Up to 30 minutes is allowed for this item.
To answer any written member questions about matters which are within the powers and duties of the Committee.
The closing date for receipt of questions is 10.00 am on Monday 9 December 2019. Please send questions to the Chief Executive marked for the attention of Joanne Bolton (email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Questions received and proposed responses do not accompany this agenda but will be available prior to the meeting. Questions and Answers publication on the website: Friday 13 December 2019.
Twenty-seven questions had been received. A copy of the questions and answers was circulated and is attached to the signed copy of the minutes.
Question 1: Cllr Klara Sudbury asked for clarification on why county councillors who had highways responsibility were not allocated a speaking slot, particularly as she had requested to speak as one of the county councillors with Boots Corner in their division.
Joanne Bolton, Democratic Services Adviser, explained that all individuals who had registered to speak had been allocated a slot in the public speaking block on the agenda (with the exception of Cheltenham Borough councillors who had been allocated a separate earlier block on the agenda so that they could also attend the Cheltenham Borough Council (CBC) full Council meeting taking place later the same day).
Question 2 - Cllr Klara Sudbury referred to paragraph 8.3 of the report and commented that county councillors were mentioned in regard to statutory consultees and stakeholders who were consulted. She added at 9.1 that it stated that ‘No formal responses were received from any other statutory consultees/Gloucestershire County Council (GCC) standard Consultees’. Cllr Sudbury asked that as her response to the amended Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs) had been received did this mean the meeting papers were incorrect or were county councillors not statutory consultees.
In response, Hannah Bassett-Louis, GCC Lawyer, confirmed that from a legal perspective, county councillors were not defined as statutory consultees.
Question 3 – Cllr Klara Sudbury asked if the relevant legislation for ETROs specified that when an experimental TRO scheme was amended, the consultation for it did not just need to happen for an additional six months, but that it needed to be a new consultation with previous formal representations not taken into consideration when the entire scheme was decided.
In response, the Lawyer explained that that all individuals who had made formal representations on the original Cheltenham Transport Plan (CTP) Phase 4 ETROs, were informed of the amendments which were being made to the scheme. Following implementation of the amended ETROs, a further statutory 6 month formal consultation period was then undertaken.
Question 7 - Cllr Klara Sudbury commented that the response to her question about the amount of money left for mitigation measures, did not make reference to how the pot of mitigation money agreed by GCC and CBC would be spent, or how much was left. Cllr Sudbury asked whether the pot of money still existed.
In response, the Lead Commissioner Community and Infrastructure, Gloucestershire County Council, explained that any surplus would be committed to improving cycling measures. The scheme was still live at present so the outturn financial position was not yet known.
Question 9 - Cllr Klara Sudbury asked why the redacted responses to both the ETROs and amended ETROs were not published with the rest of the meeting papers.
The Lead Commissioner explained that redacting the personal information from all formal representations received, involved a considerable amount of work which was not completed before the date of the publication of the meeting documentation. The formal representations made in regards to both the original ERTOs and the amended TROs, with personal data redacted, had now been published on the website with the meeting documentation.
Question 10 – Cllr Klara Sudbury clarified that her question related to how an individual’s formal representations on the ETROs would be used, not how their personal details would be used.
The Lead Commissioner explained that information on how the formal representations would be used was outlined on the webpage for submitting formal representations. There was a clear distinction between how a redacted formal representation and a representation containing full information would be treated.
All of the un-redacted formal representations had been made available to the Traffic Regulation Committee to view, ahead of the meeting. He reiterated that the redaction of personal data from the formal representations, in order for them to published on the website, was a substantial piece of work to complete.
Question 14 - Cllr Klara Sudbury thanked officers for responding to a question she had raised in November 2018, on the subject of people being able to submit comments without ticking either the formal, or general comment box, and how would those comments would have been recorded by the portal. She questioned whether this issue had been fully dealt with at that time, or had it also been a problem during 2019.
The Lead Commissioner confirmed that this issue had been dealt with at the time (the webpage was amended so that it is not possible to press the final submit button without selecting a category).
Question 16 – Cllr Klara Sudbury commented that there was a significant campaign led by St Luke’s and College Road residents in response to the Boots Corner plans. Cllr Sudbury questioned why there was no traffic monitoring done in St Luke’s Road prior to the trial beginning to provide background data and to provide valid evidence of how the trial had affected the area.
In response, the Lead Commissioner accepted that on reflection, it would have been prudent to have undertaken traffic monitoring on those routes, prior to the commencement of the trial, in order for comparisons to be drawn. However, the traffic counters put in place in St Luke’s Road and St Luke’s Place in November 2018 and September 2019, showed that traffic levels on those routes were low.
Question 17 – Cllr Klara Sudbury asked what observations had been done during peak hours in St Luke’s Place to understand the road issues created by the increased traffic using this route.
In response, officers indicated that that they were not aware of any traffic observations undertaken on that route.
Question 19 – Cllr Klara Sudbury asked how officers were able to say that the traffic levels in St Luke’s had not changed significantly when no baseline data was recorded in 2015, in either St Luke’s Road, or St Luke’s Place.
The Lead Commissioner clarified that the results of the traffic data collected on surrounding roads had led to this conclusion.
Question 20 – Cllr Klara Sudbury made reference to a meeting she had had with a senior officer regarding proposals for changes to Rodney Road, where it was suggested to her that the proposed zebra crossing was no longer being progressed and that the current thinking was more along the lines of restricting traffic. She added that another suggestion was that the road could be closed off and vehicles would have to turn around. Cllr Sudbury asked for confirmation on whether those suggestions had since been shelved.
The Lead Commissioner explained that those suggestions had not been discussed with the Cabinet Member, so had no formal status. They indicated that in regards to closing Rodney Road, this option was initially considered during the planning stage of Phase 4. However, it did not receive a high level of support consequently there were no plans to consider this further.
Question 21 – Cllr Klara Sudbury asked when was the fourth quarter of 2020/21.
It was clarified that the fourth quarter would include the months of January, February, and March in 2021.
Question 23 – Cllr Klara Sudbury commented that whilst Clarence Street and Royal Well Road may had seen absolute reductions in traffic, previously most of that traffic would have gone through Boots Corner and not The Promenade, so the levels in those places could go down, whilst the amount of traffic could go up in The Promenade. She added that visibility was not good on The Promenade due to the taxi rank and large number of queueing buses. Cllr Sudbury asked if both CBC and GCC could work together to address those issues as a priority to help make The Promenade a more pleasant place for pedestrians.
The Lead Commissioner agreed that they would raise it with the Cabinet Member.
Question 27 – Cllr Klara Sudbury referred to the concerns raised around the impact of the scheme on local businesses. She questioned why the report was focussed more on the word of businesses that supported the scheme to put a case for the ETROs to be made permanent, rather than highlighting the number of shops that had already closed in Cheltenham.
In response, the Lead Commissioner indicated that the report took into account the overall scope of the trial and presented the findings accordingly. They added that at the site visit members had been able to see where there had been issues for some local business as a result of the trial.