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Decision details

***RoD:Minor Highways Improvement Programme 2022/ 23

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Infrastructure

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

To approve the allocation of Minor Highways Improvement budget to the 2022/ 23 programme of Local Highways Improvements (LHIs) prioritised by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Decision:

Matter for Decision: To approve the allocation of Minor Highways Improvement budget to the 2022/ 23 programme of Local Highways Improvements (LHIs) prioritised by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Why the Decision had to be made (and any alternative options): In previous years City Councillor representatives have participated in the assessment and prioritisation of the County Council’s LHI scheme programme.  However, this did not take place this year with the Council consequently having no oversight of the programme prioritised and for which its funding contributions are sought.  The County’s prioritised list, including the City Council contributions needed, are identified in the spreadsheet shown at the link below.

https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ecSDDisplayClassic.aspx?NAME=SD1627&ID=1627&RPID=77239467&sch=doc&cat=13458&path=13020%2c13021%2c13458%2c13458

This item is to ensure appropriate scrutiny by this Council.  The County Council are progressing the scheme programme they prioritised earlier this year and require an urgent decision in order to deliver during 2022/ 23.

The Executive Councillor’s decision: Approved the allocation of Minor Highways Improvement budget to the 2022/ 23 programme of Local Highways Improvements (LHIs) prioritised by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Reason for the decision: As above.

Scrutiny Consideration: The Chair and Spokesperson of Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee were consulted prior to the action being authorised.

Report: The attached County Council spreadsheet (LHI Panel Scores 2022-23) identifies the prioritised programme of schemes to be developed subject to budget availability, the outcome of local consultation, and processes and approvals needed.

Conflict of interest: [None].

Comments: The City Council had again this year approved a budget of up to £30,000 towards the County Council’s LHI scheme programme.  There are additional re-phased funds from previous years, subject to the final costs of schemes still being delivered.  Capital budgets are currently under review as part of the Council’s Mid Term Financial Strategy (Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee - October 2022).  Subject to approval, funding contributions will be made to individual schemes as prioritised, developed and implemented in accordance with budget availability.

The Green and Independent Opposition Spokes Councillor queried Councillor involvement in the Minor Highways Improvement Programme. The Executive Councillor confirmed that there was a cross boundary Cambridge City Joint Area Committee (CJAC) that had powers to decide on Local Highways Initiatives, and other issues.  The County Council disbanded this Committee about three years ago.  The City Council were working with the County Council to involve City Councillors in this process going forward.

The Chair of the Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee stated that he thought the panel had scored the submitted LHI applications against four criteria. Thirteen schemes, (shown above the feint dotted line on the spread sheet) were to be developed and approved (subject to funding) as these schemes received the highest scores and require, on a cumulative basis, the County Council's budget allocation of £150k.It would be helpful to make clear whether the City Council's £30k contribution is required in part or in full and how it will be allocated. 

The Public Realm Engineering & Project Delivery Team Leader advised that the City Council contribute up to £30k/ annum to Cambridgeshire County Council’s managed programme in order for the top prioritised schemes to proceed.  In previous years there had been member involvement in this prioritisation, but that had not occurred this year regrettably.  Further, County had not required the City Council’s full contribution since their funding cut-line has been reached before the City Council, who had been able to roll the balance forward through annual capital re-phasing.  This year, and primarily due to one high value scheme requiring a large contribution, the City Council’s annual funding ceiling would likely be reached before County’

The Public Realm Engineering & Project Delivery Team Leader confirmed they were awaiting the outcome of the current capital finance review and MTFS decision in October to understand quite where the City Council’s ceiling may come this year.  One caveat that the County were keen to safeguard is that the schemes were not necessarily delivered in the strict order of priority, instead they commenced with development of all schemes above the cut line each year, with some being inevitably more straightforward and quicker to implement than others.

No comments were received from the Liberal Democratic Opposition Spokes on this matter.

 

Publication date: 22/09/2022

Date of decision: 22/09/2022