To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the Quarterly Service Report for the third quarter of 2018/19 (October 2018 to December 2018) relating to Environment, Culture and Communities. A current update and an overview of the key issues relating to the third quarter will be provided verbally.
Panel members are asked to give advance notice to the Governance and Scrutiny Team of any questions relating to the Quarterly Service Report where possible.
Andrew Hunter, Director: Place, Planning and Regeneration and Damian James, Assistant Director: Contract Services gave members an update on issues in their areas as per the slides to be published alongside the minutes. This included an update on the Parks and Countryside project which was coming to a close as it was agreed by the Executive in February 2019. Members were shown a picture of the new junction at Martin’s Heron which had received a number of compliments although it was acknowledged there was some work still to be done. The number of planning appeals was close to target and decisions by the Planning Inspectorate were challenged where applicable. Learning sessions were held for officers once the decision from the Planning Inspectorate was received.
Following discussion the following questions and comments were raised:
· Members queried the anticipated end date for A322 Downshire Way work and were informed it was July 2020. They were reassured much of the work would be done off the road, like with London Road, and where there was thought to be an impact work would be undertaken outside of peak times.
· Members asked if large lorries would cause a problem and were informed there would be no merge lane in the future which should help with congestion.
· Members were informed work impacting on local road networks were flagged on motorways and on websites.
· Members asked why lessons learnt were not shared with members on the Planning Committee and were informed they are informally when looking at subsequent planning applications.
· Members wanted to know if there was a good relationship with Surrey County Council officers regarding the Meadows Roundabout and if they were on target to achieve what they set out to achieve? Andrew Hunter, Director: Place, Planning and Regeneration said he had not heard there were issues, but would check and provide an update.
· Members requested an update on housing need projections and were informed they should be available some time this week. Andrew Hunter, Director: Place, Planning and Regeneration said the figure was likely to be between 600 and 630.
Damian James, Assistant Director: Contract Services updated members as per slides and reported 11 new waste trucks had been ordered and would arrive July approximately. Dry changing rooms in Bracknell Leisure Centre and a new reception had opened at the end of November 2018. The new gym had opened at the beginning of January 2019. There had been changes in contractor management at the new Town Centre with regards cleaning. A new regime and staffing changes were hoped to improve matters. They had trialled different machines to clean paving and would continue to do so to find the best option. The introduction of the National Waste Strategy would hopefully increase recycling rates following consultations and an agreed direction of travel The Council and Everyone Active were perusing options to build a new clubhouse at Downshire Golf Complex. Currently, the business case did not support it at the moment but they were looking at all options. Visits to Bracknell Leisure Centre were 1 million in the first three quarters of 2018/19 which was lower than the target of 1.7 million but this was an ambitious target set by Everyone Active.
Following discussions the following comments and questions were raised:
· Members wanted to know if the new refuse trucks were the 50/50 configuration as previously and were informed they were single back vehicles and would only collect one type of material at a time but were more flexible as they could be used for collecting gardening one week and recycling the next, for example.
· Currently, there was an issue if the gardening waste side of a truck was full but the recycling side was half full as vehicles had to empty half full refuse trucks. New trucks were also lighter so fuel consumption would be slightly better. Members requested refuse trucks did not follow each other (i.e. not in same road at same time) in order to avoid congestion. Officers stated routing was done via a computer to try and avoid this but they would take it into consideration.
· Members asked what the biggest problem was with cleaning the town centre and were informed it was spillages, particularly coffee and hot chocolate which was hard to remove from paving stones, prevalent around benches and coffee shops.
· Andrew Hunter, Director: Place, Planning and Regeneration to check progress on the Meadows Roundabout works and send to Governance & Scrutiny Co-ordinator to send out with the minutes.
· Governance & Scrutiny Co-ordinator to publish slides with the minutes.