Agenda and minutes

Property, Highways and Transport Select Committee - Tuesday, 18th October, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Civic Centre. View directions

No. Item


Apologies for absence and to report the presence of any substitute Members


Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Shehryar Ahmad-Wallana with Councillor Ekta Gohil substituting.


Declarations of interest in matters coming before this meeting


There were no declarations of interest.


To receive the minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 331 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 20 September be approved as a correct record.


To confirm that the items of business marked as Part 1 will be considered in Public and that the items marked Part 2 will be considered in Private


It was confirmed that all items were marked Part 1 and would therefore be considered in public.


Highways Network Prioritisation and Maintenance pdf icon PDF 456 KB


Poonam Pathak, the Council’s Head of Highways, was present for this item and introduced the report for the Committee giving an overview of how Hillingdon prioritises its selection of Highways that are designated for repair and resurfacing. It was highlighted that Hillingdon regularly commissioned condition surveys of the entire Highways network that the Council was responsible for in the Borough, Members were informed that these surveys adhered to the UKPMS (United Kingdom Pavement Management System). Recent changes in the Council’s procedures meant that prioritisation for works had not only been relying on the condition surveys but included a combination of factors such as engineering implications, bus routes, footfall, road users, proximity to schools, accident claim data and enquiries from the public and Members. Once the data had been combined, each section of Highway in the Borough received a prioritisation score which fed into the scheduling of works under the Highways forward planning programme.


Officers went on to inform Members of the innovative Highways repair and resurfacing techniques that the Council was currently trialling, this included Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) which offered a low emissions approach by manufacturing and laying asphalt at lower temperatures, without compromising performance. It was noted that this technique had been trialled in both the north and south of the Borough and was soon to be trialled along Brickwall Lane in Ruislip. By way of clarification, officers highlighted the difference in the natural structure underneath the roads in the north and south of the Borough; where the south of the Borough had strong and solid sub soil, the north side of Hillingdon had a softer London clay base. This structural issue had recently manifested itself when works were being carried out on Northwood Way in Northwood, where the road had collapsed due to the soft sub soil level. This was highlighted as the reason why structural works more commonly took place north of the A40.


It was noted that the Council was soon to be trialling a new recycled sub-base material, known as ‘Aggrebind’ which would reduce the import of quarried aggregate by primarily utilising excavated soil. The Committee commented that the use of innovative and less carbon intensive resurfacing methods would be an incredibly important step with regard to the Council’s green agenda.


Members sought clarification on the frequency and procedure of the Highways conditions surveys. It was confirmed that the condition surveys were carried out on the Council’s entire Highways network every two years by an independent contractor; the survey project was time consuming and lasted for approximately one year, following this there was a further project to assess the survey data which lasted for a further year; the process then repeated. It was also noted that there was a separate in-house process for carrying out Highways inspections. Members also noted that the prioritisation score and data given to each stretch of highway required specialist knowledge to interpret.


The Committee asked as to how Members’ Enquiries from elected councillors and petitions received from members of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Select Committee Review: Obtaining Best Value for the Council's Highways Resurfacing Programme pdf icon PDF 443 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman introduced the item as the first witness session of the Committee’s review into the Council’s highways resurfacing procedures. It was noted that a research report had been prepared by officers as a starting point for the review and to assist the Committee’s discourse. A brief overview of the report was delivered highlighting Hillingdon’s Highway network, the Council’s maintenance procedures and the highways safety inspection procedures. Poonam Pathak, the Council’s Head of Highways and a key officer in the implementation and strategic development of the Council’s Highways maintenance programme, was present as a witness for the review.


Members initially sought to understand, with regard to footways resurfacing, the criteria which dictated why different materials and resurfacing types were used on different footways in the Borough. It was noted that, previously, the Council had operated on a ‘like for like’ basis by which if a slabbed footway required resurfacing, it would be repaved with slabs similar to that of the original condition, however, the Council had recently moved away from this approach, to a more cost effective method of repaving footways using tarmac regardless of the original type of surfacing on the footway. The Committee were informed that resurfacing with paving slabs was approximately 60% more expensive than tarmac resurfacing. Further to this it was noted that the life cycle of paving slabs was often inferior to tarmac as slabs tended to break where vehicles had mounted the pavement. Although it was noted that a ‘like for like’ method was preferred by residents, the priority for the Council had to be the safety of the footways and by adopting a more cost effective approach, the Council could maintain the safety of a higher quantity of footways to an appropriate safety standard. There were occasions where further analysis and discussion needed to take place before agreeing the appropriate resurfacing techniques, this was most commonly within conservation areas where conservation officers were consulted with.


The Committee were informed that roughly half of the highways maintenance works were carried out in-house, with the other half carried out by external contractors. It was noted that the in-house work mostly consisted of the highways repairs and patchwork, making regular use of the Council’s two Rhino-Patch machines, where the external contractors would be used for more extensive resurfacing and more intensive repair works. The Committee were informed that the Council’s resurfacing contract was reviewed every five years and would be up for review in 2023, the procurement process for which would be starting in the coming months.


Members sought clarification with regard to any potential works that may be undertaken by the Council on some of the major highways in the Borough where maintenance of which did not fall under the Council’s responsibilities. It was noted that Borough Principal Roads, including the Uxbridge Road and Hillingdon Hill, traditionally were funded for resurfacing by Transport for London (TfL); however, due to the financial issues experienced by TfL in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the funding for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 240 KB

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The Chairman introduced the item. It was highlighted that the Cabinet Forward Plan for October had not yet been published and therefore Members had in front of them the September Forward Plan which they had already seen at the previous meeting.


The Committee sought to follow up on a point raised on the Cabinet Forward Plan at their previous meeting with regard to the Battle of Britain Bunker Phase 2 – Water Ingress item; Members had originally sought assurance that the drainage mitigation measures were not associated with the relatively new visitors centre built on the site. It was noted that officers had confirmed that the water ingress issues were relate to the World War Two bunker itself and not the newly built visitors centre.


RESOLVED: That the Property, Highways and Transport Select Committee noted the Cabinet Forward Plan.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 145 KB

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The Committee noted the work programme and it was confirmed that November’s meeting would take place on Wednesday 16 November. It was also noted that the Committee’s January 2023 meeting had originally been scheduled for Tuesday 03 January, however, due to a clash with group meetings taking place that evening, the date of the Committee’s January meeting was subject to change, it was agreed that a new date would be confirmed with Members outside of the meeting.


The Chairman discussed the possibility of inviting the Cabinet Member for Property, Highways & Transport to attend a future witness session for the Select Committee’s Highways Resurfacing Review. It was confirmed that an invite would be sent to the Cabinet Member and the meeting that they would attend would be confirmed in due course.


With regard to the interim report following up on the Public Safety & Transport Select Committee’s review into electric vehicle infrastructure, it was confirmed that delays in the procurement of a Council supplier for electric vehicle charge points meant that the interim report would no longer come to Committee; instead, the complete 12-month follow up report would be scheduled for April 2023. As a potential alternative for the Select Committee, and with the permission of the Cabinet Member for Property, Highways & Transport, the Committee would receive a draft version of the Council’s overarching electric vehicles strategy, which was being developed by officers.


RESOLVED: That the Property, Highways and Transport Select Committee noted the Committee’s work programme.