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Page 1 of 7 WARDS AFFECTED: Sutton New Hall Sutton Trinity REPORT OF HEAD OF TRANSPORTATION STRATEGY TO: CABINET MEMBER FOR TRANSPORTATION AND STREET SERVICES JULY 2004 NON KEY DECISION DETRUNKING OF THE A38 FROM WEEFORD IN STAFFORDSHIRE TO MINWORTH IN BIRMINGHAM 1.0 SUBJECT AND BRIEF SUMMARY OF PROPOSALS 1.1 The original order for the Detrunking of the A38 from Weeford in Staffordshire to Minworth In Birmingham was issued by the Secretary of State in August 2003. This was the subject of The Report to the Cabinet Member for Transportation and Street Services that was approved on 2 nd September 2003. Approval to this report led to the raising of an objection to the order on the basis that a 1.6km length of the A38 between the M6 Toll Road roundabouts also be de-trunked 1.2 The Secretary of State has given notice that he intends to make an amended order under sections 10 and 12 of the Highways Act 1980 which will change lengths of the A38, between Weeford in Staffordshire and Minworth in Birmingham, from trunk road to principal road on the date from which the order comes into force. Objections to this order were to be received by the Secretary of State by 11 th June 2004. Birmingham has been granted an extension to this deadline to enable this report to be considered by the Cabinet Member following the recent local elections. 1.3 The revised order takes note of Birmingham’s objection to the original order issued in August 2003 and proposes that 1.6km of the A38 between the M6 toll road roundabout junctions also changes classification from trunk road to principal road in line with the rest of the A38 between Weeford in Staffordshire and Minworth in Birmingham. 1.4 Lengths of the A38 earmarked for re-classification lie within the Birmingham boundary and would become the maintenance responsibility of Birmingham City Council following detrunking, in accordance with the Highways Act 1980. Whilst supporting the amended de-trunking programme, it is proposed that that subject to certain conditions, the City Council withdraws its objection to the order. The conditions are Page 2 of 7 1. a satisfactory agreement with the Highways Agency that all aspects of the highway, along with associated structures and services, are brought up to an agreed standard prior to handover, or that the Highways Agency makes available funding to enable any appropriate works to be carried out. This will prevent expenditure in the early years of adoption for all but routine maintenance purposes, which should be covered by additional Revenue Support Grant to the City Council via the Formula Spending Share (FSS) distribution process. 2. a satisfactory agreement with the Highways Agency to the transfer of ‘properties and liabilities’ upon the highway ceasing to be a trunk road. Section 265 of the Highways Act 1980 sets out the framework for the transfer of ‘property and liabilities’ upon a highway ceasing to be a trunk road. Whilst the framework precludes the transfer of any obvious liabilities, e.g. for outstanding payments, compensation for any act before the operative date for the detrunking, the position regarding any other liabilities will need to be resolved prior to the City Council taking over responsibility for the road length in question. These agreements, together with the supporting financial and legal implications will be brought to the Cabinet Member for approval. 2.0 RECOMMENDATIONS That the Cabinet Member approves the following response to the Highways Agency : Subject to the following conditions, Birmingham City Council withdraws its objection to the proposed Detrunking Order for the A38 Trunk Road (Weeford, Staffordshire to Minworth, Birmingham): 1. that a satisfactory agreement be reached between Birmingham City Council and the Highways Agency that all aspects of the highway, along with associated structures and services, are brought up to an agreed standard prior to handover, or that the Highways Agency makes available funding to enable any appropriate works to be carried out. 2. that a satisfactory agreement be reached between Birmingham City Council and the Highways Agency to the transfer of ‘properties and liabilities’ upon the highway ceasing to be a trunk road. 3.0 BACKGROUND 3.1 Under the 1946 Roads Act, the Secretary for State is empowered to add or remove roads to the trunk road network. In July 1998 the Government’s White Paper, ‘A New Deal for Transport’, and the report ‘A New Deal for Trunk Roads in England’, unveiled plans to de-trunk 3000km of non-core trunk road and hand them back to local council control. 3.2 Warwickshire County Council has maintained this section of the A38 in the past under an agency agreement with the Highway Agency. As the majority of the road now lies within the Birmingham boundary it is felt that Page 3 of 7 Birmingham should maintain the road to either the northern M6 Toll Road roundabout or to Bassett’s Pole roundabout 3.3 The A38 Sutton Bypass de-trunking is due to take place in 2005. The A38 between Minworth and Bassett’s Pole is to be classified as principal road. 3.4 The principle of de-trunking this section of the A38 following construction of the M6 Toll Road is acceptable, The majority of the A38 between Bassett’s Pole and Minworth is in Birmingham, but in reality passes through Birmingham, Warwickshire and Staffordshire. For continuity from a customer point of view it is considered unacceptable for the A38 to change from being maintained by Birmingham then to Warwickshire and then to Staffordshire over such a short distance. A close working relationship will be required with the Highways Agency in order to control the link to the toll operation as well as to the published diversion routes for the M6 along the A446 and the A38. Midlands Expressway Limited (the operators of the toll road) have responsibility to maintain only up to the give way approach to the new roundabout. For ease of understanding the whole of the A38 is to be de-trunked with a management arrangement being agreed with the highways agency. 3.5 There are concerns that the capacity of the roundabout at Bassett’s Pole would not be able to cope with the increased traffic which could result from a closure of the M6 toll road. The Highway Agency are considering adding traffic signals to the roundabout to help cope with this issue but details are not yet available. The roundabout lies adjacent to the City boundary in Staffordshire. 3.6 Issues still to be resolved include:- Land transfer Lighting Drainage Sweeping and litter collection Grass Cutting and horticulture Maintenance agreements with adjacent authorities Highway limits Ensuring highway is up to standard prior detrunking. Winter maintenance Holding objections to the original order were also raised by Warwickshire C.C. and Staffordshire C.C. Further discussions are due to be held with the Highways Agency, Warwickshire County Council, Staffordshire County Council, Leisure and Culture to resolve outstanding issues. 4.0 MATTERS FOR DECISION Page 4 of 7 4.1 That the Cabinet Member gives approval that subject to the following conditions, the City Council withdraws its objection to the order: 1. a satisfactory agreement with the Highways Agency that all aspects of the highway, along with associated structures and services, are brought up to an agreed standard prior to handover, or that the Highways Agency makes available funding to enable any appropriate works to be carried out. 2. a satisfactory agreement with the Highways Agency to the transfer of ‘properties and liabilities’ upon the highway ceasing to be a trunk road. 5.0 EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS 5.1 The principle of de-trunking this route was set in the July 1998 Government report. The order may be accepted, as proposed. The alternative to the recommendation is to object to the published order. 6.0 CABINET MEMBER CONSULTATION 6.1 Not Applicable 7.0 WHAT CONSULTATION (if any) HAS TAKEN PLACE 7.1 Consultation has been undertaken by the Highways Agency. Copies of the draft Order and the plans referred to in it were available for inspection free of charge, during normal opening times, at:- The Highways Agency, Broad St, Birmingham, Birmingham City Council, Council House And in locations outside Birmingham Any person could object to the making of the Order not later than 11 th June 2004 or within 6 weeks from the date of the first publication of the Order. 8.0 WHAT REPRESENTATIONS (if any) HAVE BEEN RECEIVED E.G. IN RESPONSE TO THE INCLUSION OF THIS DECISION IN THE FORWARD PLAN 8.1 Not Applicable. 9.0 LEGAL POWERS AND IMPLICATIONS FOR RESOURCES (INCLUDE FINANCE, PEOPLE, PROPERTY AND IT CONSIDERATIONS) 9.1 The notice relating to the de-trunking order is given under sections 10 and 12 of the Highways Act 1980. Following de-trunking, Birmingham City Page 5 of 7 Council will have the duty to maintain parts of the A38 in accordance with Section 36 of the Highways Act 1980, taking over responsibility from the Highways Agency. 9.2 The Highways Act 1980 sets out in Section 265 the framework for the transfer of ‘property and liabilities’ upon a highway ceasing to be a trunk road. All liabilities incurred for the purposes of the function in relation to the highway and not discharged before the operative date, with the exception of loans and loan charges, will be transferred to the highway authority, with the following exceptions. There is not transferred any right or liability in respect of a) work done, services rendered, goods delivered, or money due for payment, before the operative date, or b) damages or compensation for any act or omission before that date, or c) the price of, or compensation for, any land purchased, or for which a contract to purchase has been concluded, before that date. The position regarding any other liabilities would need to be resolved prior to recommending that the City Council take over responsibility for the road length in question. 9.3 It is proposed that the agreements with the Highways Agency, together with the corresponding financial and legal implications will be brought to the Cabinet Member for Transportation and Street Services for approval. 9.4 De-trunking of the whole length of the A38 between Weeford, Staffordshire and Minworth, Birmingham will result in a consistent approach to the maintenance of the highway over a substantial length of the A38. This will result in a more consistent and predictable highway and hence safer route for users. 9.5 This proposed change to the City’s highway network will need to be taken into account in the proposed highways private finance initiative, especially in relation to the ring fenced highways account. 10.0 IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY PRIORTIES 10.1 Subject to a satisfactory agreement being reached on the transfer of responsibilities for this section of road, this proposal will enable the City Council to take responsibility for the maintenance of this key route into Birmingham. 10.2 This will contribute to raising the image of the City and support the flourishing neighbourhoods initiative. Page 6 of 7 11.0 ARE THE RECOMMENDATIONS IN THIS REPORT CONSISTENT WITH ANY APPROVED “POLICY FRAMEWORK” PLAN OR STRATEGY/OR THE APPROVED BUDGET 11.1 Support is contained for de-trunking within the Local Transport Plan. The City Council will gain greater control of its own network. 12.0 REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATIONS 12.1 To enable negotiations for maintenance responsibilities, etc., to take place between the Highways Agency, Birmingham C.C., Warwickshire C.C. and Staffordshire C.C., in order that the de-trunking programme can move forward. 13.0 BACKGROUND DOCUMENTS The A38 Trunk Road (Weeford, Staffordshire to Minworth, Birmingham) (Detrunking) Order 200 West Midlands Local Transport Plan 2003 Report to Cabinet Member for Transportation and Street Services 2 nd September 2003 Page 7 of 7 ------------------------------------------- David Bull Head of Transportation Strategy ------------------------------------------------- Chris Haynes Policy Manager -------------------------------------------------- Peter Garghan Accountancy Services Manager Originating Officer Phil Woodhouse Tel : 0121 303 7508 E- mail Phil.Woodhouse@birmingham.gov.uk DETRUNKING OF THE A38 FROM WEEFORD IN STAFFORDSHIRE TO MINWORTH IN BIRMINGHAM My decision is to adopt the recommendation(s) set out in this report. (Pages 1 to 7) ..................................................... CABINET MEMBER DATE: ..............................................
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