Highways and Planning Cabinet Member – Minutes – 30 September 2009
64 (8) HIGHWAYS AND PLANNING SERVICE PLAN 2008/11 – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report seeking approval for the Highways and Planning’s service plan for 2009-2012.
All service areas were required to formally refresh their service plan on an annual basis to ensure that changes were documented and action plans reflected the appropriate priorities.
Highways and Planning’s refreshed service plan (2009) identified changes that had taken place during the last year, and new challenges for the future. To ensure key targets and objectives were completed, the service plan contained a summary action plan which assigned relevant responsibilities to key managers.
The position to date regarding the progress of actions is as follows: in total there were 19 key actions; one key action has been added to the refreshed service plan to reflect new objectives; three key actions relating to Highways and Planning were considered completed, but needed to be monitored; and the remaining 15 key actions were currently in progress.
A copy of the service plan was shown at the cabinet member briefing for reference as well as a summary document which would be circulated to all staff within the service for information and which was attached to the report.
Resolved – That the Highways and Planning Service Plan (refreshed) 2009 be approved.
65 (9) STAGECOACH SERVICES 37 AND 38: SECTION 106 GRANT – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report seeking approval for the award of a grant to cover the cost of providing a low-floor bus on services 37 and 38 in Scunthorpe.
Services 37 and 38 ran between Scunthorpe Bus Station, the Hospital and Berkeley Estate and Foxhills. Though Stagecoach provided them without subsidy, they were not highly profitable. The services were restricted to off-peak periods, Monday to Saturday, and one bus served both routes. Two thirds of service 37 and 38 users were passholders who were over 60 or disabled.
Government regulations required that by 1 January 2017 all buses on local services must eventually be of low floor design and include space for a wheelchair user.
Section 106 of the Transport Act 1985 allowed councils to make grants towards the cost of buses or other facilities. Section 106 could be used to provide a modest grant to Stagecoach which would ensure that a low-floor vehicle was used on most journeys on services 37 and 38. The agreement excluded two specific journeys which were directly linked with school buses.
Appendix 2 of the report showed the terms of the proposed Section 106 grant negotiated with Stagecoach. The grant would not change the timetable on either service.
Resolved – (a) That a Section 106 grant be made to Stagecoach East Midlands to provide a low-floor bus for specified journeys on Scunthorpe Town services 37 and 38, and (b) that the Service Director Highways and Planning be authorised to sign an appropriate agreement.
The Transport Act 1985 allowed bus operators to run when and where they wanted in the hope of making a profit. In making the legislation, Parliament assumed that competition between companies would bring benefits for users. Competition law required companies not to collude against the interests of the consumer.
However, there were ways in which two or more bus operators could make a limited agreement to work together if this could be shown to be in the interests of users. The Local Transport Act 2008 now required a local authority to endorse such an agreement.
Bus service 350 had run between Scunthorpe and Hull since the opening of the Humber Bridge in 1981. For 27 years it ran hourly and required two RoadCar/Stagecoach buses and one East Yorkshire Motor Services (EYMS) bus.
In March 2009, the service was improved and re-branded as the “Humber Fastcat”. It now needed five buses from Stagecoach and one from EYMS. The companies had bought seven new low-floor vehicles, including a spare. Stagecoach and EYMS had agreed a timetable which provided even interval journeys every half hour between 07:00 and 19:00, Monday to Saturday.
The agreement referred only to the co-ordinated timetable. Without the agreement, there would be no regular timetable and the benefit to users would be lost. The agreement did not prevent other operators running along the same route and competing on times or fares.
Resolved – That the Service Director Highways and Planning be authorised to sign the Qualifying Agreement for bus service 350, the “Humber Fastcat”.
67 (11) NORMANBY ENTERPRISE PARK BUS SERVICE – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report seeking approval for the continuation of journeys between Scunthorpe Bus Station and Normanby Enterprise Park
Hornsby ran a commercial bus service without subsidy between Scunthorpe, Broughton and Brigg between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Saturday. The council had a contract with Hornsby which extended journeys to Normanby Enterprise Park (NEP) in the early morning and evenings, Monday to Friday. The council had just renewed this contract. (Minute 58, 6 July 2009 refers).
The council also paid Hornsby to provide four extra journeys during the day between Scunthorpe Bus station and NEP. Appendix 1 of the report gave a full timetable and showed these journeys in blue. Transport law allowed agreement for a payment with Hornsby for these “add-ons” instead of going out for quotes. However, these agreements could not now last more than five years. To continue, a new agreement would be needed.
The number of users of these add-on journeys had declined steeply over the last 18 months. Hornsby had decided that in view of rising costs and falling revenue, the cost of this contract would rise from £41.55 per day to £60 per day if the council wished it to continue after the end of November.
Foxhills and NEP were amongst North Lincolnshire’s most important industrial sites and a bus service was an asset. The number of users could grow again as economic conditions improved. Therefore it was proposed to continue the present arrangement at a revised cost of £60 per weekday for a 16 month period until 25 March 2011.
Resolved – (a) That an agreement be made with Hornsby Travel Services to continue the extended journeys serving Foxhills Industrial Estate and Normanby Enterprise Park from 30 November 2009 until 25 March 2011 at a cost of £60 per weekday, (b) that additional publicity be provided to increase awareness of the service, and (c) that a further review be carried out in March 2010.
68 (12) CLIMATE CHANGE STEERING GROUP – MINUTES OF 19 JUNE 2009.
Resolved – That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 June 2009 setting out recommendations of the Climate Change Steering Group be approved.
The following item contains exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).
69 (13) AIM 2: TRAVEL CHOICE REVIEW – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report seeking approval to make changes to the staffing structure of Aim 2 Travel Choice and to update job descriptions to reflect additional/changed responsibilities.
The Travel Choice’s structure was last reviewed in 2004. Several changes had taken place since then, these included the retirement of the Public Transport Officer and the transfer of the council’s Chauffeur Service into Travel Choice. In addition the roles and responsibilities of several posts had evolved in that time and job descriptions had been reviewed and amended accordingly.
Further details, and the current and proposed Travel Choice structures were shown in the report and its appendices.
Resolved – (a) That the Cabinet Member endorses the content of the report, and (b) that the report be submitted to the Corporate Services Cabinet Member for approval.
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Where there is no report this is because it is exempt, as it contains information which is considered to be of a confidential nature, as detailed in the Local Government (Access to Information) Act.