Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020

A meeting of the Traffic Management Committee was held on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2020, online via Zoom videoconferencing at 6.45pm.

1).   Present were:-

Councillor L. Dale (Chair)   Councillor J. Leather

Councillor S. Perren            Councillor R. Langford

Councillor P. Stenning         Councillor P. Jones (from 7.10pm)

Councillor J. Jones              Councillor E. Amos

Councillor. G. Dale

Mrs S. J. Worden (Clerk)

Apologies:- No apologies to receive.

2).   Minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday August 12th, 2020:-

The minutes, which had previously been noted by the Council were agreed and will be signed at the earliest opportunity.

3).   To receive correspondence from Cllr. Pert regarding the LED lighting for the zebra crossing and electric charging points and to discuss any next steps:-

It was observed that the zebra crossing has been fitted with new bulbs and globes, and whilst the effort was appreciated, it has not provided a significant improvement to the brightness.

The committee noted the receipt of correspondence from Cllr. Pert:

Zebra crossing lighted poles – Cllr. Pert advised they are not used in Staffordshire and have been investigated and discounted; existing lighting meets national guidelines and specification and there would be significant cost implications to install and maintain, along with contractual cost effects. It was advised there has been no evidence provided to constitute varying current policy.

Members noted that the lit poles do significantly improve visibility of the crossings, as seen in Shropshire, and it was resolved to recommend that the Council continue to lobby the County Council to investigate further.

Electric Charging points – Cllr. Pert advised that SCC has not installed any EV charging points outside of 4 points installed some years ago and is promoting installation of home charging points; that the recent initiative to install charging points in Stone, Stafford and Stoke on Trent was a Borough Council initiative to improve air quality and encourage use of electric vehicles by the taxi trade; and discussed what should be considered to support the installation of charging points. It was noted that the Parish Council could advocate the installation of charging points to existing and new homes via the planning process, encourage businesses to install points and consider installing one itself.

Members noted that addition of charging points to current parking spaces would reduce available car parking spaces.

It was resolved to recommend that the Council could request installation of electric charging points as standard to any new build planning applications.

It was also resolved to recommend researching the total installation cost for an EV charging point, and any available grant funding.

Discussions will be ongoing and information considered at the next meeting.

It was resolved to write to Councillors Pert, thanking him for his letter and asking to be updated on any future Borough or County plans regarding provision of charging stations. Borough Councillor Peter Jones will also receive a copy.

4).   To discuss the project idea regarding actively researching availability of land for car parking in the centre of town:-

Members discussed a number of options:

Land where the old gas works was situation at Cherry Tree Close – it was noted that access was narrow, and there had been some investigation into the suitability of the land previously. The Clerk will look into the results of past enquiries.

Area behind library, accessed from Castle Street, via Frosts. It was noted that it may have access issues similar to those raised with the planning application for land off Castle Street

Kings Arms Car Park – and whether it could be hired for daytime use for business parking, 8am-5pm. It was resolved to recommend initial enquiries be made into potential hire costs and feasibility.

Rent a drive scheme – it was resolved to recommend this was explored further as an option that could be facilitated by the Parish Council.

Not all members felt there was a parking problem. It was noted that current parking areas such as the former Eagle car park, rear of Nat West and the Police Post would be removed at some point, which will cause issues for those who work in Eccleshall and park there at present.

5).   To discuss the project idea regarding funding of PCSO’s to visit the town more often:-

       There are 3 PCSO’s that currently serve Eccleshall, and allocation of their time is dependent on the volume of crimes in the area. The PCSO’s and Neighbourhood Watch have noted there is not a significant crime issue, although there have been a small number of anti-social behaviour incidents which have been attended by the officers – at the Community Centre, and on the Stone Road. The Parish Council does not receive many complaints.

It was resolved to recommend that funding for additional PCSO’s is not needed at present due to the low volume of issues but can be revisited should circumstances change.

A representative from the Police has expressed a willingness to attend a meeting to discuss any concerns. It was resolved to invite the Chief Inspector to a future full Parish Council meeting to discuss policing in Eccleshall.

6).   To discuss the project idea regarding the funding of Traffic Wardens to regularly visit the town:-

Traffic Wardens are co-ordinated by the County Council, via an organisation in Stoke on Trent. It was noted that if traffic wardens visited to enforce the 2 hour parking period for on street parking then this could exacerbate the current parking issues within the town.

It was resolved to recommend deferring further discussion until normal business within the town resumes and an assessment can be made as to its benefit.

7).   To discuss the ongoing research into provision of an alternative transport service to the cancelled 8am bus service:-

Contact has been made with commercial coach companies, a neighbouring Town Council, a Community transport provider and the County Council in order to research alternatives to the 8am bus service.

The commercial coach company were unable to quote as they do not have the necessary licence to run a fare paying public service.

Community Link Stafford has been very helpful and would be able to provide a 16 seat minibus service, but this would need to be for a minimum term of around twelve months due to the need to take on a driver specifically for the route. A flat daily rate would be charged to the Parish Council for hire, and the driver would collect fares set by the Parish Council which would go towards offsetting the hire charges. The bus would be available from 7.30am to approximately 11.30am, so could complete more than one journey.

It was noted as an example, that if a single fare of £2 was charged, and there were 16 passengers each day, weekly costs could be over £500 a week. Doubling the passenger numbers would still cost around £350 in weekly hire charges. Community Link do not build in much profit, so it is unlikely a cheaper option will be found for minibus hire.

The County Council has responded to advise it has contacted Stafford College, who has 44 students residing in the Eccleshall area, but have not received representations about a lack of bus provision.  The Clerk advised SCC that some Graham Balfour post 16 students will have used the service and also been affected. SCC noted they will be reviewing service 14 as the current contract expires in April and it will be up for retender. They will take on board the comments about the 8am service and explore if a similarly timed service can be provided, although this is not a commitment at this point as they need to look at the data. Any feedback from the Parish would be welcomed to evidence the need.

SCC has asked whether there are any additional transport links required in addition to current provision and if there is any potential funding available to support this, with a view to including it within future services with an agreed contribution, or tender separately on our behalf/ in conjunction with the needs of neighbouring parishes. It was also noted that at this time it is not known to what extent people’s travel patterns will have changed in the long term due to the pandemic.

It was resolved to recommend that:

  • The Clerk obtain feedback from residents to evidence ongoing need for the 8am service.
  • The Clerk contacts neighbouring parishes to see if there are any public transport links which they need in addition to current provision and if they are able to contribute financially.
  • Liaise with the County Council to provide feedback and continue to lobby for the provision of an 8am service in the retender process.

8).   To discuss the project idea regarding the clearance of pavements within the Parish to a fully accessible standard:-

Digging off verge overgrowth is no longer a routine task performed by the County Council highways team, and the Parish Council has already funded the clearance of a number of pavements within the Parish to widen the paths and improve access. It was noted that over time, verge overgrowth would contribute to the breaking down of the path surface. As more people are walking their local area, it will be beneficial to regularly maintain key routes.

It was resolved to recommend that this project is progressed, further verge works will be identified and quotes obtained for consideration by the full Council.

9).   Correspondence:-

  • To discuss resident concerns regarding speeding on the Stafford Road.  Resident concerns were noted and members appreciated it was an issue. Whilst there is not a speed device located there to collect data, there is a fixed speed warning sign in place. It was resolved to raise the issue of speeding again with Highways at the next convened meeting. It was observed that accident data is often used by highways to determine risk. This can be found at
  • To consider a resident suggestion regarding speed stickers on roads where speeding is an issue. The 30 mph stickers have been placed as part of a Staffordshire Police initiative to reduce speeding. It was resolved to contact the Police to ask if stickers could be located in other key areas including the Newport Road.
  • To receive Speed watch statistics as supplied to Eccleshall Speed watch from Staffs Police. The committee received the statistics and resolved to write to the speed watch team to thank them for the information.
  • Request for support in the provision of a footpath (pavement extension) from Eccleshall to Pershall. At present, there is no footpath along a large stretch of the walk and the roadside verge is very uneven and inaccessible. A resident has requested that funding be considered to provide a pavement. An alternative suggestion was to level the verge surface and maintain a mowed strip, which although would not be fully accessible, would still be an improvement. It was resolved to bring this to the attention of Highways at the next convened meeting and explore available options.

10).  Items for next meeting:-

Any items for the next meeting can be forwarded to the Clerk.

11).  Date of next meeting:- to be confirmed.

There being no further business, the Chairman declared the meeting closed at 7.45pm.