Agenda item

Service Overview: Transport and Projects


David Knowles, Head of Transport and Town Centre Projects, was present for this item and gave an overview of the work areas under his purview. The presentation was delivered in three parts: Community Engagement and Town Centres, Transport Planning and Development, and Traffic, Parking, Road Safety and School Travel.


Work within the Community Engagement and Town Centres was highlighted, including the following:


·         Development of the Borough’s town centres, in particular delivery of the Town Centre Improvement programme;

·         Seeking contributions from the Council and external sources; managing programmes including ‘soft’ measures as well as shaping and overseeing environmental improvements;

·         Managing the Council's £1m per annum Chrysalis Programme including alleygating schemes;

·         Managing the £156k per annum 'Better Neighbourhood Fund’;

·         Ward Budgets;

·         Street Champions.


Within the Transport Planning and Development remit, a number of work areas were covered, including:


·         Highway Development Control including Section 106 and Section 278 funding;

·         The Council’s Transport and aviation policy;

·         Major transport schemes;

·         TfL 'Local Implementation Plan (LIP);

·         Travel Plans (mostly linked to developers and their sites);

·         Crossrail (‘Elizabeth Line’);

·         HS2 ‘High Speed Rail’ Project;

·         Heathrow (primarily surface transport & freight matters);

·         Bus, Cycling, Walking, Taxi and Electric Vehicle initiatives;

·         Sub-regional liaison including the Department for Transport, Greater London Authority, Transport for London (TfL), Network Rail and neighbouring local Transport Authorities.


A number of areas within the Traffic, Parking, Road Safety and School Travel remit were also covered, including:


·         The design of, and consultation upon, parking management schemes, loading and waiting schemes and Traffic Regulation Orders;

·         Road safety engineering programmes;

·         Traffic feasibility schemes;

·         Technical advice for the Cabinet Member relating to Petitions

·         The Council’s ‘School Travel and Road Safety’ Team (STaRS);

·         Road safety education, training and publicity;

·         School travel plans and ‘Lollipop people’.


Further to the work areas covered by the Transport and Projects team, officers raised the ‘TfL Local Implementation Plan – Annual Spending Submission’, which was scheduled for the September meeting of the Cabinet; it was highlighted that TfL’s revenue stream had been extremely impacted by the pandemic and the Mayor of London had been seeking funding from central Government to keep TfL operating. Unfortunately, as a consequence of this, the funding received by all London Boroughs from TfL had either been withdrawn or deferred; Members were also informed that officers were waiting on a formal statement from TfL on what funding, if any, would be received in the current financial year.


The Committee asked whether the ‘Safe Drive, Stay Alive’ courses were still being delivered in the Borough as Members saw these to be of great benefit, particularly for young people. Members were informed that the courses were under review by TfL as they were the key funders for the programme and also owned some of the copyrights for the materials used in the programme. Members were also encouraged to use their capacity as Councillors and on the various bodies they sit on, including the London Roads Safety Council, to lobby for the Safe Drive, Stay Alive course on behalf of Hillingdon. The Committee highlighted how much of a success the programme had been, officers were proud of the programme and would like to maintain it if possible and would be exploring the feasibility of delivering a similar in-house programme for the Borough.


The Committee queried the level of impact being seen as a result of the introduction of TfL’s new Elizabeth Line in the Borough, specifically around West Drayton Station where parking for rail users would be an issue. Officers noted that Station Approach in West Drayton was not owned by the Council and was in fact owned by Network Rail; a collapsed sewer underneath the station’s forecourt led to delays with the project. Officers were hoping for confirmation from TfL soon for the funding of ‘Crossrail complimentary measures’ which would fund much of the works required for the area outside of the station. It was also highlighted that much of the area around West Drayton Station was under a parking management scheme and rail users would find it difficult to park in an area that would negatively impact residents.


Members queried what actions the Council could take in steering HGV’s away from high streets and smaller residential streets. Officers highlighted that due to the changing nature of last mile delivery methods, online and supermarket delivery vans were now a daily occurrence on residential streets. Members were informed that a number of depots in the Borough were serviced by larger depots which meant large HGV’s were regularly using the Borough’s road network. Members were told that the Council was in the process of re-joining the London Lorry Control Scheme (LLCS) administered by London Councils; the London-wide scheme is aimed at striking the right balance between the freight needs of London and residents’ right not to be unduly disturbed. It was noted that the Council actually had left the LLCS over a decade ago due to the charges associated with being a member of the scheme and that the enforcement was not up to standard, the process had now changed in that membership was now free and enforcement was now better. The Council had also introduced 7.5 tonne weight limits where it was deemed to be appropriate and justified.


With regard to alleygating schemes, it was highlighted that an issue had recently become apparent whereby details of the individual keyholder for each scheme were sometimes getting lost when keys would change hands without the Council knowing about it, for example in cases where the key holder may have passed away. This could result in difficulties when emergency services may require access to the area or instances of fly-tipping had occurred. Officers noted that most alleygating schemes work efficiently as they are a direct response to requests from residents; they are funding schemes whereby the Council facilitates the implementation of a particular scheme and it is then managed in perpetuity by residents.


Regarding the Town Centre Improvements Programme, the Committee questioned how areas were selected for schemes. Officers noted that the selection process was very much Member driven and Members were encouraged to lobby the appropriate Cabinet Member regarding any particular areas where they felt a scheme would be appropriate. It was also noted that resident petitions were a good method of gauging residents’ views and showing demand, this can help to inform Members in deciding which projects to take forward.


The Committee queried the length of time it usually took for a Parking Management Schemes (PMS) to be implemented and were minded to explore options for shortening the process. Officers explained that the first step towards a PMS was usually a petition being received, the petition would then be heard by the relevant Cabinet Member at a petition hearing; the testimony from residents at a petition hearing would inform the direction of officers’ consultation. It was noted that petitions usually took around three months to be heard, this was down from around nine months a number of years ago. The next step would most likely be an informal consultation with residents, feedback from the consultation would then go to the Cabinet Member through the democratic process and a publicly available report. Once the network of roads or area for a PMS is known, officers would draw up detailed designs for the PMS; following this, officers are prescribed by law to advertise in the local press and conduct a formal 21-day consultation. There would then be a formal Cabinet Member decision on the implementation of a PMS. If the Council did not follow this due process, a parking adjudicator could find that a PMS was not justified and should be dissolved; there had also been occasions where local authorities were instructed to pay back parking fines issued under an unjustified PMS, it was highlighted that this had not occurred in Hillingdon.


The Committee thanked the Head of Transport and Town Centre Projects for their presentation and commended the work done by officers in the team.


RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the officer’s verbal report.