Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 11th September, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions

Contact: James Dearling  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members


There were no apologies for absence.



Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must not participate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.


If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.


There were no declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To confirm the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 10 July 2018.


The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 10 July 2018 were approved.



Modal Shift: Encouraging Sustainable Travel pdf icon PDF 421 KB

To consider the need for ‘Modal Shift’ in Guildford, how it will be achieved, and what might be learned by drawing on experience elsewhere.


The meeting will include a presentation and discussion with Dr Steve Melia from the University of the West of England.  Dr Melia lectures in transport and planning and has advised government departments on how to achieve more sustainable transport and helped with the transport planning of the London 2012 Olympic Park.


The Chairman introduced the item, welcoming the members of the public and inviting the Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Infrastructure and Governance to address the meeting.


The Deputy Leader of the Council and Lead Councillor for Infrastructure and Governance advised that, unusually for a non-unitary council, the Council designed and implemented many infrastructure and highways schemes itself.  He advised the meeting of the Council’s Major Projects team and the Council’s joint funding of posts and projects with partners. 


The Major Projects Portfolio Manager, Planning and Regeneration, gave a presentation illustrating the report submitted to the Committee.  The Committee was advised of the key drivers for modal shift, the policy context, and current and future modal shift initiatives in the Borough. 


Dr Steve Melia, senior lecturer in Transport and Planning at the University of the West of England, gave a presentation entitled ‘Modal Shift in a Context of Housing Expansion.’  He confirmed he would focus on general principles rather than the specifics of achieving modal shift in Guildford. 


Dr Melia indicated that many local authorities, including Guildford Borough Council, had high volumes of traffic and recurrent traffic congestion, with an expectation for the problem to worsen in the near future.  With reference to pressures to rapidly increase the housing stock, the Committee was advised of the ‘New Housing Effect’, whereby residents of newly built housing tend to own more cars and drive more than the general population. 


With reference to the concept of the Paradox of Intensification, Dr Melia explained that low density, spread out housing tended to generate more traffic per dwelling than high-density, compact housing.  He stated that high-density housing generated less traffic but also increased the concentration of traffic and localised congestion.  The Committee was advised that actions to remove traffic were necessary to address the congestion caused by high density developments. 


Dr Melia suggested that current national policies of building or widening roads neglected evidence concerning induced additional traffic.  With reference to his current research interviewing former government ministers for transport, Dr Melia indicated that a well-established consequence of building or widening roads was to induce additional traffic.  He indicated that increasing road capacity would not mitigate the problems, rather it would make them worse.  The Committee was advised that traffic increased to fill the driving space created by new roads and that recent research suggested this increase was greater than traffic models forecast. 


Dr Melia suggested traffic models were not useful for predicting impacts on traffic networks over time.  The Committee was advised that traffic models were calibrated on past behaviour and were misleading if used to predict impacts other than short-term tactical issues.  He advised the Committee members to be sceptical of traffic models forecasting impacts over decades.


Next, Dr Melia referred to some myths around urban transport.  He suggested the evidence for roads and airports bringing an economic boost was unconvincing and the notion that cheap, high quality public transport alone would solve traffic congestion was incorrect. 


Dr Melia referred  ...  view the full minutes text for item OS20


Overview and Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 119 KB

To agree the draft Overview and Scrutiny work programme.


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PUBLIC PARTICIPATION: Speaking at Meetings


In accordance with the Council’s Public Speaking Procedure Rules, members of the public wishing to speak are requested to advise the Scrutiny Manager in writing by 12 noon on Monday 10 September.


Speakers are advised to declare any current or prospective financial or personal interest they may have in the subject.


Speeches can be up to three minutes duration or longer at the chairman’s discretion and Councillors will be able to ask questions of the public speakers.


There is normally a maximum of 6 speakers on any one agenda item.

Additional documents:


The Committee considered a report setting out the Overview and Scrutiny work programme for the period 2018-19.


The Chairman advised the meeting of a change to the work programme; namely, that the Committee would consider the report of the Food Poverty task and finish group in November 2018 and the establishment of a task and finish group to review Supporting the Borough’s Elderly in October 2018.