Agenda and minutes

Property, Highways and Transport Select Committee - Wednesday, 11th January, 2023 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


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of interest in matters coming before this meeting


Councillor Kaur declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item five in that their brother had previously worked for O’Hara Bros Surfacing Ltd. Councillor Kaur remained in the room and took part in the discussion for the duration of the item.


To receive the minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 328 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 18 October 2022 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.


Select Committee Review - Attaining Best Practice and Value for the Council's Highways Resurfacing Programme pdf icon PDF 236 KB


The Chairman welcomed the witnesses present to the meeting and asked each of them to introduce themselves to the Committee. There were three witnesses present, the Cabinet Member for Property, Highways & Transport, Councillor Jonathan Bianco, who was the relevant Cabinet Member responsible for the oversight of the Council’s highways maintenance responsibilities; Wayne Greenshield, the Council’s Network Operations Manager for Highways; and Christopher O’Hara, the Director of O’Hara Bros. Surfacing Ltd, the Council’s contractor for specialist highway maintenance solutions.


The Cabinet Member noted that they appreciated the Select Committee undertaking their major review into highways resurfacing and highlighted how highways maintenance was a constantly generating area of work due to the expected degradation of the Council’s highways network as a result of regular heavy usage, usual and extreme weather impacts, and regular maintenance and utility works. The Council’s current approach to this work area was a ‘worst first’ approach, with a degree of prioritisation based on factors such as volume of use.  It was noted that, with regard to footways, the Council had previously 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, blanket method of repaving footways using tarmac regardless of the original type of surfacing on the footway. Where there were exceptional considerations, such as the works being undertaken in an area of special local character, officers would investigate whether ‘like for like’ was the best approach.


Christopher O’Hara introduced himself as a representative of O’Hara Bros. Surfacing Ltd, who carry out highways maintenance work on behalf of the Council ranging from reactive maintenance of potholes up to town centre regeneration such as the works undertaken in Hayes town centre over recent years. Other works undertaken for the Council included gully cleansing, vehicle crossovers and machine surfacing. Further detail was given to the Committee with regard to the warm mix asphalt material produced by a number of asphalt suppliers, including Hanson Asphalt, based in West Drayton; the product was called Era 140 which was a warm mix asphalt produced at 40 degrees Celsius lower than traditional mix asphalt, this equated to a 15% saving in greenhouse gas emissions associated with production; it was noted that the material performed in the same way and still met BBA (British Board of Agrèment) standards and was fully recyclable. Another product, which had been created in-house by O’Hara Bros and was in its infancy, was an aggrebind underlayer sub base for footways; the substance had been trialled recently in a number of London Boroughs, including a small section of Hayes, however the Covid-19 pandemic had halted the testing of the substance which was conducted by an external consultant, testing was expected to resume in February 2023 and it was hoped that this would lead to a reduced environmental impact and carbon footprint in addition to increased cost savings.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


2023/24 Budget Proposals for Services within the Remit of the Property, Highways & Transport Select Committee pdf icon PDF 273 KB


The Chairman briefly introduced the item noting that the Committee’s comments should remain within the remit of the Property, Highways and Transport Cabinet Portfolio. Iain Watters, Head of Strategic and Operational Finance, was in attendance to present the report to the Committee. It was noted that the primary factors negatively impacting on the budget setting process were the very challenging economic times currently being experienced, with inflation above 10%, and the legacy impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was highlighted that high inflation levels drove up the cost of Council services in addition to impacting residents through an increased cost of living, which in turn drove up demand for some of the Council’s services. Officers also highlighted that within the remit of the Property, Highways and Transport Select Committee, the single biggest factor effecting the budget proposals was the fall in the funding settlement from Transport for London (TfL).


Members noted that the exceptional rates of inflation above 10% had not been seen for decades and the issues seen as a result of this were not unique to Hillingdon as a local authority. The Committee commended the balanced budget proposals in continuing to provide excellent services to residents under the Property, Highways and Transport portfolio and in finding savings whilst still investing in services for residents, notably through the Capital Programme and projects such as the West Drayton Leisure Centre.


The Committee were informed that inflation on the circa £11m operating budget for services within the remit of the Committee would result in an additional £1.5m in inflationary pressures in a year’s time. This demonstrated the scale of the impact that inflation rates were having on budgets. It was highlighted that there were savings proposals totalling £1.7m to mitigate the impact and that these savings were achieved through efficiencies and not through a reduction in the service offer for residents. The Committee sought to expand on the fees and charges element of the £1.7m in savings proposals, it was noted that these savings primarily related to the general increase to fees and charges of 30%, the amount that could be recovered from the highway network operators when roads require reinstating, and that the Council had an extensive portfolio of garage sites across the Borough which were let out to residents that afforded scope to make savings as across the board, revenue from fees and charges was close to half that of neighbouring boroughs. Members were encouraged by the fact that Hillingdon’s fees and charges remained cheaper for residents than in the surrounding boroughs. By way of reassurance, officers noted that increases in fees and charges were not targeted at services offered to vulnerable residents and were instead directed at more optional services.


The Committee discussed the uplift in fees and charges and noted that, whilst it was not ideal, it was necessary to catch up on what had been historically low fees and charges in Hillingdon whilst still offering value to residents, specifically when compared to neighbouring authorities in West  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Additional documents:


The Chairman introduced the item and requested sight of the Battle of Britain Bunker Phase 2 – Water Ingress item that was due to go to Cabinet on 16 February 2023. It was confirmed that a request for the Committee to see the report would be made to the Cabinet Member at the earliest convenience.


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


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee noted the work programme, and it was confirmed that officers were working on organising a site visit for the Committee to attend and observe highways resurfacing works as part of the Committee’s major review.


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