Agenda item


To receive a verbal update from the Area Managers from Technical Services and Neighbourhood Services in attendance about any key recent, ongoing and/or future planned Local Services work for the attention of members of the Local Area Council, who will also then have the opportunity to raise issues with the Area Managers.


The Area Managers have principal responsibility for highway services and environmental services, such as refuse collection, street cleansing and grounds maintenance, within the geographic boundaries of the Local Area Council.





P Jones, Service Director, Local Services advised that Highways continued to operate in a covid safe way and it was expected that controls would continue when the Country came out of restrictions to safeguard members of staff as transmission in the County was high.  


Reactive maintenance was still catching up on the backlog after the winter period with extra resources put in and it was expected to be back on top of this by September.  Additional resources had also been put into gulley work as there was some backlog. 


There was a large capital programme in the Castle Morpeth area and the team had been increased to deal with this.  He advised that the former supervisor and manager Ali Johnstone had retired and he wished to thank him for the work and assistance he had provided during his long service with the Council and wished him well for the future.


The Service Director provided information on the progress of schemes within the Castle Morpeth area.   In response to a question from Councillor Dodd in relation to the progress of the 20mph scheme in Belsay he advised that an email response would be provided.   Councillor Dodd also highlighted that he had received reports of an issue on Thornhill Road in Ponteland with elderly residents walking on the road and falling over speed humps which had not been marked with paint. 


Councillor Foster advised that a traffic safety scheme on the A1147 had received some mixed reviews with the residents who had been plagued by speeding traffic welcoming the restrictions as it had definitely slowed the speed of traffic on that stretch of the road and had broken a speeding circuit and she thanked the officers for this work. 


Councillor Dunn reminded the Service Director that a petition had been put in for a 20 mph speed restriction in Ellington which had been refused two years ago.  Designs were still awaited for a 30 mph scheme through the LTP following this petition and another accident had occurred recently.  The Service Director advised that there was a programme for 20 mph schemes outside schools which was ongoing and as part of the consultations there were additional demands coming in for larger areas, however this could dilute the benefits and key outcomes were needed in the relevant area.  Information would be provided on the progress of the 30 mph scheme.


In response to a concern raised in respect of the slip road off the A1 towards Stannington Village and members of the public trying to exit Stannington the same way and having to turn when traffic came off the A1 towards them, the Service Director advised that signage was in line with that required by Highways England.  Some CCTV had been undertaken but had not identified an issue.  Incidents were sporadic but the Council was aware of some and had raised the issue with Highways England as it was a slip road off a trunk road and therefore their responsibility.  In response to a question in relation to the resurfacing and speed reduction on the road through Stannington Station the Service Director advised that if they were able to do this the works would be coordinated but it would depend on the timing of the work.   He would also investigate an issue which had arisen when traffic had been diverted for a night time closure of the A1 and the diversion route had also had road works.


Neighbourhood Services


P Lowes, Neighbourhood Services Area Manager advised that the house waste service was performing well, however some issues had been experienced with garden waste due to new house building in the area with good growing conditions which had resulted in increased weight for collection and increased the length of time it took to complete the rounds.  The glass collection trial was going well with just less than 200 tonnes of glass being collected and a six month questionnaire to residents had received 639 responses with the majority of responses being positive. 


Grass cutting had been a significant challenge at the beginning of the season with rain then warmer weather causing rapid growth, this had also impacted on the weed control programme.  Alternative trials were being undertaken to the use of glyphosate in some locations across the County, with the results to be reported at a future meeting. 


In response to a question regarding the glass collection trial period, Members were advised that it was a year’s trial and it was due to finish soon.  The Service Director advised that this was a Countywide trial and a report would be produced for Scrutiny and Cabinet which would look at the funding impact with a hope that it could continue in pilot areas with a view to expanding the service linked to Government changes in waste policy and funding. 


In response to a question regarding plans for wildflower planting in the County, Members were advised that there were no large scale plans for this, however the Area Manager had been contacted by Climate Action Northumberland regarding nature meadow trials in certain areas and he was to meet them to discuss this. 


In response to a question related to blocked drains and the regular unblocking  of some gullies which did not solve the problem, Members were advised that several new gulley tankers were on order which had greater capacity. There were some parts of the County where the drainage was old and outdated and to replace these would be a significant undertaking. 


The Chair asked that thanks be passed on to staff for their continued hard work and extended his wishes to Ali Johnstone for a happy retirement.