Agenda and draft minutes

Streetscene and Engineering Scrutiny Committee - Friday, 5th November, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Rooms A/B - Neath Civic Centre. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Chairs Announcements

Minutes:

It was announced that Agenda Item 9 on the Cabinet Board Agenda ‘Design Options for the Remediation of Cilmaengwyn Tip above Godre’r Graig Primary School’ had been withdrawn from consideration at this meeting to enable Officers to seek further supplementary information. It was confirmed that a report regarding this matter would be brought for consideration at the next meeting.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

The following Member made a declaration of interest:

 

Cllr. M. Harvey -                                Re. Cabinet Board Agenda Item 8 – Annual Parking Report 2020/2021 as in his role working for South Wales Police, he assess car parks mentioned in the report as part of the Safer Parking Scheme.

 

3.

Parking Enforcement Operation 2021 pdf icon PDF 99 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received a report regarding the Parking Enforcement Operation 2021, which detailed current staffing levels within the Authority’s parking services section.

Members asked if the Council restricted the amount of permits given out in regards to the parking spaces available; and if this had any impact on the neighbouring streets, in particular terraced areas. In terms of the current policy, it was stated that two residents per household could receive parking permits; this was reduced to one permit if there was off-street parking areas or if the property had a garage. The current permit scheme did not guarantee a space within the resident bays, however it offered residents a better opportunity to park closer to their properties. It was noted that when Officers assess a street they must retain around 30% of the street as unrestricted, which allows for visitors and those who weren’t able to park within a bay, to then be able to park within an unrestricted area; where there were very restricted streets, inevitably sometimes residents will have to park on nearby streets. Officers mentioned that with the increase of the number of vehicles privately owned, there were more cars than physical spaces on the streets in some areas, particularly where there were terraced properties. It was added that for a permit to be issued on a street, the car must be registered to a property on the street.

It was mentioned that there were some areas and spaces across the County Borough which could potentially be suitable for additional parking bays, for examples verges; Officers were asked if they could look into this type of solution and if there were any grants that could be utilised to complete this work. Officers stated that there were no specific grants to create off street residential parking bays; in the past, there had been schemes in which the Council was able to create off street parking bays, however there had not been any for some time due to the pressures on the highway maintenance budget. It was noted that this type of work was do-able if unplanned monies became available; the Team were open to suggestions and would always try and create additional parking, where possible, for residents. It was explained that Officers would need to be informed of specific issues in Members Wards in order for them to identify any funding opportunities to fund particular projects of work.

Members raised points concerning the shift pattern of the staff and the need for more resources in the service; and stated that although certain elements of enforcement had been effective, such as the mobile CCTV van, there would need to more of them in order to carry out enforcement more effectively. Officers confirmed that the CCTV van had been very effective since it had been introduced; however, under the legislation, the CCTV van could only enforce certain traffic orders such as those relating to double yellow lines, bus stops and bus laybys, zig zags and school orders. It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Pre-Decision Scrutiny

To select appropriate items from the Cabinet Board agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)

Minutes:

The Committee scrutinised the following Cabinet Board items:

Three Yearly Grit Bin Policy Review

Members were provided with the review of the Council’s grit bin policy.

Officers explained that the grit bin policy was set in 2012, and had been presented to the Committee on a three yearly review basis since then; there had been no changes to the policy since it was set in 2012. It was highlighted that due to previous difficult decisions regarding the budget including cuts to the Neighbourhood Services, there was currently not a lot of monies available for extra activity within the service.

Members were informed that the grit bins were purchased in batches and were replaced when necessary, along with refills which could be purchased in line with the policy; last year, three grit bins were reported as damaged and nine grit bins were absent from their usual location. 

It was noted that the grit bin maintenance generates a significant amount of work and service demand for the Neighbourhood Team; in addition to the regular refills that were usually carried out, there were 100 requests for additional refills last year. Officers highlighted that there was a finite level of resource which was required to balance across a range of activities that the Neighbourhood Team carry out; due to the fact that the budget position hadn’t improved, the recommendation was to maintain the policy for a further three years. Officers added that if Members wanted to review the detail of the policy, it would be important to consider the entirety of requests for grit bins from all Elected Members and ensure that whatever changes were made, fitted in line with the budget so that they could be funded and maintained.

Members expressed their concerns in regards to the current grit bin policy and highlighted the difficulties that were experienced during the winter months; particularly in areas where there weren’t many git bins or any at all. Members had hoped that more grit bins would be available, especially in areas where there were hills; it was asked if a mapping exercise had been completed to identify where the various grit bins were located and if the equability of them could be looked into.

Officers confirmed that the Council’s geographical information system had a layer which covered where all of the grit bins were located across the County Borough. It was mentioned that the grit bin policy had an eligibility criteria which covered the necessary qualities and conditions of obtaining a grit bin for various areas; there were some areas within the County Borough which had more hills than others, therefore they would be a priority in obtaining a bin. Members were informed that because of this, the distribution will not be equal. It was added that under the current policy, Members were permitted to move a grit bin to another location within their Ward if required; however if the Ward did not have a grit bin to move, then this would not be able to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Forward Work Programme 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Minutes:

Members requested that information relating to side waste enforcement within the Waste Service be added to the Forward Work Programme. It was agreed that this element would be included in the report on litter and fly tipping enforcement which was scheduled to be presented to Committee on 28 January 2022. 

The Forward Work Programme for the Streetscene and Engineering Scrutiny Committee was noted.

 

6.

Access to Meetings

To resolve to exclude the public for the following item(s) pursuant to Section 100A(4) and (5) of the Local Government Act 1972 and the relevant exempt paragraphs of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the above Act.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

that pursuant to Section 100A(4) and (5) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded for the following items of business which involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph14 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the above Act.

 

 

7.

Pre-Decision Scrutiny of Private Item/s

To select appropriate items from the Private Cabinet Board agenda for pre-decision scrutiny (reports enclosed for Scrutiny Members)

Minutes:

The Committee chose to scrutinise the following private Cabinet Board items:

Section 38 Highways Act 1980 Agreement, Commuted Sum Payment - Cae Morfa, Phases Three and Four Skewen

Members received a report in relation to the Cae Morfa Development Section 38 position regarding the level of commuted sums for the long term maintenance of the development.

Following scrutiny, the Committee were supportive of the recommendation to go to Cabinet Board.