Agenda item

Q&A Session

Those in attendance will have the opportunity to partake in a Q&A session coordinated by the Area Board Chairman.


A question-and-answer session took place coordinated by the Area Board Chairman. Questions raised included:


Question – Resident: It has been noticed that in Rowde, the use of micro surface on roads is not fit for purpose with potholes returning time and time again. Other examples include Avon Road, Salisbury St and Beauclerc St. Why is the Council still using this?


Response: Micro surface is well recognised across the industry, however, there have been challenges faced with the amount of wetness retained in the surface. Interim repairs have taken place using a range of methods with additional repairs allowing things to be done differently. The specific locations would be checked by the Highways Team.


Question – Resident: Is there a good reason that the road safety standard is worsening?


Response: Overall, the road safety standard across Wiltshire is not getting worse. Currently work is being undertaken on the updated annual service report, which would be taken to the Environment Select Committee next week, which had been produced in accordance with national guidelines. The guideline and manual can be found via the following link: Roads, road care and cycle lanes - Wiltshire Council


Question – Resident: Can you state the frequency of litter picking along main A roads in the county, particularly those coming into Devizes such as Caen Hill? Currently the Clean Up Devizes Squad does a lot in the town centre but not such roads due to their dangerous nature.


Response: For A roads, ideally a litter pick is scheduled twice a year, however by the code of practice the Council must respond to litter complaints placed through the MyWilts app. Caen Hill is specifically litter picked when verge cutting takes place. A roads are scheduled twice a year, with the new cycle beginning now. £2million has been allocated towards picking up litter, which could easily be avoided. The last litter pick in Devizes, was last autumn and officers will provide clarity on when the next one will be. If residents do see litter, don’t wait for the schedule please report it before further litter is deposited in that location.


Question – Resident: It was questioned what funding Wiltshire Council provides to Devizes Town Council as they only have the resource to take care of the town centre and relies on groups to clean residential streets.


Response: Devizes Town Council receives no payment from Wiltshire Council and anything they do is done under service delegation. Any work that they do to meet that statutory duty is up to them. Extra money which has been allocated is for A roads and not for town centres.


Question – Resident: Recently a complaint was placed on the MyWilts app, however this was closed without any action being taken, why is this happening?


Response: Complaints should no longer come back with a closed message and should now receive an explanation. This is all to do with the HYAMs system which operates and links into the MyWilts app. The interface between the two systems has now been improved so that when an issue is submitted, a response would be provided from the HYAMs system and residents should no longer get a closed message. It is important for residents to report issues as inspectors can’t get everywhere. Sometimes human error can play a part, for example the street scene contractor might have closed down this specific example to cause the closed message.


Question – Resident: A campaign was started in August 2022 to have the speed limit reduced in Marshall Road. Residents of Newman Road have experienced cutting in on the road to build 17 new houses, which will eventually lead to 100s of lorries bringing materials down Marshall Road for building as well as 32 homes where the Health Centre is. Though the 20mph speed limit was agreed, the two roads go from 20mph to 40mph.


Response: This further speed limit review request must go to the LHFIG. When residents feel that the speed is too fast, they need to take the issue to their town or parish council to gain their support for a speed limit assessment to be undertaken which would go through the LHFIG for funding. If the LHFIG is in support of this, this can be followed through with the assessment process beginning, starting with a speed review.


Question – Resident: Regarding Potholes, what is your metric from time reported to time fixing the issue and what is your achievement against this metric?


Response: The inspection manual helps to inform this and it depends on where the pothole is, the size of it and the time reported: Roads, road care and cycle lanes - Wiltshire Council. It is possible for residents to look at the Council’s statutory performance and a Performance and Outcomes Board (POB) monitors this monthly. For P1 potholes, the target is the next working day, and the Council is on track to meet this. The data is available for the public to view, with the most recent Performance and Risk Report taken to Cabinet on Tuesday 6 February 2024 Agenda and draft minutes - Democratic Services - Wiltshire Council. When potholes are reported, they are assessed and given a priority, with P1 potholes having a strong element of safety associated with them. A P1 pothole must be repaired by midnight the following day and the time for this begins when it is assessed, however the Council must get to the report within a reasonable time. The Council is achieving this metric and is in advance of it. This is a statutory duty for the Council; therefore it is monitored and has to be complied with. Often temporary repairs take place to meet the response time.


Question – Resident: In New Park St there are three potholes which have been reported and seem to be getting worse. If residents want to avoid them, they have to go onto the other side of the carriageway. Is there any way that these can be advanced?


Response: Officers will take this away and will have another look as the potholes would have been assessed. As stated in the manual, each pothole depends on its location and inspections take place both proactively and reactively. Officers will visit New Park St to investigate.


Question – Resident: Living on Dunkirk Hill in Devizes, in November 2022 a campaign was taken to the Devizes Neighbourhood Planning Committee to get the speed limit on Dunkirk Hill reduced after a neighbour was badly injured. A Highways Improvement form was submitted in December 2022; however, nothing has been heard. In addition, how do residents find out about the work of LHFIGs as the minutes and dates of the meetings cannot be found. Furthermore, in September 20233, there was a head on collision on the hill. The road is 40mph but it needs to have at least a 30mph limit.


Response: Currently a metric count is out and has been sent to the LHFIG. The LHFIG process was further explained, with it noted that residents can raise issues through their parish and town councils, who can champion issues and take them to the LHFIG, who then meets and prioritises projects. After the meeting, the minutes and recommendations are distributed to the town and parish councils before being taken back to the Area Board. It would be worth going to the town council and asking if they championed the project and what the outcome was from the LHFIG. Currently a Devizes Town Council project is taking place with speed surveys on every main road in Devizes. These speed surveys will determine what course of action can be taken if there is excessive speed.


Question – Resident: Clarity was sought regarding the resurfacing of the road next to the Crammer.


Response: The whole of the road would be resurfaced as well as the roundabouts. This was an area on the forward work plan with dates now to be confirmed depending on contractor availability.


Question – Resident: Why should we not have traffic lights at the Black Dog crossroads? We don’t agree with your engineering solution and belief that traffic lights are expensive, to which quotes have been provided to show otherwise. In the past, neither a dog leg junction or crossroads has worked, and the new suggestion won’t work as this only allows for 60 metres from Black Dog Farmhouse to the junction meaning that cars can’t stop in that time.


Response: The Council have identified an engineering solution to deliver crossroads, however negotiations with all parties have taken longer than preferred with a number of challenges identified such as with signals, the cost and energy supply. This engineering solution will deliver the same outcomes. Officers do not agree with the cost of the signal function and offered to follow up on this issue outside of the meeting.


Question – Social Media: Currently 600/700 homes are going through planning approval with some granted and in progress. There is concern about whether the existing road network can cope. Do officers believe the roads will be able to cope?


Response: There are two parts to the planning process including a local plan review underpinned by detailed evidence-based transport modelling as well as identifying the environmental impacts of transport. There is then a specific transport management process after this where Wiltshire Council then takes a view as to whether local impacts have been mitigated. The importance of maintaining sustainable growth was stated and that all developers must submit a construction development management plan to mitigate issues during construction.


Question – Resident: Clarity was sought on the request for a resident parking scheme on Southbroom Road.


Response: This is currently with the Town Council and there has been a consultation on this. Cllr Wallis agreed to contact the Town Council to enquire as to how the consultation had gone. Residents parking is an interesting topic and forms part of the local transport plan. Residents parking is possible, however, to make it effective enforcement must take place, which comes at a cost. Additional resource has been allocated to enforcement with work set to be conducted to identify how these resources can be used best.


Question – Resident: When walking up London Road there are vehicles coming down with biomass set to go out to Bromham. These vehicles are often not sheeted which leads to the biomass dropping off behind them. Sheeting would potentially reduce the cost of gully emptying.


Response: Sheeting, like any transportation issue, is the responsibility of the police and Wiltshire Council can’t do anything about this. If residents have the details of vehicles, they can report them, and the firms can be contacted.


Question – Resident: Have Wiltshire Council asked new developers for money to sort the roads which they will be relying on?


Response: When developers come forward, Wiltshire Council is entitled to ask for Section 106 contributions, however these need to be tested as proportionally fair and reasonable, with there needing to be proof that the developments would lead to significant issues on highways.


Question – Resident: It was questioned whether Wiltshire Council has the appetite to explore the concept of shared spaces to reduce the dominance of motor vehicles. The redevelopment of the community hospital was cited as potentially causing greater vehicle movements and the rat running of New Park St and Couch Lane.


Response: The local highways authority recognises the benefits of shared spaces within the right location. Work is completed closely on the residential design guide and the transport requirements for a development, with each case needing to be assessed on its own merits. Shared spaces are a key tool in the kitbag and when appropriate are positive for promoting active travel.


Question – Resident: Clarity was sought regarding the air quality action plan and its implementation.


Response: There has recently been a consultation on the air quality management approach, with assessments taking place across various market towns to consider how the Council can work with developers who may be bringing forward planning proposals to assess what their contribution should be towards improving air quality. The consultation, which took place in summer and autumn 2024, is currently being reviewed with a paper being brought to Cabinet for consideration. Further resource is being put into monitoring and delivering air quality projects, with extra funding set to be spent on mobile air quality systems to assess changes.


Question – Resident: The junction at Black Dog crossroads is the 7th most dangerous road in the country and it is hoped there will be an opportunity to learn about the engineering solution. Until this is in place, the grass on the junction grows quickly and reduces visibility when turning right to Worton. Who can be contacted to ensure that this grass is cut? Also, road signs seem to be left along this road as well as people hanging advertisements from existing signs.


Response: Incidents should be reported through the MyWilts app. Grass cutting has been a particular issue due to the weather being warm and wet, therefore contractors have had to delay some work. Visibility splays have however remained a priority. Additional investment has been provided to pick up signs that have been left as well as replacing and cleaning existing signs. The team are also working to improve the issue of flyposting. It is preferred that residents don’t cut grass and remove signs themselves.

Supporting documents: