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)       Speed Camera on Beaconsfield Road

 

(b)           Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 12 January 2022;

 

(1)       Cycle Security

 

(c)           Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 12 January 2022.

 

(1)       Play area refurbishment

Minutes:

(A)          Petitions

 

(1)           Speed Camera on Beaconsfield Road

 

66.1      The Committee considered a petition signed by 9 people requesting the installation of a speed camera on Beaconsfield Road.

 

66.2      The petitioner was not present so the Chair stated that a written response would be provided.

 

66.3      Councillor Platts moved a motion to request an officer report on the matter.

 

66.4      Councillor Wilkinson formally seconded the motion.

 

66.5      Resolved- That the Committee receive a report to a future meeting responding to the petition request.

 

(B)          Written Questions

 

(1)           Cycle Security

 

66.6      Anthony Pusey read the following question:

 

“In November my wife and I securely locked our electric bikes - £2,500 each - to bike posts opposite the main toilets in Marine Drive in full view to passers by with 2 gold rated locks.

Unfortunately, they were stolen. I think that most new cycle initiatives are useless if people are frightened to leave their bikes.

What can BHCC do to make our bikes more secure when locked up in public places?”

 

66.7      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“I am really sorry to hear about the theft of your bikes and appreciate how frustrating this must be given the sensible precautions you took.

The Council works with Sussex Police to publicise the steps cyclists can take to reduce theft. These include robust locking systems and leaving bikes in areas with good natural surveillance or CCTV cover, both of which you clearly did.

We also recommend registering the unique frame number, which is found on the underside of the frame below the bottom bracket, with websites such as immobilise.com and bikeregister.com. These records help the police to identify as stolen any bikes they recover and return them to the owners.

Investigations are a matter for the police, but the Council does assist with CCTV footage on the public highway when this is requested and available. Sussex Police have successfully caught bike thieves in areas of the city where they have been prolific, so it is important to report thefts to provide an accurate picture of the wider pattern of thefts. They also recommend checking online selling sites for local listings and reporting these where there is a close correlation with the bike they have lost. 

The Council recently completed a city-wide survey regarding suitable locations for the forthcoming rollout of cycle hangar units. Cycle hangars are secure cycle storage units, which can store up to six bikes. Set criteria are being used to assess the viability of each suggested site, A shortlist for the first phase will soon be created and residents on the relevant streets will be informed. While this won’t solve all security issues at public cycle parking sites like Madeira Drive, we hope it will reduce thefts across the city over time and encourage more uptake of cycling”.

 

(2)           Trees in Saltdean Drive

 

66.8      Philip Rose read the following question:

 

“The canopy of trees in Saltdean Drive are now too big for the road causing problems with the BT lines and making pavements slippery with excessive leaf fall and bird droppings. The roots are lifting the pavements and damaging crossovers. They were given a light thinning in 2013 and due a full canopy reduction in rota 2017/2018.  It is now 9 years since the street trees on Saltdean Drive have been pruned. 

Regular maintenance is essential to keep them healthy and prevent damage to both the pavements and nearby properties.

When will the trees on Saltdean Drive be pruned?”

 

66.9      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The trees along Saltdean Drive are within an area of the city which has been allocated for tree inspections, and any subsequent pruning works, in the 2024/25 pruning period.

Although these trees have not been pruned significantly since 2013, following a site visit, the Arboriculture Team does not have concerns regarding their size in terms of stability. (Stability is the primary concern and why street trees are maintained in a more compact form).

The Arboriculture Team will continue to monitor trees within areas such as Saltdean Drive, where there is longer to wait for pruning works.

The Team will intervene if it is determined that works cannot wait until the allocated year. However, it must be noted that the limited resource needs to be focused on works where safety and/or property contact demands action”.

 

66.10   Philip Rose asked the following supplementary question:

 

“It’s now been 15 years since the trees are being pruned and I think leaving it another few years is going to be too long. So I do think you need to take it back to the relevant department and tell them these trees do need some reduction”.

 

66.11   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“We’ll be happy to get them to get that double checked for you”.

 

(3)           Valley Gardens

 

66.12   Daniel Nathan read the following question:

 

“How is it possible for key stakeholders in the city to comment upon or ask questions about Valley Gardens Phase 3 Revised Scheme with Detailed Design Principles when background papers and detailed design plans have been withheld from public inspection despite numerous requests to the Chair and senior planning officer?”

 

66.13   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your question, Daniel. Throughout the development of the final section of the Valley Gardens, there has been extensive and ongoing engagement and consultation with a wide range of organisations and representatives of various interests.  This has really helped to inform the technical and engineering aspects of the design to ensure that the previously agreed core objectives and decisions of this committee are fulfilled.   

 

No background papers or plans have been withheld from people but bringing all this information together has involved a considerable amount of effort and time to ensure that the design can be considered by this committee.  This included a meeting of the Member Working Group on Friday 7th January, which has oversight of the Valley Gardens project, to discuss particular aspects of the scheme.  Unfortunately, this did delay the publication of the report but was a necessary part of finalising some details of the design that we will be considering today”.

 

66.14   Daniel Nathan asked the following supplementary question:

 

“The lengthy officer report refers to air quality, noise pollution and traffic modelling and also a traffic stimulation model that astonishingly, even the bus company only got to see at 10am on Friday last week. This data appears to still be secret. So my question is, please confirm that you will share all of this data and modelling and the simulation publicly within the next seven days”.

 

66.15   The following response was provided on behalf of the Chair:

 

“What we’re able to do is ensure that all the relevant information in terms of outputs that are required for making a sound decision are available, we have no problem in sharing that information. Some of the information that you might be requesting is not necessarily in a format that can be easily shared. We’re not looking to hide any information here is in a data format that would require certain software to use. We are happy to engage with stakeholders throughout the process of the Valley Gardens scheme and I’m sure there will be debates about that in the committee later. You will also see in the papers there is a full record of all the engagement that has taken place to date”.

 

(C)          Deputations

 

(1)           Play area refurbishment

 

66.16   The Committee considered a deputation requesting increased resident input into play area refurbishments and for a pause in the current consultation whilst options for that was undertaken.

 

66.17   The Chair provided the following response:

 

“Thank you for your deputation. As you rightly observe, play is vitally important for the development of children and young people through its promotion of health and wellbeing. 

We are pleased that you acknowledge the importance of the council’s £3 million investment, creating the UK largest playground refurbishment programme in 20 years but I am sorry to hear about your bad experiences.

 

In Autumn 2020 during the pandemic, an audit of play facilities across the city identified that over 100 play apparatus needed to be removed, as they had come to the end of their safe working life.

In response to this extreme loss of facilities, City Parks quickly had to identify funding and a delivery process to replace the failing apparatus.

Over a period of around six months, a finance and refurbishment package was created and signed off by this committee in January 2021 and Policy & Resources Committee in March 2021.

26 of the 45 playgrounds will be completed by March 2022 and are contractually committed. The remaining 19 sites will be installed over the next three years.

To date, City Parks have carried out consultation, with the resources available, for each of the parks planned for refurbishment before the end of March 2022. This includes working with Friends groups, local councillors, accessibility groups and holding on-site pop-up consultations.

Last year’s media release for the Preston Park playground highlights the impact that the Friends Groups have on the refurbishment programme. Through the Friends of Preston Park, 600 members were consulted about what they would like to see for their children in the future

More informal consultations have always been undertaken with park users through the Play Development Officer whilst on site. I encourage the general public to support and join their local Friends Groups as the simplest way to keep up to date with park changes.

In response to the six points you have raised for consideration, City Parks will do the following:

Because City Parks have made good progress in delivering the Programme to date, the team will explore the possibility of pausing the Programme to identify what further consultation can take place, within the resources and time available. The team believe that it is possible to complete online consultations for the remaining sites and this will be explored further.

Furthermore, consultations can only take place within the resources available. Therefore, the council cannot commit to more than online consultations at this stage, but this will be explored further.

The council’s online consultation portal will be utilised to obtain feedback on the remaining sites within the Programme. All stakeholders, including SEND groups, can use this means to provide feedback.

City Parks have been seeking to utilise a representative from the Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Children’s Forum to participate in the consultation process and review sites during and after completion. How this can be better used will also be explored.

City Parks will look at how the council currently engage with children and young people within other service areas to see where there are opportunities to use existing networks and channels.

I hope this has provided acknowledgement that we have given your deputation due consideration, and we would like to thank you again for bringing this important matter to our attention. I will ask City Parks to continue to engage with you to improve the consultation.

 

66.18   Councillor Wilkinson moved a motion to request an officer report on the matter.

 

66.19   Councillor Platts formally seconded the motion.

 

66.20   Resolved- That the Committee receive a report to a future meeting responding to the petition request.

 

(2)           Liveable Neighbourhood

 

66.21   The Committee considered a deputation requesting a Liveable Neighbourhood be initiated in the Lower North-East Hanover area.

 

66.22   The Chair provided the following response:

 

“Thank you for your deputation and for attending today on behalf of your community, Matt.  I really welcome that you have worked closely with your neighbours to consider the consequences of traffic impacts on your community and have also set up a petition to gather support for this.

The creation of Liveable Streets and Neighbourhoods across the city is a key priority for us which will help deliver a wide range of benefits for local people, a number of which you have identified in your deputation.  Residential areas which are safe, healthy and sustainable places to live in and move around are really important ways to make our city a better place to live in.  As you have recognised, tackling transport and travel issues by lowering traffic levels in certain streets will really contribute to this.

We are already working on the development of a pilot scheme for the Hanover & Tarner area and will be consulting on proposals later this year.   The committee has also agreed to develop an assessment process to enable the evaluation of requests for similar measures from other parts of the city.  This will provide the opportunity to assess and prioritise locations in a transparent and consistent manner.  I can confirm that your request will be considered within that assessment process, alongside other requests that have been received, once it has been agreed.  In the meantime, it will be helpful to receive any further information that you have compiled about some of the issues that you have identified and how they may be overcome.  I will ask officers to write to you requesting this. 

Funding has also been allocated to provide pocket parks, street trees and cycle hangars across the city – measures which will also help to make local streets a better environment for communities to use and enjoy.   We also have a programme of School Streets, which is being delivered and involves close working with local communities on their development and their operation”.

 

66.23   Resolved- That the Committee note the deputation.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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