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Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest in accordance with the guidance set out within the inside cover of the agenda.
Questions and Deputations
To consider any questions or deputations in accordance with the Councils Standing Orders.
Cllr K Thomas introduced Louise Whillock, a coordinator of the Lyndon Ward Community Street and Speed Watch Team who made a deputation to the Board. In summary, the deputation highlighted:
· Experiences of conducting Speed Watch over the past 3 years.
· The operational details of how Speed Watch was undertaken in the Lyndon Ward, who participated in those events and the typical locations.
· Residents interaction with Speed Watch volunteers; sometimes positive and encouraging; sometimes less so.
· The challenges around undertaking Speed Watch at the best times and in the correct locations (i.e. to monitor traffic speeds during the shift changes at Jaguar Land Rover).
· Residents could often give recent examples of excessive speeds on their residential roads at night.
· It was not unusual for Speed Watch to record vehicles travelling in excess of 45 mph in a 30 mph zone (the fastest speed recorded being above 60 mph).
· Despite being highly visible, Speed Watch had no apparent effect on vehicle speeds during the times they were undertaken. Drivers did not seem to care and, in some cases, directed abuse towards the Speed Watch volunteers.
· Abuse from some speeding drivers and frustrated local residents towards the Speed Watch volunteers had led to a decline in the enthusiasm for undertaking Speed Watch activities.
That, the contents of the Deputation be noted.
To receive, for approval, the Public Minutes of the last meetings held on 16 and 29 November 2022.
The Chairman invited the Board to receive, for approval, the Minutes of the last two meetings held on 16 November* and 29 November 2022 (*public and private Minutes).
That, the Minutes be agreed as a correct record without discussion or any matters arising.
This report provides an overview of the Council’s Road Safety statutory duty and the range of services and Partnership Working that contribute to reducing the number of road traffic collisions in Solihull.
In attendance: Paul Tovey (Solihull MBC - Head of Highway Management); Ryan Forrester (West Midlands Fire Service – Solihull Station Commander); Peter Allington (West Midlands Fire Service – Road Casualty Reduction Team Lead); and Tracey Vaccarezza (Solihull MBC – Sustainable Travel Officer).
The Board considered a detailed report and presentation which provided an overview of the Council’s Road Safety statutory duty together with the range of services, supported by key Partners, that contributed to reducing the number of road traffic collisions in Solihull.
The report also explained the current strategies, delivered through the Road Safety Partnership, working both at regional and local level. Casualty reduction performance data was also submitted together with the Strategy’s delivery action plan and key priorities.
Prior to the start of the meeting, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) had showcased how they used Virtual Reality headset technology to provide immersive learning videos to support the road safety education agenda.
The Board was invited to review the latest position and make any recommendations to the Partnership and theCabinet Member (Environment & Infrastructure) for the next coming years within the strategy period (2017-2030).
Having considered the report, the Board asked the following questions and made the following observations:
· Cllr J O’Nyons highlighted that the data presented confirmed that road safety had continued to improve in Solihull over the last two decades, and particularly since 2000. Officers were asked how Solihull’s data compared with other local authorities across the region and how successful 20 mph speed limits had been. The Head of Highway Management advised that Solihull performed very well in comparison with the rest of the West Midlands. Solihull currently had the lowest casualty rate in the region, and at one stage, Solihull had the fourth lowest casualty rate in England. Later this year, several post-implementation surveys would be undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness of 20 mph speed limits. Officers highlighted that longer term benefits were evident over time as more schemes were introduced, and drivers became more accustomed to lower speed limits around areas such as schools.
· Cllr A Feeney commented that all wards within Solihull had their own local issues arising from vehicle speeds. Referring to his appointment as a Solihull MBC member representative on the West Midlands Police and Crime Panel, Cllr Feeney drew attention to a request made to the WM Police and Crime Commissioner to bring a future strategic report on all aspects of regional road safety to that Panel with particular input from the Police perspective. Of concern was the perceived lack of consequences to some speeding motorists, particularly those identified through Speed Watch who would only receive an advisory letter. Additionally, the WM Police and Crime Panel had discussed the effectiveness of partnership arrangements between the Police and local authorities to ensure projects such as new safety camera sites were not unduly delayed, and funding streams identified. Reference was also made to the HS2 Road Safety Fund proposed schemes for 2022 to 2024. Cllr Feeney highlighted the three proposed A452 gap ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Each Scrutiny Board in January 2023 will receive a report outlining the budget proposals identified within their respective Portfolios for the period from 2023/24 to 2025/26. Feedback on the budget proposals included within this report will be reported to the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board and Full Cabinet in February 2023.
In attendance: Lauren Beach (Solihull MBC - Finance Manager for Economy & Infrastructure); Andrea Santer (Solihull MBC - Finance Manager for Public Health); Alan Brown (Solihull MBC - Assistant Director – Highways & Environment); and Neeraj Malhotra (Solihull MBC – Deputy Director of Public Health).
The Board considered a detailed report setting out the budget proposals identified for 2023/24 to 2025/26 within the Communities & Leisure; Partnerships & Wellbeing; and Environment & Infrastructure Cabinet Portfolios as recently endorsed by the Budget Strategy Group.
The report outlined a forecasted budget position for those Portfolios, the pressures identified over the period up to 2025/26, together with the actions proposed to mitigate against them. The key pressures highlighted within the report included:
· Leisure Centres income and costs.
· Funding for the Employment and Skills Team.
· Car parking income.
· Strategic Environment Contract (SEC) costs.
Officers reported that the main proposals to mitigate against those pressures included:
· Renegotiation of the Leisure Centres contract.
· Strategic review of future Employment and Skills offer.
· Review of street lighting.
· Review of Communities & Partnerships Division.
The report drew attention to risks relevant to the Portfolio’s budget position including the operation of Leisure Centres; continuity of external funding; cost of trees within the public realm; and new requirements on waste disposal.
Additionally, the report highlighted the forecast funding gaps for the period from 2023/24 to 2025/26, as reported to the Budget Strategy Group and the Members Budget Seminar. A fourth meeting of the Budget Strategy had been scheduled for later this month to consider the updated position following the conclusion of some outstanding matters.
Each individual Scrutiny Board, this month, was now being asked to consider the budget proposals which related to the Cabinet Portfolios within their remit. Included within the report were details pertaining to portfolio-specific considerations insofar as pressures and proposed mitigations; key risks relevant to the budget proposals; and a schedule of fees and charges proposed for 2023/24 for services provided by the above three Cabinet Portfolios.
As a result of the report and supporting appendices, the following questions and observations arose:
· Cllr B Donnelly highlighted any increase in fees and charges for leisure centres may be a false economy and may cost more in the long run due to the perceived longer-term negative effects on health if fees and charges were prohibitive to residents wishing the access physical activity and exercise. Officers were asked if this scenario had been considered and what measures were in place to mitigate against it. The Deputy Director of Public Health confirmed that increases had been considered as sensitively as possible and the concessionary prices were unchanged* [*please refer to post-meeting note below]. A pricing differential remained between Tudor Grange Leisure Centre and North Solihull Sports Centre to take account of differing demographics and levels of deprivation. The Board was also advised that the operating costs for the leisure centres was extremely high and the energy crisis had added further significant budget pressures. Usage and footfall profiles were being actively monitored and the availability of some ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To receive, for information, the latest version of the Boards Work Programme for 2022/23.
The Boards most recent Work Plan was submitted for information.
That, the Board notes its remaining Work Plan for 2022/23, as submitted.