SWT Exmoor Area Panel
Thursday, 1st September, 2022 6.30 pm
Venue: The Moorland Hall, Cutcombe
Contact: Sam Murrell
Apologies were received fromJohn Elliott and Patricia Bainbridge (Brompton Ralph PC), Matthew Headley (Brompton Regis), Vivian White (Cutcombe) Mark Bolland (Luxborough), Peter Pilkington (Timberscombe), Fran A’ Brook (Upton), Andrew Bray (Wootton Courtenay), Janette Webber (Exton), SCC Cllr Frances Nicholson, SWT Cllr Dave Mansell, David Peake and Ruth McArthur.
(Minutes of the meeting of the Exmoor Area Panel meeting held on 9 June 2022 were circulated with the agenda).
RESOLVED that the minutes of the Exmoor Area Panel meeting held on 9 June 2022 were confirmed as a correct record.
Matters arising: -
Update on B3224 Landslip Update – Kevin Bridgwater (SCC Structures)
WSP who are the surveyors commissioned to undertake an assessment of the work. The ravine below the level of the road is at least 100ft and a number of methods are being considered to protect the integrity of the highway.
1. Reroute the road Est. cost 1.2million
2. Bridging over/across the gap Est. cost 1 million
3. Rebuilding the Embankment Est. cost 750K
4. Steel Sheet Piling Est cost. 500k-750k
Geotech drilling and coring is taking place. This section of the road has been added to the SCC Highways Emergency Plan, and contingency plans are being drawn up.
It was asked if the WSP report could be made available to Cutcombe and Exford Parish Councils. Action Point – Andrew Turner/ Kevin Bridgwater agreed to email the report to the clerks.
Report back on the Highways Subgroup – draft minutes attached
3.1 Devolved Funding Update Andrew Turner
3.2 Highway Steward Update – Andrew Turner
3.3 Asset Information – Parish Online – Adrian Lee / Andrew Turner
Report back on the Highways Subgroup – draft minutes of the Exmoor Area Highways Subgroup meeting were circulated with the Agenda.
Andrew advised the Panel that SCC has employed Sam Murrell to take on the Brokerage Role. She would be a conduit between the parishes and SCC and would ensure that good relations were maintained, and support is provided to enable the parishes to access services. Sam was currently setting up the Parish Online roll-out, promoting devolved funding applications and communicating with the parishes about the LCN consultation.
· The devolved budget is 20K set aside for Revenue Works and 10K for Capital Projects. So far only one scheme has been submitted from Brompton Regis parish council for a nominal sum of money. Parishes were asked to submit their schemes as soon as possible.
· It was agreed that it was not clear how to submit a request and to whom.
ACTION POINT – Sam Murrell to reissue the guidance about devolved funding to parishes, together with the application form. In the first instance requests to be returned to Sam and then onto the Highways Subgroup Committee for determination. (Application form attached)
· Some of the parishes have been visited by Kate Brown in recent weeks and are awaiting a response on when recognised defects are going to be delivered? On receipt of this information, they will be better placed to submit a devolved funding request.
· The Service Request will be evaluated and costed by the Sub-group panel. This will formulate whether the scheme is put forward for consideration or not. This will ensure that all highway works meet the required quality standard and are delivered consistently.
· It was also pointed out that some of the works could be delivered jointly if parishes wanted to match fund on projects or deliver them using local contractors and thus price very competitively.
· The devolved budget is specifically for discretionary expenditure, and not items that have already been identified as SCC responsibility.
· Salt Bins – follow up as devolved funding request. (As Item 4)
3.2Highway Steward Update
So far, only eight parishes have employed the services of the Highways Steward; were very pleased with his work and had no issues with communicating with him. He was working well alongside some of their parish wardens and had even attended parish meetings by invitation.
The scope of the Highway Steward work has included:-
· Verge maintenance – grass cutting, hedge cutting, general amenity areas, etc.
· General service improvements – Additional grass cutting / strimming, sweeping, litter collection, weed removal, weed control, encroachment of vegetation over footways, removal of fly posting, street name plates cleaning and repair, fence repairs.
· Drainage maintenance - cleaning existing grips and outfalls, localised ditching, hand cleaning gullies/channels, rodding of pipes
· Signs (including reflector posts) - cleaning / painting and minor repairs.
It was stressed that those parishes that had yet to engage should make contact and utilise his services. Routine works should continue to be promoted through the web form shared previously. This ... view the full minutes text for item 50.
SCC Highways - Update from Kevin Bridgwater
Winter Maintenance Programme
Andrew Turner opened the meeting by stating that David Peake sent his apologies as for the first time in 22 years he would not be present to deliver the winter programme. He sent his best wishes and asked to be remembered fondly to the panel.
This year an additional 900miles of road has been added to the existing infrastructure, which is the responsibility of SCC to maintain. On Exmoor there will be no change to the routes, and pre-salting as well as reactive maintenance will be replicated as in previous years.
Winter Equipment - 2 new snow-ploughs have been purchased, and some farmers will be given front ploughs for their own tractors as replacement for end-of-life equipment. If diversion routes need to be gritted can these be reported via the portal as a matter of urgency.
Salt bins – Salt levels are being checked and the parish clerks have been notified about monitoring and returning their winter requirements to the team. During the course of the discussion it was commented that in some places, salt containers would be more suitable than bags to prevent livestock from disrupting the supply. Can salt containers also be placed away from signage on the highway because the signs get bent when the animals lean on them! ACTION POINT - identified as a devolved funding request for 3 new salt bins. An alternative to bags so that livestock can’t get into the contents. 3 locations identified in the meeting – follow up required. (Mike Ellicott is aware of requirements, but wider than just Exford parish).
Hedge-Cutting and Maintenance – Selworthy Parish Council reported that 1 cut a year on hedges in their parish was not sufficient to keep the highway safe for pedestrians. The hedges were at height as the fields were above highway level, and the overhang from overgrowth above 4ft meant that pedestrians were forced into the middle of the road. Dulverton and Porlock also had this problem.
· Currently cut to 4ft in height (and not 6ft as required) as the machinery employed did not have capability to go higher.
· The observation was made that hedge-banks in these parishes have possibly been overlooked in the maintenance programme. ACTION POINT – Can the affected parishes please report the defect via the online portal. If possible with a map clearly identifying the respective hedgerows. It was suggested that Parish Online may be able to assist with this? It would only need to be done once because once the data is gathered it would be added to the cyclical maintenance programme.
· SCC has a safety responsibility but is not in the business of maintaining privately owned verges and hedges.
Following on from the Highways warden meeting the points below were also raised with the Highways Team.
· Cutcombe Drains – (Jeremy Hickman) Outside Shearwells entrance. Advised that following works undertaken by sub-contractors the drains are now blocked with tarmac. ACTION POINT - Kevin Bridgwater will send a Highways team out to investigate.
· Exford Bridge ... view the full minutes text for item 51.
PC Dan Cox presented a set of slides on road safety statistics (attached) and demonstrated the latest speed camera technology in the hall. He also talked about the work of the road safety team in Avon and Somerset. As well as patrolling, monitoring and enforcing speed awareness, the Road Safety Team regularly promote road safety initiatives at public events.
They work closely with other public services such as SCC Highways, Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service, Highways England and event organisations.
Some current initiatives that are being promoted to improve the safety of road users are:
· Encouraging the use of dash-cams for drivers, cyclists and horse-riders.
· Promoting Driving Assessment centres to elderly drivers. This enables older drivers to drive longer. Older drivers are more likely to cause an accident due to age, infirmity and or medication. An assessment can highlight the risks and ensure that they are informed about how to drive safely.
· Trailer maintenance and safety. Towing and ensuring that towed vehicles are fit to be on the road.
It was highlighted that it would be good to have more Community Speed Watch initiatives on Exmoor. These were easy to establish and would be a good way of encouraging drivers to slow down. More information about Community Speed Watch can be found here.
The Road Safety Fund is funded by Avon and Somerset Police to help community programmes prevent injuries caused by road traffic incidents.
The Fund aims to:
· improve road safety in local communities to reduce accidents and casualty figures.
· provide better education and training for children, young people, learners and inexperienced drivers.
· reduce the economic and the personal costs of fatalities and serious injuries.
The fund is open to local community and voluntary organisations in the Avon and Somerset police force area. Please click hereto find out more on the website about the Road Safety Fund.
Dan was thanked for attending and remained to circulate with the Panel after the meeting. He also advised that he was happy to promote road safety at local events and left his contact details.
Avon and Somerset Police Update
It was reported that PCSO Bryan Stevens has now retired and Michelle Haimes is the replacement PCSO on Exmoor. Neighbourhood beat surgeries would continue and the Exmoor Neighbourhood Beat Team newsletter had been shared in advance of the meeting.
The crime statistics for the last quarter were read out at the meeting.
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service
No representative in attendance.
Exmoor National Park Authority
Alex Farris, Conservation Manager was in attendance for the ENPA as Ruth McArthur was on annual leave. He had no items to bring forward to the panel but was available for questions if needed. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Items to be brought forward by parishes
(Deadline for submission of public statements or questions is 4pm on Friday 26 August 2022)
Parish Lengthsman Scheme
All money has been collected and scheme is up to date.
No other items brought forward.
Dates for meetings going forward :-