Agenda item - Public Involvement
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- Meeting of Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, Tuesday, 25th June, 2019 4.00pm (Item 5.)
To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:
(a) Petitions: To receive any petitions presented by members of the public;
(i) Double Yellow Lines- Roedean Crescent West
(ii) Roedean Controlled Parking Zone
(iii) Punitive Parking Charges and Restrictions
(iv) Clean Up Kemptown
(b) Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 19 June 2019;
(c) Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 19 June 2019.
(i) Double Yellow Lines Roedean Crescent West
5.1 The Committee considered a petition signed by 37 people requesting the Council lengthen the double yellow lines at the west entrance of Roedean Crescent.
5.2 The Chair provided the following response:
“Thank you for your petition and for clearly explaining the concerns of residents.
Unfortunately, we cannot take forward specific ad-hoc requests for additional signs, road markings or minor parking restrictions unless they relate to road safety improvements or major traffic flow issues or refuse collection problems.
However, I can assure you that I have asked officers to keep a record of this request and to monitor the situation and we may be able to investigate an extension to the double yellow lines when the next relevant city-wide traffic order is reported to this committee”.
5.3 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.
(ii) Roedean Controlled Parking Zone
5.4 The Committee considered a petition signed by 174 people requesting the Council introduce a ‘light touch’ controlled parking scheme in the residential area of Roedean.
5.5 Councillor Miller attended the meeting as ward councillor for the area to speak in support of the proposal noting the safety concerns in the area and the strong local support for the proposal.
5.6 The Chair provided the following response:
“Thank you for your petition and I’m sorry to hear about the parking problems being encountered.
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 our next meeting 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 have said today will be taken into account”.
5.7 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.
(iii) Punitive Parking Charges and Restrictions
5.8 The Committee considered a petition signed by 14 people requesting various changes to parking restrictions, charges and enforcement.
5.9 The petitioner was not present at the meeting. Therefore, the following response was sent in writing:
"Parking restrictions are in place to encourage a quick turnaround of vehicles and to encourage the use of sustainable methods of travel; such as walking, cycling and public transport that are all agreed council objectives.
The council is committed to reducing carbon emissions that impact climate change and cutting pollution to become a clean air city.
Allowing 60 minutes free parking including on busy Sundays would make it much harder for drivers to find a space.
The council is required to review fees and charges including parking charges annually against its transport policies and objectives, such as reducing congestion in the city. Those charges have been agreed by both this committee and the wider Council at the annual Budget Council meeting.
In 2017 the council invested £1.8 million in new pay and
display machines. The move away from cash machines has reduced
theft and damage to machines, making them more reliable.
There are also still over 300 locations in the city where drivers can pay for parking in cash.
Consultation upon and implementation of parking schemes can only proceed if the majority of residents vote in favour of them".
5.10 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.
(iv) Clean Up Kemptown
5.11 The Committee considered a petition signed by 605 people requesting improvements to the cleanliness and refuse recycling procedures for the Kemp Town area.
5.12 The Chair provided the following response:
"Cityclean recognise that the cleansing in the Kemp Town area has fallen below standard and we are taking action to address this. This includes recruiting 11 additional street cleansing staff. Some of these staff will be focussing on a programme of deep cleansing problem sites in the Kemptown area and increasing the frequency of regular street cleansing in this area. We will be closely monitoring the area to ensure that there is a lasting improvement.
Across central locations in the city we have had problems with increased urination and defecation and there will be a report at committee this evening for members to consider whether our Environmental Enforcement Officers can issue fix penalty notices for spitting, urination and defecation in public places. Our hope is that this will help to deter these behaviours.
There are also problems across the city with increased graffiti tagging. The council approved a Graffiti Reduction Strategy last autumn and put additional funds in the budget for equipment to assist with graffiti removal. Some of the staff we are recruiting will be focussed on graffiti removal and once they are in post our aim is that residents will start to see an improvement in relation to graffiti removal and reduction. It is essential that we work with businesses, private property owners and other partners to try to reduce graffiti in the city. There is a report on this evening’s agenda with the Graffiti Reduction Action plan which sets out in more detail how we aim to do this.
We do, need to improve the opportunities for residents to recycle more of the materials that we know can be recycled and this required better containment for recycling in some places, increased collections, and better education to reduce the levels of contamination.
This is included in our action plan and in the coming months residents will start to see improvements but to implement these changes across the city will take time and resources so please bear with us as we move forward with this".
5.13 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.
(B) WRITTEN QUESTIONS
(i) New Trees in Bevendean
5.14 Mitchie Alexander put the following question:
“Recommendations include that this Committee agrees £500,000 on woodland management and tree planting.
As a local Bevendean resident have been emailing the council for over a year now about getting new trees planted along the Avenue. The community will fund-raise for this project. The Housing Dept have agreed in principle but state that City Parks need to give the go ahead too. Following several emails to city parks dept, I still have not received a response.
Can the Chair ensure that our community's tree planting project is given the go-ahead for the benefit of the local residents and the environment?”
5.15 The Chair provided the following reply:
“I am sorry that it has taken a long time to get a reply on this. It is a great community project that we are keen to support.
As the land in question is on housing land, Cityparks officers need to ensure that they have the right permissions in place before agreeing to anything on the land. I understand that you have had further communications with housing officers who have agreed the scheme in principle and will ask Cityparks officers to agree final locations with you”.
(ii) Strategic Road Network
5.16 Andrew Peters put the following question:
“The DFT and Highways England’s plans for a strategic road network - much of it is underwritten in our region by the same Local Enterprise Partnership that is funding the Valley Gardens scheme.
Nowhere else is there a plan to deliberately throttle the region’s trunk roads as currently proposed on all routes through central Brighton.
Can the Chair confirm that the current preferred option for the Valley Gardens meets the approval of the DFT’s plans and can they share this advice with us?”
5.17 The Chair provided the following reply:
“The Valley Gardens project, which includes the A23 in the city centre and the A259 on the seafront, only includes local roads which are the responsibility of the city council, not the Government’s Department for Transport or Highways England. The council’s decisions on how it maintains and improves its roads do not require Government approval, unless it is seeking funding directly from a Government department to do so. In this case, the funding is being provided and administered by the LEP, not the Government.
I do understand your concerns about the design of Phase 3 of the project. Its aims include rebalancing the availability and use of space between people and vehicles to create a safer, more attractive environment. These objectives are achieved in a number of ways within the approved design. However, I can reassure you that the technical analysis and assessment of the design has included the use of the Government’s own tools, techniques and guidance”.
5.18 Andrew Peters asked the following supplementary question:
“Where is the cut-off point on how far the council is prepared to go on social engineering against driving in the city?”
“In terms of the aims of the Valley Gardens project, the aim has always been clear that we’re trying to get optimum balance between different modes of transport, so that’s mass transit so the bus movements, walking and cycling infrastructure as well as ensuring there can still be movements for cars. That’s always been the aim: to get the correct balance. The cut-off point is ensuring all modes of transport are able to move as effectively as possible around the city without necessarily favouring one mode of transport over the other”.
(iii) Valley Gardens Phase 3
5.20 Paul Crawford put the following question:
"If it were shown that the ETSC’s decision on February 7th to delegate all further decision making on Valley Gardens Phase 3 to Officers was taken on the basis of incomplete, inadequate or erroneous information would the Chair consider recalling oversight of the project to elected members, and, if so, can you advise us how and when, and, if not, why not?"
5.21 The Chair provide the following reply:
“Thank you for your question. I am not sure what the incomplete, inadequate or erroneous information you are referring to is. The Committee considered a and agreed a report in February which allowed it to make its decision with full knowledge of all the relevant circumstances. Once the Committee makes a decision it is normal practice for it to ask officers to implement that decision which is what we have done here.
Progress on the project has been reported regularly to the council’s Strategic Delivery Board which includes the Leaders and Convenor of the council’s political groups, and therefore it has had, and will continue to have, elected member oversight, in the same way as any other major projects taking place in the city.
The decisions that have been made by the council on this project so far, have been based on officers and councillors following all statutory requirements. In addition, I am reassured that the committee previously requested an independent legal opinion to assess the consultation approach, which has enabled the project to continue to its next stages. The technical analysis and assessment that has taken place to develop the designs has also made use of nationally recognised, technical tools and guidance”.
5.22 Paul Crawford asked the following supplementary question:
“The Local Enterprise Partnership wrote to councillors on 1st February setting out its funding conditions including its requirement for full and effective public consultation. The ETSC meeting on 7 February was not given sight of this letter before it made the vital decision to delegate oversight of the project to officers. Would it be accurate to say that elected councillors were intentionally deprived of relevant information by senior officers prior to this decision to delegate?”
“No, as officers we wouldn’t say that is the case. We felt that Members were given all the information they needed to be able to make a correct decision at that time and if I remember rightly, at the 7 February meeting there was some adjournment to ensure that Members were fully advised before they reconvened to make their decision”
5.24 Councillor Wares disagreed with the answer given and stated that the Letter from the LEP to the Council had not been shared with members of the committee ahead of the meeting on 7 February 2019.
5.25 The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture stated that the correct information had been provided to Members in order for them to make a sound decision.
(iv) Valley Gardens Forum
5.26 David Rochford put the following question:
“The Council wrote to the Valley Gardens Forum last month accepting our offer of formal ADR mediation. During a constructive meeting with Council Leader, ETS Chair and Officers a few days ago, ADR was cited as a useful way to resolve whether correct and sufficient consultation had been undertaken without recourse to judicial review - on the basis that we all want to progress the Valley Gardens project. However, the Council wrote back to us 24 hours later bluntly withdrawing the offer - suggesting instead, an unmoderated meeting with Officers. What was the reason for withdrawing from the earlier commitment?”
5.27 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Thank you for your question. I agree that it was helpful for Councillor Platts and myself to meet with you and your Valley Gardens Forum colleagues recently.
The Forum has instructed legal representatives to act for them and it is therefore appropriate for the Council to correspond and respond to any questions relating to the Forums’ concerns through those legal representatives.
The Council has consistently said that it will engage in mediation but did not feel there would be any benefit in spending public resources on a lawyer to act as a mediator.
The parties have now agreed the format of that meeting and we are expecting it to go ahead next week – we are just waiting for confirmation from the Forum”.
5.28 David Rochford asked the following supplementary question:
“We are pleased that the mediation is back on even if we have to bear the costs ourselves. Should during the mediation our concerns be accepted that the consultation was not sufficient, and things weren’t done as they should be, do the councillors have any authority to pause the process and if not, what procedure is required for such a pause to be achieved?”
5.29 The Chair provided the following reply:
“I think here we need to respect the process and not pre-empt the outcome”.
(v) Bins Provision, Bramble Way
5.30 Michael Jenkins put the following question:
“Please will you honour the thirty resident homes and families who live at the top of Bramble Way. Please do your duty to provide them with a complete new set of seven brand new 1100 Litre Mobile Bins for the second Bramble Way bin area please. Five for normal Refuse, one for mixed recycling, one for glass recycling”
5.31 The Chair provided the following reply:
“I am sorry to hear about the problems residents of Bramble Way have been having with their refuse and recycling containment.
Bramble Way is on the Stanmer Heights Estate. There have been significant problems with refuse and recycling in Stanmer Heights due to a number of factors including access to the site, fly tipping and the topography of the site which means that it can be exposed to strong winds. Bin stores have now been built by the housing department and the collection has been put on a new round to enable more frequent collections.
This has helped to some extent, but we do agree that additional bins are required for Bramble Way and two extra 1100 bins have now been delivered meaning that there are now 6 bins for Bramble Way which should meet requirements.
We hope that this made be the last piece of the puzzle to improve the refuse and recycling situation in this are but will of course continue to work with residents, ward councillors and the housing department to ensure that rubbish in this area is not a cause of nuisance.
I would like to apologise to residents for the difficulties they have been experienced and I would also like to thank you Michael for the work you have been doing to try to keep the area as tidy as possible and for ensuring that the council is aware of the problems”.
(vi) Valley Gardens Phase 3 Environmental Impact Assessment
5.32 Gary Farmer put the following question:
“Current Illegal pollution levels throughout the city centre are a lethal danger to residents, workers and visitors and yet current Valley Gardens plans intentionally make this worse for the east of the city. WHO Director Maria Neira suggested last week that politicians should face prosecution for knowingly exacerbating air pollution on their watch. “No politician will be able to say I didn't know because we all knew”. Advocates for the Valley Gardens scheme repeatedly talk about winners and losers - but this isn't a game. Will the council conduct a full and open environmental impact assessment for the scheme?”
5.33 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Thank you for your question.
You are correct to point out the global, national and local concerns that people have about poor air quality and its effect on people’s health. We fully recognise these issues as a council, especially as there are two designated Air Quality Management Areas within the city.
Air quality has been assessed as part of the development of the designs for this project and so far, following recognised guidance, an appropriate level of environmental impact assessment has been undertaken for a project of this type. Monitoring shows that, within the Valley Gardens Phase 3 area, air quality is within international, legal limits, and an initial review of the project’s environmental impacts has estimated that the overall impact on air quality will be relatively low. The council will ensure that the appropriate level of assessment of environmental assessment is carried out across the project area as part of the detailed design stage. Once completed, the outputs from those assessments can be made available to anyone who would like to see them.
The scheme’s design includes new and improved infrastructure that will help improve bus flow and journey times and support a reduction in emissions, as will the adoption of new and cleaner engine technology by a number of our local bus companies and taxi drivers. New and better facilities in the design will improve routes, crossing points and areas for people who want to walk or and cycle. By promoting the benefits of these forms of travel, and increasing the opportunities to use them, people can choose to make a switch from their car for some of their journeys, especially if those journeys are over short distances where other alternatives are available. This can also help reduce harmful vehicle emissions.
We want to become carbon-neutral by 2030 to address the climate emergency that the council has fully recognised. One of our goals will therefore be to make the city a cleaner, safer and easier place to travel around, especially by using sustainable transport. This means looking at every transport and travel option and having the information that we need to enable us to understand the environmental implications of the choices and decisions that we all make”.
5.34 Gary Falmer asked the following supplementary question:
“Reports show that pollution hotspots in the areas including North Street, which is a disaster and Lewes Road, another disaster, have worsened in the aftermath of road planning in the past decade, anybody who lives in the city can see that. This time, the relevant council committee is on notice of the potential dangers of the current scheme. If this Administration does not proceed with Valley Gardens Phase 3 without the necessary due diligence, does the Chair accept that the ETS Committee members could, or should, face prosecution for negligence if the worst fears about the negative impacts of this scheme are realised?”
5.35 The Chair provided the following reply:
“The council will ensure that the appropriate level of assessment of environmental assessment is carried out across the project area as part of the detailed design stage. Once completed, the outputs from those assessments can be made available to anyone who would like to see them”.
(vii) Valley Gardens Deadlines
5.36 Daniel Nathan put the following question:
"At November ETSC, we heard that there was no pressure from the LEP to drawdown funding for VG3. The LEP subsequently stated that such drawdown “should not be used as a reason not to follow proper consultation processes” and imposed fresh funding conditions. Valley Gardens Forum Directors met with Councillors & Officers a few days ago and we were grateful to hear another myth debunked; there is no imminent deadline for the spending of the LEP grant or the completion of VG3. There is still time to properly consult after all. Will the Chair please confirm and repeat this today?”
5.37 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Thank you for your question.
The Council has engaged in a lawful public consultation prior to making the decision to proceed to the detailed design stage, and it is therefore not correct to imply that the requirement to drawdown the LEP funding has any relevance to decisions relating to consultation. We do, however, fully recognise that the LEP is awaiting the outcome of the meeting that the Forum is holding with the council in July before considering and confirming its decision about the council’s Funding Agreement and access to the funding.
As explained to members of the Valley Gardens Forum Directors when we met with them a few days ago, the LEP is aware of the current stage that the Phase 3 project has reached and has continued to emphasise to officers that the £6 million pounds worth of Local Growth Fund money provisionally allocated to the project still has to be spent by the end of March 2021 and this requirement is specified in the draft Funding Agreement. The situation has therefore not changed for Valley Gardens Phase 3.
Any changes to individual funding agreements or arrangements for individual schemes will be entirely decisions for the LEP, but it does not mean that a decision that the LEP may be considering, or have made, about one scheme would automatically result in the same decision being made about Valley Gardens Phase 3”.
5.38 Daniel Nathan asked the following supplementary question:
“In the last six months that we have already wasted, officers could have been transparent with the data requested by the community and by the Valley Gardens Forum, could have completed a full and proper public consultation, could have completed a full environmental impact assessment of the type we have been asking for to address a burning public health issue and, by now, be cracking on with the scheme that we all want to see take place. If the Forum ends up taking the Council, or the LEP, or both to Judicial Review we might be no further forward in another six months. Alternatively, the new Administration can listen, pause, knock heads together if required and deliver a scheme that works for everyone. Chair are you up for that?”
5.39 On behalf of the Chair, the Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture provided the following reply:
“We look forward to the meeting with the Forum next week and like the Forum, we are always keen to avoid any judicial process if that’s possible and I’m sure the committee would be too”.
5.40 As a matter of clarification, Councillor West asked if the current impasse was putting the project funding at risk, a process that had already cost six months’ worth of time.
5.41 The Executive Director, Economy, Environment & Culture stated that whilst it was not appropriate to speak on behalf of the LEP, he was aware from his own discussions with them and the draft framework agreement that the project funding was required to be spent by 2021. Further delay would create risk and therefore, Councillor West’s assessment was correct.
5.42 Councillor Wares stated it would be irresponsible to go ahead with the project on the basis that the risk of losing funding was greater than not listening to residents of the city and making bad decisions.
(viii) Valley Gardens Events
5.43 On behalf of Sam Rush, Adrian Bristow put the following question:
“For Phases 1 and 2 the programming of construction works and the provision of facilities towards events requirements have only been achieved after an extensive and concerted campaign of lobbying, complaints, written questions and a deputation from the Brighton events community. This struggle has caused considerable disruption and damage to the Brighton events programme particularly to Brighton Fringe. Can the Chair ensure that, for Phase 3, Events Organisers are genuinely involved in the planning and design process - and therefore to pause Phase 3 now to allow a sensible timescale for this proper consultation to take place”.
5.44 The Chair provided the following reply:
know that there has been considerable discussion, detailed correspondence and a number of site visits involving council officers and Events’ organisers, for all phases of the Valley Gardens scheme. Indeed, I undertook a site visit myself subsequent to my appointment as Chair of this committee.
Later in this meeting there is a report on the agenda about this matter, which the committee agreed was required to help clarify some outstanding matters that had been raised in a deputation earlier this year. There is a whole section about the Phase 3 project in it and the report confirms that there will be further engagement as part of the next planned stage of the development work, which will be the detailed design.
I expect this will include building on the knowledge and experiences that have been gathered so far, which will enable the issues of water, waste, power supply and access to be further fully discussed and agreed, as well as any issues that may arise during construction works. I am sure that there will be regular updates on these discussions in the coming months.
The importance of the Events sector and the need for the city’s Events’ organisers to have adequate time to be able to plan ahead is very much understood. I am confident that the timescales associated with these discussions will be sufficient to provide the Events’ Organisers with the information that they require, with or without a pause, and that this will be one of the primary issues that will be monitored very closely”.
5.45 Adrian Bristow asked the following supplementary question:
“Chair, you hadn’t been very long in post at all before your robust press release of 18th June saying how positive you were about the events industry being in mind with the Valley Gardens plans, etcetera. Could you just tell us which events organisers you have been talking with to inform that press release of yours?”
5.46 The Chair provided the following reply:
“I’ve met you in the short time I’ve had to meet with people and listened to your concerns”.
(ix) Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan
5.47 On behalf of Mark Strong, Katy Rodda put the following question:
“We note the item to progress the LCWIP (Local Cycling & Walking Infrastructure Plan) for Brighton & Hove. Improved infrastructure for active travel will benefit the many people in our city who currently - or would like to - walk or cycle.
However, we are very concerned about lack of active participation proposed during the LCWIP's development. The proposed process follows the bare minimum in DfT guidance, (e.g. Transport Partnership workshops) which will not allow ongoing support and feedback. We therefore ask the Chair to revise the Steering Board to include stakeholders plus representatives from the 3 main parties”
5.48 The Chair provided the following reply:
Thank you for your question.
I am sure that you will welcome the report which we will be considering later on the agenda of this meeting, but I appreciate your interest in it at this point. As I am sure you are aware, the preparation of a Scoping Report for this important plan is one part of the six-stage process set out in the Government’s guidance. It is intended to be used as the basis for shaping the engagement process, which I am pleased that you and others will be keen to be involved in.
The next stage will be the start of external stakeholder engagement, involving the Transport Partnership, a number of other key stakeholders (including adjacent local authorities and delivery partners), and small, focused workshops taking place to cover local areas of the city, which ward councillors will be invited to.
As the report also indicates, a number of stakeholder organisation representatives are members of the city’s Transport Partnership, and we intend to create a sub-group of those people to participate within the process. The plan will also be discussed at the Partnership’s meeting next month, where the city’s stakeholders and councillors will be present.
The proposed engagement process will help add to the data that the council already holds. The development of draft, city-wide cycling and walking maps and accompanying programmes of infrastructure improvements will then become the trigger for fuller public consultation, which all stakeholders can also participate in (as well as councillors if they wish). Following that stage, establishing priorities will provide a further opportunity for stakeholder engagement.
I am really keen to ensure that the engagement process engages ‘harder to reach’ groups including those who do not currently cycle or do very limited walking; for the plan to be delivered successfully it needs to result in more people cycling and walking, and therefore we need to understand the needs and motivations of these groups. Acknowledging that it can be challenging to balance the often quite localised concerns of stakeholders and the public with the strategic nature of the plan, we have noted that similar overall approaches to engagement and consultation have been taken in other authorities.
Providing that officers can develop engagement for the plan, in a manageable way, I am sure that this will provide the opportunity for the input and feedback that you are seeking. I would also add that the approach that is being proposed is no different to other council project governance arrangements that are currently in place for various projects. We are discussing the plan later on the agenda and I am sure that we will discuss this matter then”.
(x) Aquarium Roundabout
5.49 On behalf of Julia Basnett, Martin Christie put the following question:
“The Council's own technical report commissioned from Mott Macdonald showed that retaining a roundabout would actually prevent 328 accidents as compared with the current proposed junction, does the Chair agree that a roundabout is safer, cheaper and by allowing the most flexible throughput of traffic also the most environmentally friendly solution for the aquarium junction”.
5.50 The Chair provided the following reply:
“Thank you for your question.
Improving road safety is one of the eight core design objectives that the committee agreed in June last year that it wanted to achieve from the project. This is mainly because there are a number of difficult and busy junctions within the Old Steine area that result in the highest numbers of collisions and casualties in the city each year.
The figures that you have referred to come from the technical analysis that has been undertaken to assess the four different design options for the whole of the project area. Therefore, I can clarify that these figures do not relate solely to the different junction layouts at the Palace Pier junction in each of the options. The figures are forecasts of how collisions that result in injuries could change across the entire road layout from Edward Street to the seafront, with or without a certain design.
The road safety analysis formed part of the overall appraisal of the options and was considered alongside other data about traffic flows, journey times and changes to the public realm as part of the Business Case for the project.
Although some roundabouts can enable vehicles to flow freely, they can also be very difficult or inconvenient for people who are not in vehicles to cross or negotiate them. I think the current roundabout is an example of this. It is a real barrier for some people to reach our fantastic seafront and beach, and all the wonderful attractions that they provide.
We ultimately want the city to be a safer and easier place to travel around, especially by using sustainable transport. We also want the city to become carbon-neutral by 2030 to address the climate emergency that the council has fully recognised. This means looking at every travel option and making changes that will increase the use and safety of sustainable choices for some journeys, especially in the busy city centre.
The proposed new road system would also include technologically advanced traffic signal equipment along the whole of the Valley Gardens corridor and on the seafront at the Palace Pier junction. This can respond to different demands during the day and will help manage the movement of people and vehicles, and therefore minimise congestion and any of its associated environmental effects. The location of the junction on the seafront also means that any emissions that may build up would have a better chance of dispersing more easily as the environment is not as enclosed as other locations in the city”.
5.51 Councillor West observed that the committee had received questions of a very similar nature over the past few meetings and asked if the Chair could monitor these questions to avoid duplication.
5.52 The Chair confirmed that any instances of duplication would be monitored.
(i) Valley Gardens Phase 3
5.53 The Committee considered a deputation relating to the concerns of residents of the surrounding streets of the old Amex House site regarding Valley Gardens.
5.54 The Chair provided the following response:
“Thank you for taking the time to present your deputation to the committee today, on behalf of your Neighbourhood Action Forum, Adrian. Although established as a local group, I appreciate your interest in nearby areas and other communities, as well as more strategic matters such as the Valley Gardens project.
I should begin by explaining that I have also received a copy of your letter to Councillor Nancy Platts, which is very similar to your deputation, and I know that she has responded to you and indicated that my response to you this afternoon will also be made on her behalf.
Firstly, your concerns about the construction works in the Circus Street area are noted, and I can assure you that council officers will continue to respond to residents’ concerns about noise, dust and pollution and ensure that the developer and contractors are fulfilling the commitments that have been made as part of their planning obligations.
Regarding the Valley Gardens project, since becoming Chair of this committee I have taken a number of steps to ensure that I am increasing my understanding of the project and the various views, representations and decisions that have been made about Phase 3 of the project. So far, my work has included receiving briefings from officers; visiting the Old Steine area with Councillor Platts; and meeting with representatives of the Valley Gardens Forum to listen to their concerns, also with Councillor Platts.
You are right to highlight that the project has always needed to strike the right balance between a number of different and sometimes conflicting priorities. Our city is constrained in many ways and the transport network has many demands placed upon it throughout the year, especially in the city centre. Many other major projects experience similar challenges, and for many reasons, it is often not possible to achieve everything that everybody may want, nor develop and deliver improvements in a particular order, or at the same time. We often have to take opportunities when they arise.
However, we ultimately want the city to be a safe and easier place to travel around, especially by using sustainable transport. We also want to become carbon-neutral by 2030 to address the climate emergency that the council has fully recognised. This means looking at every travel option and increasing the choices that people have to move around. Many people in the city use walking and cycling, or a bus or taxi, or may even need a wheelchair for some parts of their journeys; by promoting the benefits of these forms of travel, and increasing the opportunities to use them, we want some people to choose to make a switch from their car for some of their journeys, especially if those journeys are over short distances where other alternatives may be available.
When developing this project, the designs have been technically checked to ensure that the implications of any changes are identified and understood. This has included computer-based modelling of traffic flows, and an air quality assessment. Designs are also independently audited to ensure they are safe. Initial environmental assessments have been conducted and informed the recommendations and decisions made so far. These show that air quality levels within the immediate project area is within international limits, due to the relatively open nature of the space and good dispersion.
As it continues to be developed, the Valley Gardens Phase 3 project will have all the necessary environmental assessments undertaken, including those for noise and air quality, to ensure that any effects are fully understood and mitigated, where necessary. These issues will then continue to be assessed and monitored during and after construction.
I appreciate your concerns about Carlton Hill School, but can confirm that the level of air quality by the school is good and its location up the hill away from the valley floor means that it will not be affected by any changes to traffic levels or movements in the Valley Gardens corridor.
The planned changes will include the use of technologically advanced traffic signal equipment along the whole of the Valley Gardens corridor and on the seafront at the Palace Pier junction. This can respond to different demands during the day and will help manage the movement of people and vehicles and therefore minimise congestion and any of its associated effects, such as ‘rat-running’ drivers. Officers would be particularly happy to provide the school community with whatever other information that it requires about this.
The project also includes a number of additional facilities and areas that will benefit pedestrians and cyclists, such as a new, dedicated crossing point between St James’s Street and the Steine Gardens.
I am aware that requests to pause the project have been made previously for more consultation, and I have been reassured that the committee previously requested an independent legal opinion to assess its consultation approach, which has subsequently enabled the project to continue to its next stages. The next steps will also be informed by the outcome of a meeting with the Valley Gardens Forum.
I look forward to the meeting that has been arranged with you next month and continuing to listen to and discussing your views”.
5.55 RESOLVED- That the Committee note the deputation.
- Item 5a Petitions, item 5. PDF 290 KB
- Item 5b Written questions, item 5. PDF 196 KB
- Item 5(c) Deputations, item 5. PDF 180 KB