Agenda item - Member Involvement

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Agenda item

Member Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by Members:

 

(a)       Petitions: To receive any petitions submitted;

 

(i)             Keep Princes Street Pedestrianised- Councillor Childs

(ii)           A new crossing and traffic calming for Freshfield Road- Councillor Childs

 

(b)       Written Questions: To consider any written questions;

 

(i)             Stanmer Village parking- Councillor Wares

(ii)           Old Shoreham Road- Councillor Wares

(iii)         Transport Partnership- Councillor Wares

(iv)         Task & Finish Groups- Councillor Wares

(v)           Urgency Powers- Councillor Wares

(vi)         CCTV- Councillor Wares

 

(c)       Letters: To consider any letters;

 

(d)       Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Council or submitted directly to the Committee.

 

(i)             Temporary Cycle Lane on Old Shoreham Road- Conservative Group

 

Minutes:

(A)          PETITIONS

 

(i)             Keep Princes St Pedestrianised

 

38.1      The Committee considered a petition from Councillor Childs and signed by 451 people requesting that Princes Street remain as a pedestrianised street.

 

38.2      The Chair provided the following response:

 

“Thank you for presenting your petition today.

The proposals for Prince’s Street are featured in the preliminary design as an addition to the original scope for Valley Gardens Phase 3, following stakeholder engagement during 2018. I understand that the changes were intended to address issues with deliveries to businesses in the area, improve emergency vehicle access, and prevent illegal and potentially unsafe traffic movements from occurring.

Although it is a road with kerbs and footways, I can see why it is a popular pedestrian route and therefore gives the impression that it is pedestrianised. I can therefore fully understand the concerns in the petition about the street potentially being used more by traffic than it is now. The north end of Prince’s Street is also used by a local business with outdoor seating, the type of which has been very useful during recent months to support the required social distancing measures during the pandemic.

I can therefore confirm for you and the petitioners that this particular matter will be reviewed by the project team, who will be considering possible alternative arrangements to address the matters that had prompted the proposed change to the northern end of Prince’s Street. If alternative arrangements are considered safe and achievable, then it is likely that the street can remain as it is in terms of the existing closure at the Edward Street end.

The results of this technical work will be part of the recommended outcomes of the further detailed design for the whole project and, together with the results of the recent consultation, will be reported back to this committee early next year”.

 

38.3      Councillor Wares stated that it was a shame that the committee couldn’t be stronger and instruct officers that the road should be kept closed to traffic.

 

38.4      RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.

 

(ii)           A new crossing and traffic calming for Freshfield Road

 

38.5      The Committee considered a petition from Councillor Childs and signed by 344 people requesting a new crossing and traffic calming measures for Freshfield Road on safety grounds.

 

38.6      The Chair provided the following response:

 

“We carried out a detailed crossing assessment of the Freshfield Road and Cuthbert Road junction in 2017 where it came out as very low on the Council’s priority list, however, at this time the criteria required at least one injury causing collision, we have now amended the criteria by removing this provision so will be reassessing the junction and will report the outcome to a future ETS Committee.

In terms of your request for Traffic Calming I will ask Officers to look again into the issue of vehicle speeds as part of the work that will be carried out for the Pedestrian Crossing request in the area.

However, it is worth noting that we use data supplied by Sussex Police and work jointly with them as part of the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership to target our limited resources where they are needed and therefore have to prioritise roads or junctions that have a proven history of traffic collisions. Therefore, we cannot take into account reports of near misses as these are subjective and therefore open to interpretation. We will be taking note of your concerns and can report any further update alongside our findings in relation to the crossing request.

I am asking officers to bring a report to a future committee outlining our current policy when it comes for criteria for traffic calming, as we think it’s wrong that an accident is used as evidence rather than taking a preventative approach. We will include Freshfield road in this report”.

 

38.7      Councillor Davis, Councillor Wares and Councillor Wilkinson expressed their support for the petition and the review of the criteria.

 

38.8      RESOLVED- That the Committee note the petition.

 

(B)          WRITTEN QUESTIONS

 

(i)             Stanmer Village Parking

 

38.9      Councillor Wares put the following question:

 

“September Committee required parking controls to support Stanmer Village residents and businesses be brought back to this November Committee. This hasn’t happened. However, I am advised by the Assistant Director of City Environment that consultation is due to take place. I am further assured that the parking charge TRO for the whole of Stanmer Park will not be introduced until a decision on the village scheme is made; a report on the matter is anticipated for January 2021 with the start date for both (if agreed) to be February 2021. In the absence of a report, please would the Chair agree that the advice provided by the Assistant Director is accepted and forms the basis upon which Committee agrees this matter will be progressed?”

 

38.10   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for raising this and the Assistant Director of City Environment has asked me to apologise to members of the committee that she was not able to present the report on Stanmer Village Parking to this committee. I am happy to accept the approach as you have already described with a report to now be presented in January Committee”.

 

(ii)           Old Shoreham Road

 

38.11   Councillor Wares put the following question:

 

“On the 30th August 2020 the Administration posted on their Councillor Facebook page that cycling on Old Shoreham Road had gone up by 61% since the introduction of the cycle lane installed as part of Covid measures. The Deputy Chair of ETS had previously made the same claim to this Committee in June. Please could the Chair confirm, in light of their own report at last ETS Committee, that the post was fake news?”

 

38.12   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Thank you for your question. It is not fake news.

I can confirm that the 61% increase in cycling trips relates to data collected in 2017 compared with data collected in 2020 at the location of Lullington Road. In 2017 data showed 339 cyclists per day, compared with data collected in 2020 which showed 545 cyclists per day giving a 61% increase”.

 

(iii)         Transport Partnership

 

38.13   Councillor Wares put the following question:

 

“For over a year and again in recent times we have been trying to understand who makes decisions as to who can sit on the Transport Partnership, what the qualifying criteria is and when sitting members were last reassessed to ensure they met the criteria. The Transport Partnership is increasingly being referred to especially in support of transport projects. However, it is unclear what the democratic process is to ensure that the Transport Partnership is accountable, properly represents all interests and remains objective in its work. Absent of clear advice and scrutiny, the Transport Partnership risks being viewed as a closed shop”.

 

38.14   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

““Councillor Wares, as you know, the Transport Partnership is a strategic partnership which forms part of the Brighton & Hove Connected family of partnerships. Membership of the Transport Partnership is agreed by members of the Partnership and is subject to periodic review by the Partnership, the last such review being in 2019.

The Transport Partnership is chaired by the Chair of ETS committee and includes representation from all political groups on the city council. The appointment of new members or the removal of existing members is subject to agreement by the Transport Partnership rather than any single member organisation.

As a result of chairing my first transport partnership this month, and becoming aware of the unacceptable lack of diversity on the partnership, as Chair I have asked officers to urgently review membership in order to increase representation of women, people of colour and young people in particular.It is not acceptable in 2020 to have a transport partnership dominated by white men, nor is it acceptable that young people (apart from myself) and BAME people are completely unrepresented despite often having very different experiences of transport in the city. As I have just outlined, any new additions recommended will have to be accepted via a vote of the Transport Partnership which includes yourself. If you have any suggestions of people or organisations that will help us achieve improved diversity, then please let me know.

I have been made aware that there are certain groups that you would support joining the transport partnership, but the one I have been made aware of which is the Valley Gardens forum I believe, does not meet the Brighton and Hove Connected criteria of being “able to take a genuine, strategic city wide view, in order to effectively represent their sector”. This is from the BH Connected member Handbook from 2016. This specifically relates to BH Connected, but equally applies to thematic partnerships, as they are part of BH Connected”.

 

38.15   Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:

 

“I would like officers to be a bit more specific about precisely what the criteria is as I want everybody who is already on it to pass that criteria and prove where they do pass it before we continue”

 

38.16   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

““Thanks for your support and I’m happy to send you the criteria that I’ve seen as Chair of the Transport Partnership and we can discuss the issue further”

 

(iv)         Task & Finish Groups

 

38.17   Councillor Wares put the following question:

 

“Over a month ago we raised with Executive Officers concern that the task and finish groups overseeing the LCWIP, Valley Gardens Phase 3 and Stanmer Park had all long expired in being legitimate and permissible groups under the Constitution. None were renewed after six months and all are now over a year old which is Constitutionally prohibited. We were advised that the issue would be resolved with reference back to Committee. Please could the Chair confirm that the three task and finish groups are now disbanded and invalid and advise when Committee will review and decide on alternative arrangements for the future, if any”.

 

38.18   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

““To begin with, I want to acknowledge that when these groups were set up based on the suggestion of my colleague Councillor West, it was recognising that they would provide an opportunity to involve stakeholders where possible - something that is so important in our work - as well as ensuring that Members have clear oversight of the projects

I want to thank officers for setting the groups up and administering them, and also those stakeholders who have been able to attend and contribute to them. I am sure that you and the other Members involved have welcomed them and recognised the value of them. As my colleagues definitely have. The original Terms of Reference that were agreed by this committee did acknowledge the nature and likely duration of the projects that they were being used to support and guide. However, I do recognise that the requirements of the Constitution for this type of Member Working Group have not been fully met on this occasion, and the six month period has been exceeded. I will therefore ensure that a report which outlines what the groups have achieved and also considers their future, will be brought to this committee in January next year. If they are to be made permanent, then this will also require a report to Policy & Resources Committee.

For continuity in the interim, I think it would be really helpful if the groups could continue to ‘meet’ virtually and informally. Alternatively, the Members involved should still receive relevant information or updates from officers that would have been discussed at any planned or future meeting of the group, including a review of its Terms of Reference. An early discussion between the Chair and the nominated Members of each group regarding the merits of continuing will help officers drafting the January committee report”.

 

(v)           Urgency Powers

 

38.19   Councillor Wares put the following question:

 

“When the section of cycle lane on the A259 was removed between the Aquarium junction and West Street we were briefed by the Assistant Director that the decision was taken by officers using delegated urgency powers. That being correct, officers are required to report the use of urgency powers to Committee. That didn’t happen in September and is not on this agenda. When will the use of urgency powers be properly reported to Committee or was the advice originally given incorrect and the decision was made under some other power; if so please, could the Chair clarify?”

 

38.20   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

““Thank you for your question Councillor Wares, the decision to remove a section of the A259 cycle lanes was taken by the Assistant Director under the Scheme of Delegation to Officers in Paragraph 7(2) relating to urgent decisions following consultation with myself.

The reasons for removal related to the need to explore potential mitigation measures to deal with congestion at the eastern end of the new cycle lane and its impact on city centre traffic and bus operations. This decision will be formally reported to the next available Committee meeting. Apologies for that and thank you for raising it.”

 

(vi)         CCTV

 

38.21   Councillor Wares put the following question:

 

“With the evolving success of using CCTV to combat fly-tipping, would it be possible for the Cityclean to consider focussing on council estates. Many estates have communal bin areas that are targeted by others that dump their waste in or around the bin areas. It may be that in collaboration with the Housing department, CCTV equipment could be procured so that it remains dedicated to supporting just council estates”.

 

38.22   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“I agree that the new CCTV cameras to prevent fly tipping are proving to be a success. In fact, early signs suggest that in some sites where there is a camera the quantity of fly tips appears to be reducing. I agree that it would be a very good idea to extend this into fly tipping hotspots on our council housing estates. Officers have started discussions with colleagues in housing about how this service could be jointly provided. Housing will continue to explore this, and I will ask be raising this with the Co-Chairs of Housing.”

 

38.23   Councillor Wares asked the following supplementary question:

 

“Could you ask officers to brief lead Members as to how this progresses?”

 

38.24   The Chair provided the following reply:

 

“Yes, we can do that”.

 

(D)      NOTICES OF MOTION

 

(i)             Temporary Cycle Lane on Old Shoreham Road

 

38.25   Councillor Wares moved the following Notice of Motion on behalf of the Conservative Group:

 

This Committee agrees:-

 

1.    To request officers to urgently remove the cycle lanes installed on Old Shoreham Road between Sackville Road and Hangleton Lane junctions.

 

38.26   Introducing the Motion, Councillor Wares stated that the cycle lane was unpopular with local residents as demonstrated by the survey results, was underused and causing traffic congestion was a ‘trojan horse’ tactic to introduce schemes based on ideology not feasibility. Councillor Wares stated that whilst he supported the principle of encouraging active travel, this cycle lane was not fit for purpose and should be removed.

 

38.27   Councillor Brown formally seconded the Motion and similarly observed that the cycle lane was underused and causing traffic congestion and therefore not appropriate.

 

38.28   The Chair made the following statement as clarification on the Notice of Motion:

 

“The Notice of Motion says that “The cycle lane has only been subject to a survey and is not proposed to be subject to any further consultation.” As Councillors Wares and Brown know, at ETS in September we approved a 6 week long consultation would take place and the committee also agreed to hold a special ETS meeting in order to approve the consultation plans, so that part of the NoM is incorrect.

I also want to point out the fact that the Committee looked at this issue in September and decided that the temporary arrangements should continue all the time that the threat from Covid is escalating. The risk from infection is indeed escalating and so it would be exactly the wrong time to remove these measures.

The only options at Committee are to note the NOM or call for an officer report. The Committee cannot make a decision to revoke the arrangements on the day because it does not have the legal, financial, equalities or any other implications (eg safety) in front of it which would enable a decision to be taken with all the relevant considerations being taken into account”.

 

38.29   Councillor Wilkinson welcomed the recent announcement of Emergency Active Travel Fund Tranche 2 funding for the city. Councillor Wilkinson stated that there were extreme time pressures when the first round of funding had been announced. Now there was more time for the development of schemes for Tranche 2, it was important for residents, stakeholders and businesses to have their voices heard via a consultation on the range of measures introduced and those forthcoming and it was time to get on with that consultation. Councillor Wilkinson stated that as that consultation would be going ahead, he would not be supporting the Notice of Motion.

 

38.30   Councillor Davis welcomed the announcement of Tranche 2 funding and noted that the council had made a cross-party commitment to be a carbon neutral by 2030 and bold measures were required to meet that target.

 

38.31   Councillor Lloyd stated his dismay at the idea that the temporary cycle lane increased traffic as it was clear to him that excessive vehicle traffic caused traffic congestion. Councillor Lloyd noted the increase in users of the Old Shoreham Road, particularly children travelling to the local schools although excessive traffic continued to make the road unsafe and hinder usage. Councillor Lloyd noted that Waltham Forest had recently introduced Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and at the beginning of their introduction, 70% of residents and been opposed to the schemes. Over the following months, that figure had reduced to 2% in opposition and residents were fully in support of their benefits.

 

38.32   Councillor Appich stated that the council should be promoting a better cycle network and active travel measures, with a full consultation as well as improving signage and cohesion with the existing network. Councillor Appich stated that she would not be supporting the Notice of Motion as the consultation should be received by the committee first.

 

38.33   Councillor Wares observed that the cycle lane was introduced overnight, without consultation or agreement by committee so in his view, its removal would not necessitate a further report detailing the financial cost and legal implications of doing so.

 

38.34   The Chair put the Notice of Motion to the vote that failed.

Supporting documents:

 


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