Agenda item - Public Involvement

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Agenda item

Public Involvement

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


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


1)             TRO on Sydney Street


(b)           Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 16 June 2021;


1)             Air pollution


(c)           Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 16 June 2021.


1)             Pavement Obstructions


(A)          PETITIONS


(i)             TRO on Sydney Street


5.1          The Committee considered a petition signed by 39 people requesting a rejection of the weekday closure of Sydney Street and reinstitute restricted access.


5.2          The Chair provided the following response:


“Thank you for your petition and your points are really well made. I use the area a lot as well so I do understand.

The Current Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO) for the North Laine area is due to be reviewed shortly and a report will be presented to ETS Committee by December, We are gathering further information to support this report including traffic counts and will be organising discussions with key stakeholders including disability groups, cycling groups, businesses and residents.

The findings of these discussions and comments on the formal ETRO consultation will help form a recommendation for the future report”.


5.3          RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.




(1)           Air pollution


5.4          Adrian Hill read the following question:


“Ella Kissi-Deborah’s prevention of future deaths report said ‘Delay in reducing the levels of atmospheric air pollution is the cause of avoidable deaths.' We in Brighton suffer illegal air pollution with NO2 just as high as Ella was exposed to.  I’m right in concluding this prevention of future deaths report by the coroner applies to Brighton just as much as it does to London. Can I have an update on the urgent changes that are required such as Clean Air Zone, electric buses, trams and preventing new building configurations that make pollution dispersal and exposure worse?


5.5          The Chair provided the following reply:


“We agree that air pollution is a serious, public health issue and is one of the many reasons it’s important to provide opportunities for active travel.

We continue to work with all of the city’s public transport operators, including buses and taxis, to reduce the effects of emissions from vehicles and have recently combined council funding with that secured from the Government for retrofitting bus exhaust systems to reduce emissions by up to 90% in some cases.  We are also working with partners to bid for funding to support the use of zero emission buses and lorries and the associated infrastructure required to make this possible. 

We are also developing a new Local Transport Plan, which you can hear more about later on this agenda.  It recognises the need to address emissions that affect our air quality and the ways in which we can do this.  The development of a wider Ultra Low Emission Zone is one of those and following the report the committee considered earlier in the year, funding is now being allocated to enable further work. 

We will also have the benefit of the results of the latest annual Air Quality Status Review soon, and this will be followed by the development of an Air Quality Action Plan.  Many of these measures will be included and people will have the opportunity to express their views on what is proposed.    

When determining planning applications in the city, officers and councillors take into account recognised guidance and approved policies, including those in the City Plan.  These focus on the protection of the environment and health in terms of pollution and nuisance.  Specialist advice is provided by our Air Quality Officer who responds on the potential impacts on air quality.  This can include consideration of the design, height and alignment of buildings as well as encouraging emission-free developments without combustion on site and supporting renewable energy sources such as solar panels. 

Requiring sustainable travel measures such as walking infrastructure and cycle parking will also contribute to mitigating or minimising emissions from vehicle trips, by encouraging travel behaviour change and providing healthy, clean and zero carbon alternatives”.


5.6          Adrian Hill asked the following supplementary question:


“Does the future deaths report apply to Brighton?”


5.7          The Chair provided the following reply:


“I’m happy to take a closer look at it but I do recognise that we’ve often had illegal levels of pollution that are very dangerous”


(2)           Seafront Signage


5.8          Chris Murgatroyd read the following question:


“Now that large “Bin it or take it home” banners have appeared on metal barriers in the Pedestrian Zone on the Lower Promenade, between the Peace Statue and the Artists Quarter, to discourage littering, will BHCC finally also install signs to discourage cycling in the Pedestrian Zone, except in the exercise of a lawful right or privilege - for example like the “Be kind, Be considerate” sign on the barriers near Hove Lagoon, which politely encourages people to cycle on the cycle lane, or to push their bike if they want to stay on the Lower Promenade?”


5.9          The Chair provided the following reply:

“Yes, officers are looking for further appropriate locations to mount the temporary ‘Be kind, Be considerate’ signs”


5.10      Chris Murgatroyd asked the following supplementary question:


“Are there any circumstances in which the Council will put up signs of any kind in the Pedestrian Zone between the Peace Statue and the Artists Quarter, to keep people safe and discharge its duty of care to staff, residents and others, by reminding everybody that cycling is not permitted on the Lower Promenade, save in the exercise of a lawful right or privilege - and so that there is something to point at, when a polite request to dismount is met with a surly “where does it say that?”, or often much worse?”


5.11      The Chair provided the following reply:


“There are already quite a few there but we can ask the Seafront Team to look at the matter again”


(3)           Public Convenience refurbishment


5.12      Derek Wright read the following question:


“In October 2018 a report/decision was made on how to finance their refurbishment, since then nothing has happened. When will the Daltons, Colonnade, Pavilion Gardens, Kings Esplanade toilets be modernised?”


5.13      The Chair provided the following reply:


“Sadly, due to other priorities and Cityclean’s response to the pandemic, the team has not been able to progress the refurbishment work as planned following the October 2018 decision.

A report had been due to go to committee for decision in March 2020 to progress the project. That did not go ahead and so the necessary decisions were not made. Following this, Cityclean has had to absolutely focus on delivering core statutory services.

I am pleased to let you know that work has restarted and an update on the refurbishment programme will be shared at Policy & Resources Committee on 1 July”.


5.14      Derek Wright asked the following supplementary question:


“People use the lower promenade as a toilet, urinating against the gates of the passageway that goes under the pier. Can you look at improving the toilet signage on the lower promenade, making it bigger and bolder so that people are directed to the toilets underneath the zip wire?”


5.15      The Chair provided the following reply:


“We can look into that”.


(4)           Seafront Disabled Parking Bays


5.16      Pippa Hodge read the following question:


“Video surveillance (12/9/20) of the 7 A259 seafront disabled bays was finally produced on 14/5/21.  It notes a wheelchair user forced to travel in the cycle lane to access their vehicle, swerving bikes, bay abuse (eg Brighton Bike Hire) and only one mention of a wheelchair ramped van.

BADGE have been sharing photographic evidence of Inaccessibility & Danger since August. In March we were promised 5 safer Northside bays. Still nothing. Under your Active Travel Scheme ‘our’ seafront remains inaccessible for a second summer.  Do Councillors find it acceptable that 10 months later, Officers still haven’t addressed these grave concerns?”


5.17      The Chair provided the following reply:


“Thank you for your question Pippa and for all your continued engagement, it’s really appreciated.

As part of the phase 1 works on the seafront there was no change to the number of disabled bays, but some are offset from the kerb with additional space provided either side to ensure additional safety and access at these locations.  We do recognise that while this meets the design standards, people do still need to take care when near vehicles or for passengers exiting vehicles, due to the location. So we do recognise why it is still potentially dangerous to some users.

We are currently investigating additional parking bays along the seafront to further improve access.  Council Officers are still investigating the viability of additional disabled bays, as there are a number of factors to consider and residents and businesses to consult and these matters do take time. I have asked Officers to continue to keep you updated.

So, to answer your question directly, I do think it’s probably taking too long but we’re doing all we can to speed it up”.


5.18      Pippa Hodge asked the following supplementary question:


“By failing to reduce physical barriers, by failing to ensure disabled people are not impeded from accessing areas of the city they would otherwise be able to and by not acting on our feedback which repeatedly raised the issue of seafront accessibility and danger for 10 long months and with these risks being identified and written into the council’s Covid-19 urgent response action plan equalities impact assessment, does this mean that Brighton & Hove Council continue to be in breach of their own equalities impact assessment and have therefore failed to meet their public sector equalities duties?”


5.19      The Chair provided the following reply:


“The council does not feel that we are contravening equality legislation but that doesn’t mean we can’t do more and go above and beyond so we’ll continue to look at it with you”.


(5)           Brighton Racecourse footpaths


5.20      Mark Strong read the following question:


“Recently Brighton Racecourse closed footpaths west of the grandstand, citing the need for a secure area on race days due to COVID. While not public footpaths, they have been well used for decades, providing safe links towards Woodingdean and Whitehawk, avoiding sections of Freshfield Road with no footway. There has been no EqIA or consideration of disabled people.


We understand officers have tried to negotiate permissive access. Can the Chair update us explaining how access might be restored without an arduous Public Inquiry. In particular, how will the council use its membership of the Racecourse Trustees Board to restore access?”


5.21      The Chair provided the following reply:


“Thank you and you’re right that we have also been raising this as I know ward councillors have too. Officers are seeking to negotiate permissive access for non-race days and those discussions are live and ongoing. We appreciate how important accessing this open space is to residents living nearby and agree that access for disabled people needs to be considered too.

The issue is that in the absence of agreed permissive access, the council as landowner cannot require the racecourse to provide the access.

An alternative option would be for those residents who have enjoyed uninterrupted access for over 20 years to submit an application to the council for an amendment to the Definitive Map for the access to be dedicated as public rights of way.   The evidence submitted would be examined by the Highways legal team and an assessment report submitted to council ETS Committee.  If no decision were made, or the decision contested, this may result in the matter being handed on to the Planning Inspectorate for adjudication and a possible public inquiry.

The council is represented on the Racecourse Trustees Board by Cllr Williams and Cllr West and any representation on the matter would be their decision, but I am sure they would be willing to raise this, and we can speak to them about it”.


(C)          DEPUTATIONS


(1)           Pavement Obstructions


5.22      The Committee considered a Deputation that outlines the needs for improved standards, better oversight and enforcement to keep the city's footways clear of obstructions and requested action to keep pavements safe.


5.23      The Chair provided the following response:


“Thank you for your Deputation, you raised very important points.

The council does recognise the issues caused by commercial bins on the city’s highways, roads and pavements. We are committed to tackling this and I am pleased that on today’s agenda, councillors are being asked to approve a model to remove these from a number of roads in the city to make them safer and more accessible. If Committee approves the recommendations, businesses in time-banding zones will only be able to place bins out between 6am and 9am and 6pm and 9pm – at all other times, bins and bags must be off the highway, otherwise they may receive a Fixed Penalty Notice.

Another item on today’s agenda is proposing a public consultation on introducing enforcement measures for wheelie bins and boxes, which can also cause obstructions. Subject to approval from committee, following the public consultation, a report will be presented to a future meeting with a proposal on how this can work.

The council is also planning on carrying out a full review of its highway licensing policies later in the year. These policies have not been reviewed for some time and recent legislation changes to pavement licences means that changes to the policies need to be considered.  The Highway Enforcement team are also recruiting additional temporary staff over the summer months to help support the work of this essential team in keeping outside seating and shop displays under control.

Safe and easy access around the positioning of street furniture items that are installed as part of a project will have been considered using guidance from the Inclusive mobility document and Manual for streets. Projects will carry out an Equalities Impact Assessment as part of that process”.


5.24      RESOLVED- That the Committee note the Deputation.

Supporting documents:


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