Agenda item

Local Highways Improvements

To receive updates from the following officers about local highways improvements:


·       Chris Clark (Head of Local Highways) – Plans for new lines, potholes, and other issues.


·       Andy Thompson (Technician) – The new roundabout, traffic lights and road works around the Spa.


The Area Board received the following updates from the respective officers about local highways improvements:


Chris Clark (Head of Local Highways & Countryside Access) – Plans for new lines, potholes, and other issues.


  • There had been a 400% (4,000 reports) increase in January 2023 for the number of potholes reported across the Highways Network when compared to the previous month, however this had since dropped to 1,000 reports in February 2023.
  • It was outlined that methods of mitigation for potholes had been used such as redeploying Parish Stewards and Masonry Gangs.
  • Through February 2023 control of the numbers of reported potholes has now been regained with repairs now in excess of the numbers reported with teams proactively looking to fill potholes if they find them.
  • The Council has now changed its Highways contract from Ringway to Milestone Infrastructure, who have a positive track record in the Somerset, Oxford and Hampshire local authorities.
  • Changes to pothole service delivery were outlined including planning and the use of static hotboxes to allow greater efficiency.
  • Regarding drainage, funding and capacity had been increased to supporting cleansing through additional jetting capacity, with circa 85,000 gullies to be maintained in Wiltshire.
  • Regarding white lining as the summer was dry, more work was able to be completed and additional money had been allocated.


Following the update, there was time for the following questions and points to be raised:

·       Concern was raised relating to the road leading to Holt, where there had been increased subsidence over a period. It was stated that this was a structural problem due to the foundation of the road having dropped away and that work was being done to consider how to undertake the repair.

·       Common Hill, Steeple Ashton was referenced as having a drainage issue, with it outlined that edge deterioration was a big problem for Wiltshire as a rural county due to use of agricultural equipment and HGVs. Additionally, a programme of verge reinforcement was set to take place with it recommend that this site be referred to the team.


Andy Thompson (Technician) – The new roundabout, traffic lights and road works around the Spa.


·       The roundabout structure for Pathfinder Way (Taylor Wimpey Development) was displayed to those in attendance, with it stated that work had been going for a number of years. This had been due to the pandemic as well as Scottish Southern Electricity struggling to get the jointing and streetlighting completed, as well as failures between Taylor Wimpey and their contractors. The project now has a new manager and there has been improvements and hope for there to be a Stage 3 Safety Audit certificate awarded in April.

·       Roadworks around the Spa roundabout were outlined, with discussed that difficulties had been encountered with BT, who had been working to their programme with delays caused in waiting for BT to complete their costings. Phase 1 is complete; however, it was hoped that Phases 2 and 3 would have been completed at the end of 2022, which did not happen. There is hope that work will start in April/May with work to be completed by November/early December.

·       Information was also provided to those in attendance about the new and old drainage culverts in place.


Following the update, there was time for the following questions and points to be raised. It was noted that answers to the respective questions would be included within the minutes once provided by officers.


·       Discontent was voiced that if finished by November 2023, there would still be a 12-month delay to the original plans. It was therefore questioned why the work was allowed to commence without the Wiltshire Council Planning Department ensure all necessary checks and permissions had been completed. Additionally, it was queried why Local Members and residents had not been informed in a timely manner.


Officer Response: In the case of the Spa Road works, consent in principle was given by the Outline Permission 14-10461-OUT granted on 22nd September 2016 (attached). The phasing plan (10154-PP-01 Rev A) referred to in Conditions 27 and 28 has been updated with a REV D version (also attached) reflecting changes to the highway works in respect of the southern development access (to Phase 2). You will see that the Spa Road works are defined as Phase 3. A full suite of s278 drawings were submitted to the Council, these duly technically approved and a s278 Agreement (AGR 3849/6) completed/sealed on 8th February 2022. Only then was consent given by the Network Management team to enter onto this part of Spa Road to construct the roundabout. In short, all the necessary checks and permissions were completed prior to works commencing. As part of the s278 Agreement a programme was submitted and reviewed. This will have made allowance for utilities works but, as part of our check, we will not have sought direct confirmation from the affected statutory undertakers that the contractors allowance for diversion works were adequate. Furthermore, it is not always the case that submitted s278 drawings will include a composite ‘existing’ services drawing and one showing revisions to apparatus re-routing where required by the affected SUs. In short, addressing this would be normal practice and process for any competent contractor, which we are satisfied CJL Construction is. Uncharted services or, in this case, changes in SU requirements for dealing with in-situ apparatus to those originally planned, are thus normal programme risks.


·       Additionally, it was queried why Local Members and residents had not been informed in a timely manner.


Officer Response: It would not be practical or sensible to inform Members or affected users of the highway about all changes to programme associated with on-going highway works, be these minor or necessarily major. However, it is accepted that some form of notice could have been given earlier in this case due to the level of disruption caused by delay in the current phase of works.


·       A further question was asked as to whether Highways allowed the work to commence, to which it was stated that the issues that had arisen were between the consortium and BT.


Officer Response: Yes, a s278 Agreement was in place so Network Management allowed the Spa Road roundabout works to commence following a detailed check on the temporary traffic management arrangements for each phase of the works.


·       Further displeasure was voiced that residents would have another 8/9 months of disruption to endure.

·       It was questioned who would be paying for the cost that would be caused by disruption and temporary traffic lights, to which clarity was provided that this would be paid for by the developer.

·       It was questioned whether the roundabouts had had a condition imposed that they had to be completed before a certain amount of housing had been built?


Officer Response: Yes, Condition 28 to 14/10461/OUT states that “No more than 350 dwellings hereby permitted shall be occupied until the highway infrastructure identified as Phase 3 on drawing number 10154-PP-01 Rev A has been constructed and completed in accordance with the approved plans”. Note that Phase 3 is the Spa Road RBT works, and Highways would take ‘completion’ to mean due certification under the terms of the s278 Agreement and, by implication, the full opening of the MERR to ‘through’ trafficking between Spa Road and Eastern Way. As such, no more than 350 occupied units on the collective Bloor/DWH homes site to the north until the MERR is open is enforceable by planning condition.


·       A question was asked to whether it could be enforced that no more housing sales could take place before fulfilling the completion of the roundabouts?


Officer Response: No, Condition 28 applies to ‘occupations’. There would be nothing in my view preventing the developer from completing on more ‘sales’. However, if new home owners were unable to occupy then it does seem to me that this would affect the viability of sale completions over the occupations limit.


·       It was questioned whether there would be paths on either side of the Spa roundabout?


Officer Response: There will be footways on all sides of the new roundabout as shown on attached GA plan 10484-100-101E. The footway on the north and east sides of the roundabout will be ‘shared use’ to allow both pedestrians and cyclists to use it, whilst the footway link on the western side to Campion Way will be for pedestrian use only. Following subsequent on-site discussion, this western footway will be constructed as a straight connection between the two crossing points, rather than follow/abut the carriageway edge as shown on this originally approved s278 plan.