Buckinghamshire County Council:

Minutes for Amersham Local Area Forum meeting, Jan 20 2010, 6.30PM official page

Other committee documents for Buckinghamshire County Council :: Amersham Local Area Forum details

Venue: Penn Street Village Hall

Items No. Item


Apologies for absence / Changes in membership


See above.


Declarations of interest

To declare any personal or prejudicial interests


There were no declarations of interest.


Action notes PDF 57 KB

To confirm the notes of the meeting held on 21 October 2009

Additional documents:


The notes of the meeting held on 21 October 2009 were agreed as a correct record.


Petitions PDF 50 KB

Petition against Proposed Parking Restrictions in Old Amersham High Street


Proposed parking restrictions in Old Amersham

A petition had been presented to the Cabinet Member for Transport in December 2009. The proposal for parking restrictions had subsequently been withdrawn.


A member asked for a note to be supplied regarding how petitions were handled and the process for taking one forward – Action: AD. [post-meeting note: A report on new national guidance regarding petitions is to be taken to the Regulatory and Audit Committee on 1 February 2010.]


Question time

There will be a 20 minute period for public questions.  Members of the public are encouraged to submit their questions in advance of the meeting to facilitate a full answer on the day of the meeting.  Questions sent in advance will be dealt with first and verbal questions after.  Please contact Alison Derrick on 01494 586635 or aderrick@buckscc.gov.uk to submit your question.


There were no public questions.


Winter Maintenance Update

Chris Schwier, Area Co-ordinator


Eric Meek (Group Manager Area Maintenance South) and Chris Schwier (Transport Localities Team Leader) gave members an update on highways issues following the recent severe winter weather.


The following points were made:


Salting of roads

·         There were currently four salt depots (Gawcott, Aylesbury, Amersham and Handy Cross).

·         There were 25 gritting vehicles across the County (seven for the Amersham area).

·         There were currently just under 10 000 tonnes of salt in stock, which includes a remote depot with approximately 1000 tonnes.

·         BCC had been very well-prepared for the severe weather, with all salt stocks at full capacity.

·         Each depot had a re-stock level, and when that level was reached, an order was submitted with the salt provider.

·         For the Amersham depot, the re-stock level was 1500 tonnes, and when this level had been reached in recent weeks, an order had been submitted as usual.

·         BCC had been notified by the Department of Transport after the New Year break that suppliers could not supply the salt which had been ordered. Since then the Government had been making the allocating salt for each authority. Approximately 116 tonnes had been received at the Amersham depot on 20 January 2010.

·         The Department of Transport had also instructed all authorities to move to restricted routes and BCC had reduced their routes from 40% to 26% of the highway network. The emergency routes within the Chiltern and South Bucks area use 25-30 tonnes of salt.

·         The Priority 1 salting network consisted of A and B roads, plus additional risk-assessed roads. The emergency route network was A and B roads, and restricted numbers of additional roads (roads to settlements of over 200 houses).

·         Roads which were usually treated with salt under the Priority 1 salting network but were not included in the emergency routes, were being treated with grit or sand. Although not as effective as salt, this was still better than no treatment at all.

·         There had been no further news from the salt suppliers, and it was predicted that there would not be a return to the full salting routes until the end of the season.

·         The Chiltern District had lost fewer salting routes under the emergency network than other districts.

·         BCC had devolved some services to Amersham Town Council and this included the salting of shopping areas (including Sycamore Road).


Members then asked questions, which are summarised below.


The words ‘salt’ and ‘grit’ are used interchangeably – which is correct?

Several years ago a mixture of salt and sand was used on the roads (grit). Now pure salt is normally used.


Is it correct that salting of roads is only effective to -8 degrees C?

Yes - from -4 degrees C the effectiveness is reduced.


Do you use snow ploughs?

Snow ploughs can only be used on ground snow of 2 inches or deeper, otherwise the snow ploughs will damage the road surface.


Some places (GP surgeries, schools, libraries) did not salt their premises as they understood that they would then be liable if someone slipped. Is this correct?

The law states that there would be liability. However you have to take reasonable precautions and take a personal choice as to what to do. Due care on both sides is required. There is no precedent for an organisation being sued on this.


What is the situation with salt bins? Thefts have been reported from salt bins – could the bins be padlocked for residents’ use only?

Salt bins can be purchased from BCC for £450 – the location is agreed with BCC and the Parish/Town Council. BCC will then refill the bins from then on. Each bin takes 0.5 tonnes of salt. However we are now filling the bins with grit, due to the salt restrictions.

The BCC Policy on salt bins will be reviewed in the new financial year as each bin has been filled six or seven times this winter, and much of the salt has been used for non-highway purposes.

Salt bins are for the use of the ‘travelling public,’ for use on the roads, and are not reserved for residents. The salt bins are not for use on private front drives. Bins could not be padlocked as this would cause a problem for the BCC employees filling the bin and for non-residents wishing to use the bin within the vicinity.


Can salt bins be purchased with the Local Area Forum’s delegated Highway budget?

Yes, but as well as the fact that there is no salt currently to fill the bins, the BCC policy on salt bins is to be reviewed.


What is the process for salting the roads?

We lay precautionary salt. Then we salt again after it has snowed, on top of the snow. The precautionary salting is done at approximately 7pm and then possibly again if required at 4am. Gritters have been working extremely hard during the recent cold weather, and an interview with the gritter drivers will be published shortly in the local press. It is well worth reading.


Will BCC carry out a thorough review of highways maintenance during this winter (i.e. did you achieve your objectives? could things be done differently?)

A review meeting was held this afternoon. Our operational objectives were met. The policy on salting will be fully reviewed at the end of the season.

David Schofield said that County Councillors would be pushing for an extensive review to take place.



·         All maintenance staff had been deployed to fill potholes (with the exception of gully emptiers).

·         The filling of potholes would continue until April 2010.

·         The funding of £2m which had been stated in the local media was not just for the treatment of potholes.  It was also not all for use in 2009/10. BCC had sought further clarification on the funding.


The Chairman asked that Parish Councils receive notification of roads on which potholes had been repaired. Chris Schwier said that he would do this – Action: CS.


A member asked when the community gang work would re-start. Chris Schwier said that he would follow this up (Action: CS), but realistically it would not be until April 2010, due to the pothole work.


Highway Delegated Budget 2009/10 - Update PDF 170 KB

Chris Schwier, Area Co-ordinator


The Local Area Forum received the report of Jim Stevens, Head of Transport.


Chris Schwier said that the note on Burtons Lane should not have been included as it did not fall within the Amersham Local Area.  


The Local Area Forum noted the report of Jim Stevens, Head of Transport.


Highway Delegated Budget 2010/11 PDF 166 KB

Chris Schwier, Area Co-ordinator

Additional documents:


The Local Area Forum received the report of Jim Stevens, Head of Transport.


Chris Schwier said that comments and costings would be added to the table for decisions to be taken at the next meeting. A member noted that the fencing on footpath 56 had already been repaired.


The Local Area Forum noted the list of schemes.


Early Years and Childcare Grant - Small Capital Grants Programme and LAF Devolved Budget 2009/10 PDF 45 KB

David Shaw, Divisional Manager, Business Improvement

Additional documents:


The Local Area Forum received the report of David Shaw, Divisional Manager.


David Shaw told members that the Report provided an update on the Early Years and Childcare Grant in the Amersham Local Area. In practice the Local Area Forum had not been able to influence how the Grant was spent in the current financial year. Different processes were being looked at for the next financial year so that the Forum could influence how the money was spent.  


Local Priorities Funding Update PDF 44 KB

Alison Derrick, Locality Services Co-ordinator


The Local Area Forum received the report of Alison Derrick, Locality Services Co-ordinator.


Alison Derrick reported that the severe weather had prevented a number of projects being started.


A member asked if more time could be given if the projects were not completed by the end of the financial year. Alison Derrick said that the rules stated that funding for each scheme needed to be spent and invoiced by 31 March 2010 (invoice received and date stamped by BCC by 31 March).

The Chairman said that he had spoken to Rebecca Carley (Locality Services Manager) about the possibility of more flexible budgets.


Eric Meek said that Transport for Buckinghamshire would be interested in providing quotes for some of the work required.


A member referred to the fact that the schemes had to be paid for before BCC would re-pay the money, and the Chairman said that he would look into whether this could be altered – Action: MP.


Alison Derrick said that in the future projects would be commissioned based on the local priorities which had been identified at the planning workshop in November 2009. Budgets for the next financial year would be confirmed in February 2010.


A member asked for a definition of ’delegated budgets’ as opposed to ‘devolved budgets,’ and said that the two phrases were both used. Alison Derrick said that a delegated budget was one where the schemes came to the Local Area Forum for approval. Devolved services were services which BCC paid a Parish or Town Council to carry out on their behalf. Alison Derrick said that she would look into a way of making the phraseology more uniform.


A member from Amersham Town Council said that a proposed scheme for the next year’s funding was an Amersham Youth Festival (which fitted with the Cohesive Communities priorities on page 29). The proposed festival would be:

·         Held on 11 July 2010 (the day after Amersham Carnival) at King George V Playing Fields

·         For 13-19 year olds

·         An opportunity for local youth organisations to promote themselves

·         Preceded by a concert on the night of 10 July.

·         Supported by a free bus service

·         Match-funded by Amersham Town Council


A formal application for the scheme would be made at the next meeting.


The Local Area Forum noted the progress made on the bids for funding from the Local Priorities budget that were agreed at the meeting on 21 October 2009.


Update on Local Area Priorities Process PDF 38 KB

Alison Derrick, Locality Services Co-ordinator

Additional documents:


The Local Area Forum received the report of Alison Derrick, Locality Services Co-ordinator.


Alison Derrick said that following the Local Priorities Planning Workshop in November 2009, priorities had been identified. The priorities were listed ion the papers, and members were asked if they agreed with the priorities listed. The proposal was that some Local Area Forum meetings would be themed against the priority areas (e.g. the next meeting could be health-related and include an update on Amersham Hospital).


A member said that the planning workshop had been very useful and had brought up some good ideas.


A member said that the priorities did not marry with the Market Town Health Check. Alison Derrick said that the Health Check had been made available at the Planning Workshop and used when setting priorities. The priorities set were for the whole of the Amersham Local Area. The priorities would be refreshed as the Local Area Forum progressed.


A report would be provided at each meeting on the progress of the priorities.


The Local Area Forum noted the output of the Local Area Prioritisation workshop on 18 November 2009. The Forum also agreed the suggested top priorities.


Date of next meeting

21 April 2010, 6:30pm, Amersham Market Hall


21 April 2010, 6:30pm, Amersham Market Hall

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