The Chairperson welcomed to the meeting, Jonathan Woods (HCC, Countryside Services team). Mr Woods provided an update on the situation regarding the footpath, as summarised below and also responded to questions of the forum.
· Briefly explained the background to the current situation regarding the footpath as he understood it.
· HCC highways had agreed to fund the cost of the path (estimated at £50k) and the tender process and implementation of works would be overseen by the Countrywide Services team. The work was currently out to tender with the contract expected to be awarded mid-April with contractors starting on site 25 April and work completed by 31 May 2022.
· The path provided would be self-binding stone (not tarmac) which would link with the new path to the side of the school. In response to questions, Mr Wood clarified that the path surface was probably likely to be replaced by tarmac at a future point and that the sub-base being used would allow this. He explained that a tarmac path would be significantly more expensive. He highlighted that HCC and WCC would have to give future consideration to this point, as well as the ongoing cost of maintenance of the path.
· With regard to possible alternative diversion routes whilst the work was being undertaken, Mr Woods agreed to discuss further with his colleagues at HCC from the highway and travel plan teams. The location of the path could mean that there was adequate space for people to use an informal path to one side in the meantime. The daily construction work would be carried out to avoid school pick up and drop off times. The Chairperson requested that notices be put in place at the entry points from Andover Road to give further details of when the work would take place and any alternative route arrangements.
· Mr Woods agreed to take back the requirement to colleagues at HCC to ensure a plan was developed to ensure access to the school was maintained whilst work was being undertaken. It was agreed that the Strategic Director note this issue as a matter for future consideration.
· Viv Hill and Ian Curry (CALA homes) drew attention to existing plans and drawings outlining the phased delivery of connectivity between phases of development which had previously been made available. The forum commented that in addition to these longer term plans, shorter term plans for managing construction works should be in place. It was requested that this be a matter for a future agenda.
· In response to various queries regarding the potential for CIL funding, the Service Lead – Built Environment clarified that it would be for HCC to apply to WCC for CIL funding and confirmed that they had been sent the necessary paperwork. Once the application was received by WCC there would be a bidding process and the award would be a member decision. It was agreed that the Forum should monitor progress on this.
· In response to questions, Mr Curry (CALA) stated that it should be possible to complete the work required to link up the footpath between phase 1A and B within the next four to six weeks.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Woods, Mr Curry and Mr Hill for their updates and noted the points of action to take forward as outlined above.