Agenda and minutes

Property, Highways and Transport Select Committee - Wednesday, 18th October, 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


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Steve Tuckwell and Councillor Peter Money with Councillor Ekta Gohil and Councillor Tony Burles substituting respectively.


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 335 KB


An amendment was suggested to minute number 25, where it was originally stated that “… there were no exceptional inflation items”, it was later confirmed by officers that the development of housing stock was an exceptional inflation item that fell within the remit of the Property, Highways & Transport Select Committee. It was agreed that the minutes would be amended to reflect this.


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 20 September 2023 be approved, subject to the agreed amendment.


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 on the agenda were marked as Part 1 and would therefore be held in public.


Select Committee Review into the Council's Road Safety Initiative and Activities Around the Borough's Schools pdf icon PDF 242 KB

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The Chairman introduced the item highlighting that the first witness session for the Select Committee’s review into road safety initiatives and activities around the Borough’s schools would focus on evidence gathering from internal officers  and the relevant Cabinet Member. With the following session focussing on external stakeholders such as school representatives and pupils.


The Chairman welcomed the witnesses to the meeting and thanked them for attending. Witnesses for this session included:


·         Councillor Jonathan Bianco - Deputy Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Property, Highways and Transport

·         David Knowles – Head of Transportation and Town Centre Projects

·         Sophie Wilmot – Senior Transport Planner

·         Lisa Mayo – Road Safety and School Travel Manager

·         Steve Austin – Traffic, Parking, Road Safety and School Travel Team Manager


In giving an overview of road safety around the Borough’s schools, officers stressed the importance of having a working partnership between the Council and Hillingdon’s schools. Of the dozens of schools across the Borough, each school was different in terms of its students, road environment, accessibility, outlook and attitudes. The Council aims to collaborate with the Borough’s schools although it requires responsiveness from the schools themselves, which varied from school to school. Where the Council does work with schools, officers can offer a range of tools and projects to help improve road safety in the local vicinity of schools, these were outlined further in the report.


The Committee heard from Lisa Mayo, Road Safety and School Travel Manager, who’s remit included the School Travel and Road Safety Team (STaRS). The team ensure the safety and well-being of students on their journeys to and from school; working closely with schools, parents, and local communities to promote safer and more sustainable travel options for students and develop Transport for London (TfL) Accredited School Travel Plans. The STaRS Team including a manager, two officers, a Borough Cycling Support Officer, a team of Practical Pedestrian Trainers, a team of cycle instructors, and the School Crossing Patrol Officers (SCPOs). The team was available to work with any school in the Borough, not just those maintained by Hillingdon as the local education authority.


The Committee were informed that recent changes had taken place regarding the naming of TfL’s road safety education programmes; since September 2023, all road safety education programmes now came under the umbrella of TfL Travel for Life.


The Committee sought clarification regarding the Council’s School Crossing Patrol Officers (SCPOs) as to the reasons why their numbers had dwindled in recent years, why it was difficult to recruit new SCPOs, and what was being done to combat the difficulty in recruiting. Officers highlighted that SCPOs tended to be very dedicated personnel, likely to be of an older generation and often had a link to the school at which they operated as an SCPO for example as a parent or ex-parent of a pupil at the school. It was a notoriously difficult role to recruit into given the unusual daily working hours through all seasons and there  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Draft Hillingdon Cycling Strategy 2023 - 2028 pdf icon PDF 142 KB

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Sophie Wilmot, Senior Transport Planner, and David Knowles, Head of Transport & Town Centre Projects, were present for this item and introduced the report for the Committee. It was highlighted that, as an outer London Borough, Hillingdon was expectedly fairly car heavy and cycle light but there were many funding opportunities made available by Transport for London (TfL) with regard to cycling and Hillingdon now had a TfL Borough Cycling Support Officer who advises Hillingdon’s officers on prospective infrastructure proposals and assists in securing grant funding from TfL to deliver parts of the Council’s new Cycling Strategy. The Strategy was in a draft format for the Committee to view and was subject to consultation before it was scheduled to formally be approved by the Cabinet Member for Property, Highways and Transport at the end of 2023.


Officers also highlighted page 7 of the draft strategy which gave an overview of the Borough’s existing cycle infrastructure and explained that the strategy would form the basis by which the Borough’s infrastructure could be bolstered to promote cycling as a means of active transport going forward. There were also partnership opportunities highlighted where cycle infrastructure and provision could be implemented with partners such as Brunel University who had indicated that there was an appetite to provide cycle infrastructure on their land.


The Committee were supportive of the draft strategy and encouraged its adoption. Members also noted that it was positive to see such a strategy being implemented in Hillingdon as there were traditionally relatively high levels of vehicle ownership in Hillingdon when compared to other London Boroughs.


The Committee sought clarification on how officers were working to ensure the Borough’s cycle infrastructure was weatherproof and that cycle paths would remain accessible and safe for use year-round. Officers noted that, along with the Highways and Green Spaces Teams, assessments of suitable materials were made for all new cycle paths and infrastructure in the Borough, this was because paths in different parts of the Borough may be subject to different use patterns and environment for example urban paths, canal towpaths, and countryside paths and trails. This cooperative assessment also ensured that any new cycle infrastructure would not have an adverse impact on its surrounding environment and would be suitable for the local conditions. It was also highlighted that HS2 Ltd had recently delivered a footpath in the north of the Borough using a new permeable material, officers were due to investigate this for potential use elsewhere for the Borough’s cycle infrastructure.


Members sought to ensure that cycle routes were suitably well lit to provide adequate safety and usability throughout winter months. Officers confirmed that this was being factored into any new cycle infrastructure proposals although this would need to be carefully assessed, particularly in green spaces where it may have a detrimental impact on the environment. Officers would be exploring alternative infrastructure options such as low-level lighting, timed closures and bollards to ensure any environmental impact was mitigated.


Members suggested the use of a QR code  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 241 KB

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The Committee considered the Cabinet Forward Plan, it was highlighted that the ‘Transport for London Local Implementation Plan – Annual Spending Submission’ item was included with the Cabinet papers for the 12October meeting and was available for Members to view. Members also sought to receive information regarding the regular Cabinet item regarding ‘Voluntary Sector Leases’; however it was noted that this was a Part 2 report; due to the confidentiality of the report, Members would not be able to consider it at a formal Select Committee meeting, however it was highlighted that the report would be available for Members to view when Cabinet papers were circulated to all Members.


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


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 146 KB

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Members considered the Select Committee’s Work Programme and discussed November’s upcoming witness session for the road safety around schools scrutiny review. Members sought to invite senior school representatives as witnesses for the session, officers confirmed that there were a number of witnesses lined up for the November session including school travel leads from two schools, including pupils and parents. Members specifically highlighted Hayes Park School and their ongoing road safety concerns in an effort to gain a greater understand of the issues the school faced, particularly barriers that staff may encounter in addressing the road safety concerns.


The Committee discussed the possibility of adding a third witness session/evidence gathering session to the road safety review due to the number of stakeholders the Committee would like to hear from. Following a discussion, Members agreed that a third witness session would be appropriate, with a preference for the session to take place in January 2024 and to feature residents who live in the vicinity of schools. Members were encouraged to provide details if they knew of any residents who may be willing to engage with the Committee’s review. Members were also informed that Parking Enforcement officers would be invited to attend the new witness session, it was also noted that they were available to receive questions from the Committee offline which could feed in as part of the review.


RESOLVED: That the Property, Highways and Transport Select Committee noted the Committee’s Work Programme and agreed to amend the Work Programme as discussed.