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;

 

(i)           Gorilla Kitchen Pizza at London Road Station

 

(ii)          Parking Permits

 

(iii)        Stanmer Park Road Parking

 

(iv)        Let's maintain free parking for Hollingdean residents

 

(b)         Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 13 March 2019;

 

(c)          Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 13 March 2019.

Minutes:

(A)         PETITIONS

 

(i)           Gorilla Pizza Kitchen

 

72.1      The Committee considered a petition signed by 210 people requesting the council make adjustments to allow Gorilla Pizza Kitchen to park outside London Road Station on Thursday evenings.

 

72.2      The Chair provided the following response:

 

“The petitioner was unfortunately unable to attend the meeting today, but I’m pleased to say that Ms Heselgrave has been in touch to confirm that the business was awarded a Street Traders Licence by the council on 15 March and will continue to operate every Thursday evening in Shaftesbury Place”.

 

72.3      RESOLVED- That the petition be noted.

 

72.4      The Chair stated that due to the similarity of the following petitions, the committee would hear each in turn and a joint response would be provided.

 

(ii)          Parking Permits

 

72.5      The Committee considered a petition signed by 192 people requesting the introduction of parking permits in Hollingdean Terrace, Roedale, Dudley and Upper Hollingdean Roads.

 

(iii)        Stanmer Park Road Parking

 

72.6      The Committee considered a petition signed by 38 people requesting the council undertake a consultation in Stanmer Park Road for a parking scheme.

 

(iv)        Let’s maintain free parking for Hollingdean residents

 

72.7      The Committee considered a petition signed by 364 people requesting the Council to maintain the existing parking controls in the Hollingdean area.

 

72.8      The Chair provided the following response to the petitions:

 

“Thank you for your petitions. There is absolutely no proposal on the part of the Council to implement a residents parking scheme in your area. We certainly wouldn’t rush to do that without a full and proper consultation.

There are opposing views on the parking solution for certain areas while in other areas there are very clear cut requests for what people want.

There is currently a priority parking scheme timetable which runs up until 2020/21 and that includes all of the areas across the city where there is either a consultation proposed to start, a consultation actually happening, or parking schemes being implemented and some areas that are being reviewed.  Those areas have all shown a strong desire for a parking consultation at the outset. 

An update report is due to be presented to the ETS Committee on 8th October 2019 on the parking scheme timetable. We will ensure representations will be considered as part of this report alongside requests from other areas so what you said today will be taken into account.

Any parking consultation would allow officers to gauge the strength of opinion in areas on the options that might be available and as part of that consultation, people are encouraged to send in any other ideas, if they have them.  If any consultation is taken forward it would be across a very wide area to capture as many views as possible but also to take into account, any potential displacement effect. As part of that, the full results including a road by road analysis would be included in a further report to allow this Committee to decide the way forward. The road by road analysis is simply that within a wider area, Councillors can see where there is more support than some areas than perhaps in others.

I understand the concerns regarding the car club bay in the Hollingdean area taking up additional space, but research suggests that for each car club car, the need for between five and eight privately owned vehicles may be removed. Car clubs can help to reduce congestion and relieve the pressure on parking spaces in residential areas”.

 

72.9      RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petitions.

 

(B)         WRITTEN QUESTIONS

 

(i)           Aquarium Roundabout

 

72.10   Andrew Peters put the following question:

 

“Could the Chair provide the taxi trade with information as to when any resolution will be made in relation to the existing ‘No Right Turn’ (West) at the junction of the Queens Hotel/Kings Road whereby there will be no longer the ability to use the roundabout to loop back around to head back westbound?

The Chair will recall that this was demonstrated to herself and Nick Hibberd on February 11 2019 and that this issue was raised in the Trade Submission dated November 21 2018 and raised as part of the trades Deputation request at the Committee on November 27 2019”

 

72.11   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your question Mr Peters.  I do appreciate that the Taxi Trade have participated in workshop sessions and made representations and asked questions about the Valley Gardens Phase 3 project on a number of occasions and these, alongside all other responses that have been received, have been welcomed and helped in the development of the preliminary design and I’m sure this communication will continue. 

Regarding this particular issue, the possibility and implications of changing the right turn ban for taxis at the junction of Little East Street and the A259 will be fully explored as part of the early stages of the road safety audit process for the project, which will be finalised and completed during the detailed design stage, which should be completed by the end of this year”

 

72.12   Andrew Peters asked the following supplementary question:

 

“Please can the Chair confirm that these stats have shown that there have been no fatalities and the average daily traffic count through the roundabout was 50,000 equating to approximately 91,250,000 journeys using the roundabout over a five year period. To help with the question, I’d like to quote the stats provided by the Council which you can confirm in your response: Motorcycles of all types 1 serious, 4 slight, Bus/coach 4 slight, Van/HGV 1 slight, Taxi 1 serious, 3 slight, Car 16 slight, Cycles 8 serious, 16 slight, Pedestrians 1 serious, 4 slight, total 11 serious, 53 slight overall 64 casualties based on 91 million journeys. Further, can the Chair confirm that with respect to pedestrians, of the five casualties, three were injured on the pedestrian crossing, one on the pavement behind the safety railing and one in the middle of the road?”

 

72.13   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“We can provide a reply in a more detailed way after the meeting. What I will say is that we look at all types of accidents including the unfortunate fatality, so we do know that this particular junction has the highest level of injury causing accidents which we seek to reduce”

 

(ii)          1-3 Old Steine

 

72.14   Gary Farmer put the following question:

 

“With the current road and bus layout directly outside 1-3 Old Steine currently being a 3 lane pinch point and the current plans at this point increasing to a 5 lane north/south bottleneck and pedestrianised area adjacent how do the plans for this take into consideration the historical, environmental, health concerns and physical geography at this exact point and only here without referencing other areas of the scheme?”

 

72.15   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The existing southbound, one-way road layout in this location of the Old Steine was designed very many years ago as part of the gyratory road system that currently exists.

The planned changes to the road lay-out in this location will be supported by a number of more modern features including technically advanced traffic signals to enable people and traffic to move through the area more smoothly, efficiently and safely to reduce queuing and emissions.

Also included will be pavement extensions and the realignment of Princes Street that the Section 106 contribution is intended to fund in addition to loading and servicing access.

The design will also include appropriate vegetation and planting with the historic environment of the area being respected with sympathetic design and use of materials”

 

72.16   Gary Farmer asked the following supplementary question:

 

“The section which is two lanes wide which is basically the same as your two desks here, you are telling me and everyone here that five lanes can fit in that two-lane section and this has been engineered correctly and the statistics and the information which backs up how two becomes five is there for all to see and will be shared?”

 

72.17   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“I believe you do have a meeting arranged and I believe we are going to share with you the scale drawings, so I hope that meets with your approval and will help. More generally, I do want to assure you that the final preliminary design does meet the requirements of all the statutory legislation and that the project is considered to achieve an appropriate balance between its implications and outcomes for traffic congestion, air quality, sustainable transport and the public realm benefits on which there are many. So, I hope your further meeting goes well and that you are able to see the drawings for yourself”

 

(iii)        St James’s Street

 

72.18   On behalf of Nic Roe, Gary Farmer put the following question:

 

“Removing almost three meters of paving around the junction of St James's Street in order to fit five lanes of traffic - one of the busiest crossing points in the city is recklessly dangerous. It cuts back the space that is currently used for pedestrians. Does that not directly contradict the key ambition of the Valley Gardens project to create a better and safer environment for pedestrians?”

 

72.19   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The design of the road layout and pavements in this area partly reflects some of the balances that have to be struck in redesigning a busy area of our city centre in a way that aims to prioritise public transport and provide for safe and sustainable travel including for pedestrians. 

The changes to bus stops and the introduction of a new pedestrian crossing on the southern side will alter the pattern of movement in the area and relieve some of the areas that currently suffer from high volumes of pedestrians by providing more choice for people, therefore redistributing people to use different points around the St James’s Street junction. 

Narrower traffic lanes will also reduce driver speeds and therefore the preferred design option will achieve the scheme objective of creating a safer environment for pedestrians, especially at what is currently one of the city’s most dangerous junctions.

The preliminary design includes an overall net gain in public space and footway area on the east side of the corridor.  All planned changes within the design will also be subject to the formal stages of an independent road safety audit.  Further checks will be then made following construction to ensure the safety of all road users, especially pedestrians”

 

72.20   On behalf of Nic Roe, Gary Farmer asked the following supplementary question:

 

“Can you please just qualify that you will be speaking to local residents and businesses on this particular junction and that you will take into consideration exactly what we are saying regarding this crossing. I live as well as work by that crossing so I witness it on a daily basis”

 

72.21   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Yes, I can give that undertaking as this is exactly what we did when we were implementing Phases 1 and 2. We kept up the dialogue with people as the detailed design was being worked through and very often, this was in connection with road safety aspects of the scheme and I’m very sorry to hear about your accident”

 

(iv)        Traffic Movements

 

72.22   David Rochford put the following question:

 

“The scheme has been adjusted giving three southbound carriageways including a bus lane but only two northbound, including a bus stop that will make it effectively single carriageway when occupied. The team have stated bus movements to this stop are uncertain as buses using the stop have not been decided. How can effective modelling be undertaken when the inputs are unknown and why is northbound traffic not given the same level of importance as southbound? Has the traffic modelling been rerun for variations proposed and are the original results in respect of congestion, journey times and pollution unchanged?”

 

72.23   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Officers have been working very closely with the city’s bus companies regarding the design and layout of the bus stops and priority lanes, and they in turn have been reviewing and proposing changes to their bus routeing, that work is still going on. 

This work will continue to be tested and refined during the detailed design stage so that means it will continue to be modelled. 

The outcomes of the design process have not been based on competition between different directions of travel but aim to provide the right balance between the different types of transport that people use to reach or pass through this area.  Modelling is an iterative process and helps to inform the development of designs and the location of the northbound bus stop will be tested during the detailed design process.  I can confirm that traffic modelling for the revised design following the consultation does show that there would be a forecasted improvement in the overall journey times for both buses and general traffic with the inclusion of the consultation design changes.

An initial review of the environmental impacts by our consultant has reported, on balance, that overall impact on air quality will be relatively low. Increases in the volume of traffic is not anticipated given trends in vehicle counts conducted by the council and the DfT over many years which actually, surprisingly show a reduction. The sustainable transport qualities of the scheme will reduce the need for local movements by car and support a reduction in emissions. Improved bus flow and journey times for both morning peak and evening peak times will support a reduction in emissions as will new engine technology coming on stream. The local Air Quality Dispersion model will be updated to further assess forecast impacts on air quality across the site and this work will be completed at detailed design stage, so a lot of work is still going on”

 

72.24   David Rochford asked the following supplementary question:

 

“To say ‘I am going to do this’ is nonsense unless you are saying ‘I’m doing this, and these are the inputs’. Every time you change an input, the output changes. Any business plan looks at something, you change it, you adjust it, you come back with a new output. No-one has provided anything to any of us who have been asking for this question as to what’s getting better by the new design and I think we’d really like to see it as we’re all losing total faith in this process and total understanding that anyone listens to a word that we say”

 

72.25   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The process of the scheme is continuing as planned. So, we have made revisions after the consultation to the preferred option. The next stage of the process as I have said is the detailed design, that will be the next main stage of work. During that stage, final decisions will be arrived at, via modelling, over things like bus stop locations, loading bays, parking spaces and so on. Therefore, until that work is undertaken, I cannot give you an assurance here today that will tell you exactly where all of those things or how those things are going to be arrived at. But they will be arrived at via engagement with the groups we have already been talking to as part of this process, including the Valley Gardens Forum”

 

(v)          Consultation

 

72.26   Paul Crawford put the following question:

“On the 25th of January, in a statement reported by The Argus, Cllr Mitchell gave an undertaking that "a further two rounds of consultation will be proposed following a meeting of the environment, transport and sustainability committee on February 7".

When will these consultations take place, in what form, what will be their scope, and can the Chair give an explicit guarantee that Phase 3 in its entirety will be consulted upon, including carriageway layouts and junction treatments and that no irrevocable contractual or financial commitments will be made until these consultations are complete, and their outcomes analysed and published?”

 

72.27   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The two public consultations that the council has undertaken so far to elicit peoples’ views about the area, and then to comment on the preferred design option that was agreed at committee, were appropriate for a project of this scale within the existing highway boundary and did conform to set DfT criteria for such schemes.

However, as I have stated, there will be two further rounds of engagement and consultation on the overall project and the first of these will involve the continuing stakeholder workshops as the design goes through the technical, detailed design stage.

We undertook exactly the same approach for phases 1 and 2 after the preliminary design was agreed. This approach was welcomed and helped to refine parts of the design and highlight further issues that needed to be resolved. 

The form, number and timing of these sessions for Phase 3 are being developed and will be guided by the approach taken to this stage of the work by the consultants that will undertake it. 

There will then be the formal public consultation on aspects of the design that require to be legally supported by Traffic Regulation Orders. This is a statutory process that will include parking, loading and traffic management controls and requires the proposals to be publicly advertised on site with a consultation period.  Any unresolved objections to this consultation are reported to this committee that will make a decision on them. This is the usual process.

We will also communicate how the project design is progressing and keep people informed.

The business case for the Phase 3 scheme was approved by this committee and has been approved by the LEP.  The funding agreement with the LEP that followed from that approval will be completed shortly” 

 

72.28   Paul Crawford asked the following supplementary question:

 

“I request that this committee request officers to publish straightforward information for people to understand the full economic and environmental impacts of these proposals in language and illustrations for example on a website, that will help the citizens of Brighton to tell you if they approve or disapprove of these proposals”

 

72.29   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“There is an awful lot of information on our website that I think will cover very many of the areas you have highlighted including all of the detailed reports that have come to this committee for decision since the scheme began and since the first consultation started”

 

(vi)        Local Enterprise Partnership Funding

 

72.30   Daniel Nathan put the following question:

 

“We note from a Brighton & Hove City Council press release on the 7th of February, a quote form Cllr. Gill Mitchell stating “We are very pleased to have been successful in our bid for £6 million of funding for the scheme from the Local Enterprise Partnership.  Yes or No, has the LEP informed Brighton & Hove City Council it is satisfied that its Valley Gardens Phase 3 funding conditions have been met?”

 

72.31   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The final draft of the Funding Agreement is with the LEP and when agreed and signed will provide confirmation that the LEP’s conditions for this part of the process have been met”

 

72.32   Daniel Nathan asked the following supplementary question:

 

“Following the correspondence the committee has seen this morning, the answer to my question can only be no. Chair, I am puzzled as to how it was that the LEP provided a letter of conditions to senior officers on 1 February, seven days before your special meeting convened to discuss Valley Gardens Phase 3 and yet this letter was not disclosed to elected councillors on the committee. In fact, it was only shown to them after being released for a Valley Gardens Forum FOI request. At the special committee meeting on 7 February, what did withholding this information achieve?”

 

72.33   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“The correspondence and communications with the LEP I take, dare I say it, a usual form for schemes of this type and the LEP have set their conditions and those are then for the Council to respond to. It is then for the LEP to decide whether those conditions have been met so we await their answer”

 

(C)         DEPUTATIONS

 

(i)           Valley Gardens scheme outdoor event space

 

72.34   The Committee considered a deputation requesting assurance relating to the provision of event space and infrastructure as part of the Valley Gardens scheme.

 

72.35   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your deputation. I really would like to emphasise that provision and support for Events is a very important issue for the City Council as reflected in the Outdoor Events Strategy. With regards to Valley Gardens in particular, we are investigating the feasibility of new infrastructure specifically intended to further improve the operation and success of Events including 3 Phase Power Supply, Mains Water Supply, access and other improvements but of course, while that work is undertaken there is, of necessity, some disruption.

The Valley Gardens scheme has identified public space which is designed to accommodate a range of events. The Council are working to finalise the details of this new infrastructure in order to further support events within the scheme this includes the detailed specification and location for power and water supply down into Phase 3.

The Council has been clear that there will be disruption during construction and establishment of the scheme affecting events during the 2019-2021 period. 

While work is ongoing to facilitate as many events as possible during construction including the recent Brighton Half Marathon, Brighton Marathon, and the Warren Event in 2019, it might not be possible to accommodate, in the same way, events on the gardens during this construction period for the reasons I have just outlined.  The Council will continue to work with event organisers to seek alternative locations when necessary during the construction phase of Valley Gardens.

I am quite confident that by the council continuing to work with event organisers that the outdoor events programme will continue to thrive in the city. So, I would encourage you to get in touch with officers and myself if necessary, if you feel we are not communicating with you in an appropriate way so that this dialogue can continue during the construction phase”

 

72.36   Councillor Wares stated that he was concerned about the level of dialogue and consultation being undertaken with event organisers and proposed that the committee should receive a report to its next meeting giving an update on progress and consultation undertaken.

 

72.37   Councillor West supported the request made by Councillor Wares. Councillor West stated that he felt the response provided was too general and it was unlikely to have provided the Fringe Festival assurance. Councillor West explained that there was a degree of uncertainty regarding the construction phase in this area and that was having a negative impact upon organisers in terms of planning events and securing funding. Councillor West stated that Members needed proper oversight of the project and as a process, it was currently not working.

 

72.38    The Chair stated that she could provide assurance that from the outset of the scheme, all of the relevant people and stakeholders had been involved. The Chair noted that wherever possible, clarification had been provided however, in some instances, sharing of that information was down to third-parties and their schedule of works such as utility companies.

 

72.39   The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture stated that he understood that it was critical to provide as much clarity as possible to the events sector both for their 2019 schedule and future festivals. The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture explained that a number of things had been undertaken to strengthen engagement and oversight including the Council’s Events Manager becoming a member of the Officer Project Board and attendance by a senior council officer at meetings of the Fringe Festival Board. The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture supplemented that he had personally met and conducted an on-site walkabout with some of the event organisers. The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture added that to give context, weekly meetings were being held during the Phase 1 and 2 construction phase and the same process would be undertaken for Phase 3.

 

72.40    Councillor West thanked the Executive Director for an informative update however, he firmly believed that a proper process was required for Member oversight and stakeholder engagement.

 

72.41   The Chair advised that the same information had been provided at the previous committee that demonstrated that the right conversations and engagement was happening.

 

72.42   Councillor Wares stated that events hosted in the city were a major part of the local economy. Councillor Wares noted that the level of engagement from stakeholders at the committee meeting demonstrated that the current process was not working. Councillor Wares requested that Lead Members be provided copies of the project board meeting notes to keep them informed of progress and that the committee receive an update report to maintain oversight.

 

72.43   The Chair stated that whilst she understood the request, in accordance with council procedures, the committee could only request a report on the specific issues raised in the deputation that was event planning relating to the Valley Gardens project. Furthermore, the Chair stated that she had requested officers to add the matter to the agenda for the briefing between the Lead Spokespersons to be held the following week as part of a general update and discussion. 

 

72.44   Councillor West agreed that it would be appropriate to receive a report addressing the points made in the deputation that could cover the type of events that would happen in Valley Gardens and new ones proposed as well as infrastructure issues.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 17.15pm and reconvened at 17.25pm

 

72.45   Councillor Wares moved a motion to request that a report be received to the next meeting of the committee addressing the matters raised in the deputation.

 

72.46   Introducing the motion, Councillor Wares explained that following discussions during the adjournment, the motion would request that an update based on the deputation request be received with that report also giving consideration to further reports on the matter of events in Valley Gardens should that be deemed required.

 

72.47   Councillor West formally seconded the motion.

 

72.48   The Chair put the motion to the vote that was agreed.

 

72.49   RESOLVED- That the committee receives a report on the matters raised within the deputation to its next meeting.

 

72.50   The Chair noted that the Committee had received a deputation directly to the committee, a petition referred from Full Council and a deputation referred from Full Council all relating to a similar subject matter. The Chair therefore intended to receive all three items together and provide a joint response addressing the issues raised in each.

 

(ii)          Deputation- Climate Emergency

Petition- Commit BHCC to a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030

Deputation- Climate Change

 

72.51   The Committee received two deputations and a petition requesting the council to declare a climate emergency and proposed relevant actions relating to that declaration and commit to a target of zero carbon emissions by 2030.

 

72.52   The Chair provided the following response:

 

“Thank you for coming to the committee.

As these representations demonstrate, climate change is the most urgent and pressing issue that we face. We must reduce carbon emissions and build resilience.

And to do these three representations justice I want to set out, as briefly as I can, what we as a council are doing, the current situation with regard to recorded carbon emission levels and some next steps.

We have been implementing carbon reduction measures across the council’s buildings including renewables and energy efficiency projects, solar PV, 200 EV charging points across the city and rapid EV taxi charging.

Work is continuing with partners such as the Living Coast Biosphere, the Greater Brighton Infrastructure Board and public transport operatives on local and regional plans for water conservation, zero carbon energy, ending single use plastics, sustainable urban drainage systems, habitat creation and securing more funding for cleaner bus technology.

Council transport officers are working on a Transport Carbon Reduction Plan in line with the council’s local transport priorities.

With regard to current emission levels, we measure these for the council and for the city and report them regularly to committee.  I’m pleased to say that these levels are reducing year on year.

The per capita CO2 emissions for the city published last year show a significant reduction of 40.6% from the 2005 base rate and shows that if we keep up this progress we will exceed the 42% reduction target for 2020 and the 80% target for 2050.

We also have an internal, corporate carbon reduction target of an annual 4% reduction and for 2017/18 we achieved 8.8%.

So, things are going the right way, but we do have to speed up, we need to innovate, and we need to work with communities and residents in supporting these efforts.  Change can be achieved if people come together and demand it and we saw that recently with the student demonstrations across the country and also in our own city.  

To this end we were pleased to support the Green Councillors’ amendment at our recent budget setting meeting that will establish a Sustainability and Carbon Investment Fund and further enhance the sustainable transport measures detailed in a report on today’s committee agenda.

The council’s Communications Team will be publishing information on the commitment to reach zero carbon by 2030 and a report is coming to the council’s Policy, Resources and Growth Committee this week setting out the high-level principals of the Investment Fund with a further, more detailed, report to follow in June that will contain proposals for additional communication measures. 

I hope that goes some way in assuring you that we are going some way in taking action”. 

 

72.53   Councillor West noted that the deputation detailed six proposals to enable one planet living that was a process the previous Green administration had begun. Councillor West explained that at that time, that process had been inaccurately described by the opposition groups as a vanity project and furthermore, the opposition groups had made cuts to the council’s Sustainability team and abandoned the one planet living project. Councillor West stated that he hoped that work was now better understood, and the funding would be put back into place although four years had been lost in that process.

 

72.54   The Chair noted that the current administration had inherited an £8m budget overspend in 2015 and therefore, had carefully reviewed council spending. As part of that review, the administration had noted a large consultancy fee being paid for the one planet living project and took the view to end payment of this fee on the basis that the council had learnt enough to embed one planet living in its own policies. The Chair stated that she welcomed a more urgent approach to action on climate change and the support of community groups.

 

72.55   Councillor Littman welcomed the deputation adding that the Green Party had for decades, consistently warned of the climate change crisis. Councillor Littman stated that urgent action was required, and he hoped that efforts to avert a crisis had not been left to late.

 

72.56   RESOLVED- That the deputations and petitions be noted.

 

Supporting documents:

 


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