Agenda item - Member Involvement
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- Meeting of Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, Tuesday, 29th September, 2020 4.00pm (Item 21.)
To consider the following matters raised by Members:
(a) Petitions: To receive any petitions;
(b) Written Questions: To consider any written questions;
(i) Manton Road safety- Councillor Yates
(ii) Brighton Marina and Gasworks site- Councillor Fishleigh
(iii) Ovingdean to Roedean temporary bus lane- Councillor Fishleigh
(iv) Valley Gardens Phase 3- Councillor Wares
(v) Cityclean- Councillor Wares
(vi) Cityclean- Councillor Wares
(vii) Madeira Drive- Councillor Wares
(viii) North Street- Councillor Wares
(ix) Temporary transport measures- Councillor Wares
(x) Madeira Drive- Councillor Wares
(xi) Pavement weeds- Councillor Wares
(c) Letters: To consider any letters;
(i) Council ponds- Councillor Osborne
(ii) Wildflowers- Councillor Osbourne
(iii) LCWIP- Councillor Wares
(iv) SCAPE- Councillor Wares
(v) The Deneway- Councillor Wares
(vi) Parklets- Councillor Hills
(d) Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee.
(i) Equalities and Emergency Active Travel Fund
(ii) Historic Events on Madeira Drive
(iii) Litter Reduction
(B) WRITTEN QUESTIONS
(i) Manton Road Safety
21.1 Councillor Yates read the following question:
“Could the Chair agree undertake to review the safety of Manton Road, Bevendean in the near future please? As a very narrow single track one way road with encroaching bushes on one side and a footway on the other side which is regularly completely obstructed by pavement parking, residents have asked for action to be taken by the council to ensure that all residents and users can share the space safely and without fear of speeding vehicles”.
21.2 The Chair provided the following reply:
“The Council’s road safety engineering programme is referred to as the High Risk Sites Programme and this tackles the worst sites in the City. This programme looks at clusters of accidents in priority of dealing with the worst locations first. The casualty record is considered to determine whether there are patterns of collisions that can be tackled, whether the Highway layout is appropriate and whether there are benefits in making changes as sometimes making changes can actually make the problem worse.
I can confirm that there have been no casualties reported in Manton Road in the last 3 years and therefore the road would not meet the criteria for a full safety review under this programme. However, we have noted your specific concerns about vegetation and footway parking and will pass these on to the relevant teams for further consideration”.
(ii) Brighton Marina and Gasworks site
21.3 Councillor Fishleigh read the following question:
“Nearly 2,000 new flats will be built at Brighton Marina and the Gasworks site over the next few years.
I know that there is no master plan for transport for this area but we will need new roads, flyovers, bridges, tunnels, pavements, cycle paths and bus lanes to transport people into, around and out of the area”.
Please would you tell me what the process and timescales are for planning, financing and building these?”
21.4 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Brighton Marina and the Gas Works Site just north of the A259 have been identified for redevelopment in Policy DA2 of the City Plan Part 1 which was adopted in 2016. A high-level assessment of infrastructure needs, including transport, for all of the policy allocations was carried out to support their inclusion within the Plan.
A more detailed assessment of transport measures and opportunities is set out in the adopted Brighton Marina Masterplan Planning Advice Note from 2008. This helps to inform future regeneration and transport measures which will be suitable to accommodate development in the area.
New development is an opportunity to secure improvements to infrastructure. As planning applications come forward on the main sites in the area – the Marina Outer Harbour application is due to be considered by the Planning Committee tomorrow and we await proposals for the Gas Works site – I can assure you they will be carefully assessed by City Transport and Planning officers and, if approved, any necessary measures will be secured as part of the decision. The funding mechanisms will be determined by the planning process, and the construction timescales will be planned by the developer.
The assessment will include the cumulative impact of other development sites and will ensure that the right infrastructure is put in place for people and vehicles to support new development and encourage and provide safe, accessible and sustainable travel options”.
21.5 Councillor Fishleigh asked the following supplementary question:
“The council is allowing utility companies that have to take up paving slabs to replace these slabs with unsightly tarmac. Please would you clarify if this is an official policy”.
21.6 The Chair stated that a written response would be provided.
(iii) Ovingdean to Roedean temporary bus lane
21.7 Councillor Fishleigh withdrew the question.
(iv) Valley Gardens Phase 3
21.8 Councillor Wares read the following question:
“On or around the 6th September various publications and social media posts referred to comments made by the Executive Director at a meeting on the 4th December 2018 in respect to Valley Gardens phase 3. The alleged comment was “to make driving in the centre of the city so difficult that fewer people do it”. That I can only presume reflects the then Labour Administration’s approach. Is this the adopted underpinning strategy for Cllr. West, the Co-Chair responsible for transport in the city?”
21.9 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Thank you for your question Cllr Wares. I am sure you will recall that the Valley Gardens Phase 3 project has a very clear set of Core Design Objectives which were approved by this committee in June 2018. They focus on improving walking, cycling and public transport use; tackling congestion; improving road safety and the public realm; creating accessible spaces; and enhancing the environment. They do not include making driving difficult. I’m hopeful you will have also noted the improvements as a result of the opening of VG1 and VG2.
The scheme therefore embodies many of the objectives that are part of the council’s wider transport strategy which is set out in its current Local Transport Plan, approved in 2015. We are all working together to achieve these objectives across the city and involving partners and stakeholders along the way. Through the development of a new Local Transport Plan, we will have a further opportunity to discuss and agree the transport vision and strategy for the city, and I look forward to doing so as the Chair of this committee”.
21.10 Councillor Wares read the following question:
“On the 14th July, whilst in opposition, Brighton & Hove Green councillors issued a statement that said that it was time to end missed recycling and refuse collections. It also said that it was time to end repeated excuses over missed collections. Now Cllr. Heley is in charge of Cityclean, will she please confirm that she endorses that statement and take personal responsibility for future missed collections. Will the Co-Chair also confirm that no more excuses will be given?”
21.11 The Chair provided the following reply:
“It is absolutely the time to end missed collections. As an opposition member I was also critical of Cityclean’s performance and as chair I will continue to hold the service to account, and work closely with officers to do all that I can to improve the service for our residents.
I hope committee agrees with me when I say that the amount of work taking place at Cityclean to improve performance, as highlighted in the Modernisation Programme update on today’s agenda, is impressive. This demonstrates the efforts being made to improve the service across the city.
Complaints are down, compliments are up and the percentage of vehicles off the road due to faults is decreasing. While we are not yet seeing a corresponding reduction in missed collections, we can hope that the projects within the Modernisation Programme will shortly make an impact.
The review of persistent missed collections and the subsequent request for Traffic Regulation Orders will implement measures, such as double yellow lines, will remove the access issues, enabling Cityclean trucks to enter roads.
The investment in technology which we are being asked to endorse today will improve the communication between Cityclean teams, meaning any reports of missed collections can directly sent to the relevant crew to resolve, lessening the impact of the missed collection on residents”.
21.12 Councillor Wares read the following question:
“At Full Council I asked if Cllr. Heley thought the agreement between the unions and the council that prevented strikes earlier in the year should be made public. Cllr. Heley was reluctant to answer. The council have responded to my Freedom of Information request to say they have the information but don’t consider it in the public interest to release the documents. Now Cllr. Heley has had time to consider the matter, please could she provide an answer today?”
21.13 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Thank you for your question. You have received a very detailed written response to your FOI request, from the previous administration, which sets out in full the explanation as to why the agreement is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act and how you may appeal this decision.
While personal data in the agreement has been anonymised as far as it is possible to do so, it is considered that sufficient other information exists in the public domain to render individuals referred to in the agreement identifiable. As a result, the agreement is considered to include the personal data of third parties. There was also considered to be a strong likelihood that releasing the agreement would significantly impact the effective conduct of the council’s affairs”.
21.14 Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:
“Do you agree that the information should not be made public?”
21.15 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Yes, at the moment I do agree”
(vii) Madeira Drive
21.16 Councillor Wares read the following question:
“With the Tranche 1 and 2 bids for Covid-19 transport measures there is little or no mention of Madeira Drive. Please could Cllr. West confirm how all the physical measures, the cost of traffic orders and the employment of marshals are being paid for, what is the cost to date and what is the daily cost to employ marshals?”
21.17 The Chair provided the following reply:
“The costs associated with Madeira Drive have been paid for within existing budgets for both the physical changes and the ongoing costs for the closure. The stewarding for the closure is £382.20 a day”
21.18 Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:
“Just to confirm, that is not coming out of the council’s Tranche 1 funding, it’s coming from existing budgets?”
21.19 The following reply was provided on behalf of the Chair:
“Yes, that’s correct”
(viii) Parking revenue
21.20 Councillor Wares read the following question:
“The loss of parking revenue due to the Covid-19 measures implemented by the council by suspending parking is likely to run into millions. As this revenue props up a number of provisions and services such as senior citizen, disabled and school bus passes and subsidised bus routes, please can Cllr. West confirm what the council’s plan is to make up for the lost revenue, for example are you bringing in a congestion charge?”
21.21 The Chair provided the following reply:
“For the financial year 2020/21, the Council can and will make a claim to central government for eligible income lost from sales, fees and charges as a result of the pandemic. The total claim can be for 75% of the eligible income lost (less a 5% deduction from the original budget for administrative costs and any other relevant mitigating savings). The grant claim will include parking income lost as a result of Covid-19 related measures for suspending parking temporarily (including the closure of Madeira Drive).
The latest details of the forecast parking income losses and the estimated value of the grant to cover these losses will be reported to the October 2020 Policy & Resources Committee as part of the 2020/21 TBM 5 Budget Monitoring report. In opposition, I put forward a few policy ideas that would raise money for the council such as an ULEZ and congestion charge and I believe that we need certain powers from central government to do some of those things but in theory, yes, we’d like to do that”.
(ix) North Street
21.22 Councillor Wares read the following question:
“In a recent press release Cllr. West referred to North Street being the 3rd most polluted street in England. North Street remains 2-3 times above the legal limit. As confirmed in council reports, North Street is primarily used by buses, taxis and delivery vehicles. Please would Cllr. West advise by what year does he intend to ensure North Street pollution levels are below the legal limit and in giving that date, will he take personal responsibility if the target is missed”.
21.23 The Chair provided the following reply:
“We have a report later on the agenda about air quality, and it refers to the council’s annual report which includes the most up to date data for 2019 and was published earlier this year. Monitoring takes place at three points along North Street, so we have very clear information about what is happening from year to year. The highest levels of nitrogen dioxide are recorded at the busy Clock Tower junction, where there are tall buildings and traffic lights to enable everybody to move safely. Although they exceed standards, the results show that there has been continuous improvement over a number of years in this part of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, as there been elsewhere in the city, but there is still a lot of work to do.
The development of a new Air Quality Action Plan, which will come to this committee next year, will provide the recommended actions that we can all sign up to and ensure that we identify and assign responsibilities for making the city a cleaner and healthier place for people to live, work, shop and visit. Continuing to work with our local bus and taxi companies to reduce emissions will undoubtedly play a key part in addressing the problems in North Street. I do hope that they can continue with their investment plans for cleaner, low emission vehicles in these difficult times, and that the welcome decision to un-pause our SCRIF money for retrofitting exhausts on older buses will help too. Add in the feasibility work for delivering a Car Free City Centre by 2023 and an expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone, and I am confident that we can significantly influence the pace of the continued air quality improvement that we have already seen in North Street, and hope we can count on your support for these important measures”.
21.24 Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:
“You didn’t give me a date by which North Street would be resolved, do we have a date when that will become a priority?”
21.25 The Chair provided the following reply:
“As soon as possible”.
(x) Temporary transport measures
21.26 Councillor West read the following question:
“For months now I have been trying to obtain an unequivocal answer to the simple question “once a Covid-19 response to transport measures is no longer needed, will all the Experimental traffic regulation orders remain, as it appears the Experimental status doesn’t need Covid-19 as a requirement for them to remain legal”. Please could Cllr. West provide that answer as it will confirm whether or not the council intends to make the measures permanent and that the claims of “temporary” are misleading and the term “trojan horse” is more accurate as transport changes installed under the guise of Covid-19 will occur?”
21.27 The Chair provided the following reply:
“When the Conservative Government issued its emergency powers in April, revised in May, this year and specific Statutory Guidance under The Traffic Management Act it also set out a range of provisions for Local Authorities to follow including local choice of which Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) type to use. The Government allowed the choice to be determined by Local Authorities to suit its local circumstances and conditions.
The various Covid-19 Urgent Response Transport Action Plan measures have been advertised through the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order process which after the initial consultation allows 6 months for comments and then the order needs to come back to this Committee anytime within 18 months to determine the way forward. Committee members can then determine whether to revoke or make permanent the Order (including any amendments required).
Any amendments in the meantime can also come back to this Committee for members to agree the way forward such as the proposal to be discussed today to revoke the experimental Traffic Regulation Order for Madeira Drive with a new proposal through a Permanent Traffic Regulation order”.
21.28 Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:
“If there is no longer a Covid response required, will the Experimental Traffic Orders be rescinded there and then, or will you keep them in place to run their course?”
21.29 The Chair provided the following reply:
“It is quite clear now that Covid 19 is not just going to have an end date, it will be an ongoing thing and I think I have answered that we have that 18 month window to make changes and everything does have to come back to committee. So, I don’t really think the argument of a trojan horse is that valid as it needs committee approval”.
(xi) Madeira Drive
21.30 Councillor Wares read the following question:
“There have been several announcements by the Administration that Madeira Drive will be reviewed to repurpose its use and potentially not be open to traffic in any form save for events that might be permitted. As the Administration’s Valley Gardens phase 3’s design and the assumptions they make, albeit to many still viewed as flawed, specifically requires Madeira Drive to be a one-way road, please could Cllr. West either confirm that regardless of future plans, Madeira Drive will always at least be open to one-way traffic or that he agrees to suspend work on Valley Gardens phase 3 until the future of Madeira Drive has been designed, consulted upon and any subsequent proposal agreed by the appropriate committees?”
21.31 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Officers have reviewed the Madeira Drive road closure and considered comments made from businesses and stakeholders. A recommendation has been made to this Committee to re-open the road for one-way eastbound traffic movements from the Place Pier eastbound. This will allow access to parking facilities including double the number of Blue Badge Bays, loading bays and coach drop off points. All vehicles will be authorised to freely use the re-opened section of road and to have access to Black Rock Car Park.
These recommendations have been considered in-line with future proposals such as Valley Gardens, Phase 3 and Black Rock development”.
(xii) Pavement Weeds
21.32 Councillor Wares read the following question:
“Across many parts of the city, pavements are becoming dangerous due to the amount and size of weeds and other vegetation growing in and besides them. It was proposed that weeds would be manually cleared but there appears to have been very little activity. Accepting the pandemic will have influenced progress, the activity of clearing weeds could have been done is a safe manner. The concern is that pavements now have significant trip hazards and impede those using wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walking aids or prams and buggies. Also, because “pavement weeds” have been allowed to grow they will be more difficult to remove, it will take longer and thus be more costly and are quite likely causing structural damage to the pavements themselves. Please could Cllr. Heley advise what is being done to clear the weeds and will sufficient resource and funding be made available to repair and replace damaged pavements?”
21.33 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Our City Environmental Managemental services has committed to become pesticide free by 2022. A plan was developed to end the use of pesticide in the city’s parks, open spaces, pavements and highways in November 2019. The service will not engage contractors to use pesticide on any land managed by these departments. This means that, since the decision was taken, the removal of weeds in parks and on hard surfaces has been undertaken in-house and using manual techniques.
When adopting this approach, Cityclean were open that they would not be able to remove the weeds to the same extent and therefore, there would be more weeds. However, this also brings some benefits of encouraging insects and increased biodiversity. Indeed, many residents have asked us not to remove weeds when they have seen the insects flourish.
Cityclean has cleared most of the worst affected areas in the city. However, the weeding and deep cleaning schedule was quite badly impacted by the covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. Street Cleansing operatives were diverted to other more urgent front line Cityclean and beach front services to cover staff who had to self-isolate.
The weeding season ends in October when the focus will change to leaves. We will then look at what has gone well, the positive and negative impact on the environment including pavements and where we can make improvements. We will take this time to trial new brushes for the mechanical sweepers and review funding, equipment and resources for the following year. A report will be brought to committee in the New Year.
Our Streets Cleansing operatives continue to work hard to remove weeds and leaves from the most affected areas of the city.
Residents who would like excessive weeds removed from public land can contact report this online and street cleaners will attend the area”.
21.34 Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:
“Can I invite you to have a walk around Patcham and Hollingbury with me and perhaps part of Withdean as well and you will see for yourself that the claim that the worst affected areas have been dealt with have not been done”.
21.35 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Yes, I will come to Patcham and Withdean to have a look at weeds”.
(i) Council ponds
21.36 The Committee considered a Letter from Councillor Osborne that requested better management of council ponds.
21.37 The Chair provided the following response:
“As a result of the climate crisis, we are seeing an increase in hot and dry summers. This is noticeable in our ponds which are not stream fed but either rely entirely on rainfall or collect runoff from surrounding roads. During times of drought these ponds receive no additional water. With hotter drier summers this is likely to be a regular problem so much so that we don’t believe that the majority of our ponds are suitable for fish and are working to a long-term solution to remove the fish. Preston Park Rock Garden and St Ann’s Well Garden ponds are an exception; they are not filled by rain but from bore hole and mains water and are still suitable for fish.
With regard to Falmer Pond, no fish were moved by the Environment Agency. Indeed, they told us that we could not move them without a license from them for which we would have to get the fish tested for disease (30 fish which would be euthanized). We didn’t proceed with this as we didn’t think there were enough fish left in the pond to test and we could not find anyone willing to take them.
A pump was installed to aerate it while there was enough water to pump around and investigated filling the pond from the water main, but this requires permission from Southern Water. Southern Water are not willing to give permission in times of drought when their priority is to maintain drinking water supplies. They did offer to provide treated effluent suitable for discharge into a stream, but this requires a permit from the Environment Agency who refused to grant it as they were concerned about a build-up of pollutants should the water further evaporate. This left us in the unfortunate position of having a pond with distressed fish with no way of removing the fish, increasing the water level, or aerating the water once the level had dropped to a level where the silt would foul the pump which was distressing for staff as well as the public.
We completed a survey last year which identified several issues with the pond including the amount of silt and deterioration to the inlet and outlet which now leak. This means that while the pond may fill quickly after rain, the level quickly drops to the level of the leak. This is not far above the level of the silt, so it does not take long for evaporation to reduce the amount of water such that the fish begin to struggle. The cost of carrying out the suggested repairs is not something that can be met from existing budgets, but officers have bid into the governments recently announced Green Recovery Fund for money to carry out these works
Signage is put up but unfortunately doesn’t tend to last very long. The rangers used to do more outreach, e.g. run guided walks, etc., but this was one of the things that was cut to meet budget savings with the rangers being asked to concentrate more on facilitating volunteers helping to maintain our parks and open spaces.
I have asked officers to explore the with council’s communication team how we can provide more information to the public on issues relating to ponds across the city.
I hope the problems we’ve experienced with our ponds recently will serve as a stark reminder for members about how the global climate crisis is having and will continue to have such a devastating impact on our wildlife”.
21.38 RESOLVED-That the Committee note the Letter.
21.39 The Committee considered a Letter from Councillor Osborne that requested support for Hollingdean and Stanmer to become a trial ‘Wildflower Ward’ starting with the grass verges along the bus route up Davey Drive and The Crestway.
21.40 The Chair provided the following response:
“This sounds like a lovely idea that would help increase the biodiversity in the city. The contents of Councillor Osbourne’s letter align closely with the objectives of the Open Spaces Strategy. Therefore, if the committee agrees, I will instruct officers to bring a report to the November meeting of this Committee to cover all areas of the strategy, including grass verges”.
21.41 RESOLVED- That the Committee receive a report on the matter.
21.42 The Committee considered a Letter from Councillor Wares that expressed concern regarding his concerns relating the progress and focus of the Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).
21.43 The Chair provided the following response:
“The LCWIP is still in development and is an ongoing process which welcomes input and involvement from stakeholders and members (and the wider public when the draft document is produced). The needs and views of all stakeholders need to be taken into account and balanced when developing this document. What has been presented to stakeholders / members at this current stage is the draft walking / cycling network proposals, these are very much a work in progress for discussion with stakeholders and the approach which we have largely followed to this point is the suggested approach in the national guidance.
The LCWIP Technical Guidance from Department for Transport suggests for the walking network to focus on identifying Core Walking Zones and Key Walking Routes to and from these. This is in order to focus on the areas with most demand in terms of trip attractors (e.g. schools, shopping areas, workplaces) and therefore the most potential for improvement to journeys / attracting new pedestrian journeys or longer walking trips. Focusing away from these areas is unlikely to have the same effect in terms of the potential for modal shift. That said, we understand the point being raised with regards to the suburban journeys in the city and the potential for influencing these journeys and potential for modal shift to sustainable modes. The LCWIP has identified 20 Core Walking Zones and associated Key Walking Routes, while many of these zones are near the city centre area (e.g. central Brighton, Seven Dials, London Road), many are also focused on outlying areas (e.g. Patcham, Hangleton and Woodingdean). For the cycling routes, these are focused predominantly on strategic where there is highest propensity to cycle, in line with the national Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT).
For the LCWIP to have a key focus on the suburban areas instead of the high footfall areas / high propensity strategic cycle routes, this would require a significant change of focus which would need to be considered and agreed through the project governance mechanisms. Focusing away from the Core Walking Zone approach of considering areas with higher footfall / strategic routes for cycling, and switching to areas with larger geographical spread of facilities / residential properties would require more of an area-based approach to the process in order to gain the most benefit from provision of walking and cycling interventions in less built-up areas.
We are considering Councillor Wares’ comments on this subject alongside other comments gathered as part of this stakeholder engagement phase.
Following this stage of stakeholder engagement, we will be revising the draft network based on the feedback and engaging further with stakeholders on the changes as a result of their feedback”.
21.44 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Letter.
(iv) SCAPE Project Carden Avenue
21.45 The Committee considered a Letter from Councillor Wares that requested urgent works to address potential gaps in the SCAPE Project in Carden Avenue that if not addressed, would continue to cause flooding in the area despite the project.
21.46 The Chair provided the following response:
“Scape is a project which is being partially funded by the Interreg 2seas programme. A programme which is funded by the EU. This is a pilot scheme which is looking at adapting to the climate change through water management. The Carden Avenue scheme is our (BHCC’s) offering to this research project. It is not intended to provide a solution to the flooding, but to show in principle that this sort of intervention could work in an urban environment. This is why the Carden Avenue scheme scope has changed over time. The scope has been reduced, to meet the timeframe of the programme, and also meet the funding. In this area, any intervention will improve the current situation. Following completion, it is expected that the scheme should provide an improvement to flood risk to the residents in the immediate and down-stream areas.
BHCC acknowledge the issue raised about the large amount of water coming downstream and have engaged with Southern Water to undertake further investigations. BHCC thinks that there might be a missed connection. An initial inspection at the Hollingbury retail park has taken place, but no missed connections were identified. However not all connections were investigated at the time. To date Southern Water have been reluctant to invest in monitoring in the system, as the system is large, and there are a number of branches which feed into the main sewer along Carden avenue, even though we, the council, have offered to pay for the work. As the Lead Local Flood Authority, we believe that with specific targeted monitoring points, an assessment of the inflow of water into the system can be made and provide findings. I will also ask officers to pick up this issue with you after the meeting to make sure everything has been covered”.
21.47 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Letter.
(v) The Deneway Patcham
21.48 The Committee considered a Letter from Councillor Wares that requested extension of the double yellow lines on the north side of The Deneway to prevent pavement parking.
21.49 The Chair provided the following response:
“Thank you for your letter Councillor Wares, The Parking Infrastructure Team would be happy to consider extending the double yellow lines in The Deneway and will add this to the next Citywide Traffic Regulation Order which we hope to advertise in November/December this year.
Officers would be happy to meet ward councillors to discuss this”.
21.50 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Letter.
21.51 The Committee considered a Letter from Councillor Hills that request the Committee calls for a report to consider how a parklet scheme might be put together and piloted in the city and for agreement that parklets could be considered as part of the pilot Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme in Hanover and Elm Grove, subject to approval by residents.
21.52 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Thank you for your letter. I love the idea of Parklets and can see the benefits they would bring to residents and to the environment.
This will need careful consideration because of the costs of installation and also the ongoing maintenance costs. Therefore, before making a decision I think it is important to ask officers to cost this so that we can consider how parklets could be funded.
As you have said the committee has already agreed to proceed with the development of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) in the Hanover area. We are in the process of identifying a suitable budget and resource to take this scheme forward. Once this is in place then then we would be happy to explore the options for trailing a parklet as part of the Hanover LTN so long as this can be funded and there is community commitment to the ongoing care of the planting.
Officers will be in touch with ward councillors to discuss this further once we are in a position to take this forward. I therefore propose that we request officers to provide a report to a future committee”.
21.53 RESOLVED- That the Committee receive a report on the matter.
(D) NOTICES OF MOTION
(i) Equalities and Emergency Active Travel Fund
21.54 Councillor Wares moved the following Notice of Motion on behalf of the Conservative Group:
In light of recent allegations in various media and press releases by the campaign group BADGE and Possibility People, and to ensure that the council has not fallen into disrepute, this Committee requests that the Chief Executive: -
1. Asks the Equality and Human Rights Commission to instigate an investigation into the council such that the allegations can be fully assessed and independently reported on; and
2. Asks the Local Government Association to review and report on the allegations regarding claims made in bids to Central Government for monies from the Emergency Active Travel Fund.
21.55 Introducing the motion, Councillor Wares detailed several matters of deep concern relating to the introduction of the Emergency Active Travel Fund measures and disability groups. Councillor Wares stated that the seriousness of the allegations made required an urgent, independent investigation.
21.56 Brown formally seconded the motion and stated that the allegation that the council failed to consult in accordance with the Equalities Act was very serious and must be investigated.
21.57 The Chair provided the following response to the motion:
“The allegations you refer to relate to the level of consultation carried out before temporary transport measures were implemented in response to the Covid-19 crisis and the information included in our bid to government for funding from the Emergency Active Travel Fund.
I want to assure you that although these measures have been introduced quickly, to help minimise the effects of the public health emergency, we remain committed to delivering inclusive and accessible transport for all.
Conservative MP and secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps himself said the following: “ If work has not started within four weeks of receiving your allocation under this tranche of funding, or has not been completed within eight weeks of starting, the Department will reserve the right to claw the funding back by adjusting downwards a future grant payment to your authority. This will have a material impact on your ability to secure any funding in tranche 2.”
Bids for the government funding had to be submitted at extremely short notice – within eight working days. This meant that formal consultation on proposals, of the sort you might expect in non-emergency situations, was not practicable. But we recognise going forward, that we need to go above and beyond what is required of us when it comes to consultation.
Importantly, the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order process being used to implement many of the changes, is facilitating ongoing consultation whilst the measures are in place. The process empowers us to be truly responsive and allows for the changes to be quickly adapted based on direct feedback from the public. It is a different approach to consultation and directly linked to the challenging timescales set by the Department for Transport and conservative government.
Having become the administration just weeks ago, and with myself becoming Chair only last week, I want to stress that this situation does need to be resolved and its vital disability groups feel part of the response to the changes and measures to combat Covid-19.
I have met with BADGE and Possibility People and am instructing officers to work collaboratively with them going forward. I am also asking officers to establish a formal Active Travel forum, so stakeholders can have a say in council schemes.
I set out in my chair’s communications at the beginning of this meeting some of the things we are exploring. I will make sure that going forward, officers will work more closely and collaboratively with disability representatives, including BADGE and PossAbility People, and talking with other community groups to help identify where the temporary changes may be having disproportionately negative effects, to take action where necessary
We must make sure the principles of fairness, dignity and equality underpin our ongoing response.
I am pleased therefore, that we have an Equalities Impact Assessment to consider alongside recommendations on the Urgent Response Transport Action Plan at this meeting. This assessment is crucial to us meeting our Equality Duty and we must take note of the impacts highlighted for all groups with protected characteristics in making decisions today.
To ensure our decisions are informed by as many voices as possible, I am also pleased to see that officers are proposing public consultation takes place on further schemes, and that we will have the opportunity to agree those measures as well as the consultation plan before work continues.
With a positive, collaborative and responsive approach in place I do not feel it is necessary to invite the Equality and Human Rights Commission or the Local Government Association to investigate the Council’s handling of the process for implementing these emergency measures. The focus now must be on the way forward and positive engagement, and this is the priority for myself and my colleagues.
I also note that the conservative government has been trying to scrap the EHRC for years, a body that has often exposed the discrimination against disabled people as a result of conservative government policy. Poverty Britain points to Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) research that found disabled people had been disproportionately affected by austerity measures introduced by successive Tory-led governments between 2010 and 2017.The research (PDF), published in November 2017, found that, on average, the impact of tax and benefit changes on families that included a disabled adult would reduce their income by about £2,500 per year; if the family also included a disabled child, the impact would be more than £5,500 per year.
It also highlights a report by the UN committee on the rights of persons with disabilities, which found in November 2016 that the UK government was guilty of “grave” and “systematic” violations of disabled people’s rights.
In conclusion, if the Conservative members on this committee could contact their colleagues in government to lobby for an increase in support for disabled people, I would be grateful”.
21.58 Councillor Williams stated that the decisions made in response to the Covid pandemic were made quickly and for good reason. Councillor Williams that the committee now needed to look forward and address the matter by conducting meaningful and widespread consultation on permanent changes, not temporary ones.
21.59 Councillor Appich noted that the Conservative Group had supported the changes when they were made and that was a matter of public record. Councillor Appich stated that decision were requested to be made by central government in haste and whilst mistakes had been made, it was important to move forward and undertake meaningful consultation. Councillor Appich stated that she found the motion to be one of political posturing and would not be supporting it.
21.60 Councillor Hills stated that central government had given clear instructions to local authorities that to receive funding, an application would need to be made within eight days that was a very tight deadline. Councillor Hills stated that rather than make judgements in hindsight, the council needed to learn lessons and ensure that permanent changes were widely consulted upon.
21.61 Responding to the debate, Councillor Wares stated that he was deeply concerned that his committee colleagues were unwilling to investigate the serious allegations.
21.62 Councillor Wares requested a recorded vote on the motion.
21.63 Councillor Brown seconded the request.
Councillor Appich: Against
Councillor Brown: For
Councillor Davis: Against
Councillor Fowler: Against
Councillor Heley: Against
Councillor Hills: Against
Councillor Lloyd: Against
Councillor Wares: For
Councillor Williams: Against
Councillor Wilkinson: Against
21.65 Therefore, the motion failed.
21.66 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Notice of Motion.
(ii) Historic Motoring Events on Madeira Drive
21.67 The Committee considered the following Notice of Motion referred from the meeting of Full Council held on 13 August 2020:
This council resolves to:
(1) Recommends to ETS Committee that any post-Covid changes to the layout of Madeira Drive do not prevent historic motoring events from taking place
21.68 The Chair provided the following response:
“Madeira Drive was closed on 20th April during the early peak of the Covid-19 Pandemic in response to the Government’s very strong directives to encourage Cities to support social distancing and active travel necessary for public health and alternative mobility potential. This measure was delivered using Traffic Regulation powers and subsequently included within an Urgent Response Transport Action Plan agreed at May Policy & Resources Covid Recovery Sub – Committee and further updated and agreed at 23rd June ETS Committee.
At this Committee it was agreed to continue to keep Madeira Drive closed and would also be modified to re-locate the closure point from Marine Parade to the lower level of Dukes Mound and Madeira Drive and to improve accessibly to Black Rock. Officers have now considered options for Madeira Drive based on monitoring and consultation and will be providing recommendations at 29th September ETS Committee. These recommendations include a re-opening of Madeira Drive for eastbound traffic with an east-west bound on carriageway cycle facility and reinstated parking on the north side. It is proposed this scheme will require further detail design and will be delivered though a Traffic Regulation Order Process allowing a full consultation of the parking arrangements prior to installation. As part of these design processes we will consult with Event Organisers to ensure we deliver a scheme that can support and enhance crucial City Events”.
21.69 Councillor Wares stated that he did not feel the response adequately addressed the request of the Notice of Motion that was ensuring that motoring events continued on Madeira Drive in a post-Covid world.
21.70 Councillor Wares requested a recorded vote on the motion.
21.71 Councillor Brown seconded the request.
21.72 A recorded vote on the Notice of Motion was undertaken with the following outcome:
Councillor Appich: For
Councillor Brown: For
Councillor Davis: For
Councillor Fowler: For
Councillor Heley: For
Councillor Hills: For
Councillor Lloyd: For
Councillor Wares: For
Councillor Williams: For
Councillor Wilkinson: For
21.73 Therefore, the motion was carried.
21.74 RESOLVED- That the Committee agree that any post-Covid changes to the layout of Madeira Drive do not prevent historic motoring events from taking place.
(iii) Litter Reduction
21.75 The Committee considered the following Notice of Motion referred from the meeting of Full Council held on 13 August 2020:
This Council requests that:
1. A report is commissioned for the next suitable meeting of the ET&S Committee, outlining a further strategic response to the problem of littering, including:
- joint working between the council, supermarkets and hospitality industry that can stem the flow of rubbish at the source
- the development of a voluntary scheme, whereby businesses can be supported to develop a ‘return/refund’ system for disposable items, to help minimise littering among customers; and where participation is rewarded e.g. through promotional materials / stickers for businesses who join the scheme;
- details on how any strategy aligns with the council’s unnecessary single-use plastics pledge
- an update on the council’s food waste trial
- the strategy to deal with seasonal increases in littering especially on the beaches to avoid unnecessary build-up of waste by bins whilst also not impacting on general residential household waste and recycling collection services through-out the city
- the potential to increase the number of Civil Enforcement Officers employed by the council
the potential to increase the number of staff and support equipment
(including vehicles) that can be dedicated to litter picking
throughout the city on a planned or response basis
21.76 The Chair provided the following response:
“This Notice of Motion requires a substantial amount of work by officers and I would like them to have time to undertake a review of the summer streets, seafront and enforcement issues and service prior to making recommendations to committee.
I am therefore proposing that the committee note this NOM and request a report from officers to be presented at a future ETS committee”.
21.77 RESOLVED- That the Committee agree to the request made in the Notice of Motion.
- Item 20(b) MemberQuestions, item 21. PDF 119 KB
- Council ponds Cllr Osborne, item 21. PDF 342 KB
- Wildflower letter Cllr Osborne, item 21. PDF 398 KB
- Cllr Wares LCWIP, item 21. PDF 120 KB
- Cllr Wares SCAPE, item 21. PDF 216 KB
- Cllr Wares The Deneway, item 21. PDF 118 KB
- Parklets letter Cllr Hills, item 21. PDF 456 KB
- ConGrp NoM Equalities, item 21. PDF 180 KB
- NoMs for ET&S 29.09.20 referred from Council 13.08.20, item 21. PDF 292 KB
- Historic Events on Madeira Drive, item 21. PDF 78 KB
- Litter Reduction, item 21. PDF 277 KB