Agenda item - Items referred from Council

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Agenda item

Items referred from Council

To receive the following matters referred from the meeting of Full Council held on 24 October 2019:

 

(a)          Petitions

 

(i)           Pedestrianise St James’ Street

 

(b)          Deputations

 

(i)           Valley Gardens

Minutes:

(A)         PETITIONS

 

(i)           Pedestrianise St James’ Street

 

46.1      The Committee considered a petition referred from the Full Council meeting of 24 October 2019 and signed by 416 people requesting the council pedestrianise St James’ Street.

 

46.2      The Chair provided the following response:

 

“I have been made aware of the previous suggestions and representations about St James’s Street that have been made by members of the local community in the past, and the results of the consideration of them by officers and councillors. I believe that the most recent of those were in 2013 and 2014.

It is worth remembering that St James Street is a very important bus route serving and supporting tens of thousands of residents across key parts of the City including the Hospital and also relied upon by the wider community for easy public transport access to the supermarket and local businesses, so pedestrianisation would not come without its challenges.

However, I do think that it would helpful for the committee to consider this issue in a future report to this committee to give us a greater understanding of the challenges both in terms of transport logistics and finance and what potential option might work best for everybody”.

 

46.3      Councillor West referred to a letter received by Members from the Managing Director of Brighton & Hove Buses expressing the company’s concern in relation to any potential pedestrianisation of St James’ Street. Councillor West stated that in the context of the Valley Gardens project, it would be timely to re-consider the matter of pedestrianisation.

 

46.4      The Chair stated that any report would detail a full evaluation of options.

 

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

 

(C)      DEPUTATIONS

 

(i)           Valley Gardens

 

46.6      The Committee considered a deputation referred from the Full Council meeting of 24 October 2019 that proposed an alternative design for the Valley Gardens Phase 3 project and requested the council consider amendments to the current preferred option.

 

46.7      The Chair provided the following response:

 

“I provided a full response to this item when it was presented to full council which is included in the minute extract, so I will not be repeating it again today. 

 

However, I will refer and elaborate on the final points that I made in that response, as the deputation is seeking fuller consideration of the proposed design that has been put forward.

 The proposal differs significantly from the approved design, which will be the starting point for the detailed design stage, and unfortunately it lacks any technical detail that we can consider or compare.  For example, the deputation says that the proposal generates a better cost-benefit ratio than the approved design but there is no evidence of this.   However, it is similar to an option that was tested as part of our assessment of different layouts and which resulted in a negative result, and the reasons for that are fully explained in the technical reports which are available on our website.

If sustainable and low emission transport is going to be at the heart of how we future-proof our city by achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 and improving air quality, especially in the highly valued central and historic area, then there are some key issues within your proposed design that will prevent this.  These include:- 

 

·         there is only a short section of southbound bus lane to the north.  The removal of the sections further south in the approved design means that the benefits that thousands of bus and taxi passengers will gain from this priority route in this busy location every day will be lost;

·         the loss of Pool Valley as the location for the city’s coach station, while accepting that it not a welcoming environment at present, would place greater pressure on the Old Steine area and also remove a taxi rank;

·         the realigned cycle route appears to pass through two of our highly valued Elm trees by the Royal Pavilion and then through a diagonal crossing at North Street, creating conflicts that seem very dangerous to me;

·         the excellent public space that has been created outside the Royal Pavilion to bring the area more to life has suffered the same fate - it has been removed; and 

·         the much-discussed Palace Pier junction takes pedestrians to indirect crossing points and removes the additional areas of paving that will be created to accommodate the millions of people that visit the city, many of whom will pass through this area

 

The Valley Gardens Forum proposed design of that junction also remains as a roundabout and therefore retains the principles of the current junction which is highly unsafe and perpetuates the dominance of traffic and vehicles over people in this busy location.  There are two extra traffic signal junctions near the Royal Pavilion and a new signal crossing on the A259 which will add to delays to drivers and therefore increase the disbenefits that many people have referred to.  The demolition and rebuilding of the listed Art Deco bus shelters will also add a further complication and cost to the scheme. 

But as I said at Full Council, we will consider whether any of the ideas put forward can help further support the improvements within the agreed design, and improve safety, accessibility and sustainability and maintain value for money.  For example, these could include looking at the one-way road between North Street and St James’s Street and the inclusion of more Bike Share hubs within the area.

My final point is that, having finally secured the funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership, we really must press on now and develop the design that this committee has agreed and deliver the final part of this fantastic scheme for the city”.

 

46.8      Councillor Wares stated that whilst he welcomed the milestone that the Valley Gardens Forum would be considered as a stakeholder on the Task & Finish Group, if the council wanted a scheme to have buy-in from residents, businesses and stakeholders, then it must consider alternative ideas and the proposal put to the council in the deputation should not be flatly rejected. Councillor Wares added that the alternative proposal had not been given any consideration and in his view that was disappointing, particularly as the proposal had been devised and submitted by those directly affected by the project.

 

46.9      On behalf of the Conservative Group, Councillor Wares moved a motion to receive an officer report on the deputation to a future meeting and requested a recorded vote.

 

46.10   Councillor Brown formally seconded the motion and the request for a recorded vote.

 

46.11   The Chair then put the motion to the vote with the following outcome

 

Councillor Brown: For

Councillor Davis: Against

Councillor Fowler: Against

Councillor Heley: Against

Councillor Lloyd: Against

Councillor Moonan: Against

Councillor Pissaridou: Against

Councillor Wares: For

Councillor West: Against

Councillor Wilkinson: Against

 

46.12   Therefore, the motion failed.

 

46.13   RESOLVED- That the Committee note the deputation.

Supporting documents:

 


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