Agenda item - Public Involvement
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- Meeting of Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020 4.00pm (Item 6.)
To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:
(a) Petitions: To receive any petitions presented by members of the public;
(i) Remove the planter on Rottingdean High Street
(ii) More space for walking and cycling during Covid-19
(iii) i360 Sundial
(iv) Frederick Gardens gates
(b) Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 17 June 2020;
(i) Valley Gardens EIA and Traffic Modelling
(ii) Loading Bay survey
(iii) AQMA Valley Gardens
(iv) Madeira Drive Road closure
(c) Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 17 June 2020.
(i) Remove the planter on Rottingdean High Street
6.1 The Committee considered a petition signed by 694 people that requested the removal of the planter placed on Rottingdean High Street for safety reasons and due to increased congestion.
6.2 The Chair provided the following response:
“As you are probably aware the planter is a key feature of the Rottingdean High Street scheme that was specifically designed to improve the air quality in the narrowest part of the High Street by limiting the number of vehicles in that part of the road. It is not a traffic calming measure.
The planter ensures that most queuing traffic queues further to the north where building frontages are further from the kerb and buildings are lower. This means that particulates and gases from vehicles are not trapped to the extent that they are at the southern end of the street when a queue forms there. Monitoring needs to continue as traffic returns to normal pre-COVID 19 levels to determine the impact on Air Quality in the Southern High Street and over seasonal temperature and traffic flow changes in order to reach a conclusion about the success of the trial scheme.
Officers are aware of only a single collision in the immediate area. A police investigation established that the presence of the planter was not a contributory factor. There have been no collisions at the junction of Park Road and extra signage has been installed on the approach to this junction to warn drivers to proceed with caution”.
6.3 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.
(ii) More space for walking and cycling during Covid-19
6.4 The Committee considered a petition signed by 912 people requesting the Council to implement urgent temporary measures to create more space for walking and cycling in the city to aid physical distancing.
6.5 The Chair provided the following response:
“Councillors and officers have been working very hard and at a quick pace to develop and deliver a programme of active and sustainable measures to help people move around and enjoy our fantastic city during the initial Covid-19 lockdown period. We started at the earliest, possible opportunity, before many other authorities, and we are now working to various recent government guidelines as well as standard statutory legislation. The introduction of the Madeira Drive closure and the temporary Old Shoreham Road cycle lane have been good to see and earlier this month we submitted more proposals to the Government’s Department for Transport for the Emergency Active Travel Fund initiative. We are awaiting a response from our initial submission and will announce this as soon as we can. I very much hope that it will be a positive one and we will secure almost £600,000 pounds.
You have made some specific requests and suggestions in your petition and some of these are included in our bid to the Government or the work already undertaken. These include pavement widening on St James’s Street and London Road, cycle lanes on Old Shoreham Road and the A259 seafront road, closing Madeira Drive Terrace to motor traffic, as well as reviewing traffic signals to ensure pedestrian waiting times are minimised. In addition, we work closely with Sussex Police to identify problem areas and proactive campaigns for speed reduction”.
6.6 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.
(iii) i360 Sundial
6.7 The Committee considered a petition signed by 146 people requesting the Council to take the necessary measures to create the world’s largest sundial by using pavement markings and the shadow of the BAi360.
6.8 The Chair provided the following response:
“The council receives an annual 1% ticket revenue contribution under the terms of the Section 106 Agreement with the i360. Those receipts are for environmental improvements in the locality of the i360 including Regency Square. From those receipts the council is obliged firstly to provide ecological interpretation and display boards in the immediate seafront locality of the i360.
The council has also confirmed with the Regency Square Area Society (RSAS) that subject to their formulating a project brief with options for proposed improvements to the Regency Square and around they could benefit from a future proportion of the receipts and that all art proposals for that area should form part of any submission. I recommend that you submit your proposals to the Regency Square Area Society for their future projects brief for that area”.
6.9 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.
(iv) Fredrick Gardens gates
6.10 The Committee considered a petition signed by 18 people requesting that gates be installed at each end of Fredrick Gardens to deter anti-social behaviour and ensure space for physical distancing.
6.11 The Chair provided the following response:
“Thank you for your petition. I know this Twitten is a highly popular east – west walking route used by residents and visitors alike to access the city centre for leisure and business purposes.
Although there are footways narrower than 1.7m in the City, these and many others make the current rules on social distancing challenging, so I do share the concerns of Frederick Gardens and other residents in the City.
For this reason, an action plan for the whole city has been developed to consider how the council responds to coming out of lockdown. Within the plan there are specific proposals to introduce signing to warn people of areas where you cannot maintain social distancing and encourage people to make the correct choice. Unfortunately, gating has operational and cost related problems as well as legal implications as the only way of gating the passageway is to use specific legislation that can only be used when clear, documented evidence of anti-social behaviour is present. For this reason, I will be seeking a solution within the Transport Action Plan that will seek to support resident’s safety in Frederick Gardens”.
6.12 Councillor West stated that he understood the problems experienced by residents in Fredrick Gardens and moved a motion to receive an officer report on the matter.
6.13 Councillor Heley formally seconded the motion.
6.14 The Chair put the motion to the vote that passed.
6.15 RESOLVED- That the Committee receive an officer report responding to the matters raised within the petition.
(B) WRITTEN QUESTIONS
(i) Valley Gardens EIA and traffic modelling
6.16 Daniel Nathan put the following question:
“So, it turns out the hard deadline to complete Valley Gardens Phase 3 - cited by elected councillors over the past eighteen months, never in fact existed. As there is no longer the urgency to complete VG3 by March 2021, will the Chair and this committee finally commit to the environmental impact and comprehensive traffic modelling studies that we hope will shape the final plan and verify its role in improving air quality, reducing congestion and reducing carbon emissions - and thus ensures that the final scheme provides residents, businesses and visitors to the city with a scheme that benefits us all?”
6.17 The Chair provided the following reply:
“As you know, Phase 3 of Valley Gardens project is the final part of this major scheme and, while we welcome the Local Enterprise Partnership’s decision to alter its funding arrangements, we still intend to ensure that it can be completed as soon as possible.
As you may have already noted from my previous responses to questions about this issue, the design has been properly screened for environmental assessment and there is a technical note available on the council’s website about it. This shows that potential impacts are not expected to be significant and cause harm, and they will be monitored throughout the project and beyond. It would be highly unusual for alterations to an existing city centre traffic system to justify a full Environmental Impact Assessment, we are not building a new road on green belt. If that monitoring identifies anything that changes then we will take appropriate action to address it.
We have also carried out the traffic modelling that will enable us to progress the detailed design stage for Valley Gardens Phase 3”.
6.18 Daniel Nathan asked the following supplementary question:
“Your predecessor Councillor Mitchell made a commitment to install an air quality monitor at the junction of the A23 at St James’ Street. There is no reason why you shouldn't measure other things as well, particulate and road noise at the same time and an early deployment of this monitor could inform the proposed task and finish sessions and assist with a final design for the Valley Gardens. Will this committee agree to monitor this station as a matter of urgency?”
The following reply was provided on behalf of the Chair:
“An additional air quality monitor has been installed at the junction of St James' Street and the A23 at Steine Gardens. I would need to check with colleagues as to what pollutants that monitor is monitoring, and we can confirm that in writing”.
(ii) Loading Bay survey
6.20 Adrian Hart put the following question:
“We are grateful for the intervention of Councillor Childs, who having noticed that the Valley Gardens scheme’s lack of loading provision at Richmond Place will affect his partner’s business is making enquiries to ensure provision is made. The lack of loading across the whole scheme impacts not just businesses, but also residents and others who rely on deliveries of goods and medicines & those who need to be picked up and dropped off due to impaired mobility. Does the Chair agree and commit to undertaking a survey of everybody surrounding the project area and relocating or increasing loading bays/areas as necessary?”
6.21 The Chair provided the following reply:
“The scheme will deliver over 119 metres of additional loading bays throughout the area, this is in addition to exclusive Pay & Display bays, disabled parking bays and motorcycle parking bays. When providing loading and parking bays highway engineers must ensure they can be easily accessible and accommodated within the highway and must pass a further stringent Road Safety Audit. As a result, there are sections of the eastern highway corridor, particularly Grand Parade, where width restrictions simply do not enable this to work safely install additional loading bays, however Valley Gardens does provide an increased loading capacity overall.
As with all major Transport schemes we will be carrying out post scheme implementation surveys to assess the effectiveness and overall parking capacity and report the results back to a future ETS Committee”.
6.22 Adrian Hart asked the following supplementary question:
“The world has changed in ways we couldn't have imagined 3 months ago, there will be next year economic and environmental challenges to the city the likes of which haven't been seen in generations. Empty slogans is not the answer. Can't you see that successive councils are not getting the balance right. Can you tell us how you intent to do things differently from now on?”
6.23 The following reply was provided on behalf on the Chair:
“As officers we are constantly making sure that we engage well with communities and there is further engagement taking place in relation to Valley Gardens so that will continue to be the case. We take your feedback on board Adrian and will pass it back to the project team as we move forwards”.
(iii) AQMA Valley Gardens
6.24 Daniel Nathan put the following question on behalf of Martin Christie:
“Brighton & Hove City Council planning policy requires all major developments to provide a transport assessment to consider the impact on AQMAs. Why is it that the council’s own transport schemes don't assess the impact on AQMAs Why isn’t there a cumulative transport assessment on the impact on AQMAs for Valley Gardens, North Street, the Old Steine, Duke’s Mound, the A259 and Madeira Drive. Does the Council’s transport team operate under different rules to everybody else?”
6.25 The Chair provided the following reply:
“The planning policy that you have referred to would relate to building developments rather than transport schemes, which follow different rules usually set out by the Government’s Department for Transport.
However, I can assure you that we have followed appropriate guidance and policy regarding the development of our transport schemes in the city, and especially the city centre.
For the city’s largest scheme, Valley Gardens, appropriate environmental assessments have done for all three phases. The most recent assessment, for Phase 3, is set out in a Review of Environmental Impacts, which can be found on our website. As has been said many times now, as the designs for this project are developed further during the detailed design stage, we will ensure that if anything changes with respect to air quality, then we will address those impacts.
The council regularly assesses and reports on its air quality levels and already has an Ultra-Low Emission Zone in North Street and continues to work very closely with public transport operators to support the introduction of cleaner and quieter vehicles across the city that will not only support improving air quality, but also support the aim of becoming carbon neutral by 2030”.
6.26 On behalf of Martin Christie, Daniel Nathan asked the following supplementary question:
“You say the council regularly assesses air quality levels so you must be aware it is at illegal levels throughout much of the city centre and a proper and thorough EIA is a priority whatever the rules dictate. The ULEZ does cover North Street that is notoriously one of the most polluted streets in the UK almost entirely caused by 200 plus bus journeys an hour almost entirely caused by the narrowing of the road in 2014. You say you work closely with the Go-Ahead group, a private transport company with a poor record of providing value for money to train and bus passengers and ignore the views of residents and the city's leisure, hospitality and independent business sectors. If the rumoured consultation for VG3 is under way that is good. If all is involved is deciding where the street furniture going, arranged the deckchairs honesty Titanic comes to mind”.
6.27 The Chair stated that a written reply would be provided subsequent to the meeting.
(iv) Madeira Drive Road Closure
6.28 Ian Ross put the following question:
“The road closure on Madeira Drive has provided lots of additional safe space for walking and exercise and is always busy. We have used one local cafe (Jumble Rumble Golf Cafe) daily for the last 6 weeks and there is always a queue of customers. There is plenty of road parking on Marine Parade, which is always empty. Will the Chair consider extending the road closure for the rest of the year, since it provides crucial exercising space for local residents to use (whilst following social distancing) without the risk of road traffic accidents?”
6.29 The Chair provided the following reply:
“The closure of Madeira Drive was always taken as an urgent temporary measure to provide more walking and cycling for local residents.
While this has been a big success it was always going to be reviewed as clearly, when businesses begin to open as that will have an effect on the closure. This is why the issue around reopening Madeira Drive is included in a later report at this committee meeting for a decision on the way forward”.
(v) Walking and Cycling in Kemptown
6.30 Martin Farley put the following question:
"The Lockdown since March 2020 has had a very negative impact on shops, bars, restaurants and other traders in Kemptown. The Government's Emergency Active Travel Fund requires the council to introduce swift and meaningful measures to make it safer for cyclists and pedestrians, to be implemented within 8 weeks.
What proposals are being urgently developed to give local businesses a boost by allowing people to walk and cycle in Kemptown in a fully or partly pedestrianised environment so that people are attracted to the area, especially in the local shopping centres of St James Street and St George's Road?"
6.31 The Chair provided the following reply:
“I am delighted to say that urgent measures to widen the footway along St James Street have now been completed. They provide more space for people to move around on a busy shopping street and offer some opportunities for businesses.
Reviewing the area, it is clear that many people use the very busy bus services that operate through St James Street and this has to be considered in any further decisions about this location. A further report about other temporary meaningful measures will be discussed later in today’s agenda and a further update will be presented to this committee in September”.
6.32 Martin Farley asked the following supplementary question:
“If the funding being provided by the emergency active travel fund requires action within eight weeks how does that waiting for the report make use of that funding?
6.33 The following reply was provided on behalf of the Chair:
“Firstly, we don't actually have access to that funding yet Mr Farley. We have bid to government and we are waiting and hopefully will hear something by the end of the month. But we are going to be drawing up plans and a programme to look at parts of Kemptown to see what me can do to support business opening whether that is widening footways or cycling provision it is very much open and flexible at the moment”.
(vi) 20mph Limits
6.34 Jonny Anstead put the following question:
“Low vehicle speeds are critical to safety, but also to enabling walking and cycling and independent movement for children. Under Covid that’s more important than ever.
In my neighbourhood the 20mph limit isn’t observed or enforced. Freshfield Rd is dangerously fast and with no decent crossing my 11-year old finds it impossible to cross alone.
Sussex Police admit under FOI that they don’t enforce the limit, having issued just 3 penalties since 2013 on 20mph roads. Their policy is for street design to encourage self-enforcement.
What measures is the council taking to create a low speed culture in Brighton & Hove?”
6.35 The Chair provided the following reply:
“In 2013 B&HCC (Brighton & Hove City Council) began a phased introduction of 20 mph speed limits across the City. As part of that work B&HCC worked closely with Sussex Police to ensure those roads that were selected met the relevant criteria and were self-enforcing with the introduction of additional 20 mph signs and road markings.
Therefore, I can confirm that all 20mph streets are fully legally compliant under Traffic legislation to enable the Police to enforce these mandatory speed restrictions.
I can also inform you that all road collisions are investigated in partnership with Sussex Police and in incidences where speed is a common causal factor in collisions the Council will explore options to introduce further physical measures to reduce speed.
You may also be aware that during this period of lock down, although traffic numbers have greatly reduced nationally and locally, a consequence has been an increase in the average speeds of vehicles - which is of concern. In order to help tackle this issue I have asked Officers to introduce 10 new mobile vehicle activated speed warning signs that will be periodically moved to locations where we are aware of speeding issues. In addition, I share your concern that the 20 mph markings have over time become worn and less effective, I have therefore also asked Officers to begin repainting all the 20 mph markings across the city. As well as physical measures, B&HCC is a member of the Sussex Safer Road Partnership (SSRP) whose members include East and West Sussex County Councils, Sussex Police and Fire and Rescue services. The aim of the SSRP is to combine skills and resources to deliver education and marketing campaigns to improve road safety such as the Share the Road, Share the Responsibility campaign which focuses on encouraging all road users to use the road responsibly and within the law.
I will also be writing to Sussex Police regarding what further steps can be taken in terms of enforcement and further opportunities for joint working on education and promotion in relation to reducing vehicle speeds.
In relation to your concern on speeding vehicles on Freshfield Road I will ask Officers to look into this and respond to you directly”.
6.36 Jonny Anstead asked the following supplementary question:
“I mentioned an example of Freshfield Road where the 20mph limit is not complied with and many children need to cross to get to Saint Luke’s and other local schools and other older residents across into the bus stop. The council committed to deal with the this back in late 2013 following a campaign by local residents, but nearly nothing has been done to make things safer. Can I ask for a new safer crossing and making sure the 20mph limit is adhered to whether as part of the emergency measures for Covid or otherwise?”
6.37 The following reply was provided on behalf of the Chair:
“Request for crossings do come to the ETS committee and we do look at the criteria and the priority and the issues that impact the need for a crossing such as accidents and vehicle speed. It is something we can look at and reassess. Freshfield Road is within the 20 miles an hour speed limit zone. I certainly will be taking this up with Sussex safer partnership and local traffic police. As the Chair pointed out all of the streets and all of the zones in the 20 miles an hour zone are legally compliant and should be enforceable by the police. I take the point about issue about the police and their own policy, but the designed traffic legislation it is legally enforceable we will be having that discussion to ensure that we are working jointly to ensure that speed limits are enforced”.
(i) Low Traffic Neighbourhood
6.38 The Committee received a Deputation requesting a pilot of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood in the Hanover area.
6.39 The Chair provided the following response:
“The introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in the city are an interesting development and I can see that they can provide real benefits in the city. The council has been developing an Interim Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) that has been developed in response to the impact on the city from the pandemic and we will be discussing this in a specific Report later on this evening. This plan identifies the strategic walking and cycling routes and has begun to develop routes in the city and refers to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods as a possible complementary measure to support these. This plan will lead onto a full LCWIP that will be subject to consultation in the. and we will need to look very closely at how we can review residential areas in the city to see whether low traffic neighbourhoods could work and where we can achieve maximum benefit by reducing through traffic, and therefore help link areas and also create pleasant walking and cycling routes away from major roads at limited cost”.
6.40 Councillor West thanked residents for making their deputation and noted that his Group had formally submitted a proposal on the matter later in the agenda that he hoped would gain support and be taken forward.
6.41 Councillor Wares stated that he did not believe the committee needed to wait for the outcome of the amendment. Councillor Wares stated that the residents had made their views clear and the committee should be supportive of that. Councillor Wares added that there would be a benefit to understanding the impact of these types of measures in beyond the Covid transport measures undertaken.
6.42 Councillor Wares moved a motion to request an officer report on the matters detailed in the deputation.
6.43 Councillor West formally seconded the motion.
6.44 The Chair put the motion to the vote that was agreed.
6.45 RESOLVED- That the Committee receive an officer report responding to the matters raised within the Deputation.
(ii) Francis Street Safety issues
6.46 The Chair stated that due to the similarity in topics, the question submitted by Councillor Shanks and the deputation would be taken together and a joint response issued.
6.47 Councillor Shanks read the following question:
“In June 2017 the issue of Francis Street was discussed at ETS. The issues followed the development of the Open Market by Hyde Housing including blocks of flats on Francis Street. The Barrows and Corola Court flats. The following improvements were agreed.
"A -a raised entry treatment at the entry to Francis Street from Ditchling Road to improve the pedestrian route and reduce excessive driver speeds
B -changes to the amount and provision of tactile paving at the junctions of London Road and Ditchling Road with Francis Street;
C -an Access Only restriction so that no driver can pass from one end of the street to the other without having a legitimate purpose to be in the street;
D -using planters, maintained by residents, to help ‘green’ the street and help protect pedestrian areas outside homes;
E -a change in parking controls to a restricted zone where there is no loading and no waiting except in signed bays;
F -additional bollards on the southern side of Francis Street near Ditchling Road and at its junction with London Road to protect pedestrian movements;
G -the slight relocation and replacement of damaged street lighting column;
H -removal of redundant road markings at the junction of Francis Street/London Road; and
I -a left turn ban (except for cyclists) sign from London Road into Francis Street."
None of this has been done. When I became a councillor, I contacted both Hyde and council officers and after some discussion as to where the drawings were, I felt something would happen. However, nothing has, hence my current question.
Will the council listen to residents ad implement the agreed proposals above, and review the possibility of blocking the end of the street including modal filters so it cannot be used as a rat run and will improve the street for residents who have no outside space in their flats. This would be in line with the LCWIP proposals to improve walking and cycling in the city and in line with e Covid 19 transport response”.
6.48 The Committee considered a deputation requesting that the previously agreed safety measures for Francis Street be implemented as a matter of urgency.
6.49 The Chair provided the following joint response:
“Thank you for presenting your deputation today and also for your question Councillor Shanks. I can fully understand your concerns about the safety of people using the street and you’re your disappointment that these measures have not been completed since being agreed by committee. I therefore must apologise that they have taken so long to be delivered. A lot of work has been done jointly with Hyde’s engineers on finalising the designs and drawings, but I do accept that this has taken far longer than expected on this occasion.
More recently, the officer who was leading this work has left the council and this has regrettably added more delay, which we need to address. Officers are now reviewing how we can reallocate our resources to deliver these measures, given the much more recent need to also prioritise our Covid-19 recovery programme, which we had not planned for.
Officers have advised me that they will be reviewing what is needed within the next few weeks, as they need to plan it around staff availability and other works. Once this has been confirmed, I will ensure that we communicate to everybody what will be happening and when it will happen in order that we can finally create a more liveable and people-friendly environment in this busy part of the city.
I have noted the suggestion about blocking the street to traffic, but this is unlikely to be possible as residents and the Open Market traders will still need to reach their properties as it is the main access for them, and CityClean will also need to empty bins too. This is why the agreed measures also include an Access Only restriction to reduce the use of the street by through traffic”.
6.50 Councillor West stated that this was not the first occasion where the committee had agreed a course of action and it had not been implemented by officers. Councillor West stated that considerable problems had been caused by the redevelopment of the market with no mitigating measures for residents and a more thorough solution was required than additional signage as the matter had become a considerable safety concern.
6.51 Councillor Wares stated that it was very unfair on residents for the committee to agree a course of action in response to their considerable concerns and that action not be undertaken. Councillor Wares stated that the matter must now be treated as a priority action by officers.
6.52 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Deputation.
(iii) Seafront Signage
6.53 The Committee considered a deputation that requested the installation of No Cycling signage on the on the Lower Promenade between the Peace Statue and the ramp by the Artists' Quarter to ensure social distancing was adhered to.
6.54 The Chair provided the following response:
“The council has installed a series of additional signage along the seafront, including the lower promenade since the start of lockdown and more residents and visitors have chosen to walk and cycle. This has included mobile variable message signs, high impact floor signage, stencilling and banners to promote safe physical distancing as well as to encourage cyclists and pedestrians to share the responsibility and approach to road safety in shared public spaces. Additional signage is still being installed at various locations and a full review is planned as part of the implementation of the proposed A259 cycle route improvements, subject to approval at this committee. The scope of the review will also include the lower promenade across Brighton and Hove seafront and so thank you for sharing your views which will be considered thoroughly as part of this process”.
6.55 Councillor Lloyd stated his agreement with the comments made in the deputation adding that even before the pandemic, the area was inappropriate as a shared cycle and pedestrian space.
6.56 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the deputation.
- Item 6a Petitions, item 6. PDF 216 KB
- Item 6b Written questions, item 6. PDF 191 KB
- Item 6b Written questions (2), item 6. PDF 188 KB
- Item 6(c) Deputations, item 6. PDF 144 KB
- Deputation - supporting info, item 6. PDF 424 KB