Agenda item

Highways Subgroup Update

·         To accept the recommendations of the Highways Subgroup meeting of the 22 September 2023. (Listed in point 7 of the attached report).

o   Highway Steward

o   Devolved Funding

o   Parish Online


·         An update on the Exmoor Ravine Land Slippage. (B3224 Exford).


B3224 Repairs at Roundwater, ExfordThe vegetation clearance to prepare the site prior to the main works taking place had been successfully completed. This had been carried out under a full road closure for a period of two weeks, in association with Openreach who were also doing work in this area. Devon Streetworks had had a road closure in operation just over the border and this had run concurrently with the work at Roundwater. It was agreed that this was not an ideal situation but there was a very narrow window of opportunity to get these ecological works completed.


A public meeting is due to be held on Wednesday 29 November at the Moorland Hall, to provide more information on the scheme. This will commence at 7.30pm but doors will open at 7pm. Most of the parishes agreed to hold their questions until this event, rather than occupy time at the LCN meeting.


Reactive Works – Due to recent bad weather events and the need for the Highways Team to respond to emergency repairs and patching, the planned maintenance programme had been pushed behind schedule. This included the resurfacing works that were due to take place at Dunkery. Reactive safety works would always take priority, and the team would tackle the planned works once the conditions were favourable and the resources were available.


Timberscombe PC – There had been recent vandalism on highways road signs within the parish. (Signs had been pulled up, defaced or twisted to face the wrong way). These had been attended to and reported to the Police. The Police could not record it and issue a crime number as the property was not the responsibility of the parish council. (The Highways Team asked that Timberscombe pass on the details to them, so that they could report it). It was queried whether other parishes had experienced the same issues, but none had recently.


Winsford PC – There was a query regarding lack of access to Emergency Vehicles during a recent road closure. This can be alleviated via liaison with the appropriate contractor. It was agreed that this would be explored more fully during the public meeting on the 29 November.


Cutcombe PC – Cllr Jon Levenson praised the volunteer Jeremy Davies, who worked on the Exmoor Fingerpost project. Jeremy coordinated the volunteer response and took responsibility for painting and maintaining some of the fingerposts himself. It was requested that a formal thank you was sent to Jeremy from the LCN to thank him for his good work. This was endorsed by the Chair, Cllr Steven Pugsley.


Luxborough PC – Cllr Mark Bolland asked for an update on a recent report to the Bridges Team. It was explained that emergency works often took precedent over items that were deemed less urgent. Kali Martin agreed to follow this up outside the meeting and report back.


Exford PC – Concerns were raised about recent building works in Exford which resulted in scaffolding providing a partial obstruction on the Highway.  The Highways Team stated that all reputable licenced scaffolding companies would be aware of the correct procedures and H&S regulations that needed to be complied with. If there were any future concerns then they should be reported to the Highways Team as a matter of urgency. If the scaffolding was not compliant, then enforcement action would be taken to remove the obstruction and the contractor could be fined. All scaffolding companies should undertake the correct survey prior to the work commencing to ensure highway safety.


Withypool Drainage – It was asked if any further progress had been made on the drainage issues in the parish?  It was reported that the Flood Risk Team (Civil Contingencies) were now taking enforcement action. A legal notice would be served which would escalate matters and the respondent would need to act accordingly.


Winsford PC – Were aware that the bin audit had taken place, but were concerned about who would take responsibility for placing the new bins and clearing around the existing which were covered in foliage? The winter maintenance team would liaise with the Highway warden in each parish and get the bins sited and filled. It was suggested that if any of the parishes needed undergrowth around the bins cleared, they used the Highway Steward.


Winter Maintenance – It was essential that the green routes were adequately gritted to ensure that key routes which served the school buses, commuters and business traffic were safe for highway users. It was also important that the red routes were prioritised to ensure that smaller communities were not isolated during cold spells.


Devolved Funding – Dulverton Town Council had utilised the services of a sub- contractor and had undertaken a survey of the jetting requests. Following on from the submission of his findings, a purchase order has been raised to facilitate the jetting and gully clearing up to an agreed amount. This also includes the disposal of all waste material. It is important that this work is delivered and paid for in this financial year from the devolved revenue account. Given Somerset Council’s financial position there would be no further funding of this kind allocated.


Capital – Money in the Capital pot was earmarked to assist with a Traffic Management scheme in Dulverton High Street, and the installation of a 20mph speed limit in Cutcombe. (Not for a Speed Indicator Device as previously reported). These requests had been made during 2022 and were taking time to deliver due to the required consultation period.


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