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 to the full Council or at the meeting itself.

 

(i)             Seven Dials cycle storage

 

(b)       Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 18 November 2020.

 

(c)        Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 18 November 2020.

Minutes:

(A)          PETITIONS

 

(i)             Seven Dials Cycle Storage

 

37.1      The Committee considered a petition signed by 151 people requesting cycle storage facilities for the Seven Dials area.

 

37.2      The Chair provided the following response:

 

“Thank you very much for this important petition. We absolutely need to do this and the council is aware of the need for secure residential cycle parking within the city and as part of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), currently in development, we are reviewing strategic approaches to cycle parking. I can completely sympathise with the petitioners, as where I live would certainly make cycling easier if I had safe and secure on street storage. When 6 or more bikes can fit into the space of one parking spot, it highlights how inefficient a use of space parking can be and how bike hangars can be truly transformation in a city like ours, where many residents are desperate to cycle but the council are not providing the adequate infrastructure.

I’m very disappointed that no Chair of this committee has actioned this sooner, as I believe we urgently need cycle storage to allow more people to start using cycling as a way of getting around. Therefore, in order to begin to address this key issue sooner than the longer term planning will allow through the LCWIP, we will be bringing forward proposals as part of the budget for the 2021/22 financial year for a pilot project to install some initial cycle hangar facilities in the city and learn lessons prior to wider rollout in future.

We are considering several successful case studies, including Lambeth as you mention, when planning our approach to these facilities. I will also make sure officers know that Seven Dials is a desired location for a trial, when decide which parts of the city will take part in the early trial”

 

37.3      RESOLVED- That the petition be noted.

 

(B)          PUBLIC QUESTIONS

 

(i)             A259

 

37.4      Nigel Smith put the following question:

 

“As it has been previously established and informed by this committee that there has been no communication between B&HCC and ESCC relating to the A259, why when the Bus Review says the Eastbound bottleneck is the Longridge junction on the city boundary, have no discussions taken place with ESCC who manage this junction, re alleviating the bottleneck that causes daily queues back to Roedean?”

 

37.5      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“On your first point, I would like to clarify that officers do liaise with their counterparts at neighbouring authorities on cross-boundary issues. At the Full Council meeting on 22 October, I was asked specifically about the discussion’s officers had had with East Sussex County Council with regards to Valley Gardens and Black Rock.

I would like to again provide reassurance that we will participate fully in any future study looking at the A259 in the east of the city and work with East Sussex County Council to ensuring this is a success.

On your second point, the Bus Network Review does highlight congestion associated with the Longridge Avenue signals in its initial assessment of congestion hotspots. I would also add that congestion is related to the volume of traffic using this stretch of the A259 as well as the junctions.

The Bus Network Review subsequently included recommendations to review the Rottingdean High Street junction and signal timings at Longridge Avenue, the junction of which is within the city boundary.

The Bus Network Review represents a long-term plan to assist in prioritising improvements to the bus network. We will continue to progress its recommendations; however, each measure is subject to funding and, in many cases, further design and feasibility work”.

 

37.6      Nigel Smith put the following supplementary question:

 

“The highly distinguished Professor David Begg said in the Executive Summary of his 68-page paper on "The Impact of Congestion on Bus Passengers" for which Brighton & Hove Buses received strong credits:

‘Traffic congestion is a cancer which if left unchecked will destroy the bus sector. I hesitate to make such a dire and sensational prediction, but the evidence I have uncovered in this research leads me to no other conclusion’.

My question is quite simply, given that Professor Begg’s predictions are now undeniably occurring, when are B&HCC going to act on congestion? I would urge all members of this committee to consider the seriousness of the situation and its impact on our sustainable transport and carbon emissions”.

 

37.7      The Chair stated that a written response would be provided subsequent to the meeting.

 

(ii)           A259 Bus Lane

 

37.8      Rob Shepherd put the following question:

 

“When asked for the traffic data and analysis that informed the recommendation for a temporary A259 bus lane at Greenways, you replied ‘The proposal was also identified in the council’s 2018 Bus Network Review, & that review was informed by supporting traffic data and analysis and can be found on our website’.

Pages 25 and 30 of the review explicitly cautioned that this was not based on traffic data and analysis. Do you agree that this reply misled you and other councillors, may have concealed bad decision making and fails to respect Public Questions that seek to expose such failings?”

 

37.9      The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your question but I respectfully disagree. The recommendations in the Bus Network Review are evidenced-based following analysis of the network including congestion hot spots for buses. This is available for all to view on the website. It is true that the Bus Network Review does make a general recommendation about the need for further feasibility work as schemes come forward; however, the need for and scope of this is dependent on the individual scheme recommendation.

In respect of the A259 bus lane extension, we have listened to concerns about introducing this quickly as an experimental scheme. As was reported at the last meeting of this Committee, it will now be considered as part of a future Local Transport Plan programme”.

 

37.10   The Chair stated that a written response would be provided after the meeting.

 

(iii)         Smoke Control Area

 

37.11   Adrian Hill put the following question:

 

“Wood and coal burning in homes produces high numbers of harmful particulates that can cause many serious health issues including respiratory problems for which I suffer. Brighton is the largest city in England without a full city-wide smoke control area to protect its residents from the most polluting of home fires. I was told at the ETS in January that widening the areas would be looked at ‘very soon’; considering health is especially important now, and with the solid fuel burning season starting, will a full SCA be brought in this winter?”

 

37.12   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

recently about Smoke Control Areas and I recognise the level of your concerns about fine particles and their potential effects on your own health and that of other people’s.

I know that this is a highly technical and scientific issue which requires appropriate and reliable evidence to inform our considerations about Smoke Control Areas in the city. I am therefore pleased to say that information about fine particles has been included in the council’s Air Quality Annual Status Report since 2015, in accordance with Public Health Outcomes Framework – which is the Government’s vision for public health. Our expert officers who specialise in air quality, public health and environmental protection will work together to consider the role of Smoke Control Areas as part of the preparation of the council’s new Air Quality Action Plan. They will also liaise with relevant organisations and bodies to look at the overall benefits and consider the potential financial and staffing implications.

Unfortunately, the work on the plan will take longer than the duration of this winter. We expect to be able to consult on the draft plan towards the middle of next year, and then consider and approve it before the end of the year. However, I will be asking officers to review and refresh our communications about asking people to think twice about wood and coal burning while we are still in this second lockdown period and also approaching the winter period. I will see if anything can be done to speed up this process.

I really do hope that decisions on the Government’s Environment Bill can also be hurried up as it is anticipated there will be updates to the Clean Air Act and useful guidance outlining legal powers and possible funding for local authorities. This will help us tackle harmful pollutants, such as particulate emissions, and protect our residents by making our city’s air cleaner, especially those who are more vulnerable to them. We are also hoping to progress many other schemes that will improve air quality in the city, such as an expanded ultra-low emission zone, however your particular concern on smoke from woodburners is noted and shared and we will do all that we can to make progress here”.

 

(iv)         Traffic Congestion

 

37.13   Mark Earthey put the following question:

 

“Given the DfT uses 100% congestion as the level at which traffic delays rise unacceptably and intervention is needed to handle extra traffic, it is puzzling that B&H City Plan sets 125% as our limit, a level where severe disruption is the norm. Can you explain why it is acceptable to subject our citizens to more traffic delays, air pollution and carbon emissions than is acceptable nationally, and why the 125% limit was chosen and adopted by our council?”

 

37.14   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

““Thank you for your question Mark. I share your concerns about congestion in the city and want to make sure that we do everything we can by working with the members of this and other committees to reduce traffic levels in the city, both now and in the future. We can do this by effective development planning; and providing sustainable and active travel alternatives for people, especially for short journeys.

The current situation that we find ourselves in as a result of the pandemic especially provides the perfect opportunity to work with local communities to achieve this, and I am also really looking forward to the outcomes of the city’s Climate Assembly on reducing transport carbon emissions. Less vehicles on our roads will mean less congestion and less pollution and make it safer and healthier for people to move around the city for years to come.

However, in researching the background to your question, it has not been possible to identify the source of the 125% percent figure that you have referred to, nor any decision that agreed to it. If you are able to provide me with that information, I can make sure that you receive a written response as soon as possible”.

 

(v)           Seafront Signage

 

37.15   Chris Murgatroyd put the following question:

 

“Does BHCC have a policy formally or informally of prioritising aesthetics and the attractiveness of the seafront which prevents it from putting up No Cycling signs in the Pedestrian Zone on the Lower Promenade, even though the absence of signage may be putting pedestrians, staff and cyclists themselves at increased risk of infection from a lack of distancing in the Covid period?”

 

37.16   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Consideration is given to signage on the basis of its effectiveness for the desired purpose. For example, additional “No Cycling” signage has been included on the lower promenade access ramps to discourage cyclists. Cycling is not permitted on Brighton lower promenade apart from between 6am – 11am but only for delivering/collecting from a premise or if they have a permit during that time.

Furthermore, additional signage has been introduced along the Seafront to encourage social distancing. However, social distancing is the responsibility of individuals whatever form of mobility they are utilising”.

 

37.17   Chris Murgatroyd asked the following supplementary question:

 

“In correspondence following the ETS Committee on 23 June, Council officials confirmed that they would be amending the signs to give clearer direction to cyclists on the vehicle entry gates at the Peace Statue and the Artists Quarter ramp, but nothing has yet been done - when will clear signage be put on these main entry points to help BHCC discharge its duty of care to all users by reducing pressures on distancing, and for a safer system of work for the seafront team undertaking enforcement?”

 

37.18   The Chair stated that a written reply would be provided subsequent to the meeting.

 

(C)          DEPUTATIONS

 

(i)             Cycle Storage

 

37.19   The Committee considered a deputation requesting that Hanover & Elm Grove be chosen as a pilot area for covered cycle storage.

 

37.20   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your deputation and attending to speak to the committee today.

We heard a very similar petition earlier on cycle storage, so its great to hear that so many residents are requesting bike hangars. I really appreciate the data you have included which further highlights this need. In your deputation you have stated that up until now the council has not supported installing cycle hangars, so let me be clear, I absolutely support this and when I became chair I actioned council officers to start work on a pilot.

We absolutely need to do this and the council is aware of the need for secure residential cycle parking within the city and as part of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), currently in development, we are reviewing strategic approaches to cycle parking. I can completely sympathise with the petitioners, as where I live would certainly make cycling easier if I had safe and secure on street storage. When 6 or more bikes can fit into the space of one parking spot, it highlights how inefficient a use of space parking can be and how bike hangars can be truly transformation in a city like ours, where many residents are desperate to cycle but the council are not providing the adequate infrastructure.

I’m very disappointed that no Chair of this committee has actioned this sooner, as I believe we urgently need cycle storage to allow more people to start using cycling as a way of getting around. Therefore, in order to begin to address this key issue sooner than the longer term planning will allow through the LCWIP, we will be bringing forward proposals as part of the budget for the 2021/22 financial year for a pilot project to install some initial cycle hangar facilities in the city and learn lessons prior to wider rollout in future.

We are considering several successful case studies, including Lambeth as you mention, when planning our approach to these facilities. I will also make sure officers know that Hanover and Elm Grove is a desired location for a trial, when decide which parts of the city will take part in the early trial. You are right to mention that this would support the low traffic neighbourhood trial”.

 

37.21   RESOLVED- That the Committee note the deputation.

 

(ii)           Request for improvement of conditions and facilities for active travellers on the B2123 Falmer Road

 

37.22   The Committee considered a deputation requesting infrastructure facilities for active travellers on the B2123 Falmer Road.

 

37.23   The Chair provided the following response:

 

“Thank you, Libby, we are very pleased with the notification from the Department for Transport on our recent successful to the Emergency Active Travel Fund Tranche 2. Unfortunately, this funding is available only for the specific schemes as outlined in our bid, available on our website, and does not include any schemes in the areas identified in your Deputation.

However, the points raised in this deputation have been noted as part of our ongoing work on our Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP), currently in development. Both the B2123 and the A259 feature in our draft cycling network for the emerging LCWIP, which will go to full public consultation next year and I would urge you and other residents in the area to input into that consultation. I will also ask officers to meet you for a site visit to discuss these specific issues in detail.

As for the installation of speed tables, this engineering feature requires specific design and road safety assessments to determine whether or not it is appropriate for specific locations and circumstances, for this reason I will also ask officers to investigate and contact you shortly”.

 

37.24   RESOLVED- That the Committee note the deputation.

Supporting documents:

 


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