Present: John Metcalf (Chair), Roger Bangs (Spokes), Ian Gregory (WelHatCycling, Minutes), Carol Brazier (South Herts CTC), Steve Brazier (South Herts CTC), Odette Carter (Hertfordshire County Council)
Apologies for absence: Chris Whitehouse, John Shead, Tina Filby
Introductions: Odette Carter is Strategy and Programme Manager covering Watford & Three Rivers
Minutes of meeting held 19th April 2016 were approved
Regarding vegetation management, there was an article in Herts Advertiser (2016-08-18) about concerns over a rundown path adjacent to Hatfield Road near Lyon Way. A resident had complained that overhanging vegetation was forcing pedestrians almost into the road. Ringway said the path had been inspected and that "no defects requiring immediate attention have been identified".
County Council Changes in Personnel
Odette Carter is Strategy and Programme Manager covering Watford & Three Rivers, taking a lead on cycling issues. Odette agreed to attend the meeting to meet members and answer questions - she arrived by bike.
The first thing Odette made clear is that she is not a "cycling officer" and that she deals with wider issues within Highways. She claimed that having one person working full time on cycling would lead to a lack of integration, so unlike some other county councils Hertfordshire does not have a cycling officer. CycleHerts members seem to agree that having a dedicated cycling officer is an important part of promoting cycling and looking after the interests of cyclists so this was a disappointment.
Odette was asked to outline the HCC "organisational chart" as it applies to cycling. She gave some details but they were not minuted very well and rather than propagate any errors Odette agreed to write something up for us which will be sent out to our mailing list when it is ready.
RB asked Odette about the Hertfordshire Cycling Forum and she said that one is being planned to take place in September or October. JM asked about submitting suggestions for topics to cover but Odette made it clear that it would be the council setting the agenda. Fortunately she indicated that the subject could be HCC's "Roads in Hertfordshire" design standards, which is something we want to look at anyway (see item 7). IG asked that these meetings be minuted and that the minutes be made available online (the only past meeting for which minutes seem to be available was December 10th 2009, chaired by David Andrews).
IG asked more generally about cycling on the HCC website, claiming that information was poorly organised and difficult to find. Odette said that there is a lot of work going on to rationalise/redesign the website, associated with its move from hertsdirect.org to hertfordshire.gov.uk (note that there is a "Try new website" link on hertfordshire.gov.uk). Unfortunately cycling is well down on the priority list for the website team.
Odette was asked about fault reporting. She urged people not to report faults to her because she would just have to log them using the online HCC highway fault reporting system which people can use directly themselves. There was some discussion about how the system does not make it easy to report faults on cycleways.
One specific issue raised was the lack of a safe crossing of the A405 south of the Noke hotel at the junction of Noke Lane and Lye Lane. Unfortunately there seems to be no prospect of this being addressed even though it seems a prime candidate for "cycle-proofing".
The Cyclenation/CyclingUK campaigners conference will take place on Saturday 19th November in St Albans. The cost last year was £25 and it is expected to be about the same this year. Volunteers will be needed to help on the day.
We intended to discuss possible revision of HCC's Roads in Hertfordshire design standards again, but Odette indicated that this could be the topic of a forthcoming Hertfordshire Cycling Forum so the item was skipped.
Maintenance of cycletracks and shared use footways
Vegetation management is an ongoing issue with little progress being made.
Local Plan consultations
The draft of the Welwyn Hatfield Local Plan is set to be published for eight weeks of consultation from Tuesday 30th August. There will be a number of consultation events, starting with one on Wednesday 31st August at Green Lanes Primary School in Hatfield (15:30 to 19:30). It was agreed that members of WelHatCycling should note any aspects of the plan that impinge on cycling in St Albans and keep STACC informed.
The St Albans Local Plan is now at the detailed stage and again, any issues which impinge on cycling in Welwyn Hatfield should be communicated to WelHatCycling.
Finally, Watford Borough Council is preparing Local Plan Part 2 and members of Spokes should be monitoring that for cycling issues.
HCC cycling schemes
Odette was asked about HCC cycling schemes and schemes with a cycling element. She couldn't give a list but referred us to the 2016/2017 Integrated Works Program.
Space for Cycling campaign
Rona Wightman sent round a 22 page document outlining where better space for cycling is needed in St Albans City and District. The document, prepared by STACC and dated May 2016 was sent out to County Councillors representing wards in St Albans District earlier this month.
Forthcoming meetings and events
Tom Guha of CyclingUK is currently organising a Space for Cycling roadshow in London to to engage with campaigners in the South East. It is planned to be on a Saturday at some point between October 15th and Christmas.
Odette said that Nick Truran would be the person to ask about any events following on from the Tour of Hertfordshire.
As mentioned under item 6, the Cyclenation/CyclingUK conference will take place on Saturday 19th November in St Albans.
Reports on meetings and events
Nothing to report
No income or expenditure since last meeting
Any other business
IG pointed out that this meeting was flagged as an AGM on the website but was not announced as such - it was agreed to make the next meeting an AGM.
IG suggested that by the next meeting we should fix dates for our 2017 meetings. These could presumably continue to be held at Hatfield Fire Station but there was a desire to hold at least one at St Albans council offices - Action JM and IG
Dates of future meetings
Tuesday 1st November, 7pm at Hatfield Fire Station