[Electoral Divisions: All Carlisle]
To consider a report by the Acting Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure (copy enclosed).
This report presents the Highways Revenue, Devolved Capital and Non-Devolved Capital budget finance reports, combined with the highways programme progress information, as detailed in the attached appendices.
The Committee considered a report by the Acting Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which detailed the Highways Revenue, Devolved Capital and Non-Devolved Capital budget finance reports, combined with the highways programme progress information (referred to in the appendices attached to the report).
Members were informed that the Highways Revenue budget was forecasting an overspend of £25,471. It was explained this was for verge maintenance to allow additional resources to be used to improve the ability to manage weeds and allow for more than the annual spray in some areas. It was highlighted to members that the value shown was a high estimate but it was not clear at this stage where the savings to offset the cost could be met from.
The Local Committee drew attention to the additional money which had previously been allocated to the Highways Revenue budget for weed spraying and queried why this was now predicting an overspend due to additional treatment of the weeds. Members were informed the overspend was for manual labour, highlighting the estimate was high but anticipated this would actually be less than predicting.
During the course of discussion attention was drawn to the number of weeds growing outside the Citadel buildings, highlighting this was the main entrance to the City. It was suggested that the Highways Network Manager contact the Authority’s Property Unit to ascertain who was responsible for their removal.
A suggestion was made to contact representatives of the ‘Give a Day’ scheme with a view to them assisting with the removal of weeds and detritus. Whilst the Highways Network Manager welcomed this approach he highlighted the challenges regarding health and safety and indemnity issues for the Authority.
The Highways Network Manager asked that any issues regarding weeds throughout the Carlisle area be brought direct to his attention.
The local Member for Dalston and Burgh raised concerns regarding the increase in the estimated costs for the addition of the junction at the post office in Dalston village on the B52999 and queried whether costs would be met through a Section 278 Agreement. The Highways Network Manager confirmed the scheme was for resurfacing and that any junction improvements would be met from a Section 278 Agreement.
The local Member for Botcherby raised his concerns regarding drainage maintenance; highlighting the effects the non removal of detritus had on the system. He questioned whether Carlisle City Council officers followed the weed spraying team to remove the detritus. The Highways Network Manager confirmed that the City Council were aware of the weed spraying schedule and they had made a commitment to remove the detritus.
The local Member then highlighted the damage to the drainage system which had occurred due to flooding, suggesting underlying problems still remained. The Highways Network Manager confirmed that the Authority had an agreed Policy to routinely cleanse drains and they were undertaking this. It was highlighted that parts of the City which had been badly affected by flooding had received an extra cleanse. He confirmed there was a two years cleansing programme and this would include all areas in Carlisle. Members were informed that United Utilities owned the infrastructure and were also responsible for drainage maintenance; highlighting that they had reduced regular maintenance. The Local Committee felt this was a serious issue and it was suggested that the appropriate Scrutiny Advisory Board investigate this matter further.
Members drew attention to a schedule of drainage maintenance schemes undertaken by the County Council. It was agreed that the Highways Network Manager would provide information on specific divisions direct to the local member on their request.
The Highways Network Manager encouraged all members to report any drainage issues through the Highways Hotline in the first instance.
RESOLVED, that the following be noted:-
(1) the revenue and capital budget allocations for 2019/20 and the commitments and expenditure (detailed in Appendices 1, 2 and 3 of the report);
(2) the programme progress information (shown in Appendices 1, 2 and 3 of the report);
(3) the Highways Revenue budget has been split for use against various budget headings.