Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Advisory Board - Communities and Place - Tuesday, 17th November, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Via Teams

Contact: Lorraine Davis  Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.



Members and officers confirmed their attendance at the meeting.  An apology for absence was received from Mr W McEwan.




To note any changes in membership of the Board.



There were no changes to membership to note.




Members are invited to disclose any disclosable pecuniary interest they have in any item on the agenda which comprises:-


1          Details of any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.


2          Details of any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by you in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses.  (This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.


3          Details of any contract which is made between you (or a body in which you have a beneficial interest) and the authority


            (a)    Under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and


            (b)    Which has not been fully discharged.


4          Details of any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the authority. 


5          Details of any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the authority for a month or longer. 


6          Details of any tenancy where (to your knowledge).


            (a)    The landlord is the authority; and


            (b)    The tenant is a body in which you have a beneficial interest.


7          Details of any beneficial interest in securities of a body where


            (a)    That body (to your knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the authority; and


            (b)    Either –


                     (i)         The total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or


                     (ii)        If that share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.


In addition, you must also disclose other non-pecuniary interests set out in the Code of Conduct where these have not already been registered.




A “disclosable pecuniary interest” is an interest of a councillor or their partner (which means spouse or civil partner, a person with whom they are living as husband or wife, or a person with whom they are living as if they are civil partners).



Mr K Hamilton declared an interest in Agenda Item No 6 – Roadside Verges and Wildflowers – as a member of Barrow Borough Council who had a contract with the County Council for verge maintenance.




To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any item on the agenda.



There were no items of business that required the exclusion of the press and public.



MINUTES pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 24 September 2020 (copy enclosed).



RESOLVED,that the minutes of the meeting held on 24 September 2020 be agreed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair.



Roadside Verges and Wildflowers pdf icon PDF 168 KB

To receive a presentation from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed).



Members received a presentation on Roadside Verges and Wildflowers from the Senior Manager – Highways.  The presentation outlined the Council’s responsibilities with regards to roadside verge maintenance and when and how it took place.  The Senior Manager outlined the practice of cutting a strip of verge roughly one metre wide in addition to visibility splays at road junctions to ensure that people can use the roads safely, whilst taking into account environmental and conservation considerations.


To conclude the Senior Manager outlined the next steps to be taken which included a review of the Council’s approach, working with key partners including Cumbria Wildlife Trust to produce an updated leaflet, sharing information with communities and interested parties, updating the information on the website and keeping members updated via local committees, local forums and through the scrutiny board.


The discussions that followed centred around contracts for verge and tree maintenance and noxious weed control, for example Himalayan balsam and ragwort.  The Senior Manager confirmed different contractual verge maintenance arrangements were in place around the county with farmers, district and borough councils and individuals in local areas put in place by local teams.  The Senior Manager was happy to circulate an example of a contract to members and confirmed that these arrangements would be reviewed when the Council’s approach was refreshed.  It was acknowledged that trees on roadsides could help alleviate flooding , however their roots and leaves could also cause problems with drains.  Ash die back and the management of this was also discussed. 


The Chair agreed to circulate information of a group in South Lakeland who were effectively controlling noxious weeds.   The Senior Manager agreed to follow up on verge maintenance on certain roads in the county as a Board member felt that the verges had been too severely stripped.  A Board member was pleased that the leaflet on special verges would be refreshed and asked whether verge maintenance had been affected by austerity measures.   The Senior Manager advised that some verge maintenance budgets had been reduced and the Council’s priority was to focus on road safety.  The Chair asked that the refreshed approach included liaison with local communities and members on areas to be maintained.


The Senior Manager was thanked for his very informative presentation. 



Cumbria Transport and Infrastructure Plan pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed).



Members received a report and presentation from the Places and Enterprise Manager to allow consideration of the purpose and scope of the new Cumbria Transport Infrastructure Plan. Members noted that the plan was ongoing and would be subject to public consultation in February 2021.


The officer informed members that the Council and Cumbria LEP would be working together to develop the new Plan for Cumbria and it was envisaged that it would take up to 18 months to develop.  The development of the Plan would be overseen by the Cumbria Transport and Infrastructure Strategy Group, chaired by the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Highways, Cllr Keith Little and formed part of the Cumbria LEP’s governance.  Members noted that the Plan’s three initial objectives had been defined and were outlined in the report. 


A discussion took place around de-carbonisation, the Government’s objectives, timescales and intentions for this and charging points in the county for electric vehicles.  Members were informed that Cumbria was working towards being zero net carbon by 2037. 


A Board member expressed disappointment that a second crossing to Walney Island was not included as one of the strategic road and rail priorities.  The Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure informed members that the list was not static and other schemes could be worked through and progressed as a priority.  The Places and Enterprise Manager informed members that the schemes listed in the report had strong rationalisation to support towns’ economic growth.  A member queried the Council’s response as a consultee to the planning applications on Walney Island.  The Chair advised members that issues like this were being considered at the Board’s Task and Finish Group on securing infrastructure to support new development. 


The Chair asked officers to give consideration to the impact of Covid-19 and the expectation of where people would live and work putting strain on local infrastructures


The officers were thanked for their report.



Environmental Financial and Waste Impacts of Plastic Roads Piloting pdf icon PDF 805 KB

To receive a presentation from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed).



Board members received a presentation from the Senior Manager – Highways on the environmental, financial and waste impacts of plastic roads. 


The presentation outlined the problem with plastic, its composition, products using waste plastic destined for disposal and the aim of the Live Labs Project, a project designed to investigate the sustainability and suitability of developing a surfacing operation that utilises waste plastic as an additive in bituminous asphalt to provide a stronger, longer lasting and more resilient road network whilst conveying a local waste for local roads ethos.  Cumbria was an authority that was trialling plastic roads in conjunction with the Department for Transport (DfT).


To conclude, the officer outlined progress and next steps to be taken.  The vision was for the UK to be at the forefront of the use of local waste plastic to replace bitumen making roads more sustainable across the globe.


Members discussed the maintenance of these roads and sought assurances on the health and safety aspect of them but mainly welcomed the initiative. 


The Senior Manager – Highways was thanked for his presentation.



New Highways Asset Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 84 KB

To consider a report by the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed).


Additional documents:


The Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure presented a report which provided an update on the Cumbria Highways Asset Management Strategy that had been approved by Cabinet in July 2020.  The Strategy had been developed to improve the management of the Council’s highways assets and allowed for longer term planning taking into consideration customer needs, local priorities and asset condition whilst making the best use of the available resource.  Members noted the Strategy set out how the Council would deliver a Highways Services over the next five years and would drive decisions about investment in the highway network and the direction for future models of service delivery.  The Strategy, together Cumbria Highways Delivery Plan, was appended to the report.


It was highlighted to members that to maximise funding opportunities from the Department of Transport (DfT) the Council would need to continue to demonstrate it was following good asset management practice, efficiency measures and continuous improvement across all aspects of the Highway Service.  Members heard that engagement with members through the Highways Improvement Board and through Local Committees would continue throughout the implementation of the Strategy and would in particular seek their input in reviewing service standards and priorities which were contained within the Highways Asset Management Delivery Plan, developed alongside the Highways Asset Management Strategy.


Members discussed issues in their individual areas.  The Senior Manager – Highways agreed to address the electronic signage problem at Kirkstone Pass.  A Board member highlighted flood prevention work at Millom, the sea defence walls at Haverigg and whether Section 19 reports were available to members.  The Senior Manager outlined inspection processes around sea defence walls and coastal roads.  The Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure advised on Section 19 reports, work done in collaboration with the Environment Agency and District Councils and the Council’s Coastal Strategy Plan.  Members reaffirmed the need to be notified of work undertaken in adjacent areas that affected their divisions.  The Chair highlighted the need for corporate memory to be retained.


Members welcomed the additional Government funding for cycle and walk ways but questioned budgetary provision to maintain these.  The officers confirmed that dependent on the route, future maintenance would become the highways authority responsibility and the Government would need to be lobbied for further funding.


Members thanked the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure for the report.




To consider a report by the Executive Director – Corporate, Customer and Community Services (copy enclosed).


This report informs members of new and updated items of significance to the Board (including relevant aspects of the Council’s Forward Plan and Key Decisions).


Additional documents:


A report was received by members on the Board’s current work programme, together with the current Forward Plan of decisions and the Board’s action tracker.


Members were asked to consider the Board’s work programme as set out in Appendix 1 of the report and consider the Forward Plan of Key Decisions 1 December 2020 to 31 January 2021. 


Members discussed items on the forward plan and future items for the Board’s work programme.  It was agreed that a report be brought to the Board on the work of Trading Standards.  The Chair informed members that they would be contacted directly to discuss future items for the Board’s work programme.




(1)  the Board’s current work programme be noted;


(2)  an item on the work of Trading Standards be included on the Board’s work programme;


(3)  the Forward Plan of Key Decisions for 1 October to 30 November 2020 be noted;


(4)  the action tracker at appendix 3 be noted.




To note that the next meeting of the Board will be held on 12 March 2021 at 10.00 am.



It was noted that the next meeting of the Board will be held on12 March 2021 at 10.00 am.