Agenda and minutes
Joint Transportation Board
Tuesday 5 June 2018 7.00 pm
Venue: Room B12, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR
Contact: Email: email@example.com
Apologies for Absence.
Apologies for absence were received from KCC Councillors Mrs P Cole and Mr J A Kite MBE and from DBC Councillors E J Lampkin (Sub. Cllr. Armitt), Mrs D Page (Sub. Cllr. Hawkes) and R J Wells (Sub. Cllr. Lloyd).
The Chairman welcomed Board Members together with KCC and Council Officers, and thanked Mr Chris Vinson from Southeastern Railways for his attendance and agreement to respond to questions tabled by Members and residents. She also noted the presence of representatives from several resident interests group who would be addressing the Board with her permission.
Members were advised of a change to the order of business as published in the agenda: Item 12 – Road Works in the Borough of Dartford – would be taken as the first substantive item to enable the spokesperson for the interest group to address Members and then leave the meeting if they so wished.
The Chairman also confirmed that all Members and Substitutes had received copies of the additional material circulated by the Committee Clerk subsequent to the publication of the Agenda in respect of Items 8 and 12.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any).
There were no declarations of interest.
That the Minutes of the Joint Transportation Board held on 6 March 2018 be confirmed as accurate.
The Chairman will announce her decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.
The Chairman confirmed that there were no urgent items for the Board to consider.
This report advises Members on the progress of matters arising at previous meetings of the Board.
The Board received a report and Appendix on issues that were outstanding from previous meetings and received further information on the following matters:
Heather Lane Speed Restrictions [Appendix A – Action 12]
KCC and Dartford Members expressed their continued concerns over Kent Highways proposals to address this major local traffic issue. The installation of speed bumps and increased signage, were deemed insufficient measures to address the continued high levels of HGV traffic using Heath Lane and the surrounding areas as ‘rat-runs’ and the attendant speeding issues and safety concerns associated with the ‘blind’ corner at Heather Drive. It was agreed that a Working Group would be formed by Board Members and [other] Ward Councillors to take matters forward with the relevant KCC Officers to obtain an improved outcome for residents. The Chairman agreed to examine the possibility of a contribution from the Members’ Fund to facilitate the proposal.
References from other Committees (if any)
There were no references from other Committees for the Board to consider.
A verbal update will be provided, at the Chairman’s request, on the following items: -
The Chairman confirmed that she had no other matters to bring to Members’ attention.
Members will be advised of the roadworks which have been, or are currently being undertaken, or expected to be undertaken, within the Borough.
This item was brought forward in the published order of agenda business to enable attending residents and interest groups to address Members at the earliest opportunity, with their continued concerns over KCC’s proposed improvement works for Powder Mill Lane, Dartford.
Darenth Road/Powder Mill Lane [Agenda Item 12, Appendix E - ref. DA 3032]
The Chairman invited the Manager of the Springfield Lodge Nursery situated in Powder Mill Lane to address Members on behalf of parents, children and her staff, over the adequacy of proposed KCC works to address continuing heavy traffic and attendant safety issues in Powder Mill Lane and the junction with Darenth Road: concerns first raised in 2017 via a joint staff/parent petition, addressed to both the Borough and County authorities. The Nursery Manager spoke to an agreed Note which had been distributed to Members prior to the meeting commencing.
Members were advised that in response to the 2017 petition, KCC had undertaken a traffic and site survey which proposed that a weight limit be imposed on the bridge in Powder Mill Lane, together with traffic calming measures, improved street lighting and the implementation of a pedestrian footpath in the Lane. However, despite the measures proposed by KCC, parents and nursery staff continued to have concerns over both the speed and volume of traffic currently using the Lane and the attendant safety issues it posed for children, parents and nursery staff. Detail:-
· The proposal to impose a 7.5 ton weight limit for traffic using the bridge in Powder Mill Lane would still allow lighter HGVs, buses and emergency services vehicles continued access to the Lane, the small industrial units fronting the Lane, and from the junction with Darenth Road, together with access to the nearby Questor industrial estate;
· The works to implement traffic calming measures, install street lighting and implement a pedestrian footpath provision in the Lane were welcomed, but remained outstanding.
The Nursery Manager made the following further key points in her address to Members:
· HGV usage had increased in the Lane since the KCC traffic survey in 2017 following the development of the surrounding area including a new section of road;
· Large HGVs were travelling past the Nursery at high speed on a single track road and manoeuvring on a regular basis adjacent to where nursery children play and walk, with a section of wall being demolished by an HGV in 2017 [pictures provided in speaking note];
· There was currently no provision for pedestrians in the Lane, children attending nursery, parents and staff were obliged to walk in the road;
· There was no lighting provision outside the Nursery which enhanced the element of danger for pedestrians, particularly in the darker winter months.
The Chairman thanked the Nursery Manager for her comments and expressed her sympathy with the concerns of local residents. She had visited the Nursery and was aware that Powder Mill Lane was an acknowledged ‘rat-run’ for HGV and other lighter industrial traffic accessing the Questor industrial estate. She was also aware that Satnav users ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
South Eastern Railways: Update on new National Timetable
To receive a verbal update [including Q&A] from Mr Chris Vinson, Senior External Communications Manager, Southeastern Railways.
The Board received a presentation from Mr Chris Vinson, Senior External Communications Manager, South Eastern Railways (Southeastern) at the company’s request, which advised Members of the impact on Southeastern’s services to Dartford and the surrounding railway stations, following implementation of the new National Railways Timetable in May 2018.
He reminded Members of a number of improvements/achievements made by Southeastern to their Dartford service in the months prior to the new National Timetable being implemented:
· Southeastern services to Dartford and Kent had been updated in October 2017;
· Southeastern had maintained a good Dartford service during the severe adverse weather and localised flooding experienced in March 2018;
· Capacity for the Dartford service had been increased with the re-deployment of an extra 68 carriages from Maidstone East;
· London Bridge station had been re-opened in January 2018 following a full renovation;
· Wi-Fi access had been rolled out over the majority of the Southeastern fleet and a deep-clean programme of the rolling-stock was due to commence in the coming weeks;
· Punctuality of Southeastern trains was up 4% on the previous year with 70% of Southeastern services running on time prior to May 2018;
· Networking problems accounted for two thirds of the 30% of delayed Southeastern services, and the company continued to work with Network Rail on a joint team basis to address outstanding issues.
However, imposition of the new National Rail Timetable on 20 May 2018 for all rail companies by Network Rail under the overall direction of the Department of Transport, had impacted adversely on Southeastern’s service to Dartford. The new National Timetable (NT) represented a major change to the entire national rail infrastructure, and had required Southeastern to change its existing timetable to fit into the new NT, including the accommodation of Thameslink trains on routes previously serviced by Southeastern rolling stock.
The Chairman invited the Shadow Leader of the Council (attending as a Substitute) to pose some general questions to Mr Vinson gave the following responses:
· Tendering for Southeastern’s current franchise was due to begin in September 2018 and end in April 2019. Principal contenders included Govia/Thameslink and Stagecoach, Southeastern would decide in November 2018 whether to compete for the new franchise;
· Issues with Oyster machines at Dartford station [raised previously at JTB] had been successfully resolved in December 2017;
· Capacity for the Hi-speed Ebbsfleet service had been increased by 12% with the addition of an extra 29 carriages, in addition trains were turned at Ashford during peak-periods to provide an extra 6-12 cars on average for London bound passengers;
· Southeastern’s non Hi-speed service had been bolstered by the addition of the rolling stock replaced on the Dartford routes by Thameslink trains under the new NT resulting in an improved Southeastern service to Bexleyheath and a quicker service to Gravesend.
The Vice-Chairman expressed his concerns over the rush-hour service now provided by Thameslink under the new NT for services formerly provided by Southeastern. Dartford commuters could no longer travel direct to London on the new Thameslink services but had to change at ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
To receive the attached KCC Update report and attachments and to be briefed by attending KCC Officers.
The Board received a comprehensive Fastrack Update report from Dan Bruce, Policy, Infrastructure and Community Team Leader, KCC Public Transport.
Phil Lightowler, KCC Head of Public Transport made the following points of clarification in relation to the report and individual elements of the Fastrack operation:
· TfL Service 96: only the 96 service was allowed on Fastrack no other TfL services. Previous issues concerning Park Road had been resolved via a route change;
· Service Reliability and Punctuality: KCC continued to issue Notices to Arriva concerning these issues. It was hoped the new Timetable would improve matters;
· Ingress Park – Tiltman Avenue – Manor Way Link: Arriva would have to provide an extra vehicle for this service and a timetable proposal from the company remained outstanding. A meeting of all parties was proposed for 13 June;
· Operating Contract for Fastrack B: the development of Eastern Quarry due for completion by September 2018 would be a tender issue in the letting of a new Operating Contract for Fastrack B. A new interim contract model was now proposed covering the period June 2019 to June 20121 after which matters would be re-evaluated;
· Electric Bus Trial: the trial had been a great success with only 2 reliability issues attributed to (i) a computer failure [new to Volvo] and (ii) a failure to charge the bus overnight following which it was noted that there were only 2 charging points on the Fastrack network;
· Fastrack Advisory Board: The Board’s KCC/DBC/GBC compliment had been agreed, but diary synchronization for a full Board meeting was proving problematical given other long-standing diary commitments – Dan Bruce was actively pursuing;
· Future Fastrack Contacts at KCC: a new Project Engineer and permanent Project Officer had been added to KCC’s Fastrack team and would be attending JTB in the future to update Members’ and address any concerns;
· Rural Bus Service: KCC would be undertaking a consultation process with Kent Districts in the coming weeks with the aim of improving the current service not reducing it. A joint Dartford/Gravesham presentation was proposed on a date and venue to be agreed.
The Chairman thanked the Head of Public Transport for the Fastrack Update report and his additional comments. She advised Members that she had written to KCC regarding their Rural Bus Service Consultation presentation in Dartford with venue suggestions including; Princes Park, Dartford Grammar School, Masonic Hall or a local church.
The Vice-Chairman expressed his satisfaction over the progress made in linking Ingress Park to Fastrack including the provision of an extra vehicle by Arriva, and the success of the Electric Bus Trial.
Councillor Julie Ozog (DBC) made particular reference to the fact that Fastrack services now stopped at Darenth Valley Hospital a really positive and useful addition to the timetable
Update: Dartford Crossing - Local Network Mitigations
To receive a verbal update from the Council’s Infrastructure Delivery Officer.
The Board received a verbal update from Tania Smith, the Council’s Infrastructure Delivery Officer (IDO) from Planning Services.
Members were advised that the measures detailed below had the primary aim of reducing local congestion in Dartford and the surrounding areas, which arose primarily as a result of the Dartford Crossing operating over capacity and in particular, when there was congestion or incidents at the Dartford Tunnel or the QEII Bridge. Detail:-
· Red light camera enforcement was now being undertaken;
· Improved signalling;
· A variety of yellow- box enforcement measurements were now being implemented;
· Journey time sensors were now in operation to enable real time traffic signals to be displayed to motorists;
· The number of incidents involving over-height lorries using the Dartford Crossing had been reduced through effective communication with freight hauliers;
· A budget of £10m had been allocated for works currently being undertaken at Junction 2, including widening measures to allow more queuing space and west slip access from A2 to M25 south, with an elongated left hand turn;
· Junction 1 A – various meetings with Highways England (HE) and KCC to identify short term solutions to enable better traffic flow across the junction East to West and West to East;
· The consultant was continuing to test various proposals individually and together, but the lead option appeared to be increasing the number of lanes crossing the Bridge from East to West to allow better queuing onto the slip road to the Tunnel, subject to further technical assessments regarding Bridge stability. Highways England (HE) hoped to bring a final proposal to the JTB soon;
· An Interim Study (of works prior to the Lower Thames Crossing coming into operation) had also been commissioned by Highways England, with all stakeholders, including Dartford, Thurrock and KCC as the principal local authorities. A stakeholder meeting had been held in June with another scheduled for July. Local authority co-operation had been much improved with problems being outlined in detail and solutions suggested. Consultants had identified 30 options for serious consideration and inclusion in an enhanced business case to the Minister, including options for Junction 1A.
The IDO advised of three distinct areas of work to be taken forward with local partners:
· A joint DBC/KCC evidence-based study re existing traffic congestion problems;
· Achieve a better understanding of HE and KCC data in relation to the Dartford Crossing for use in planning applications to secure developer funding;
· How best to impact issues at the Dartford Crossing to minimise the mitigating effects for the Dartford traffic environment.
In response to specific questions from Members, the IDO confirmed the following points:
· Blocking the slip roads on the Blue Star roundabout on the A225 to Tunnel traffic was being considered, especially given the Satnav advice to use the roundabout when the Tunnel was blocked or had significant tailbacks;
· The MP had written to the Minister asking for local powers to enforce fines for Yellow Box contraventions at Junction 1A and if approved by the Minister, collection of fines could be progressed by ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
Members Enquiry Items
Members have the opportunity to raise the following: -
· Questions in relation to capital and revenue funded works programmes
· Suggestions for future traffic regulation orders or street management proposals
· Questions on policies, plans and strategies related to highways, road traffic and public transport.
· Suggestion of a future agenda item (subject to the Chairman’s approval)
Councillor Richard Lees (DBC Parishes Representative) via Chairman: KCC policy and funding of Pothole Repairs for Dartford
In the absence of Cllr. Lees, the Chairman sought clarification from KCC Officers on the County authority’s policy on the repair of potholes, with regard to Dartford, following recent reports in the local press that far fewer potholes were repaired in the Borough in comparison to other Kent Districts.
Denise Sutton, Dartford District Manager (KCC) advised Members that the recent press article concerning pothole repairs in Dartford was in-accurate regarding the number of repairs undertaken to date and did not reflect the totality of the work being undertaken by KCC to address the issue. She made the following key points:
· 150 pothole repairs had been undertaken in Dartford since 1 April 2018 following receipt of additional Government funding;
· 85 patch repairs (larger areas of several adjacent potholes) in the same time-frame;
· KCC was developing a policy of larger patch repairing to better protect the over-all [highways] asset;
· Recent heavy flooding had impacted adversely on repairs undertaken to date;
· Dartford had the smallest budget for repairs in Kent, but unfortunately the most high-speed roads in the County. This fact dictated that repairs had to be undertaken over-night with the attendant cost-impact;
· An approximate KCC spend break-down on Dartford in the current FY to date was: £130K capital expenditure, £54K to 30 June 2018 on repairs [£10K remaining] plus some £46K from revenues, giving an average monthly budget of £15K for repairs. She undertook to have the exact data figures passed to the Committee Clerk for distribution to the Parishes.
The Shadow Leader (attending as a Substitute) expressed the view that the KCC data reflected real cuts to Dartford’s KCC repairs budget and that Members should consider lobbying the KCC Cabinet Portfolio Holder for increased funding for the Borough.
The Dartford District Manager made the following further points in response:
· KCC’s pothole repair strategy for Dartford differed from that deployed in other Kent Districts and concentrated on larger patch repairing on a square metre basis, rather than individual pothole numbers. This larger patch strategy had enabled 42 individual potholes to be repaired in Joydens Wood recently and lowered traffic management costs;
· Recent repairs to Junction 1A of the M25 had been taken overnight under ‘high-speed’ rules
· KCC had 3 budget pots [as detailed above] with which to finance repairs in Dartford up to 30 June 2018 with funds remaining. The recent local press article had only referred to 1 small budget pot and was not therefore reflective of all the funds available, nor had it detailed all the pothole repair work undertaken in the period under review;
· Her Dartford dedicated repair team was small [4 personnel] but additional KCC resources and finance had been made available to undertake a ‘blitz’ of pothole repair work in the Borough. However, the KCC budget for Dartford was smaller than that allocated to larger District authorities within Kent. If Members and residents felt strongly over the adequacy of pothole ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
The following documents has been attached for Members information: -
§ Environment, Highways and Waste Cabinet Committee – Unconfirmed (Draft) Minutes of the meetings held on 31 January and 20 March 2018.
NB: If a Member wishes to discuss any of these items at the meeting, please advise David Hook, Democratic Services DBC (01322) 343276 firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting.
The Board noted the Minutes of the KCC Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee meetings held on 31 January 2018 and 20 March 2018 as presented in the Agenda papers [pages 35-59 refer].