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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber Council Offices Market Street Newbury. View directions

Contact: David Lowe / Charlene Myers / Elaine Walker 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 249 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Commission held on 10 December 2013.


The Minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2013 were approved as a true and correct record and signed by the Chairman, subject to the following amendments:

·        Councillor Paul Bryant was present at the meeting and should be noted as such.


Declarations of Interest

To remind Members of the need to record the existence and nature of any Personal, Disclosable Pecuniary or other interests in items on the agenda, in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct.


Councillor Emma Webster declared an interest in Agenda Item 5, but reported that, as her interest was personal and not prejudicial or a disclosable pecuniary interest, she determined to remain to take part in the debate and vote on the matter.


Actions from previous Minutes pdf icon PDF 52 KB

To receive an update on actions following the previous Commission meeting.


The Commission received an update on actions from the previous meeting and made the following comments:

·        Paragraph 2.2 – A response to this action was circulated to the Commission during the meeting.

·        Paragraph 2.3 – The Chairman requested that Members who wished to volunteer to be on the Task Group, make themselves known to their Group Officer.


West Berkshire Forward Plan 15 January 2014 to 31 May 2014 pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Purpose: To advise the Commission of items to be considered by West Berkshire Council from 15 January 2014 to 31 May 2014 and decide whether to review any of the proposed items prior to the meeting indicated in the Plan.


(Councillor Emma Webster declared a personal interest in Agenda item 5 by virtue of the fact that her work colleagues were working on item EX2757. As her interest was personal and not prejudicial, or a disclosable pecuniary interest, she determined to take part in the debate and vote on the matter)

The Commission considered the West Berkshire Forward Plan (Agenda Item 5) for the period covering January to May 2014.

Resolved that the Forward Plan be noted.


Overview and Scrutiny Management Commission Work Programme pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Purpose: To receive new items and agree and prioritise the work programme of the Commission for the remainder of 2013/14.

Additional documents:


The Commission considered its work programme for 2011/12.

The Chairman advised the Commission that recent information had been received in relation to the item on Continuing Health Care. This would be circulated to Members and added to the agenda for the next meeting of the Commission.

Councillor Tony Vickers questioned the focus of item OSMC/12/149, commenting that an holistic view of parking in Newbury town centre had been requested to include resident parking, street parking and car parks. This would not be adequately addressed by Agenda Item 7 on the current agenda. Councillor Webster agreed that a general view of parking arrangements had been agreed, but that it had also been agreed that this would not take place until after existing reviews being undertaken by the Highways department and the Newbury BID.

Councillor Jeff Beck advised the Commission that the Shaw House Task Group was next scheduled to meet in mid-February, and that that this was expected to be the Task Group’s final meeting.

Rachael Wardell advised the Commission that a scrutiny proposal was being developed to consider children’s social work.

A suggestion for a scrutiny review of the Disability Related Expenditure Policy was circulated. Councillor Quentin Webb requested that Councillor Gwen Mason be invited to provide further detail as to why this suggested had been put forward.

Resolved that:

·        Continuing Health Care be added to the next agenda of the Commission;

·        Councillor Mason would provide further information relating to the suggested topic for scrutiny – Disability Related Expenditure Policy.


Item Called-in following an Individual Decision on 28 November 2013 and Executive on 19 December 2013 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

To review the Individual Decision to introduce an on street charging scheme in Newbury and any items called-in by the requisite number of Members following the previous Executive meeting.

Additional documents:


The Commission considered a report concerning the Call in item ID2715 – Parking Review Amendment 15: On-Street Charging (Newbury), which was approved by the Executive Member for Highways on 28 November 2013.

Councillor Keith Woodhams presented the reasons for calling in this item. Councillor Woodhams commented that the reasons for the item being called in had been set out in the report and he was content for the Executive Member and Officer present to address each point.

[18:45: Councillor Jeff Brooks arrived]

Mark Cole (Traffic Services Manger) provided a response to each of the issues raised as follows:

2.1 (1)

The views of local residents, shoppers and traders have been ignored (see the 1,719 signature petition, and responses from the Newbury BID, Newbury Town Council and those of dozens of local residents, shoppers, and business people).


The informal consultation undertaken between 21 January and 1 March 2013 was the period during which the organised petition opposing the on-street charging was submitted. This petition, along with 170 other responses from individuals and representative bodies (FSB, Newbury Town Council, Newbury BID and a petition from post office workers and residents of Goldwell Drive area) were all investigated and given serious consideration following this informal consultation. It was not the case that the views had been ignored and paragraph 3.2 of the July 2013 report (Appendix A to ID 2715) detailed the changes which were made in response to the comments and objections received.

These included retaining the areas in Catherine Road and Link Road for the benefit of parents dropping off children to St Nicholas C of E Junior School and also continuing to provide parking areas for visitors to the various dental and medical surgeries in that area. The 4 hour limited waiting bays on Kings Road West (8 of them) were also retained and these were generally able to provide long-term parking for Post Office shift workers who arrived early, as the restriction commenced from 8am so would enable early morning shift workers to park until midday. Also in Carnegie Road the 1 hour limited waiting was extended to 4 hours thus providing a further 6 spaces for local workers, including postal workers.

The formal consultation which took place between 25 July and 15 August included these amended proposals and as detailed in ID 2715 received considerably fewer objections (only 25). Some of the objections were perhaps prompted by the raised public awareness of parking issues as a result of ‘The Barnet Case’ which was in the national press in the period immediately prior to the formal consultation taking place.

The proposals were however advertised in the normal manner and significant numbers of formal Notices were erected on the affected streets, along with articles in the Newbury Weekly News and so there was no reason to believe that the public were unaware of the proposals. The relatively small number of objections received during the formal consultation therefore perhaps indicated that the general public held no strong views on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.



Purpose: To consider any petitions requiring an Officer response.


There were no petitions to be received at the meeting.


Home to School Transport pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Purpose: To understand the implications for, impact of and alternatives to the Council's home to school transport policy.


Councillor Allen introduced the item which he had proposed following recent changes to the Home to School Transport policy. Councillor Allen had also requested information relating to the Fare Payer scheme and Safer Walking routes.

Caroline Corcoran (Service Manger, Education) presented information about Home to School Transport and Safer Walking routes and made the following points:

·        The Home to School Transport Policy and Fare Payers scheme were separate policies with the Fare Payers scheme aimed at children who did not qualify for home to school transport;

·        Legally it was the parent’s responsibility to ensure their child got to school and statutory guidance existed from which the Council’s policy had been drawn;

·        It was not a statutory requirement to provide home to school transport for children under 5 years or those in higher education;

·        The new document was intended to simplify the policy and set out clearly when funded transport could be accessed;

·        Safer Walking routes were considered to be safe in the company of a responsible adult and were not intended for children to navigate alone;

·        The Fare Payers scheme had been used to make best use of the space available on buses, however more spaces were being made available for fare payers resulting in the transport costs not being value for money. The review into this scheme therefore sought to redress the balance;

·        Although approximately 70 pupils from Trinity Academy were affected by the changes to the Fare Payer scheme, all lived within the three mile radius set in statute, within which it was considered acceptable for them to walk;

·        Safer Walking routes were assessed if it became apparent that people believed them to be unsafe. The assessment included walking the route with a variety of stakeholders, and consideration being given to practical uses such as pushing a buggy. The views of the Highways Team were also taken into consideration;

·         All routes were currently being assessed to consider any changes to infrastructure, new housing developments, etc;

Councillor Woodhams asked about the suitability of the route from Tull Way as he understood that it was not considered safe but no action had been taken. Caroline Corcoran explained that the route had been assessed in Summer 2013, and that the Road Safety Team considered the route to be safe. Councillor Woodhams asked for a report on this matter.

The Chairman voiced his concern that an assessment appeared to have been delayed, and suggested that Councillor Woodhams ask to join the assessment team on their walk when they next went.

Councillor Webster thanked Caroline Corcoran for the work undertaken, advising that ten years ago she had received numerous letters about home to school transport, but that she had not received one in recent years.

Councillor Jeff Beck said that he had been advised recently by the Highways Team that the term ‘safer walking routes’ was no longer in use. The Chairman requested that Caroline Corcoran provide assurance that the term was fully understood across service areas.

Councillor Allen thanked Caroline Corcoran for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


Performance report for level one indicators pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Purpose: To monitor the performance levels across the Council and to consider, where appropriate, any remedial action.

Additional documents:


The Commission considered the Council’s performance report for quarter two. Jason Teal (Performance, Research and Consultation Manager) introduced the report explaining that the information related to July to September 2013 and included some amendments that had been requested following the quarter one report. Jason Teal commented that of 48 measures, 30 were reported as green – i.e. on track, 7 were amber – i.e. at risk of not being achieved by year end, and 11 were not yet reported as they were annual measures.

The Chairman commented that the new presentation format helped to make the information clearer.

Councillor Simpson asked how the average house price was calculated. Jason Teal replied that this information came from Land Registry records and was therefore an average of house prices at completion.

The Chairman, noting that there had been a significant increase in the number of freedom of information requests, asked whether this was causing difficulties. David Lowe responded that there had been year on year increases since 2005 when the process was introduced. This trend was not expected to reverse and it had been necessary to employ a second member of staff to assist. The Chairman asked where the requests mainly came from. David Lowe replied that many were from the press or from students undertaking research. There were also a number of requests from dissatisfied residents. Councillor Webb asked whether records were maintained of requests that were not completed due to the time or cost involved, and if so, could this information be circulated. David Lowe confirmed that it was recorded and could be provided.

Councillor Simpson asked why access to the internet had reduced by 25% despite a rising internet using population. Jason Teal agreed to provide this information.


·        David Lowe would provide information about the number of freedom of information requests not completed due to time or cost constraints;

·        Jason Teal would provide the reason for the reduction in visits to the Council’s website.


Councillor Call for Action

Purpose: To consider any items proposed for a Councillor Call for Action.


There were no Councillor Calls for Action.