport and Doug Jones, both speaking
with regards to item 7 on the agenda, Managament of Byways Open to
all Traffic (BOAT) update.
To receive any announcements the Chairman may wish to make.
There were no formal announcements.
To pre-scrutinise a report for the Executive Lead Member for Universal Services on the proposals for the strategy for the Stronger Roads Today campaign.
The Committee received a report from the Director or Universal Services on the proposals for the strategy for the Stronger Roads Today campaign.
Officers provided a presentation on the proposals which highlighted the impact of the weather during winter 2022/23, which had resulted in significant damage to the road network. The County Council had saught to take immediate remedial action, with 23 rapid repairs teams repairing 1,000 defects per week over an 8 week period. Member heard that a programme of both medium and long-term works formed the strategy, which would enable sustainable, economical repair of and investment in the road network. Whilst current funding would not be sufficient to signifcantly improve the condition of the highway network, the Committee heard that central government had announce that some additional funding would be made available for investment in highways as a result of the cancellation of the HS2 project. It was further heard that predictions were for another challenging winter in 2023/24 but as a result of actions taken across 2023, the Council were in a better and stronger position to deal with the effects of the winter season than during the previous year.
In response to Members questions it was heard that:
· Where water was impacting roads, particularly in rural areas, proactive steps were being taken by the County Council to improve drainage.
· The County Council had undertaken an excersise to identify the backlog in maintainace requirements to bring the network into a stable state, which had resulted from restrictions on funding, with the shortfall valued at approximateley £0.5 billion. It was further noted that the County Council worked in partership wherever possible and had saught to maximise grant funding oppurtunities, to make best use of resources availble to maintain the road network.
· It was noted that it was very difficult to secure funding to maintain the road network within planning for dvelopments, however the County Council had made several sucessful agreements. It was noted that Section 106 agreements now allowed oppurtunity for the County Council to seek funding for road maintenance and would form consideration for future planning.
· Members highlighted the need for the County Council to lobby the governement for the power to hold utility companies to account when making road repairs, with the national requirement that repairs are made like-for-like. The Executive Lead Member for Universal Services noted that the Leader had written, along with the seven other local highways authorities, to Central Government to ask for this power, and further noted that this was a regular matter for discussion with local MPs. It was recognised that the County Council had mainted good working relations with the utility companies and that the work they undertook was essential for infrasture and residents, however the Council saught to take any measures possible to protect the road network.
· It was forecast that climate change would result in longer warmer and wetter winters, which would have an ongoing detrimental impact on the road network.Skansa used a proactive approach in Sweeden to ... view the full minutes text for item 30.
To pre-scrutinise a report for the Executive Lead Member for Universal Services on the proposals for the management of Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs)
The Committee received a report from the Director of Universal Services, outlining proposals for the management of Byways Open to All Traffic (BOATs).
A presentation was provided to the Committee, through which is was highlighted that byways open to all traffic (BOAT) made up 6% of the overall rights of way network and that the County Council held a statutory responsibility to assert and protect the public’s legal right to use and enjoy the rights of way, including taxed and insured motor vehicles where applicable. Officers regularly assessed byways, using a RAG status to identify current status, with only 12 byways across the County currently red rated. Where possible the Council would seek voluntary restraint by users to protect those routes, with those which continued to deteriorate subject to winter closure from October to May. At the time of the meeting two byways were subject to winter closure. As a final measure the County Council would apply a traffic regulation Order (TRO). A trial was being undertaken during winter 2023 to monitor, and where necessary close, Amber routes to prevent damage. Consideration was also being given to summer closures, as a result in increased weather events during summer months resulting from climate change. It was heard that the County Council were working positively in partnership with the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA), as well as with local residents and user groups, to maintain and protect the byway network. The committee heard that focus within the County Council’s strategy was being moved from a reactive to a proactive approach, which was expected to result in more work on drainage and vegetation, and the development of an annual maintenance programme.
In response to Members questions it was heard that:
· Gating and fencing was key to deliver successful outcomes from the use of TRO’s, with breaches of TRO’s or other illegal vehicle use being the responsibility of the police to enforce.
· Engagement with user groups was essential, with support from residents feeding into the success of any TRO’s and there was a fine balance between having sufficient evidence to apply a TRO and ensuring it would stand up to legal challenge.
· Usage of vehicles on BOATs had generally evolved from historical usage, and the right to do so existed in legislation. It was recognised that this may not have been the original intent of the legislation, and that Highways Agencies in general felt that the legislation needed to be reviewed and updated to bring it in line with modern usage.
· Greater communication from local communities and residents was welcomed and it was recognised that greater engagement with local volunteers would support protective and preventative approaches in maintaining the BOATs.
· The Hampshire Countryside Access Forum (HCAF) was a mix of user groups, landowners and others along with a representative from Hampshire County Council and Southampton and Portsmouth City Councils. Outside of the forum officers worked with Parish and Town Councils across the County to understand their priorities in relation to the entire rights ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
To consider a report from the Director of Universal Services regarding a Task & Finish Working Group to oversee and scrutinise the County Council’s stage 2 consultations relating to specific Universal Services savings proposals.
The Committee considered a report from the Director of Universal Services regarding the appointment of a Task & Finish Working Group to oversee and scrutinise the County Council’s stage 2 consultations relating to specific Universal Services savings proposals.
Councillor Kim Taylor proposed an amendment to paragraph 6.1 of the Terms of Reference to allow 9 Members to sit on the Working Group, enabling all political groups to be represented. This was seconded by Cllr Wayne Irish and the amendment was proposed as follows:
The Task and Finish Working Group shall be a cross party group made up
of Members of the Universal Services Select Committee (consisting of a
total of 9 Members: 5 Conservative Group, 2 Liberal Democrat Group, 1 Labour Group and 1 Independent Group).
A vote was held on the amendment, which was unanimously agreed.
Membership of the working group was agreed as:
· Cllr Lulu Bowerman
· Cllr Jackie Branson
· Cllr Debbie Curnow-Ford
· Cllr Mike Ford
· Cllr Tim Groves
· Cllr Dominic Hiscock
· Cllr Sarah Pankhurst
· Cllr Stephen Parker
· Cllr Kim Taylor
The Universal Services Select Committee:
a. Agreed to set up a Task and Finish Working Group to oversee and scrutinise the approach and outcomes of the County Council’s stage 2 consultation relating to specific Universal Services savings proposals.
b. Agreed the Terms of Reference for the Working Group as set out in Appendix 1.
c. Agreed the membership of the Working Group as being 9 Members (as named above)
To review the current work programme for the Universal Services Select Committee.
The Committee’s Work Programme was reviewed (Item 9 in the minute book). It was noted that additional meetings of the Select Committee would be required in 2024 to scrutinise outcomes of the County Council’s stage 2 consultations relating to specific Universal Services savings proposals.
Timescale for the adoption of roads was suggested for inclusion in the work programme in future.
The Universal Services Select Committee discussed and agreed potential items for the work programme to be prioritised and allocated by the Chairman of the Universal Services Select Committee in consultation with the Director of