Agenda item - Public Involvement

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Agenda item

Public Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:

 

(a)          Petitions: To receive any petitions presented by members of the public;

 

(i)           Traffic Calming on Bristol Gardens

 

(b)         Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 20 November 2019;

 

(c)          Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 20 November 2019.

Minutes:

(A)         PETITIONS

 

(i)           Traffic Calming Bristol Gardens

 

45.1      The Committee considered a petition signed by 70 people requesting the installation of traffic calming measures on Bristol Gardens to prevent motorists using the road as a rat run.

 

45.2      The Chair provided the following response:

 

“We are currently reviewing the junction of Bristol Gardens with Whitehawk Road as part of our high-risk sites programme. Whilst the current investigation is focused on the junction, one of the options being considered is the closure of Bristol Gardens to motorised vehicles at the eastern end. We are still at the data collection stage but once a way forward has been identified we will consult local residents and ward councillors on the details. The information supplied as part of this petition is very useful to these investigations and will be considered seriously as part of this process. Our intention is to carry out a consultation in spring of next year”.

 

45.3      RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.

 

(B)         WRITTEN QUESTIONS

 

(i)           Park & Ride

 

45.4      On behalf of Derek Wright, Councillor Fishleigh put the following question:

 

In the last local elections both the Labour and Conservatives said they would introduce a Park and Ride. Bearing in mind that a term in office is four years can the Chair tell me if any progress has been made in finding a site, funding the project and do we have a time line?”

 

45.5      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The city council has declared a climate emergency and declared an ambitious commitment to make the city carbon-neutral by 2030 and recognises that transport is a major source of carbon emissions.

2030 is only 11 years away so we do have to move quickly, especially with major or significant strategic projects that have long lead-in times but would bring significant benefits to the city in many ways when implemented alongside other measures. 

Our focus since the elections of May 2019 has been upon establishing the 2030 carbon neutral programme and cross-party member Board. A report on that will be presented to P&R Committee on 5 December 2019.

We will be developing a new Transport Strategy as part of a new Local Transport Plan to help us decide what the city needs, and by when, to make it safe, accessible, sustainable and future-proofed. 

This will be progressed through consultation and engagement with the city and its partners, starting early next year, and by working with large employers and the business and tourism sectors and will include consideration of a number of transport projects that will contribute to becoming carbon neutral including Park & Ride.  I do hope that you and many others will be participating in that process and will give us your views”.

 

45.6      Councillor Fishleigh asked the following supplementary question:

 

“Are you able to set aside money in next year’s budget for a Park & Ride?”

 

45.7      On behalf of the Chair, the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture provided the following reply:

 

“I think it’s premature to set aside budget. The process would be to first, review the local transport strategy as the Chair has outlined. Once that strategy is agreed then the Local Transport Plan budget would be agreed by this committee which is how the capital funding would be allocated to each of those projects. So, at this stage, we don’t know which of those projects would be funded and it would be a decision for this committee to make”.

 

(ii)          Valley Gardens Task & Finish Group

 

45.8      Serena Burt put the following question:

 

“Can the Chair confirm that the Valley Gardens Forum will be a permanent member of the Task and Finish Group which is in the process of being set up - and as a key stakeholder will have oversight over phase 3 from this point onwards until completion?”

 

45.9      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your question Serena.

I expect that your question has been prompted by my response to the Deputation that you presented to the council last month, when I referred to this cross-party group and how it will include stakeholders in its meetings and discussions.  We very much recognise that the Valley Gardens Forum is one of those stakeholders.

The meetings of the cross-party Member Task and Finish Group for Valley Gardens will involve stakeholders, and the councillors who will have the oversight over the Valley Gardens project will be finalising how the group will operate over the next few weeks by working with officers.  This will include setting themes for discussion and will therefore determine the relevant stakeholders who be invited to attend each meeting. We will not be taking an approach of inviting all stakeholders to all meetings of the Task & Finish Group, but we will invite stakeholders to those meetings that it is relevant for them to attend.   I expect that the first meeting will be able to take place early in the New Year, and we will ensure that invitations and agendas are sent out in good time to give prior notice to invitees. 

The principles of how the group will work are set out in the Terms of Reference that were considered and agreed at the October meeting of this committee.

As part of the ongoing development of the detailed design of the Phase 3 layout approved by this committee in February this year, I can also give you a further assurance that the Forum will be invited to one of a number of stakeholder workshops that will be arranged in due course”.

 

(iii)        Environmental Impact Assessment

 

45.10   Adrian Hart put the following question:

 

“I'm puzzled as to how or why the Chair could state at Full Council that a thorough Environmental Impact Assessment in line with EU Directive 2014/52/EU is not necessary and would not be carried out.   Even if you are convinced that there is no legal obligation - which incidentally our advice contradicts - is there not a moral obligation to calm public concerns by commissioning such a study?”

 

45.11   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your question Adrian, and for referring to my response to the Notice of Motion that was presented by Councillor Miller and discussed by the council last month.  The response I gave at that meeting is part of the papers for this committee so I won’t repeat it word for word, but I will confirm again that the project was properly screened for environmental assessment and there is a technical note available on the council’s website about it which should provide those people who are concerned about potential impacts and reassurance that that they are not expected to be significant and cause harm.  

We do take this matter very seriously and, as I said last month, we will continue to review this throughout the detailed design process and it will be monitored during and after construction.  If that identifies that is forecast to change from what we already know, then we will take appropriate action immediately as we would with any other project.

I am not able to comment on any advice that you may have sought about legal obligations, but if you would like to send it to our Executive Director, and our Head of Legal Services, then we can look at it and provide you with a further response”. 

 

45.12   Adrian Hart asked the following supplementary question:

 

“If, by substantially increasing congestion on the eastern side, the Administration knowingly allow an increase in NO2 and PM2.5 within the declared AMQA in full violation of the NPPF City Plan policy SU9, are you aware you may be exposing both the council and councillors who refuse an EIA to a corporate and personal liability claim in the event of a successful legal challenge?”

 

45.13   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“I can only repeat what I just said. If that design process identifies anything that is forecast to change from what we already know, then we will take appropriate action immediately as we would with any other project”.

 

(iv)        Environmental Impact Assessment

 

45.14   Paul Crawford put the following question:

 

“It is now formally accepted that VG3 represents low value for money; but the LEP justified funding VG3 because withholding funding would negate the benefits predicted for phases one and two. In my opinion, those benefits are just made-up numbers concerning things that would probably happen anyway: such as growth in knowledge sector employment and commercial floor space.  But acknowledging this and with an inevitably negative EIA outcome the whole scheme's potentially disastrous effects on the City and its economy would become obvious and inescapable. Is this really why this Council is afraid of an Environmental Impact Assessment?”

 

45.15   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your question Paul. 

The Local Enterprise Partnership has conducted a thorough assessment of the council’s Business Case for Phase 3 of the Valley Gardens project, which has included publication of all its supporting documentation, including an independent review.  It concluded that project should be approved for funding, which we are very pleased to have achieved.

Similarly, all of the council’s technical background information relating to this project, including the Review of Environmental Impacts technical note, has been published on our website. 

As I have just said in response to the previous question from Adrian Hart, we will continue to keep these matters all under review through the development of the design and before and after construction”.

 

45.16   Paul Crawford asked the following supplementary question:

 

“By refusing to conduct an environmental impact assessment, the council is wilfully excluding the economic cost of the increased pollution that will be caused by this congestion. Why?”

 

45.17   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“I can only repeat what I’ve just said, that all of the council’s technical background information relating to this project, including the Review of Environmental Impacts technical note, has been published on our website”.

 

(C)         DEPUTATIONS

 

(i)           Veolia Waste Transfer Site

 

45.18   The Committee considered a deputation that asked a series of questions about the Veolia Waste Transfer site fire.

 

45.19   The Chair provided the following response:

 

“(1) Emergency Access Contingencies: Are contingencies for emergency access to the site now under review? Does the Council take a view about whether Veolia should have staff on site overnight?

Veolia currently have CCTV Remote Monitoring of the Waste Transfer Station overnight.

The council is reviewing procedures with Veolia regarding waste and street collections dropped at the Waste Transfer Station in the evenings, in order to reduce the risk of combustion.

The Fire Service is able to gain access to the site using the keys in the Premises Information Box. However, on 25 August, they simply cut the lock on the gate to gain access.

Veolia are also working with the Fire Service with a view to improving fire detection technology at the Waste Transfer Station.

 

(2) Sprinkler System: Is there to be a review of adequacy and effectiveness of the sprinkler system?

The Hollingdean Integrated Waste Facility consists of three separate buildings, the Materials Recovery Facility, the Waste Transfer Station and the Visitor Centre. The fire was in the Waste Transfer Station. The Materials Recovery Facility has a fully automatic sprinkler system. The Waste Transfer Station and Visitor Centre have smoke and fire detection only.

Veolia are working with us, East Sussex County Council, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and the Environment Agency to identify the best approach to preventing and controlling fires in the Waste Transfer Station. Sprinkler systems are being considered as part of this review along with other methods of fire prevention, early detection and fire suppression.

that is assessed as having an increased fire risk, it will be placed in the Bay. In addition, material storage within the Waste Transfer Station has been reviewed and additional fire-break walls installed.

 

(3) Smoke Inhalation Residents would like more information about the materials burnt during the fire and ask for a robust assessment of the risks to public health posed by smoke inhalation from the fires at this WTS.

The materials in the Waste Transfer Station were non-hazardous standard waste from streets and seafront waste bins.

Public Health England consulted the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards for advice. They recommended that with no ongoing exposure, no further public health action (including data collection) was recommended.

The Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards reviewed the modelling of the plume obtained from Met Office. This indicated it is likely that the plume passed over Preston Park. They reviewed historical Air Quality Monitoring data from the monitoring station at Preston Park. The station doesn’t monitor particulates but does record nitrogen oxide, which is a marker for potential pollution from the fire. Nothing of concern was identified as there were no recorded exceedances of hourly nitrogen oxide targets after the fire.

It is likely that there will have been respiratory health effects of short-term exposure to smoke, but these would usually resolve within a few days. The advice was that this should be clinically managed and did not require public health action.

 

(4) Communication at the time of the fire: Will there be a review of emergency communication contingency plans?

On the evening the fire occurred, the incident was managed by East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service as the fire experts and the lead for public protection and public communications in this situation.

The council sought advice from Public Health England and they agreed the Fire Service approach with regards to public health safety, which was to advise residents via social media to keep windows closed as a precaution.

The council and other agencies have learned from this event and will take a more proactive approach in terms of communications and follow up with residents in the unlikely event of a future fire.

There will be a lessons learned review when all of the investigations are completed and communications will be included as part of this.

 

(5) Communication about the Investigation: What external (non-Veolia) scrutiny of the investigation has been put in place given the potential risks to public health and safety? How will findings be shared? What’s the expected timeframe? What’s the latest information about the public meeting scheduled with Veolia?

 

The investigations to date by the various parties have focused on the cause of the fire and the immediate actions required to enable the Waste Transfer Station to resume operations.

The council, Veolia, and East Sussex County Council have agreed to establish a joint project group to review what measures can be taken to enhance fire prevention and control above and beyond current measures. The scope will cover not just Hollingdean Waste Transfer Station, but also other major waste facilities in Brighton & Hove and East Sussex. This will draw in expertise from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, the Environment Agency and external consultancy as appropriate.

We anticipate being able to feedback early in the New Year.

 

(6) Passing of complaints between the Environment Agency and BHCC: Round Hill residents would like a review of the system of passing complaints between the Environment Agency and the BHCC Environment Team. Why don’t local officers have accurate and up-to-date data on the nature and volume of complaints about the rotting smells and noise from the Veolia site?

As the lead for the contract management, East Sussex County Council receives copies of complaints from Veolia on a monthly basis as part of the contract monitoring arrangements. This will include complaints about odour. East Sussex addresses all complaints raised with Veolia.

 

(7) Suitability and safety of the site location: In the wake of the range of issues brought to attention by this latest fire at the WTS, we would like the Council to review the suitability and safety of locating a facility for handling local household waste and other waste imported from elsewhere within this densely-populated residential setting.

The area has been an active waste site for over 100 years. It is managed in line with Environment Agency standards and Veolia’s Permit from the Environment Agency and would not be able to continue to operate if considered to be unsafe and unsuitable“.

 

45.20   Councillor West expressed his disappointment that a letter to the committee from Councillor Osborne had not been accepted as late. Councillor West stated that a number of residents had reported health effects relating to the fire and one had been taken to hospital. Councillor West stated that communication with residents on the night of the fire was not effective and many had to rely upon social media for information and updates that was not suitable in the circumstance. Councillor West added that it had been left to the residents of Nettleton & Dudeney blocks to organise a public meeting and there had been no attempt by the council or Veolia to do so. Councillor West noted that there had been two fires in two years at the site and this raised serious questions about whether the site should be located in Hollingdean, in a residential area.

 

45.21   On behalf of the Green Group, Councillor West moved a motion to call for an officer report on the matters raised in the deputation.

 

45.22   Councillor Lloyd formally seconded the motion.

 

45.23   Councillor Wares stated he believed it would be worth doublechecking that the Waste Transfer site was in the correct location and therefore, would agree to the motion proposed by Councillor West. Councillor Wares stated that review should be undertaken by an independent agent to Veolia and the council and assess the correct procedures and plans were in place and the response effective. Councillor Wares asked when the committee might expect to receive a report.

 

45.24   The Chair replied that there were other partners involved so it would therefore, take some time to gather the relevant information and submit a report to committee.

 

45.25   Councillor West stated that whilst he understood there were other partners involved, the matter was an urgent one.

 

45.26   The Chair replied that she was very aware of the urgency and whilst there was insufficient time to prepare a report to the next meeting, a report would be received by one the meetings following that.

 

45.27   RESOLVED- That the Committee receive an officer report on the matters raised within the deputation to a future meeting.

 

(ii)         School Traffic Situation in Westdene

 

45.28   The Committee considered a deputation requesting a permanent, timed ‘School Street’ closures around Westdene Primary School at drop off and collection times due to anti-social and obstructive parking and driving.

 

45.29   The Chair provided the following response:

 

“The school travel team have briefed me on the School Streets project undertaken in Hackney Council including a trial of permanent road closures outside school gates. This follows a successful one-day closure by one of our own Schools at St Luke’s primary in March 2019. School Travel officers have been trained in how to deliver School Streets and are fully conversant with the work of Hackney Borough council and other UK authorities on such schemes.

At this stage we cannot comment on the merits of individual school sites as clear selection criteria to prioritise demand and target resources accordingly would be necessary. Careful community engagement would also be emphasised and the existing levels of support from Head Teachers, School governors, Pupils, Parents, Ward Councillors and local residents when selecting sites would also need to be considered.

 

Some the good work underway includes:

 

   Ongoing School Travel Team support for development and updating of travel plans for early years settings and all types of schools funded by the Access Grant funding.

   Ongoing education interventions and road safety resources funded by the Access Grant funding, Sussex Safer Roads Partnership and LTP funding.

   An LTP funded Safer Routes to Schools Capital programme using recent walking and cycling casualty data at school journey times to identify current safety issues city wide, targeting resources to safety priorities and funding appropriate engineering measures, working with school communities, ward councillors and residents.

   A Pedestrian Crossing Request Scheme which uses specific criteria to prioritise requests for the public by considering a range of location and social factors.

   A previous programme of 20mph zones city wide which led to 20mph limits around most schools and physical calming in locations where post scheme speed monitoring showed further action was necessary”.

 

45.30   Councillor Davis stated that he had visited the school in the past week along with Councillors Nield and West and a traffic officer and all had agreed that the traffic situation was very dangerous around Westdene School. Councillor Davis added that Headteachers had expressed support for the introduction of a School Streets project and the scheme could be self-sufficient.

 

45.31   Councillor Lloyd added that he had also visited the school and had found the situation to be very dangerous. Councillor Lloyd added that the school catchment area was very large, and it was not feasible for all parents and children to walk or cycle to the school.

 

45.32   Councillor West stated his support for a School Streets project adding that whilst there were many measures in place, these were not adhered to by the majority of people.

 

45.33   The Assistant Director, City Transport explained that the School Streets project was new to council officers who were considering the project in great detail to assess which measures the council may be able to introduce. The Assistant Director noted that Hackney Council were within the Transport for London area so had greater powers for such measure’s comparative to Brighton & Hove. The Assistant Director stated that officers would speak to the Department for Transport to investigate which measures could be introduced in the city and take forward any measures as soon as possible.

 

45.34   Councillor Wares noted that in Patcham and Hollingdean, a no loading ban had been introduced outside schools to some good effect. Councillor Wares suggested that a review of the committee work plan was necessary to calibrate it to its priorities.

 

45.35   Councillor Moonan noted that the committee had requested two further officer reports above existing workloads in this meeting alone and reminded Members of the importance of allowing officers to undertake work rather than preparing and writing reports to the committee.

 

45.36     On behalf of the Green Group, Councillor West moved a motion to call for an officer report on the matters raised in the deputation.

 

45.37     The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture noted that there was a Notice of Motion listed on the agenda relating to a very similar matter and moving a motion under that item may allow any report to be broader in scope rather than focus on the actions requested in the deputation.

 

45.38     Councillor West asked if any motion to amend the Notice of Motion could consider Westdene in the context of a potential pilot.

 

45.39     The Chair confirmed that report could consider Westdene for a pilot scheme.

 

45.40     Councillor West withdrew the motion.

 

45.41     RESOLVED- That the Committee note the deputation.

Supporting documents:

 


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