Agenda and minutes

Strategic Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 30th January 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: Gipping Room, Grafton House

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert  01473 432510

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for Absence were received from Councillor Smith.


Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 84 KB




that the Minutes of the meeting held on 2 January 2020 be signed as a true record.


Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


To Confirm or Vary the Order of Business




that the Order of Business be as printed on the agenda.



OS/19/13 Highways England Update on the Orwell Bridge pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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40.1      Simon Amor, Head of Planning and Development, Highways England, and Roy Doe, Service Delivery Manager, Highways England, gave a presentation regarding the Orwell Bridge. The key points made were:

-       The bridge was an important asset for Ipswich, but was very susceptible to high winds because of its location;

-       Highways England fully appreciated the impact of closures on Ipswich but they had to close it when there was a cross-wind in excess of 50mph, or a wind in any direction of over 60mph to ensure road safety;

-       The time taken to close the bridge had been reduced from 50 minutes to 20 minutes before high winds were forecast to hit;

-       Separating high sided vehicles from other traffic would be difficult to achieve as there was no infrastructure to support this, no resources to enforce it and no welfare facilities for drivers who were not able to cross the bridge;

-       There had been 18 closures, totalling around 5 days, due to wind over the past 7 years;

-       The lower speed limit of 60mph had reduced the number of accidents by 30%.

-       Communications about forecast closures had improved with better co-ordination with the Police, Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council.


40.2      Simon Amor explained that Highways England had commissioned a study by City University, which was a world expert in wind modelling, on the effect of high winds on the Orwell Bridge. The study had shown that there were a number of options available to allow the Orwell Bridge to stay open for longer. These options were:

-       The Orwell Bridge could remain open in higher winds if the speed limit were temporarily reduced, for example, if the speed limit were 40mph the study had shown that the bridge could safely operate in winds of 70mph. The speed limit would however need to be observed and so additional signage would be needed and enforcement would need to be available, likely through the average speed cameras already installed;

-       The nearside lanes on each carriageway could be closed, with the offside lanes benefiting from greater protection from the existing parapets. Closing the lanes would be difficult however as cones may be difficult or impossible to place in high winds and other measures were not easily available;

-       The westbound carriageway could be closed, as this was more severely affected by high winds, with the eastbound carriageway left open.

Further wind tunnel testing would be required to ensure that the options were safe, and various practical arrangements would need to be made, before any of them could be implemented.


40.3      Councillor Pope asked whether the existing average speed cameras could be used to enforce a lower speed limit. Simon Amor explained that it was thought that this would be possible but this needed to be confirmed with the Safety Camera Partnership, Suffolk Roadsafe. Superintendent Matthew Rose, Head of Specialist Operations for Norfolk and Suffolk Police explained that he understood that the trigger speed for the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


OS/19/14 Annual Report of the Health Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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41.1      Councillor Fleming reported that since her last update to the Ipswich Borough Council Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee the Suffolk Health Scrutiny Committee had met 5 times. Topics scrutinised included:

-       Estates Strategies as they related to integrated care, and the national pooling of receipts from asset sales;

-       Sexual Health and Reproductive Services, particularly commissioning and access to services;

-       Performance of Non-Emergency Patient Transport;

-       The results of the Care Quality Commission’s inspection of the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust;

-       East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust Strategy;

-       Local progress on Health and Social Care Integration;

-       Delivery of Mental Health Services in Suffolk;

-       Home Care Procurement and links between Social Workers and NHS Staff.


41.2      Councillor Pope asked what the Health Scrutiny Committee had found in relation to the cuts to the School Nursing Service when scrutinising access to contraception in schools. Councillor Fleming reported that the committee had found that the reduction to the number of school nurses was now starting to be reversed.


41.3      Councillor Pope questioned how the Health Scrutiny Committee included Service User Groups and Patient Participation Groups in its work. The Business Manager for the Health Scrutiny Committee, Theresa Harden, explained that Healthwatch Suffolk represented the patient voice on the Health Scrutiny Committee.


41.4      Councillor Pope asked how many referrals had been made to the CAHMS and Emotional Wellbeing Hub, where these had come from, and what the average time taken to resolve or refer cases was. Councillor Fleming explained that a report covering this was expected at the Health Scrutiny Committee’s 22 April 2020 meeting and that the information could be circulated to members of Ipswich Borough Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


41.5      Councillor Gage noted that the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee was soon to consider an item on GP Provision in Ipswich and asked whether the Health Scrutiny Committee had identified parts of the NHS from which funding might be available to improve this. Councillor Fleming explained that Primary Care provision was due to be scrutinised by the Health Scrutiny Committee at its July meeting and commented that she would consider adding a briefing on property accounting to the work programme.


41.6      Councillor Gage invited Councillor Fleming to attend the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s meeting on GP Hubs on 27 February 2020. Councillor Fleming agreed that it was important for the committees to work together to ensure that Ipswich’s needs were met.


41.7      Councillor Gibbs noted that Dental Practices were increasingly withdrawing from providing NHS Services and suggested that the Health Scrutiny Committee might like to invite dentists or the British Dental Association to consider this. Councillor Fleming agreed to consider this further and report back to the Strategic Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


41.8      Councillor T Lockington noted that Physical and Mental Health services were provided increasingly separately despite physical health often affecting mental health and vice versa. Councillor Fleming agreed that more joined up provision was important and that the Health  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


OS/19/15 Annual Portfolio Holder Update - Planning and Museums pdf icon PDF 48 KB

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42.1      Councillor Jones introduced the Annual Update on the Planning and Museums Portfolio. Key points made were:

-          There had been record numbers of visitors to museums as a result of a varied programme of high-quality exhibitions and events;

-          The number of school visits had increased significantly, although unfortunately due to the high quality of the packs for teachers, less of these visits were now accompanied;

-          The Museums Service had not achieved its income targets for hiring its venues and there was a need to be more entrepreneurial;

-          Building Control had maintained good performance despite vacancies within the team. There had been a significant increase in the volume of work the team was doing since the Grenfell Tower Fire and two members of the team now held level six fire safety qualifications;

-          Building Control Officers made proactive visits to houses of multiple occupation and challenged owners to improve their properties where necessary;

-          The Planning Service continued to process planning applications promptly with just one major application going beyond the time limit. None of the Council’s decisions had been overturned by the Planning Inspectorate;

-          The Planning Service continued to encourage the owners of buildings on the Buildings at Risk Register to keep them safe and bring them back into use.


42.2      Councillor Gibbs noted that Ipswich’s museums had been able to host significant works of art over the past few years and asked whether this was as a result of better relationships with national arts organisations. James Steward, Ipswich Museums Manager, explained that the Colchester and Ipswich Museums Service had built good relationships with many organisations and was a trusted museums service. Mr Steward noted that some people had been surprised by the quality of exhibitions in Ipswich and said that he hoped that people came to expect this high standard.


42.3      Councillor Pope asked what was being done to increase income through hiring museums spaces. Councillor Jones explained that a review was currently taking place to identify how income could be increased and a strategy would then be developed.


42.4      Councillor Gage commented that the visitor figures were very impressive and that staff should be recognised for their good work. Councillor Jones agreed and added that different types of people were also visiting, for example, the Council had just won an award for its work with Job Centre Plus which brought unemployed people to the museums.


42.5      Councillor T Lockington asked whether the Council’s Building Control Team could promote higher standards aimed at reducing the carbon footprints of buildings. Councillor Jones noted that the Building Control Team had to apply national standards but that suggestions could be made for greener ways of doing things. Gavin Whitman, Operations Manager - Building Control explained that thermal regulations were currently being consulted on.


42.6      Councillor Pope asked whether the Planning Service had been able to increase the amount of trees and green space in new developments and also promote native hedgerows. Martyn Fulcher, Head of Development, explained  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.


OS/19/16 Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

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that the Work Programme for 2019/20, attached at Appendix 1 to report OS/19/16, be approved