Agenda item - Member Involvement

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Agenda item

Member Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by Members:

 

(a)         Petitions: To receive any petitions;

 

(b)         Written Questions: To consider any written questions;

 

(i)           Bikeshare- Councillor Wares

 

(ii)          Patcham Roundabout- Councillor Wares

 

(iii)        Climate Emergency Communications- Councillor Heley

 

(iv)        CityClean Communications- Councillor Heley

 

(v)          Standing Agenda Item- Councillor Heley

 

(vi)        Crossing on New England and Old Shoreham Road- Councillor Heley

 

(c)          Letters: To consider any letters;

 

(d)         Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee.

 

(i)           Safe School Walking Zones

Decision:

NOTICES OF MOTION

 

1)            That the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee to commission a report, exploring:

 

-            How existing 10-minute walking zones around our schools can be optimised, adding the crossings and road calming measures necessary to create genuinely safe walking routes to school.

-            How visual elements could be used throughout a zone to give drivers a clear message that they are near a school, walking families have priority, and drivers are guests in that zone.

-            Funding options available to create these zones (such as grants, planning contributions, parking surplus, bids for funding)

And further, that such a report:

-      sets out the ways in which the council will work in close consultation with schools and local communities about the creation of these zones

-     That the committee requests that the report includes consideration of the Schools Streets Project undertaken in Hackney and options for a pilot of that project

 

 

Minutes:

(B)         WRITTEN QUESTIONS

 

(i)           Bikeshare

 

47.1      Councillor Wares put the following question:

 

“At 8th October 2019 ETS Committee I asked a series of questions relating to the Bikeshare scheme to which the answer was “we’ll do a report”. Given that the information to answer most of my questions was in the officer brief dated 25th July 2019, it is a surprise that there was no report on this agenda. Would the Chair please confirm that the officer briefing dated 25th July 2019 can now be made publicly available?”

 

47.2      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“At this stage disclosure of confidential information relating to the Council’s negotiations with Hourbike, their negotiations with sponsors and their financial position, would pose a risk to the business of Hourbike and in turn this would have a potentially negative impact on the Council and its service users.

Hourbike have not consented to the public disclosure of commercially sensitive information about their finances or sponsors in view of the potential impact on their business. It is for this reason that the confidential briefing to Members cannot be disclosed at this time.

Discussions between the council, the operator and other stakeholders are taking place now, meaning that the sensitivity of the information remains high. Officers will offer lead members a further confidential briefing early in the new year. If Members consider a report to Committee necessary at that stage, officers will seek to identify the earliest appropriate ETS Committee in 2020”.

 

47.3      Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:

 

“Could you at least confirm the real reason why we had the tariff increase recently, to the Bikeshare scheme and can you confirm when the report will be provided given you had alluded to one but haven’t said when that will happen?”

 

47.4      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“I don’t have the answers, so we will send you a written response”

 

(ii)         Patcham Roundabout

 

47.5      Councillor Wares put the following question:

 

“At the 25th June 2019 ETS Committee the Chair recognised the importance of the gateway entrance to the city at Patcham roundabout. The Chair talked about Cityparks being on the threshold of a breakthrough and that Ward Councillors would be briefed by officers. Importantly, the Chair gave their personal assurance that something would be delivered this calendar year. For the last five months we have heard nothing. Please could the Chair now share with us the details of this great breakthrough and what will be done this calendar year that will give us the confidence that the Chair’s personal assurances are worth the paper they are written on?”

 

47.6      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you, I agree that the Patcham Roundabout is an important visual gateway for the City. I do know that City Transport and City Parks Officers are working together to deliver this significant improvement and have already secured a partner who is prepared to fund the significant costs associated with the improvement works, maintenance and traffic management costs to operate on Highways England’s high-speed trunk road.

Officers and their on-board partner have prepared a design that has been with Highways England for their final approval for some time and I’m aware that Council Officers have been chasing for a response, so they can begin the works. I know this has been a very long time in coming but dealing with Highways England is a very slow and lengthy process, but I am confident that we will deliver this scheme that will be a credit to the residents of Patcham and the wider City for many years to come”.

 

47.7      Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:

 

“What would have been helpful, if officers have advanced this particular decision was to keep ward councillors briefed and then of course, we can keep residents briefed and we can protect the council somewhat from what may appear inaction because there might be a very good reason for it. Perhaps then, the officers could share with us what the design is, what the council is trying to do, we can then speak with our residents as well and then maybe we can constructively work with you to get this across the line”.

 

47.8      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“We will provide a full briefing to ward councillors so they can inform their local residents”.

 

(iii)        Climate Emergency Communications

 

47.9      Councillor Heley put the following question:

 

“We need to improve the way that the council communicates the climate emergency to the residents of our city. In January 2019, the Green Group submitted an amendment that asked the council to publicise the council’s recognition of the climate and biodiversity emergencies, to request a report outlining low-cost measures the Communications team could organise to publicise the ‘Climate Emergency’ declaration, and the placement of an online banner on the home page of the BHCC website 'Unanimous ambition of this Council: zero carbon by 2030.' I’m pleased to see that recently there is now some information on the council’s website, but why did this take so long? Shouldn’t we be communicating to our residents in such a way that reflects that this is an emergency?”

 

47.10   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The communications team is supporting the recently established council working group, which met for the second time last week, on developing the work programme for carbon neutral 2030 and climate crisis actions. Proposals to establish a Climate Assembly and a Carbon Neutral 2030 programme will be put to the Policy & Resources Committee on 5 December.

In preparation for this major work we have published regular climate crisis stories updating the city on the council’s recent developments – on 28 March, 12 April and 4 November. The latest story references that the council are in a climate emergency and a further news story is about to be published, ensuring the issue is kept alive on our news channels.

In June and September, we communicated our support for the climate change protests.

The Communications Team have produced a draft communications plan which will be discussed by the cross-party working group this week. A project team of officers with expertise across communications channels has been established to take forward other actions such as joining up actions from across the council to tell the story of what the council is doing, updating our digital channels to ensure the subject has a high profile on our website and producing clear information for residents and our staff”.

 

(iv)        Cityclean Communications

 

47.11   Councillor Heley put the following question:

 

“Cityclean is looking at how it can improve its communication to residents, particularly with regards service disruption and missed collections.

Through the Modernisation Programme, the team is working with colleagues in IT & Digital to identify how best this can be achieved.

Unfortunately, at present, the systems used in Cityclean do not have the capability to provide direct communication to residents either via email or text message. Other channels are being considered including how we can better use the website and social media.

Moving forward, it is hoped that improved systems and the My Account function being developed by IT & Digital will allow for improved communication”.

 

(v)          Standing Agenda Item

 

47.12   Councillor Heley put the following question:

 

“The agendas of this committee must reflect the severity and urgency of the Climate Emergency, and so far, the agenda items of this crucial committee have not done that. Will the Chair reconsider her decision to not have a standing item on the ETS agenda that provides an update on our progress of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030? This could be as simple as Nick Hibberd providing a verbal update at the beginning of each committee, in order to avoid overloading officers. Can the chair commit to this?”

 

47.13   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“As agreed with the cross-party working group, the approach to responding to the climate crisis and the council’s declaration of a climate emergency is to establish a 2030 Carbon Neutral Programme, Citizens Assembly and Independent Advisory (‘experts’) Board.  A report will be presented to P&R committee in December to formally establish this Programme.  It’s important to note that the Programme scope is beyond just moving the city towards carbon neutrality – it will include action around the wider aspects of the climate emergency such as adaptation, resilience and supporting biodiversity

The primary committee for the 2030 Carbon Neutral Programme is P&R committee because of the corporate and city-wide significance – as the programme will impact across all function of the council and all of the various policy committees.

The ETS committee will undoubtedly receive many reports that contribute to our 2030 Carbon neutral goal.  There are 2 reports on the November ETS agenda that will actively support the 2030 Programme, the Pesticide Free report (which contributes to biodiversity), and the Fleet Procurement report (which will aim to reduce carbon emissions as we modernise our fleet).

Whilst I am not against having periodic updates to committee on progress with the development and delivery of the whole 2030 Carbon Neutral programme, I am not sure that it will be good use of officer time to insist that we have this as standing item at every committee.  To do so could detract from the time that officers have to focus on actually progressing the important projects that we will need to deliver as part of the Programme in order to reach the 2030 goal.  There is a danger that officers end up spending more time producing reports for committee rather than doing that work that will really make a difference to addressing the climate emergency.

There will be a Communications Plan running alongside the programme that will ensure that progress is communicated to the public, using the website, social media and other engagement mechanisms.  This will ensure that we can keep the City informed of the progress that we are making since declaring an emergency.

In addition to this I am happy, as Chair of ETS Committee, to provide updates on our progress at each committee during my chair’s communications”.

 

(vi)        Crossing on New England and Old Shoreham Road

 

47.14   Councillor Heley put the following question:

 

“Ward councillors for Preston Park Ward are deeply concerned by the lack of progress on changing the dangerous road layout where New England Road meets Old Shoreham Road under the railway bridge. There are two major issues presented in this poorly designed road. The first is road safety- it is simply not safe to cross. When you walk downhill on Old Shoreham road, the pavement simply disappears, and you have to cross the road dodging fast moving traffic to simply be able to walk on a pavement. This is incredibly unsafe for anyone, especially those with pushchairs and in wheelchairs, as no crossing exists and there is no dropped curb. This leads us to the second major issue of accessibility. As a City Council we have a duty to ensure that our pavements are fully accessible and safe. This road is incredibly dangerous for those that use wheelchairs and other mobility aids. As it stands, the road is completely inaccessible, and it is failing these residents. For Prestonville resident who wishes to access London Road, there is no other reasonable walking route. Some might go out of their way via Dyke Road Drive, but less mobile residents, or those with buggies etc., are restricted to going under the bridge or simply not going at all. Will the Chair ensure that this is looked at as a matter of urgency and the road and pavement is made safe and accessible as soon as possible?”

 

47.15   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“I agree the road layout here is very challenging for pedestrians and people with mobility challenges as it is very constrained by the junction of 2 very busy roads under the bridge where there is very limited space to carry out any significant improvement without committing to very significant costs or fundamentally re-planning the transport network here and across the wider locality.

However, the Council has a budget each year to install pedestrian dropped kerbs around the City to improve accessibility for all road users. As part of this programme a series of dropped kerbs have been installed this year on the side roads off Old Shoreham Road on the approach to the bridge. Further improvements have been planned to provide a set of dropped kerbs across Old Shoreham Road at the junction with York Grove and improvements to the existing dropped kerbs at the vehicle access point on the way to the signalised crossing point on New England Road. Collectively, whilst not able to fundamentally change the key design challenges at this junction, these works will provide some improved accessibility at this difficult junction for the benefit of many users”.

 

47.16   Councillor Heley asked the following supplementary question:

 

“When will the works be taking place in that area specifically?”

 

47.17   On behalf of the Chair, the Assistant Director- City Transport provided the following reply:

 

“There is a planned programme to ensure that we will do that in this financial year, so very soon”.

 

(D)      NOTICES OF MOTION

 

(i)           Safe School Walking Zones

 

47.18   The Committee considered a Notice of Motion, referred from the Full Council meeting of 24 October that requested the committee commission a report exploring various issues relating to Safe School Walking Zones.

 

47.19   The Chair provided the following response:

 

“There is a good deal of work currently being undertaken and which are consistent with the broad principles behind a Safe School Walking Zone programme. These include:

 

      Proposals and options for a School Streets programme of one day and a trial of permanent road closures outside school gates following a successful one day closure at St Luke’s primary in March 2019, including a clear selection criteria to prioritise demand and target resources accordingly and to include careful community engagement.

      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.

      Pedestrian, scooter and cycle training at all infant and junior level schools by Council Transport staff funded by dedicated Dept. for Transport Grants 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.

 

I hope you will appreciate from all this activity currently being undertaken by Officers that we are already delivering significant improvements in School Safety initiatives that match and exceed the criteria for a Safe School Walking Zone Programme. To go beyond this would require further additional resources, distract officer time from that activity and would require significant realignment of budgets”.

 

47.20   Councillor Davis stated the proposals detailed in the Notice of Motion were different to the School Street project as they covered broader issues. Councillor Davis explained that he did not believe current school safety measures were working effectively and more needed to be done.

 

47.21   Councillor Lloyd echoed the comments made by Councillor Davis adding that measures on promoting cycling to school could not work as the areas around schools were dominated by vehicles, creating a dangerous environment. Councillor Lloyd stated that the Notice of Motion proposed measures to shift that balance and create an environment where pedestrians had priority and felt safer.

 

47.22   Councillor West noted that Full Council had requested the committee to commission a report and it would be logical to consider the School Safety proposals amongst those recommendations.

 

47.23   Councillor Moonan agreed that safety around schools should be considered however, it was correct to recognise the good work already being undertaken and that not every school experienced such circumstances.

 

47.24   Councillor Brown stated that the council required a fundamental change in policy relating to pedestrian crossings on school routes. Councillor Brown noted that since 2012, since had consistently requested the installation of three pedestrian crossings on school routes but these had been refused on the grounds that a serious accident had not occurred at these locations. Councillor Brown stated that the council needed to be more proactive than reactive on such matters and there was opportunity for cross-party working on resolving funding difficulties.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 18.03pm and reconvened at 18.26pm

 

47.25   On behalf of the Green Group, Councillor Davis moved a motion to add a recommendation to the recommendations from Full Council as shown in bold italics below:

 

-  That the committee requests that the report includes consideration of the Schools Streets Project undertaken in Hackney and options for a pilot of that project

 

47.26   Councillor Wilkinson formally seconded the motion and explained that the issue of safety outside of schools was a citywide issue and did not apply to one specific school and he hoped the report would lead to a policy that reduced such dangerous environments.

 

47.27   The Chair then put the motion to the vote that passed.

 

47.28   The Chair then put the recommendations, as amended, to the vote that were agreed.

 

47.29   RESOLVED-

 

1)            That the Environment, Transport and Sustainability committee commission a report, exploring:

 

-            How existing 10-minute walking zones around our schools can be optimised, adding the crossings and road calming measures necessary to create genuinely safe walking routes to school.

-            How visual elements could be used throughout a zone to give drivers a clear message that they are near a school, walking families have priority, and drivers are guests in that zone.

-            Funding options available to create these zones (such as grants, planning contributions, parking surplus, bids for funding)

And further, that such a report:

-      sets out the ways in which the council will work in close consultation with schools and local communities about the creation of these zones

-     That the committee requests that the report includes consideration of the Schools Streets Project undertaken in Hackney and options for a pilot of that project.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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