Highways & Neighbourhoods Cabinet Members – Minutes – 19 February 2014

Transport capital expenditure was mainly secured through the Local Transport Plan (LTP) process.  The council was required to submit a LTP submission for the Department of Transport.  The plan set out transport priorities for the council.  Last year had seen the start of the third generation of the plans.  They now covered a 15-year period.

As part of the LTP submission, council’s were required to produce a three year Delivery Plan.  This plan set out the programme themes and expected outcomes for the plan.

There were two funding streams within the LTP award: Integrated Transport and Highway Maintenance.  The allocations for the current year including carry forwards were as follows:

·         Integrated Transport £1,509.000

·         Highway Maintenance £4,114,000

·         Additional capital £1,991.000

Programmes of work were prepared by professionally qualified officers, considering transport priorities and performance targets.  The breakdown into programmes of work was assessed using agreed policies and criteria.

Highway maintenance schemes were prioritised using nationally recognised highway condition assessment criteria within a prioritisation framework.  Where appropriate, maintenance schemes also included measures to improve road safety (particularly for vulnerable road users), increase personal security, reduce crime and enhance the street scene.

Monitoring of the programme could reveal both underspends or overspends on various budget lines whilst the base budgets were amended centrally.  The current position as set out in Appendix 1 to the report indicated that some of the planned schemes would require slippage into the next financial year to allow for the construction phase to be completed.  This was indicated in the “Year-end turn out” column of Appendix 1.

Resolved – (a) That the progress of the delivery of the programme be noted, and (b) that the potential start dates for future schemes, set out in Appendix 2 to the report, be noted.

 

101                (48) SCUNTHORPE EASTER FAIR – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval for the use of the Carlton Street car park for the Easter Fair.

For a number of years a travelling pleasure fair had visited Scunthorpe each Easter.  The fair was usually located on the surface car park in Carlton Street (adjacent to the site of the former Leisure Centre).

On these occasions use of the car park had been suspended, a legal agreement entered into and the layout of the fair had been approved by the council’s health and safety section.

The operators of the fair had requested the use of the car park once again between 6 and 21 April 2014.

Resolved – That the temporary closure of part of the Carlton Street pay and display car park, from 6 to 21 April 2014, be approved.

 

102                (49) SCHOOL FOOD PLAN – The Director of Places submitted a report considering the recent Government School Food Plan and its implications for the Schools Catering Service in North Lincolnshire.

The government recently released their School Food Plan.  A summary of the plan’s findings, proposals and key actions was appended to the report.

The government intended to introduce free school meals for KS1 pupils effective from September 2014.  This would impact significantly on the current catering service.  It was estimated that it would increase the number of meals the service would need to provide by 33 per cent.

In addition to the changes, the current catering service was developing its commercial offering.  It had recently won catering contracts for educational establishments in both North East Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire.

The service could provide the additional demand for school meals within North Lincolnshire Schools using existing capacity.  The extra commercial work would inevitably mean that the current kitchen arrangements were inadequate to meet all of the catering service’s future needs.  The government had made capital funds available to councils to equip kitchens to meet any additional demand.

Resolved – (a) That the key actions within the School Food Plan be noted; (b) that the additional demands placed on the catering service alongside additional capacity needed to support the success the service has had in developing contracts across North East Lincolnshire and Lincolnshire, be noted; (c) that the inclusion of the key actions into the existing Development Plan framework be supported; (d) that a report on progress against the actions be submitted to the Cabinet Member in September 2014, and (e) that the development of business plans to consider any expansion in kitchen capacity be supported.

 

103                TRADING STANDARDS APPROVAL SCHEME – The Director of Places submitted a report seeking approval for the creation of a Trading Standards Approval Scheme to replace the current Motor Trade Partnership and Home Services Directory schemes.

The report explained that the Motor Trade Partnership was established in 1988.  It aimed to address rising complaint levels relating to motor trade businesses within North Lincolnshire.  Local motor traders were invited to join the partnership scheme for an annual payment.  In return, Trading Standards carried out either annual or bi-annual comprehensive audits on all aspects of the business.  Members were generally supportive of the scheme; however, attendance at meetings was declining.  This made partnership led decisions relating to the scheme less inclusive.

The Home Services Directory was originally conceived by Age Concern in York.  The purpose was to help vulnerable customers find a reputable trader to carry out work on their home.  In 2005 Yorkshire and Humber Trading Standards Group developed the scheme further.  The scheme now included the ten surrounding local authorities, of which the council was one.  Currently there were only three surviving councils participating in the scheme.  These were York, North East Lincolnshire and North Lincolnshire Councils.

The Director in his report stated that by combining the existing and any future schemes under one brand with a simple, meaningful message, such as Trading Standards Approval, allowed for the promotion of a strong, local brand.  The reduction in the number of differing schemes also assisted consumers in understanding the purpose of the scheme.  The aim of both the Motor Trade Partnership and the Home Services Directory was to protect consumers, increase confidence in the member businesses and reduce consumer detriment.  Combining the schemes would maintain this ethos whilst allowing for future expansion.

Resolved – That the merger of the Motor Trade Partnership and the Home Services Directory schemes to form a new Trading Standards Approval Scheme be approved.

 

104                LOCAL SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT FUND – The Director of Places submitted a report briefing the Cabinet Member on the guidance for funding relating to the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in 2015/16, and seeking approval for submission of a bid to the fund in relation to ‘International Gateways’.

In December 2013, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued guidance on the revenue element of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) for 2015/16.  The purpose of the fund was to enhance the benefits and support the £100m of capital funding for sustainable travel initiatives that was included within the Local Growth Fund from 2015.

The DfT had allocated £75.8m to the revenue element of the fund.  Applications were to be made directly to the DfT.  Projects should begin after April 2015 with all grant funding committed by March 2016.  However, sustainability was important and therefore projects had to demonstrate how they could deliver a longer term vision.

Any bid must had to have Local Enterprise Partnership support. Bids must demonstrate how they aligned to any capital investment outlined in the council’s Strategic Economic Plans.  Local authorities could only submit one bid.  The only exception was where a local authority also led a separate group bid.

A minimum local contribution of 10 per cent was required for any revenue only projects.  A minimum local contribution of 30 per cent was required to support any capital and revenue schemes. Bids up to a maximum of £1m would be accepted for this element.

The DfT deadline for receipt of bids was by the end of March 2014.  An announcement on this LSTF funding would be aligned to decisions on the Local Growth Fund.  This was anticipated in July 2014.

The council submitted a bid (supported by North East Lincolnshire Council) for an ‘International Gateways: Area Wide Travel Plan’ for the last round of LSTF in 2011.  This involved sustainable travel initiatives at the South Humber Ports and Humberside International Airport.  This bid was unsuccessful.

After discussions with DfT and North East Lincolnshire Council, it was felt that a further strengthened joint North and North East Lincolnshire bid could be submitted for the Framework Travel Plan.  The initial concept was accepted by DfT as a sensible bid for the South Humber Bank.

Resolved – (a) That the Local Sustainable Transport Fund Guidance be acknowledged; (b) that Option 3, as outlined in paragraph 3.1 of the report, be approved, and (c) that a further report be submitted to the Cabinet Member prior to the bid submission date, to sign off the joint bid for submission, and that this report included an estimate of the value of any matched funding required from the council.

 

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