Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

7.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors West and Peter Williams.

8.

Declarations of Interest

Members are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary, personal or personal and prejudicial interests they may have and the nature of those interests relating to items on this agenda and/or indicate if S106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.   

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests.

9.

Urgent Items of Business

To determine whether there are any additional items of business which, by reason of special circumstances, the Chair decides should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items of business for the Committee to consider.

10.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting Communities, Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee held 28th June 2018.

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting of the Communities, Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, held on 28th June 2018, be approved as a correct record.

11.

Public Space Protection Order

Director of Neighbourhoods to report

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods updated the Committee on the progress thus far in respect of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO), which were enforced by street wardens. The PSPO had only become effective in July 2018 and in this regard he undertook to present a fuller report to the Committee’s next meeting on 21st November 2018 reviewing and assessing their impact.

 

The introduction was partly brought about to deal with ongoing issues associated with begging and on-street drinking (the introduction of a PSPO was the only way that on-street drinking could be effectively managed). In addition a PSPO could also be used to discourage skateboarding on the highway and other forms of anti-social behaviour.

 

Currently the PSPO’s were limited to Rochdale’s town centre area but there existed the possibility that they could be extended to include other town centres in the Borough, notably Middleton and Heywood. In this regard members of the Committee provided anecdotal evidence of instances of anti-social behaviour, often caused by alcohol abuse. Currently the street wardens operated in all parts of the Borough and were able to take action with respect to environmental related offences such as littering.

 

The Director of Neighbourhoods reported that evidence that had thus far been gathered indicated that the numbers of beggars in Rochdale town centre had reduced since the PSPO had been introduced. Members of the Committee asked about the levels of homelessness and if this was a factor in the prevalence of both on-street drinking and begging. The Director advised that there was only one of the regular town centre beggars that was actually homeless. Many of these individuals though were dependent on alcohol and/or drugs and the Council worked closely with external agencies to provide assistance wherever possible. The Director undertook to submit details in his report to the Committee’s next meeting on the current levels of homelessness in the Borough, especially in Rochdale town centre, in light of the impending annual survey on homelessness that all local authorities were obligated to arrange.

 

The Director advised that the charity Liberty had legally challenged the introduction of PSPO’s and he undertook to update members of the Council on the progress of this legal challenge.

 

Resolved:

1.    The update on the introduction of the Public Space Protection Order be noted.

2.    The Director of Neighbourhoods be requested to submit a detailed report to the next meeting of the Communities, Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, on 21st November 2018, reviewing and assessing the impact of the recently introduced Public Space Protection Order, including up to date information on the actual levels of homelessness in the Borough.      

12.

Waste and Enforcement Policies - update presentation

A presentation regarding changes to both the Council’s Waste Collection Policy and to its Environmental Management Enforcement Policy.

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods delivered a presentation which updated members on new powers that were available to the Council for dealing with fly-tipping and ‘A’ boards that are advertising goods and services. The presentation highlighted a range of new powers that were being made available for dealing with offenders including fines and fixed penalty notices and discounted penalty payment for those who pay early. It was proposed that the Council consider introducing a fine of £450 for fly-tipping which can be reduced to £250 if an early payment, within a specified time-span is made.

 

In terms of ‘A’ Boards the Council doesn’t have a formal policy but rather an informal arrangement which is administered via the Council’s licensing function. Following legal advice the Council was to be recommended to maintain the informal policy. A member raised the issue of insurance claims and the Council having a ‘disclaimer’ to prevent claims being made against the authority. These remarks were considered but it was noted that there had been no claims thus far made against the Council in this regard. The only area of the Borough that this was likely to cause a problem was on The Walk in Rochdale town centre.   

 

Resolved:

That the presentation be noted and welcomed.

13.

2017/18 Winter Service Review pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Head of Highways Services to report

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee scrutinised a report of the Director of Neighbourhoods which outlined the performance of the 2017/18 winter service and detailed how the operational delivery met the objectives detailed in the winter service policy.

 

The aim of the winter service was to ensure that Rochdale Borough Council met the statutory obligations as set out in the highways act 1980. The Act states that highways authorities must ensure “so far is reasonably practicable, that safe passage along a highway is not endangered by ice or snow.”  

 

During the 2017/18 winterthe service carried out: 130 precautionary treatments on the full network; 25 Snow treatments on the resilient network; 13 ad–hoc treatments on individual domains; and 10 Footway treatments within the town centres.  Rochdale Borough Council used over 4,000 tons of salt during the winter period to treat the network between 16th October 2017 and 15th April 2018.

 

The objectives of the Winter Service were to: ensure the safer movement of vehicles and pedestrians on the highway network; to minimise delays, accidents and damage to the highway resulting from ice and snow and to undertake the Winter Service effectively and efficiently according to network hierarchy and severity of weather conditions within the limitations of finite resources, financial constraints and legal requirements.

 

The Highways Service had generally dealt well throughout the winter months of 2017/18, especially with what proved to be some very challenging circumstances in February and March 2018 when there was a serious incident with motorist trapped for long periods on the M62 near to Milnrow, due to exceptional levels of snow, ice and gale force winds. Members of the Committee commended the team’s performance over the winter team especially in relation to the gritting lorries and welcomed the Council’s communications networks that enabled the message about road and weather conditions to be relayed to the wider public from a very early stage. Members also commented on the availability of grit bins and the importance of the levels of these being maintained through periods of adverse winter weather.

 

The Director of Neighbourhoods reported that the service was based at the Princess Street depot in Rochdale and he extended an invitation to members of the Committee to visit these facilities to observe their functionality first hand.

 

Resolved: that the report be noted.

14.

Highways-Bridges and Highway Structures Inspection Policies pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Head of Highways Services to report

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods submitted a report which detailed the highways and bridges and Highways structures inspection policies for the Council.

 

In October 2018 the ‘Well Managed Highway Infrastructure: A Code of Practice’ becomes operational. This document recommends that the Highways Safety Inspection Policy and Bridges and Highway Structures Inspection Policy be reviewed and revised to reflect the risk based approach detailed in ‘Well Managed Highway Infrastructure: A Code of Practice. Rochdale Council has to have these policies in place as they identify the inspection procedures and will provide part any defence that the Council has to make in the event of a claim against the authority.

 

The meeting was informed that the ‘Well Managed Highway Infrastructure: A Code of Practice’ recommended that these policies be reviewed, on a regulr basis to reflect the risk based approach to inspections.

 

The adoption of the proposed policies will ensure Rochdale Borough Council meet these requirements and by applying the procedures identified in the policies we will ensure we meet our obligations and help to prevent actionable claims against us.

 

The key change to how highway inspections are addressed, following the introduction of the new policy, will be in determining the response times for repairing an identified defect. Previously this was based upon specific guidance, however the new policy, in accordance with the recommendations of the ‘Well Managed Highway Infrastructure: A Code of Practice’, will identify response times based upon a risk assessment undertaken by the inspectors. (the Council’s inspectors are fully trained in utilising the risk based assessment matrix included in the Appendix to the report) This would take into account all contributing factors in the likelihood of an event occurring and the likely consequence if such an event were to occur. This would generate a risk assessment score which highlights the speed in which a response is required. The process in which a pothole is assessed to determine if it was defective remained the same.

 

Resolved: that the report be noted.