Vehicle crossover (VCO) related matters

Mr E Ridout made this Freedom of Information request to West Sussex County Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear West Sussex County Council FOI officer,

I should like to request answers to all the following questions and be provided with electronic copies of the materials I have requested. I intend to use the information provided to inform my input into the upcoming 2019 review of the WSCC Integrated Parking Strategy as well as upcoming national consultations on a variety of highways related matters.

Please note I frequently refer to ‘WSCC’ which I am using as a catch-all name for all branches of West Sussex County Council including West Sussex Highways.

Thank you for your help.

Integrated Parking Strategy:

• According to the September 2014 key decision to activate the revised WSCC Integrated Parking Strategy, policies on dropped kerbs and vehicle crossovers (VCOs) were recommended to be added as an addendum to the strategy document by September 2015 subject to cabinet member approval. Did the cabinet member approve this addendum and are WSCC’s current VCO licence rules now covered in this strategy?

• The only version of this strategy I have located online is version 2.1, an appendix to the September 2014 key decision document. I am unable to locate any other versions so please could I be provided with the latest version (dated) if this is more recent?

Decision to change VCO driveway depth rule to 4.8m minimum:

• What date (month and year at least) did WSCC activate the firm rule that driveways need to be at least 4.8m between an existing home’s building and the footway to qualify for a VCO licence?

• Was the decision to introduce this rule change a ‘key decision’ (as defined by the WSCC Constitution) / component of a key decision and what was the decision date? Was it called-in?

• If the aforementioned rule change was part of a review of WSCC vehicle crossing policy, please could that review report be shared with me or is it not held?

• If the aforementioned rule change was not a key decision / component of a key decision, what sort of decision was it as per the WSCC Constitution?

• If the decision was published on the website (I have tried and failed to locate it), please could the corresponding ‘printed decision’ / decision details and associated background papers be provided?

• According to WSCC’s Constitution: Responsibility for Functions appendix 4, all officer decisions must be recorded and the record retained for audit purposes. That record must include the following (which also form part of the prescribed template for published decisions): The scope and effect of the decision; The date of the decision and the date it took effect; The resource (including staff) and relevant budget implications; The consultation or advice taken into account; The risk assessment applied. Please could this record and all its components covering the aforementioned VCO driveway depth rule change be provided? Or is this information not held?

• Referring to the last question above, on what basis is this information not held if that is the case?

• What specifically were consultees asked in writing by WSCC about the rule change or was nobody consulted about this externally?

• Please could all recorded feedback by consultees about the aforementioned rule change be shared with me?

• Please could you confirm if this rule change was publicised or not by WSCC in the media and on WSCC’s website? If it was publicised, please could the corresponding WSCC press notice(s), news article(s) and public notice(s) mentioning this rule change be shared with me?

• Were estate agents and residential vehicle access contractors, two obvious stakeholder groups, informed directly by WSCC about this rule change? How were they informed directly?

VCO guidance content:

• WSCC has already told me it is not a coincidence that so many highways authorities have adopted similar driveway depth rules in their VCO guidance. Whilst I acknowledge that the driveway depth criteria commonly found in VCO guidance by highways authorities across England is often based on parking space dimensions in Manual for Streets by the Department for Transport, this document does not instruct local highways authorities to use these parking space dimensions when setting their VCO eligibility criteria so which body has specifically advised/recommended WSCC to do this?

• If different to the answer to the last question, which body sets the industry standard VCO driveway size eligibility criteria that WSCC adopted?

Street inspections:

• From the date the WSCC VCO guidance was first changed to include a firm 4.8m driveway depth rule to today, please could you provide the Street Section History: Inspection reports (‘report type: assessment’) for all sections of Swindon Road in Horsham (in case it helps, I believe the index keys of these in your Street Report system are: 17601128D142/805, 17601128D142/810, 17601128D142/815 and 17601128D142/820)?

• From the date the WSCC VCO guidance was first changed to include a firm 4.8m driveway depth rule to today, please could you provide the Street History report documenting condition survey, maintenance management and street works for all sections of Swindon Road in Horsham?

• From the date the WSCC VCO guidance was first changed to include a firm 4.8m driveway depth rule to today, please could you provide the Street History: Customer Service report for all sections of Swindon Road in Horsham?

• If you do not hold the street history information requested above dating from as far back as the date the VCO guidance was first changed to include a firm 4.8m driveway depth rule, please could you provide this information from as far back as the system the information is held in allows you to?

Yours faithfully,

Mr E Ridout

Freedom of Information Act,

Dear Mr Ridout,

Thank you for your enquiry, which has been forwarded to the appropriate officers for a response. The usual timescale for a response is twenty working days, that is by or on 21st November.

If for any reason the Council needs to extend this timescale you will be notified in accordance with the relevant legislation.

Please note that in 2012 the County Council adopted a position in principle that FoI and EIR requests to West Sussex County Council and the Council's responses may be published on the Council's website in a suitably anonymised form. This is in addition to the individual response to the requestor, and in line with the Council's commitment to transparency and open data.

Yours sincerely,

Kerry Rickman

Freedom Of Information, Communities Directorate | West Sussex County Council | Location: County Hall, Chichester PO19 1RQ | E-mail: [email address]

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CI Group FOI,

4 Attachments

Ref: 3000702/1081098

 

Dear Mr Ridout

 

I refer to your request dated 23rd October 2018 which has been dealt with
under the Freedom of Information Act.

 

Your request related to Vehicle Crossovers.

 

We have now completed a search for the information which you requested and
confirm that this Authority holds some data relevant to your request.

I am now able to respond to you with the following:

 

•             According to the September 2014 key decision to activate the
revised WSCC Integrated Parking Strategy, policies on dropped kerbs and
vehicle crossovers (VCOs) were recommended to be added as an addendum to
the strategy document by September 2015 subject to cabinet member
approval. Did the cabinet member approve this addendum – Yes and are
WSCC’s current VCO licence rules now covered in this strategy?  - see
attached document

 

•             The only version of this strategy I have located online is
version 2.1, an appendix to the September 2014 key decision document. I am
unable to locate any other versions so please could I be provided with the
latest version (dated) if this is more recent?  - See attached document

 

Decision to change VCO driveway depth rule to 4.8m minimum:

 

•             What date (month and year at least) did WSCC activate the
firm rule that driveways need to be at least 4.8m between an existing
home’s building and the footway to qualify for a VCO licence?  - January
2018

 

•             Was the decision to introduce this rule change a ‘key
decision’ (as defined by the WSCC Constitution) / component of a key
decision and what was the decision date? Was it called-in?  - No, was not
a key decision.

 

•             If the aforementioned rule change was part of a review of
WSCC vehicle crossing policy, please could that review report be shared
with me or is it not held?  -  No report was produced.

 

•             If the aforementioned rule change was not a key decision /
component of a key decision, what sort of decision was it as per the WSCC
Constitution? -   It was an amendment to a working practice that changed a
recommended minimum depth measurement to a required minimum depth
measurement.

 

•             If the decision was published on the website (I have tried
and failed to locate it), please could the corresponding ‘printed
decision’ / decision details and associated background papers be provided?
-  This was not published on the website, but the amended guidance was.

 

•             According to WSCC’s Constitution: Responsibility for
Functions appendix 4, all officer decisions must be recorded and the
record retained for audit purposes. That record must include the following
(which also form part of the prescribed template for published decisions):
The scope and effect of the decision; The date of the decision and the
date it took effect; The resource (including staff) and relevant budget
implications; The consultation or advice taken into account; The risk
assessment applied. Please could this record and all its components
covering the aforementioned VCO driveway depth rule change be provided? Or
is this information not held?  - Information not recorded and therefore
not held.

 

•             Referring to the last question above, on what basis is this
information not held if that is the case?  -  It was not a key decision.

 

•             What specifically were consultees asked in writing by WSCC
about the rule change or was nobody consulted about this externally?  - No
external consultation undertaken, internal officers and cabinet member
informally consulted.

 

•             Please could all recorded feedback by consultees about the
aforementioned rule change be shared with me?  -  Nothing recorded, verbal
feedback.

 

•             Please could you confirm if this rule change was publicised
or not by WSCC in the media and on WSCC’s website? If it was publicised,
please could the corresponding WSCC press notice(s), news article(s) and
public notice(s) mentioning this rule change be shared with me?  - Not
publicised.

 

•             Were estate agents and residential vehicle access
contractors, two obvious stakeholder groups, informed directly by WSCC
about this rule change? How were they informed directly?   - Webpage
guidance was updated in January 2018 as above.  Anyone applying at that
stage would have had access to this guidance.

 

VCO guidance content:

 

•             WSCC has already told me it is not a coincidence that so
many highways authorities have adopted similar driveway depth rules in
their VCO guidance. Whilst I acknowledge that the driveway depth criteria
commonly found in VCO guidance by highways authorities across England is
often based on parking space dimensions in Manual for Streets by the
Department for Transport, this document does not instruct local highways
authorities to use these parking space dimensions when setting their VCO
eligibility criteria so which body has specifically advised/recommended
WSCC to do this?  - This was a WSCC decision to use this guidance as best
practice.

 

•             If different to the answer to the last question, which body
sets the industry standard VCO driveway size eligibility criteria that
WSCC adopted?  - N/A

 

Street inspections:

 

•             From the date the WSCC VCO guidance was first changed to
include a firm 4.8m driveway depth rule to today, please could you provide
the Street Section History: Inspection reports (‘report type: assessment’)
for all sections of Swindon Road in Horsham (in case it helps, I believe
the index keys of these in your Street Report system are:
17601128D142/805, 17601128D142/810, 17601128D142/815 and
17601128D142/820)?  - See attached Street History Report

 

•             From the date the WSCC VCO guidance was first changed to
include a firm 4.8m driveway depth rule to today, please could you provide
the Street History report documenting condition survey, maintenance
management and street works for all sections of Swindon Road in Horsham? 
- See attached Street History Report

 

•             From the date the WSCC VCO guidance was first changed to
include a firm 4.8m driveway depth rule to today, please could you provide
the Street History: Customer Service report for all sections of Swindon
Road in Horsham?  - See attached Customer Service Report

 

•             If you do not hold the street history information requested
above dating from as far back as the date the VCO guidance was first
changed to include a firm 4.8m driveway depth rule, please could you
provide this information from as far back as the system the information is
held in allows you to? 

         

 

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The information that has been redacted from the disclosed material
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applying the exemption in S40(2) Freedom of Information Act 2000. 
Disclosure would be unfair and unlawful as none of the conditions in
Article 6 GDPR is met.

 

If you have any queries about any of this information, please contact me.

If you are unhappy with the way your request has been handled, you may
wish to ask for a review of our decision via the ‘FOI inbox’. 

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you may
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Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

Yours sincerely

Paula Buckland

CI Group FOI

Highways

 

  

 

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Dear CI Group FOI / Ms Buckland,

Thank you for your prompt FOI response.

However, my FOI request asked when WSCC introduced its rule that a minimum of 4.8 metres is required between the front of a house and the footway to be eligible for a dropped kerb (I’ll refer to it as ‘the 4.8m rule’ from now on) and you answered, ‘January 2018’. I’m afraid I have reason to believe you are wrong about that date. If I am right, please could you revise your response because most of the information I asked for was covering a time frame that dates back to whenever ‘the 4.8m rule’ was actually introduced. By providing information only going back to January 2018, the response does not satisfy my needs or the requirements of the FOI Act.

In March 2018, one of your highways officers emailed my wife a PDF copy of the WSCC VCO guidance which he described as the ‘current version’ (a newer version is now on your website). It includes ‘the 4.8m rule’. It also includes metadata that reveals this document was last modified by WSCC in April 2016. It stands to reason that ‘the 4.8m rule’ is at least this old. Maybe it even pre-dates this edition of the guidance?

By providing me with the wrong date that ‘the 4.8m rule’ was introduced, you have consequently provided me with incomplete information throughout the rest of your response (like the street reports that only cover 2018). I am unsure if the other information you provided is right because I don’t know if you were looking far enough back in time when answering my other requests. For example, I asked if the rule change was publicised. You said ‘no’ in your response but how do I know you checked far back enough in time to when ‘the 4.8m rule’ was actually introduced?

It would be appreciated when you send your revised response that you confirm that all your answers and provided documents are correct throughout the response.

Please could you advise on when your revised response is likely to be sent by? Does the original deadline you provided still stand?

Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Mr E Ridout

CI Group FOI,

Ref: 300702/1081098

 

Dear Mr Ridout

 

Thank you for your email and I apologise for the delay in responding.  The
original deadline would not stand for this further request as your
original FOI has been answered.

 

Your questions:-

 

My FOI request asked when WSCC introduced its rule that a minimum of 4.8
metres is required between the front of a house and the footway to be
eligible for a dropped kerb (I’ll refer to it as ‘the 4.8m rule’ from now
on) and you answered, ‘January 2018’. I’m afraid I have reason to believe
you are wrong about that date. If I am right, please could you revise your
response because most of the information I asked for was covering a time
frame that dates back to whenever ‘the 4.8m rule’ was actually introduced.
By providing information only going back to January 2018, the response
does not satisfy my needs or the requirements of the FOI Act. -  The
reference to 4.8m depth has been in the guidance since its introduction in
2015.  The 4.8m element changed from a recommendation to a requirement in
January 2018.  As far as we aware, Mr Ridout was interested only in when
the 4.8m became a minimum requirement and hence the dates provided were
correct in that respect.

 

In March 2018, one of your highways officers emailed my wife a PDF copy of
the WSCC VCO guidance which he described as the ‘current version’ (a newer
version is now on your website). It includes ‘the 4.8m rule’. It also
includes metadata that reveals this document was last modified by WSCC in
April 2016. It stands to reason that ‘the 4.8m rule’ is at least this old.
Maybe it even pre-dates this edition of the guidance?  - As above, it was
not a requirement in previous versions and the applicant would have been
asked to prove that their current vehicle fitted within the space.  This
was changed due to instances of subsequent vehicles overhanging the space
and obstructing the highway as a result.

 

By providing me with the wrong date that ‘the 4.8m rule’ was introduced,
you have consequently provided me with incomplete information throughout
the rest of your response (like the street reports that only cover 2018).
I am unsure if the other information you provided is right because I don’t
know if you were looking far enough back in time when answering my other
requests. For example, I asked if the rule change was publicised. You said
‘no’ in your response but how do I know you checked far back enough in
time to when ‘the 4.8m rule’ was actually introduced? - The document was
only ever published on our website before which any changes/amendments had
been agreed.

 

 

Yours sincerely

Paula Buckland

CI Group FOI

 

 

 

Dear CI Group FOI / Ms Buckland,

 

Thank you for your prompt FOI response.

 

However, my FOI request asked when WSCC introduced its rule that a minimum
of 4.8 metres is required between the front of a house and the footway to
be eligible for a dropped kerb (I’ll refer to it as ‘the 4.8m rule’ from
now on) and you answered, ‘January 2018’. I’m afraid I have reason to
believe you are wrong about that date. If I am right, please could you
revise your response because most of the information I asked for was
covering a time frame that dates back to whenever ‘the 4.8m rule’ was
actually introduced. By providing information only going back to January
2018, the response does not satisfy my needs or the requirements of the
FOI Act.

 

In March 2018, one of your highways officers emailed my wife a PDF copy of
the WSCC VCO guidance which he described as the ‘current version’ (a newer
version is now on your website). It includes ‘the 4.8m rule’. It also
includes metadata that reveals this document was last modified by WSCC in
April 2016. It stands to reason that ‘the 4.8m rule’ is at least this old.
Maybe it even pre-dates this edition of the guidance?

 

By providing me with the wrong date that ‘the 4.8m rule’ was introduced,
you have consequently provided me with incomplete information throughout
the rest of your response (like the street reports that only cover 2018).
I am unsure if the other information you provided is right because I don’t
know if you were looking far enough back in time when answering my other
requests. For example, I asked if the rule change was publicised. You said
‘no’ in your response but how do I know you checked far back enough in
time to when ‘the 4.8m rule’ was actually introduced?

 

It would be appreciated when you send your revised response that you
confirm that all your answers and provided documents are correct
throughout the response.

 

Please could you advise on when your revised response is likely to be sent
by? Does the original deadline you provided still stand?

 

Thank you in advance.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mr E Ridout

 

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Mr E Ridout left an annotation ()

I wrote a follow up FOI request with tweaked wording and between that one and this one I received the information I wanted. It's here: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/v...