Agenda and minutes

Environment, Highways and Waste Cabinet Committee - Wednesday, 19th June, 2013 10.00 am

Venue: Darent Room, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Karen Mannering  01622 694367


No. Item


Election of Vice-Chairman

Additional documents:


Mrs P A V Stockell proposed and Mr M J Harrison seconded that Mr M A C Balfour be elected Vice-Chairman.




Declarations of Interests by Members in items on the Agenda

Additional documents:


The following Members declared an interest in Item B2:-


Mr Balfour - as a member of the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Joint Advisory Committee and Management Committee


Mr Harrison - as his son was an English Heritage employee.


Mrs Hohler - as an occupant of a converted oast house and the owner of farm buildings which have been converted in to office units. 


Mrs Stockell – as an occupant of a converted barn.


Mr Wickham - as the owner of traditional farm building.  


Minutes of the meetings held on 23 April 2013 and 23 May 2013 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Additional documents:


(1)       With reference to paragraph 19 of 23 April 2013, Mr Harrison referred to the continued lack of any reference to the Master Plan in the report later on the agenda; and the comments recorded from Mr Bullock, which should be taken into account.  Mr Read stated that this remained the intention, however, the Master Plan was not yet finalised, but he would update Mr Harrison.


(2)       Mr Caller sought clarification on the items that appeared in sections B and D of the agenda.  The paper on KCC’s response to the Lower Thames Crossing consultation was shown in the FED list but was listed under section D of the agenda, while KCC’s submission to the Airports Commission, a similar item also listed on the FED, was in section B.


(3)     Mr Brazier and Mr Austerberry explained that the Forthcoming Executive Decisions list was a projection of items that would be on the list when the Committee met.  Initial thoughts, when the agenda went to print, were that a formal decision would be needed on Item D3, but having sought advice from the Director of Law & Governance, this was not the case.  It was also unlikely that a formal decision would now be taken on Item B4.


(4)     RESOLVED that the Minutes of the meetings held on 23 April and 23 May 2013 are correctly recorded and that they be signed by the Chairman.  


North Farm Link Road (Longfield Road) Improvement, Tunbridge Wells - Decision No.13/00031 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:


(1)     Following the meeting of the Cabinet Committee on 23 April 2013, approval was granted to take the highway improvement scheme through to the next stages of development and authority was given to enter into land and funding agreements. The scheme was shown diagrammatically on a plan attached to the report.  The formal Pinch Point funding offer of £3.5m had been received from the Department of Transport.  The terms and conditions were typical of DfT grant funding and had been accepted on behalf of KCC by the S151 Officer.  KCC had committed to contribute up to £1.5m and Tunbridge Wells had indicated a willingness to underwrite £0.5m, and there were potential opportunities for S106 contributions.


(2)     The Pinch Point funding bid was predicated on an indicative overall scheme cost of £5m, and the next stage would be to produce a detailed cost estimate.  However, the changes to the design were considered neutral in terms of scheme cost.  Initial responses from utility companies who had provided indicative estimates of diversions costs were also consistent with what was previously assumed.  The critical aspect of the scheme cost was not just the physical cost of the works but the costs associated with the buildability aspects and phasing of the works to accommodate utility diversions and to manage traffic.  Longfield Road was heavily congested and it would be a careful balance of getting on with the works quickly and efficiently while seeking to avoid adverse impact upon the businesses and retail parks. 


(3)     The Head of Planning Applications had issued a Screening Opinion that in the view of KCC, as Planning Authority an Environmental Impact Assessment was not required and therefore a planning application was not required for the improvement scheme which was contiguous with the existing Longfield Road.  Some environmental surveys would still be required to ensure that appropriate mitigation measures were taken for any protected species that might be affected by the works and loss of habitat.


(4)     Some small areas of land were formally in unknown ownership.   Those areas were within the overall corridor of the existing adopted public highway.  On that basis, the intent was to publish Notices under S228 of the Highways Act 1980 declaring the areas of land to be adopted public highway.  In addition, 11 land owners were required to dedicate land required for the scheme. They would retain ownership but the land would become public highway on completion of the scheme. Contact had been made with all landowners and meetings had been held on site.


(5)     To address concerns relating to the loss of parking spaces, the scheme design had now been refined to avoid any loss of parking. The scheme had also been amended over the rural section between Knights Park and A21 to avoid the requirement for the dedication of land from a landowner who was unlikely to be supportive at this time because of objections to the A21 Tonbridge – Pembury scheme.


(6)       The requirement for the scheme design to be refined had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Kent Farmsteads Guidance - guidance for landowners, developers and planners to assist in understanding the character of historic farmsteads - Decision No.13/00046 pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:


(1)   Traditional farm buildings were the most numerous type of building in the countryside, contributing to local distinctiveness and sense of place for visitors and local people alike, providing habitats for wildlife and offering a range of uses that benefited local economies and communities.  The Kent Farmsteads Guidance provided landowners, planners and applicants with simple guidance for understanding the key issues to inform sustainable development including conversion, new build and the provision or restoration of habitats.


(2)    The Guidance would help to achieve two of the ambitions in Bold Steps for Kent: ‘To help the Kent economy grow and ‘To put the citizen in control’. It would also help to achieve the aims of the Kent Environment Strategy, particularly Theme 3: Valuing our Natural, Historic and Living Environment, by helping to find sustainable uses for historic farms.


(3)     The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) emphasised the delivery of sustainable development whilst stressing the importance of understanding local character and distinctiveness in determining planning applications, plan-making and decision-taking, as well as local economic and community circumstances; it noted the importance of landscape character assessment in helping to deliver this.


(4)     The Kent Farmsteads Guidance was subdivided into six parts summarised in Appendix 1 to the report. The Guidance aimed to inform and achieve the sustainable development of farmsteads, including their conservation and enhancement. It could also be used by those with an interest in the history and character of the county’s landscape and historic buildings, and the character of individual places. Traditional farmstead groups and their buildings were assets which made a positive contribution to local character.


(5)     It provided a framework for assessing and understanding the character of farmsteads in Kent. It was intended to speed up the planning process for proposals within historic farmsteads and to avoid wasted time and money through the submission of schemes which might be found unsuitable. In line with the NPPF it aimed to facilitate sustainable development, indicating where development might be appropriate whilst retaining and enhancing the character of the environment.


(6)     Initial consultation with stakeholders took place at a workshop in January 2010.  The Guidance documents were extensively redrafted and simplified following the consultation. They were also updated during 2012 to reference the new NPPF. The Guidance was adopted by the Kent Downs AONB Joint Advisory Committee in 2012. Now that the NPPF and Duty to Co-operate were fully in place it was appropriate to bring the Guidance to Cabinet Committee for endorsement.   It was intended to launch the Guidance jointly with Kent Downs AONB at a stakeholder event in late June or early July 2013. A joint press release would be prepared and presentations would be made to key bodies.


(7)       RESOLVED that:- 


(a)    the Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment be recommended to formally endorse the Guidance by Kent County Council, in order to encourage its use by landowners, applicants and planners and to achieve the aim of promoting sustainable development; and


(b)     as KCC was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Variation of Traveller pitch allocations policy for Coldharbour Gypsy & Traveller site, Aylesford - Decision No. 13/00047 pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:


(1)     The report proposed that the allocation of seventeen of the new pitches on the twenty-six pitch new site at Coldharbour should be allocated on a different basis to the standard allocation policy agreed by KCC last year.  Nine families already lived on the site, and would remain living there.  The justification for varying the standard policy was the agreement, from when the new site was first proposed, that the new pitches were primarily to meet local need, coupled with the particular local needs which existed, including from those who had established sites without prior consent, on Green Belt land and other areas of high planning constraint.


(2)   The proposed variation would not prevent any other waiting-list applicants being given reasonable preference for consideration, based on the needs for accommodation which they had. It would, however, give greater priority to those with a local connection.  As with any such cases, care needed to be taken that both the policy variation, and decisions made under it, complied with the various legal duties and requirements placed on one or both of the councils who were promoting the site and the proposed variation.


(3)     The report set out details of the relevant history; consultations; any legal implications of the suggested action; any equalities implications of the suggested action; and options considered and dismissed – including maintaining the status quo.  The Officer Scheme of Delegation was being updated so that it covered decisions on pitch allocations, as well as other matters.


(4)     There was adequate justification, based on the particular planning circumstances within Tonbridge & Malling, and the history of the development of the site, for there to be a variation to the standard pitch allocation policy for the new Coldharbour pitches, and that the variation proposed was the most proportionate option available.


(5)     RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment be recommended to vary the Traveller pitch allocations policy for Coldharbour site, Aylesford as set out in Appendix A to the report.


Kent County Council's submission to the Airports Commission on proposals for providing additional airport capacity in the longer term in line with 'Bold Steps for Aviation' pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Additional documents:


(1)     The report set out an overview of the proposed content of Kent County Council’s submission to the Airports Commission on proposals for providing additional airport capacity in the longer term.  Kent County Council’s submission to the Airports Commission would be considered at Cabinet on 15 July 2013 and submitted to the Airports Commission by 19 July 2013 deadline.  The submission would meet the technical requirements of the Airports Commission’s Guidance Documents and would be in line with the principles of Kent County Council’s discussion document ‘Bold Steps for Aviation’ (May 2012 with revisions July 2012).


(2)     The Airports Commission would report to Government on short and medium term options for how to make the best use of existing airport capacity in an interim report in December 2013. The purpose of the report was to assist in shaping Kent County Council’s submission to the Airports Commission on potential long term options.  The Airports Commission had published two guidance documents for submitting proposals for additional airport; and had released a series of discussion papers and invited comments from stakeholders and interested parties to establish whether there was a need for additional airport capacity; and the nature, scale and timing of that need.  At the same time, the Airports Commission had invited proposals for making the best use of existing airport capacity in the short and medium terms (next five to ten years) by 17 May 2013. Kent County Council responded with a submission that was in line with ‘Bold Steps for Aviation’, and the measures recommended were set out in the report.


(3)     The Airports Commission was currently inviting proposals for providing additional airport capacity in the longer term by 19 July 2013. Submissions needed to follow the technical requirements specified in the two Airports Commission Guidance Documents.  It was proposed that in order to oppose the likely proposals for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary, Kent County Council submit a proposal in line with ‘Bold Steps for Aviation’ for an alternative solution, the details of which were set out in the report.  The Airports Commission was specifically requesting proposals for providing additional airport capacity in the longer term.


(4)     RESOLVED that the proposed content of Kent County Council’s submission to the Airports Commission on proposals for providing additional airport capacity in the longer term, prior to further discussion at Cabinet on 15 July 2013, be supported and recommended to the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment.


Westwood Relief Strategy - widening of Poorhole Lane and associated junction improvements - Decision No.13/00049 pdf icon PDF 34 KB

Additional documents:


(1)     Kent County Council (KCC) and Thanet District Council (TDC) had been working together to improve the local economic condition by developing employment opportunities for Thanet’s residents.  The growth of Westwood Town Centre with the Westwood Cross Retail Development and Canterbury Christ Church University Campus had helped the local economy and created a significant number of jobs for local people.


(2)     The developments, however, had led to severe congestion at peak times during weekdays and Saturdays at the Westwood Roundabout as the intersection point of roads between Ramsgate, Broadstairs and Margate and at the heart of Westwood Town Centre.  As a result, traffic was experiencing severe delays on Westwood Roundabout and the approaching roads,and the local community and businesses had raised considerable concerns about the impact of the severe congestion on their quality of life and business


(3)     KCC and TDC had developed a congestion relief strategy for Westwood and Thanet area and the proposed scheme for the improvement of Poorhole Lane was an important element of Phase 1 of that strategy.  The strategy plan and the scheme for the improvement of Poorhole Lane and associated junctions, shown as an outline design together with land acquisition requirements, on Drg No. A3/KHS/PL/BID/106 Rev0 were attached to the report.


(4)     Following a successful bid to the Department for Transport (DfT) for Local Pinch Point funding, the Transport Secretary had awarded £1.562m towards the overall cost of the scheme.  S106 contributions had been secured for the remainder of the estimated scheme cost of £2.242m.  KCC must proceed rapidly to conclude negotiations with landowners to secure the necessary land and progress the scheme design.  A condition of DfT funding was that the scheme must be completed by 31 March 2015.


(5)     Narrow strips of frontage land needed to be acquired. Discussions with landowners had indicated an in principle willingness to sell the land to KCC by voluntary negotiation.  The very welcome support for the scheme needed to be confirmed by the completion of negotiations on purchase price and the formal transfer of the land to KCC.


(6)     Margate Road and Westwood Road were likely to be key utility corridors and identifying the impacts of the proposed roundabout junctions and any required diversions or protection measures would be important aspects of scheme cost and programme.  Scheme cost, construction procurement and construction period were key factors in affordability and target end date delivery and those aspects would be considered in detail in the coming months as the detailed design was progressed by Amey – the new engineering and transportation term consultant. 


(7)     The approval of Pinch Point funding was a welcome acknowledgement of the efforts being made by KCC and TDC to implement the traffic relief strategy for Westwood.  The funding deadline was challenging and it was therefore important that KCC made urgent progress on securing the land and developing the detailed design.


(8)      RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment be recommended to:-


(a)       approve the scheme for the improvement of Poorhole  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Environment, Highways & Waste Forthcoming Executive Decisions - current entry pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the current entry in the Forthcoming Executive Decisions for Environment, Highways and Waste be noted.


Enterprise & Environment 2012/13 end of year Business Plan outturn monitoring and Directorate Dashboard pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Additional documents:


(1)       The Business Plan outturn monitoring provided highlights of the achievements against Business Plan priorities and actions during the financial year, and the Directorate Dashboard showed progress made against targets set for Key Performance Indicators alongside movements for Activity.


(2)     One of the roles of the Cabinet Committees was to review the performance of the services which come under the remit of the Committee.  The Business Plan monitoring and Directorate Dashboard were provided to assist the Committee in its role in relation to reviewing performance.


(3)     A full monitoring exercise of priorities and actions included in Divisional Business Plans was conducted at the end of the financial year, with the aim of identifying achievements and also where actions were not completed.  A summary report of the findings of the Business Plan outturn monitoring for the Enterprise and Environment Directorate was attached as Appendix 1 to the report.


(4)     The Enterprise and Environment Directorate Dashboard, attached as Appendix 2 to the report, included end of year results for the Key Performance and Activity Indicators included in the 2012/13 Business Plan.  Each Key Performance Indicator is shown with a Red/Amber/Green (RAG) status, based on progress to the Target set.  A Direction of Travel (DOT) was also provided for Key Performance Indicator to show whether performance had improved or not against the previous year result.


(5)     Mr Eddy queried how the rating of Green against the Business Plan Priority for Improving Customer Experience and Satisfaction could be reconciled with the detailed satisfaction results shown in Appendix 2 to the report. Mr Hall responded that the Green reflected the overall position which was generally good, but that there were some specific issues to be addressed within the detail.


(6)     Mrs Hohler requested clarification why the number of schemes reported under the Member Highway Fund was different from information provided at a previous Member briefing. Mr Hall offered to find out the answer and respond in writing following the meeting.


(7)     There was further discussion on the Highway Tracker survey, and Mr Hall offered to provide a more detailed briefing at a later date to those Members who were interested.


(8)     Mr Chittenden asked about the Lorry Watch under the Freight Action Plan. Mr Hall confirmed that the scheme in Leeds and Langley was the only one currently in operation, but that other schemes were being looked at.


(9)     Mr Baldock commented on the on-line Fault reporting tool and stated that although faults were being closed down on this system as completed, he knew of cases where no action had been taken. Mr Hall offered to provide further details on the system and the processes that support it at the same briefing previously offered in relation to the Tracker Survey.


(10)   Mr Harrison commented that the number of apprenticeships in the Enterprise workforce could be higher. Mr Hall responded that numbers were likely to increase as the scheme had been very successful with good outcomes for those apprentices taken on.


(11)    RESOLVED:-


(a)       that a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.


Cabinet Member's and Corporate Director's Update (Oral report)

Additional documents:


(1)       Mr Brazier and Mr Austerberry gave verbal reports on the following issues:-


Mr Brazier


Highways & Transportation – Kent Lane Rental Scheme (KLRS) Update; Annual Resurfacing Programme (Repair & Renewal) 2013/14; Safe and Sensible Street Lighting Initiative; and Drainage


Planning & Environment – Local Pinch Point Fund; Aviation; Rail; and Minerals & Waste IMG


Regeneration – Cyclopark


Mr Austerberry


Consultations on the Local Plan Proposals; National Grid’s proposal to lay a high voltage electricity cable under the sea between Zeebrugge & Richborough; Public Inquiry into the A21 Tonbridge to Pembury dualling; Sandwich Town Tidal Flood Defence Scheme; Household Waste Recycling Centres & Transfer Stations network; Joint Waste Projects; and changes to programme of waste.


(2)     RESOLVED that the updates be noted and copies circulated to Members of the Committee.


Pothole Find & Fix Update pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Additional documents:


(1)       The report provided an update on the progress with the Find and Fix programme, which was tackling the pothole damage caused by the severe winter weather.  Following one of the wettest years and coldest winters recorded, an increase in potholes was inevitable. Highways and Transportation therefore prepared for a pothole blitz by developing an in-house process with the term contractor to run a find and fix programme with support from local sub-contractors.


(2)       The programme of works was ongoing and Enterprise had almost doubled the number of crews out fixing the County’s roads with an additional 30 local sub-contractors dedicated to the Find and Fix programme.  At the time of drafting the report, a total of 1823 find and fix jobs had been ordered and 1041 of those had been completed. It was estimated that more than 20,000 potholes had been fixed across the county since the programme began.


(3)       The number of public enquiries received each week relating to potholes was recorded and was a good county-wide indicator of state of pothole damage. Although pothole enquiry numbers had been high this year, there were 50% fewer than in 2010/11. As well as the Find and Fix work, this year would include another round of resurfacing and surface treatment schemes to further protect the network from future winter damage.  The report included a graph which compared pothole enquiry levels over the last two years, and demonstrated that the Find and Fix programme had been successful.


(4)       It was always the aim to complete a first-time permanent repair, and with so much more work being carried out supervision resource had been increased to help maintain quality control.


(5)       An additional £1.2m of funding was provided and spent on the pothole Find and Fix programme at the end of last financial year.  A further £1.2m had been spent on the programme this financial year against a current total estimated spend for 2013/14 of £3m.


(6)       RESOLVED that the contents of the report, be noted.  


DfT Consultation on options for a new Lower Thames Crossing pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:


(Mr B J Sweetland, Local Member, was in attendance for this item and took part in the debate) 


(1)     On 21 May 2013, the Department for Transport (DfT) launched a consultation on the need for, and options for, a third Lower Thames Crossing. The consultation closed on 16 July 2013.  In arriving at the decision that a new crossing option was required and the three corridor options, the DfT had drawn on a considerable number of studies that had been undertaken over the last few years as well as seeking advice from a Stakeholder Advisory Panel.  KCC had been represented at director level on the Stakeholder Advisory Panel and had fully engaged throughout the early scheme feasibility stage with the prime objective of seeking delivery of the project at the earliest opportunity.  The report summarised the considerable evidence issued as part of the consultation.  The County Council’s Cabinet would be discussing a response to the DfT’s consultation at their meeting on 15 July 2013. 


(2)   The existing Dartford-Thurrock crossing was the only river crossing to the east of London.  It had provided a vital north-south connection since the west tunnel opened in 1963 and was a key link for journeys to and from Europe, within London and the south east and to/from the rest of the UK.  Government was clear that the existing Dartford – Thurrock Crossing was over capacity.   It was also clear that even after the introduction of free-flow tolling in October 2014, traffic volumes and delays would continue to increase both at the crossing and its approaches, and that the cost to the UK economy in terms of reduced productivity and constrained growth would be exacerbated.  Section 2 of the annex to the report set out the evidence supporting the position.


(3)  The DfT had launched a consultation on three potential corridor options with one of the options having a suggested variation.  The three options were set out in Appendix A to the report.  Each option would provide two lanes for traffic in each direction and could be one of three structure types: bridge, immersed tunnel or bored tunnel.  An immersed tunnel involved excavating a trench on the riverbed and dropping a tube structure into it.  A bored tunnel was literally a circular tunnel bored at depth below the riverbed without removing the ground above it.


(4)     An assessment included in the report presented an overview of the benefits and impacts likely to arise from each of the corridor options.     Overall, each option was deemed feasible to build and connect into the existing road network; was likely to offer benefits in excess of the costs; and was likely to deliver the following, albeit to varying extents:


·                Increase traffic levels crossing the lower Thames;

·                Reduce congestion and improve journey times on the existing crossing;

·                Provide large benefits to business users;

·                Increase the population experiencing noise; and,

·                Lead to some relocation of jobs eastwards from London.


The relative merits and disbenefits of each corridor option was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.