Agenda item - Old Town Transport Scheme (East Street)

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Agenda item

Old Town Transport Scheme (East Street)

Report of the Executive Director of Environment, Development & Housing (copy attached).



That the report be deferred to a future committee meeting to consider implementation of the scheme at weekends only on a trial basis.


45.1      The Committee considered a report of the Executive Director, Environment, Development & Housing that set out the objections received to the advertising of Traffic Regulation Orders in relation to the closing of a portion of East Street to traffic between 11am and 7pm each day and sought approval to proceed with the recommended Order.


45.2      The Project Manager noted that there was a typing error within appendix seven to the report that listed estimated additional vehicles using Little East Street on one occasion as 58 and another occasion as 57. The correct figure was in fact 85 as detailed in the main report.


45.3      Councillor Janio asked if it was accurate that all traffic using East Street would have to also use Little East Street.


45.4      The Project Manager clarified that the modelling forecast had demonstrated that all vehicles accessing East Street during its opening hours would continue to use East Street and others servicing the other areas of the Old Town would likely adapt their servicing times in order to access East Street. The remainder would exit via Little East Street but that figure would not represent the same figure as all traffic currently using East Street.


45.5      Councillor Theobald asked if consideration been given to the idea proposed in the public representation that closure be undertaken at weekends only.


45.6       The Project Manager clarified that consideration had not been consulted on as the scheme was focussed on trying to solve the issue of congestion for pedestrians in the very narrow carriageways prevalent in Old Town. Whilst pedestrian footfall in East Street and Little East Street was higher at weekends, there was also significant congestion during the week.


45.7      Councillor Davey commented that the closure of East Street was a long running issue and the scheme had undergone several consultations that had demonstrated a majority in favour as well as being scrutinised at a Public Inquiry. Councillor Davey stated that the element of the scheme already introduced in Ship Street had achieved an immediate benefit to pedestrians and traders using the area. Councillor Davey added that he hoped the recommendations could be supported and noted his belief that other cities across Europe cherished the heritage areas of their cities whereas Brighton & Hove’s was dominated by traffic. Councillor Davey supplemented that Brighton & Hove was not just a weekend location and such schemes had been very successful in other areas of the city. In addition, Councillor Davey stated that a cohesive scheme would allow a firmer basis to apply for funding for a superior pedestrianisation should that opportunity arise.


45.8      Councillor Mitchell stated that the Labour & Co-operative Group had previously opposed the scheme due to the number of objections from residents and business in the area and because a comprehensive plan for the area had never been proposed nor been consulted upon. Furthermore, Councillor Mitchell stated that the pedestrianisation of East Street had not been proposed as part of the original scheme had seemingly been included at the request of a minority of business owners in that specific area. Councillor Mitchell supplemented that throughout the various proposals, there had been a clear division between businesses located in the area as demonstrated by the contrasting public representations earlier in the meeting. Councillor Mitchell added that the scheme appeared a piecemeal approach and she was also very concerned about the impact of increased traffic through Little East Street. In addition, the Public Inquiry had raised concerns that had seemingly not been addressed and whilst her group could see the benefits of a pedestrianisation scheme in the area, there was no overwhelming support for the current proposals nor was there a cohesive plan and therefore her group could not support the recommendations.


45.9      The Chair noted that a consultation was conducted in summer 2012 in which 3,500 people were consulted and 580 responses received; the majority in favour.


45.10   Councillor Theobald stated that he felt it was a disappointment that a complete pedestrianisation scheme could not be carried out. Councillor Theobald noted the comments made in the public representation that requested a weekend scheme. Councillor Theobald stated that an incremental approach such as that might be a compromise and would be an adequate test of the scheme.


45.11   Councillor Janio stated that he was worried about the impact for Little East Street with increased traffic and associated safety of pedestrians.


45.12   The Chair stated that he found the transit of people from East Street toward the seafront as an important safety matter, one that had been resolved within the scheme and not currently existent.


45.13   Councillor Deane stated that she felt the Committee had an opportunity to make an area of the city that was currently congested and an area of huge conflict between vehicles and pedestrians into a safer, more cohesive route between the Pavilion and the seafront.


45.14   Councillor Robins noted his concern for the impact upon Little East Street and that such schemes should not be just about streamlining people in a certain direction.


45.15    Councillor Janio stated that whilst he supported pedestrianisation in principle, he would like to see a more comprehensive scheme which the current proposals were not.


45.16   Councillor Theobald stated that he wished to move an amendment that the scheme be similar to Gardener Street and implement the proposals on Saturday and Sunday’s as a test.


45.17   The Deputy Head of Law clarified that the suggested amendment would be a material change to the proposed scheme that had not been consulted upon and would require a further report to be considered by the Committee setting out what further actions would be required.


45.18   The Project Manager states that officers would need to review any safety implications arising from a weekend scheme as opposed to a full scheme. 


45.19   Councillor Theobald moved a motion to defer the report to a future meeting that would outline options for a weekend scheme.


45.20   The Chair seconded the motion.


45.21   The Chair then put the motion to the vote which passed.


45.22   RESOLVED- That the report be deferred to a future committee meeting to consider implementation of the scheme at weekends on a trial basis.

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