To consider the report of the Head of
Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Community Services.
The Head of Community Services advised that the report provided an update on progress on the current Highway Capital Works Programme 2017-2021 and presented options around a future 2020-2021 Works Programme for consideration. The Officer added that the report was scheduled to be submitted to Scrutiny and Executive in February, however it was held back in order to ascertain if additional capital would be made available by the end of financial year. However, due to the impact on services as a result of COVID-19 the report had been delayed.
The Head of Community Services further spoke to the report and outlined the key points contained therein. He advised that the public perception of highways related to the condition of roads in local residential areas. The reactive repairs to pot holes and road surfacing are costly and a less effective way of maintaining the highway. The overall percentage of poor conditioned un-classified roads prior to highway works was 17%, however following works carried out over the previous two years this figure had reduced to 11.4%. The proposed 2020-2021 programme would continue to focus on residential/side/ unclassified roads. In addition to these works, it was also proposed that works be undertaken to essential features to the highways such as safety barriers, illuminated traffic signs and speed reduction measures.
The Head of Community Services advised that Scrutiny had welcomed the report with the proviso that any specific areas brought forward by Ward Members be considered in line with the priority matrix.
The Executive Member for Environment welcomed the report and noted the comments raised at the Scrutiny Committee. The Executive Member advised that the highways works programme was a high priority for this Council and pledged her commitment to monitor and review the programme accordingly.
The Executive Member for Regeneration and Economic Development added that these highway works were critical to our communities and the investment had seen residential roads brought up to an acceptable standard. He welcomed that these improvements would continue as they were of importance to residents.
The Leader advised that commitment was given in 2017 to residents to bring residential, side and unclassified roads up to an acceptable standard. This commitment had been fulfilled and advised that Appendices A-C clearly outlined the extent of the works completed. It was hoped that this commitment would continue for a further 20 months and beyond as it was our ambition to bring all residential roads up to 100% appropriate usage.
The Leader proposed that the Executive Member – Environment and the Head of Community Services review the next steps of the Highways Improvement Programme. Once this evaluation had been completed it was suggested that discussions be extended to the Chief Officer Resources and the Leader from a financial perspective to ensure these improvements could be maintained going forward. This would ensure that a firm programme of works was in place to provide the Council and the residents we represent with a clear commitment to the continued highways improvement works.
RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, Option A was accepted, and the Highway Capital Works Programme 2020-2021 priorities be supported.