SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT)
Minutes of an extraordinary meeting held on 29th April, 2014.
Present: Councillor Mrs. A.J. Moore (Chairman); Councillors P.J. Clarke, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, Mrs. P. Drake, P.G. King and A.G. Powell.
Also present: Councillors L. Burnett, R.F. Curtis, Dr. I.J. Johnson and N. Moore.
1081 APOLOGIES –
These were received from Councillors E. Hacker (Vice-Chairman), G.A. Cox, H.J.W. James and S.T. Wiliam.
1082 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST –
No declarations were received.
1083 REPORT OF THE TRAFFIC MANAGEMENT TASK AND FINISH GROUP –
The Chairman began by taking the opportunity to thank all the members of the Group who gave up their time in undertaking the review, she felt that although it was a time consuming exercise, the knowledge and depth in understanding gained was invaluable. The review had also been conducted at a time of significant officer change. The Chairman thanked the officers who had supported the Group, firstly Andrew Loosemore and Paul Guy from the Visible Services and Housing Directorate who had both now left the employment of the Authority. The Group had then been joined by Mike Clogg and Steven Arthur from the same Directorate and Emma Reed (Development Services) had come on board as soon as she could as at the early stages of the review she had been heavily involved in the LDP process. Sincere thanks were also extended to the Democratic and Scrutiny Services officers who had supported the Group by undertaking research and by being fully involved in the production of the report.
The Chairman further stated that when the topic had been proposed for review, her initial thoughts were to look at areas in the Vale where traffic congestion could be alleviated. She alluded to the financial position of the Council and advised that the Group had been fully aware that significant sums of money were not available in order to provide complete answers to all the problems now and in the future however, there were a number of aspects which had been considered as priority areas and for which suggestions for improvements were made. The Group had been politically balanced and all Members on the Group had been encouraged to bring forward any suggestions that they considered should be looked at whether in their localities or not. The Group had therefore received a number of requests and these, together with the Capita Symonds document and the draft LDP, had informed the Task and Finish report. Some issues had, however, been considered as Ward Member issues and outside the scope of the review, however, these had not been ignored and had been referred to the relevant departments as Ward Member issues.
The Operational Manager for Development Services, in providing an overview presentation of the Traffic Management report, alluded to the wide ranging scope of the review. Although all of the Vale had been looked in considering the review the issue of traffic congestion had in the main concentrated in the south eastern area.
In referring to the findings of the review the Operational Manager referred to a number of topics that had been considered by the Task and Finish Group:
· What is congestion and tackling congestion
· Modal shift
· LDP Capita Symonds report
· Specific road congestion issues
· Emergency planning
· Information bulletins
· Bus link cover Cardiff Bay Barrage
· Changes to Sewta arrangements
· LDP transport priorities
· Future demographic profile of the Vale
· The Vale’s current traffic management monitoring tool
· Strategic integrated approach
· The Metro Network Study
· Smarter travel
· Sustainable transport.
The Committee was advised that the Task and Finish Group had concluded 18 recommendations and drawn together 28 actions which were detailed in the Implementation Plan attached as an Appendix to the report. Within the Implementation Plan there were four distinct areas of action, the first one relating to policies, reports and programmes, the second to road improvement actions, the third bridle paths, cycle and walkway actions and finally the fourth other transport related actions.
In referring to the next steps the Operational Manager, Development Services, advised that the purpose for the meeting was to discuss and agree the recommendations which if agreed would then be forwarded to Cabinet for approval. A subsequent report on progress of the Implementation Plan would then be received by the Committee within 12 months of Cabinet approval.
Members considered the information contained within the report to be comprehensive and highly informative. Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson, with permission to speak, congratulated the group on the report and acknowledged the effort and work that had been put into undertaking the review. Reference was made to the impact that the proposed developments contained within the draft LDP would have on the Biglis roundabout and the Merrie Harrier junction. In response the Operational Manager, Highways and Engineering, advised that feasibility studies on the two busy intersections were currently being conducted and this would include detailed topographical survey work and traffic flow assessments that could be fed into a computer simulation modal incorporating the future growth demands so that the proposed road and junction layout can be properly analysed.
With regard to modal shift and the significant work that had been undertaken to improve rail signalling, Members were keen to understand what impact this could have on traffic management. The Operational Manager, Development Services, advised that in relation to the train network, the Council did not have much control but it did have some form of influence. In particular the electrification of the rail line was an important step forward and that generally the rail service through Barry and the Vale was good but that the service on Sunday was limited. Current discussions with rail providers had indicated that the main issue in improving the rail service related to the level of rolling stock available.
In response to a query that the potential impact of future residential developments could have on the A4050 and Port Road the Operational Manger advised that future funding could possibly be made available following the Metro Network Study and that a major aspect would include improvements to the bus links from Culverhouse Cross. This would however, require an evaluation for improving junctions and the traffic flow. In referring to the report she also made reference to the Task and Finish Groups recommendation that the Council consider the acquisition, lease or otherwise of Mobile Vehicle Message Signs, the use of which could be to inform road users of traffic congestion issues.
A Committee Member alluded to the level of traffic data and information that was available to the Council and that it would be a good idea for this information to be shared with the Scrutiny Committee.
The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, with permission to speak, commented upon the value of the report the importance of the recommendations made and the potential invaluable use of Mobile Vehicle Message signs.
In considering the report a suggestion was made that the report should also be referred to the Welsh Government Minister for their information and evaluation. However, the Committee considered that that was a decision best left for the Cabinet to make following the approval of the report. Following the presentation of the report and in consideration of the recommendations and the implementation plan contained therein it was subsequently
(1) T H A T the Committee’s thanks to the Members of the Group and the officers involved be extended on the production of a comprehensive report.
(2) T H A T thanks to the officers also be included in the Chairman’s statement and that with this addition the Traffic Management Task and Finish Group report attached at Appendix A, its recommendations and implementation plan be agreed and be referred to Cabinet for consideration / approval.
(3) T H A T, subject to Cabinet approval, the Scrutiny Committee receives an update on the progress of the Implementation Plan within 12 months.
Reasons for recommendations
(1) To extend thanks to those who had been involved in the production of a comprehensive and informative report.
(2) To refer to Cabinet for consideration for approval.
(3) For the Welsh Government to consider the issues affecting traffic management identified within the Vale of Glamorgan.