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Contact information

E-mail

customer.service@shropshire.gov.uk

Telephone

0345 678 9000

Postal Address

Shropshire Council
Shirehall
Abbey Foregate
Shrewsbury
Shropshire
SY2 6ND

Agenda and minutes

Place Overview Committee
Thursday, 12th July, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Shrewsbury/Oswestry Room, Shirehall, Abbey Foregate, Shrewsbury, Shropshire, SY2 6ND. View directions

Contact: Julie Fildes  Committee Officer

Items
No. Item

5.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence or substitutions.

6.

Discloseable Pecuniary Interests

Members are reminded that they must not participate in the discussion or voting on any matter in which they have a disclosable pecuniary interest and should leave the room prior to the commencement of the debate.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.

7.

Minutes of the meetings held on 10th and 17th May pdf icon PDF 87 KB

To consider the minutes of the Place Overview Committee meetings held on 10th and 17th May 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meetings held on 10th and 17th May 2018 be approved as correct records and signed by the Chairman.

8.

Public Question Time

To receive any questions or statements from the public of which notice has been given.  The deadline for notification for this meeting is 10.00am, Wednesday 11th July 2018.

Minutes:

There were no questions from members of the public.

9.

Member Question Time

To receive any questions of which members of the Council have given notice. The deadline for notification for this meeting is 10.00am on Wednesday 11th July 2018.

Minutes:

There were no questions from Members.

10.

Shrewsbury Big Town Plan pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To receive an update report on the progress with the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan

 

Contact:  Gemma Davies, Head of Economic Growth, Tel 01743 253869

 

Minutes:

The Economic Growth Key Account and Investment Senior Officer gave a presentation on the progress of the Shrewsbury Big Town Plan and the development and delivery of growth strategies for the key market towns [copy attached to the signed minutes].  Members noted that the work was being undertaken jointly and funded in partnership with Shrewsbury Town Council and Shrewsbury Business Improvement District [BID].  It was anticipated that the draft plan would go the Shrewsbury BID Board on the 19th July 2018, then be considered by Cabinet on 25th July 2018 and by Shrewsbury Town Council on 30th July 2018.  Further consultation would be undertaken before the final draft of the report was prepared with the identification of priority projects and initiatives with associated action and delivery plans. 

 

The Economic Growth Key Account and Investment Senior Officer advised that extensive consultation following the launch of the project had identified the four key themes of the work:

·  Movement and Place

·  A Place for Enterprise

·  Vitality, Life and Mix

·  Nurturing Natural Shrewsbury

 

Members noted that the proposed North West Relief Road [NWRR] was not shown on any of the maps in the presentation, the Economic Growth Key Account and Investment Senior Officer explained that should permission for the road be given by Central Government it would alleviate many of the problems identified in the report, but until a decision was made the project would only incorporate the existing infrastructure.  She continued that movement around the town centre could be improved through the rationalisation and improvement of car parks, improving access points and public transport hubs and instigating cycle routes.  It was not considered necessary to completely pedestrianize the town centre but priority would be given to pedestrians and cyclists. 

 

Members heard that a better balance would be achieved in future between the growth at the edge of the town and that located in and around the town centre.  This would allow a greater choice and diversity for housing and workspace. Public open spaces and access to green space would also be improved.  Smarter working and better networks, both physical and virtual, between important sectors such as education, healthcare, sports and leisure as well as industry and business would be developed.  New technologies could be harnessed to connect people and businesses. Work had been undertaken to identify where the new technologies were located and how they disrupted existing ways of working and land use.  It was recognised that the new technology users could bring vitality to the town centre and deliver better outcomes for communities.

 

The Economic Growth Key Account and Investment Senior Officer explained that it was intended to raise the standards of all new development within the town through the implementation of a design charter which would embed the ‘Shrewsbury Test’ in the development planning process through the Local Plan Review.  The intention would then be to consider this on a Shropshire wide basis.

 

Referring Members to the slide showing the Big Connection, the Economic Growth Key Account and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Highways Winter Maintenance Plan pdf icon PDF 100 KB

To consider a report from the Head of Infrastructure and Communities on the lessons learnt from the previous winter maintenance plan and to consider the planning for winter 2018/19

 

Contact:  Steve Brown, Transport and Highways, Tel 01743 257809

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager introduced his report on Winter Service, Review and Preparation for the New National Code of Practice.  He explained that the Council had a duty under the Highways Act 1980, Section 41 (1A) to provide a winter service for the road network in the County. The revised Code of Practice [Well Managed Highway Infrastructure] required the review of operational preparedness for the winter service season of 2018/19.  As a result, the Council had refreshed and improved its Winter Service Policy and its Winter Service Operational Plan.

 

Members noted that the severe winter of 2017/18 had tested the service and had seen drivers working almost to the limit of their legally permitted hours, for which an exemption from the Department of Transport would have had be obtained.  It was anticipated that winter weather as severe as the previous season would only be expected every 7 to 8 years and the service had coped well.  Each depot was provided with weather station data and a protocol to deliver the required service.  All decisions made were recorded with the reasons and evidence, and could be made available to the courts if a dispute arose.  

 

Members noted that the policy had been refreshed and not rewritten.  The policy and plan would be considered by Cabinet in September 2018 and if approved would be implemented on the 1st October 2018 for the 2018/19 winter season.

 

The Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager explained that the purpose of the Winter Service Plan was to deliver a resilient road network and keep key highways operational, maintaining access to businesses and hospitals during poor weather.  He outlined a number of new initiatives set out in the report, such as use of the internet and social media to provide improved guidance to householders and shop owners the appropriate action to remove snow and ice from frontages.  Also, pilot schemes working with Town and Parish Councils establishing snow volunteers and pot hole wardens were proposed.

 

In answer to a Member’s question, the Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager explained that it was necessary to identify the road network which would be treated if required to avoid litigation.  He continued that the identified network was shown on the website.  A Member observed that pavements should be included in the policy.

 

The Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager responded to a Member’s enquiry about the discrepancy between other counties treating 54% of their road network compared to Shropshire’s 28%, by explaining that it was due to the nature of the roads in Shropshire with 65-70% of roads being unclassified.  He continued that the counties which treated greater numbers of their roads were the ones with urban conurbations.  The resources available also impacted on the number of roads that the Council was able to treat. 

 

Members noted that the range of equipment held in depots across the county differed due to the situations it would be used in.  The majority of the equipment was held in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Managing Highways Customer Service and Complaints pdf icon PDF 2 MB

To consider how Shropshire Council responds to maintenance requests, and any consequent complaints and compliments.

 

Contact: Chris Edwards, Head of Infrastructure and Communities, tel 01743 258912

Minutes:

The Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager gave an overview of the Council’s management of customer service requests and complaints relating to Highways.  He observed that the severe winter of 2017/18 had put additional strains on the service and it had been recognised that improvement was needed within the constraints of available finance.  The Highways Department was a partner in the Digital Transformation Programme and the Technicians role would be reviewed as part of the programme. 

 

In response to a query from a Member regarding contacts being lost in the system, the Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager responded that the department received 2,000 contacts a month and each electronic contact was trackable through the Customer Service System.  When received each contact was given an individual ID number and assigned to the appropriate Officer.  The new computer system would improve the handling of traditional correspondence and not allow contacts to be lost in the system.  He added that an improvement in local management and administration was anticipated with the new systems.  Members commented on parallel systems with one dedicated for Town and Parish Councils and the second for members of the public.  Members noted that the new approach encouraged the use of generic mailbox which would be accessed by the divisional offices, although improvements to the process were still being refined.

 

Members discussed the lead times for responses to complaints and service requests.   The Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager advised that a restructure of the department would split Highways Officers into the roles of Technicians and Inspectors.  He observed that modern technology had improved access to Officers and increased the volume of contacts, with January to March 2018 receiving more contacts from members of the public than had been received in the whole of the previous three years.  He welcomed investment in IT systems to assist with the increased number of contacts.

 

The Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager advised that the department employed twenty-five technicians who dealt with an increasing number of issues and expectations.  He continued that issues were not always straightforward and there was constant liaison with the Council’s insurers.  The available resources did not always align with the greater demand and expectations. 

 

In response to a Members query, the Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager agreed that it was sometimes difficult to differentiate between a service request and a complaint and a protocol had been developed to identify which category the contact belonged to.  He confirmed that the service was on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. 

 

The Highways, Transport and Environment Commissioning Manager confirmed that all staff received appropriate training to undertake their role and undertook the National Code of Practice Accredited Course and were on the National Highways Register which classed them as competent inspectors.  He noted that this required a week of dedicated training which impacted on workloads.

 

RESOLVED:

i.       That the report be noted; and

ii.     that once in place a Member Town and Parish Council Logging Briefing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme 2018 - 2019 pdf icon PDF 163 KB

To consider the future work programme of the Committee.

 

Contact: Danial Webb, Scrutiny Officer, tel 01743 258509

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members discussed the Committee’s work programme.

 

A vote taken on the establishment of a 20’s Plenty Task and Finish Group was lost.  It was suggested that the Committee would review the matter in the autumn and this would be added to the Work Programme. 

 

Resolved:

That items to be considered at the next meeting of the Committee include apprenticeships, T’Level qualifications and transport issues.

14.

Date/Time of the Next Meeting of the Committee

The Committee is scheduled to next meet at 10.00am on Thursday 6th September 2018.

Minutes:

Members noted that the next meeting of the Place Overview Committee was scheduled for 10.00am on Thursday 6th September 2018.

 

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