Agenda item

Verbal Updates - Task and Finish Groups


Members were given an update of progress on the four Task and Finish Officer Groups that were set up some months ago to address issues of local deficiencies in infrastructure provision.  These issues had been originally expressed by Members, local residents and other groups mainly in the rural service centres.

The Task and Finish Groups comprised of representatives from  appropriate infrastructure stakeholders to address existing and potential issues as they arise and they report back initially to the Chief Executive and then to this Committee. 

The progress to date for the four Groups were reported as follows:-

Waste Water and Sewerage – it was noted that the scope of this group had been widened to reflect concerns about storm drainage and flooding.  Meetings with Southern Water had been positive and following meetings in June, the Environment Agency had expressed a willingness to engage with Southern Water on areas of common interest. The Environment Agency  introduced to the Council a potential draft statement of common ground between all utilities and agencies which provided an agreed position on future development requirements, to alleviate concerns on existing problems and to ensure that there would be no detrimental effects when future planning takes place.  Such a statement would reduce the potential for inaccurate information and would be prepared following the final Regulation 18 consultations on the allocated sites.

It was noted that the Environment Agency had suggested that the Water Cycle Study be updated and that the recent Amey Consultant’s Study prepared for Kent County Council on waste water drainage etc had been reviewed and it was generally felt that it added little to present knowledge and the assertions made regarding waste water were not supported by the statutory undertakers.

Consultants for Southern Water had reported significant progress on the Staplehurst surface water management plan.  A detailed presentation of the results would take place in the next few weeks in Staplehurst for project partners.

Transport Group – issues are concentrated on the interpretation of the transport modelling.  It was noted that regular meetings are held with KCC Officers.  The results of the modelling were first presented to Group Leaders at the beginning of June.  Progress will largely depend on Members support for sustainable transport policies and attempts are being made to develop a consensus on future road projects, specifically whether a Leeds/Langley Relief Road should be supported or not.

Local Projects have been initiated in areas suggested by Parish Councils or Ward Members looking at existing capacity issues at junctions and modelling future growth and the Consultants have also sought to provide appropriate mitigation solutions, cost implications etc. 

Health Group – this group had been investigating whether there are deficiencies in local health care provision which could be addressed.  Responses on immediate programmes of work to provide additional facilities in local health centres have been gained from local property services and these are regularly updated in the Infrastructure Development Plan. Approaches have also been made to the NHS Central Commissioning Group and it had now confirmed that the CCG would participate in looking at the medium term and future needs.

Education Group – the group had yet to make any significant progress but regular meetings are held with KCC Education Department.  The analysis of capacity and demand is taking place on a regular basis.  The group will continue to act as a conduit to pass information to KCC.

RESOLVED:  That the verbal update on progress be noted.