Home >Documents >PUBLIC QUESTIONS CABINET MEETING – 22 July...

PUBLIC QUESTIONS CABINET MEETING – 22 July...

Date post:11-Apr-2018
Category:
View:214 times
Download:2 times
Share this document with a friend
Transcript:
  • PUBLIC QUESTIONS

    CABINET MEETING 22 July 2015

    1. Questioners Name: Mrs Maggie Rayner Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The trial earlier this year of a single line of traffic down the busy section of the Bath Road from the High Street was such a hindrance that it did not even complete its full term of trial due to the number of complaints made and the traffic tail-backs that were caused. In view of this failure on one of the most important access points to the town why is the plan still being considered in whole or in part?

    (I am not a NIMBY I am a pedestrian resident and want to see a properly integrated, whole town plan which considers the needs of residents, vehicles and businesses equally.)

    The Bath Road Trial provided a number of learning points for the Council and this has been noted in the Cabinet report and listed as one of the reasons why a phased implementation approach is now being recommended.

    2. Questioners Name: Mr Carl Friessner-Day Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    In 2008 GCC stopped the closure of Boots Corner predominantly due to the traffic and impact around St James Square. In this recent manifestation known as the Cheltenham Transport Plan, it has been argued that the change of Oriel Rd will help serve to offer relief on the volume of traffic directed to St James, by directing cars more readily to car parks across the town. However, the traffic model shows that there is little difference in the DO SOMETHING/DO NOTHING model figures for cars driving up Rodney Rd and accessing the car parks.

    Could the Committee therefore clarify the value for money in spending on these changes as they appear not to achieve the goals stated or alternatively does the committee confirm that cars will take this route matching the stated objectives and that the model is therefore wrong?

    The changes proposed to the inner ring road will offer easier access to car parks and are part of the overall package of measures that help prepare Cheltenham's network for future anticipated, and move toward removing some traffic from the High Street improving the connectivity of the town centre for pedestrians and providing further economic growth opportunities.

    Although the modelling work is showing similar traffic flows on Rodney Road, it may be that some of that traffic is not travelling around the entire ring road but utilising only a short section of it because of the increased access provided by the two way working.

  • 3. Questioners Name: Mr Carl Friessner-Day Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The funds for the LSTF for the regeneration of Cheltenham leading to job creation as a result of Boots Corner changes appear to have been obtained under false pretences, although we do await clarification from CBC in this matter and look forward to this information. In the CBC Risk Register of 09/01/2012 it clearly states that Brewery 2 was feasible without the closure of Boots Corner, yet in a letter from the CEO to the Department of Transport dated 21/02/2012 it is unambiguously stated that the final decision for Brewery 2 rests on the implementation of Boots Corner Scheme. We appreciate that investment by the Council is looked upon favourable by other investors however CBC has stated clearly that without one, the other would definitely not happen. This clearly has not been the case as Brewery 2 has gone ahead and with job creation of Brewery 2 being one of the main arguments behind the CTP, this needs further consideration. Clarification has been requested from CBC on this matter, however until this is received clearly it would be wrong ethically for GCC to move forward with the trial closure of Boots Corner and other changes enabling the CTP?

    The issues surrounding Brewery 2 are for Cheltenham Borough Council to respond to. The Cabinet is considering the recommendations from the Traffic Regulations Committee with regard to the TROs and the consultation on the TROs.

    The committee made it clear that they were looking specifically at the impact of the proposed TROs on the road network and did not take any of the financial benefits of the scheme into account in their deliberations.

    4. Questioners Name: Mr Ken Pollock Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    As GCC has produced Mr Tompkins report far too late, (and during JCS Examination), for proper consideration before the public questions deadline, I wish my February questions to be answered as they stand, but request that the respondent takes sensible account of any changed circumstances, and does not evade by quibbling.

    This comment relates to questions 4, 5 and 6

    No. The rules on prejudicial interests are very clear and do not apply in this case. All relevant interests have been declared as appropriate and none are prejudicial.

  • Considering:

    (1) the involvement of Vernon Smith and Will Windsor-Clive in the CDTF (Cheltenham Development Task Force), the "promoter" of the CTP, and

    (2) that they (with Nigel Riglar) made the Decision to refuse the requests for a Public Inquiry (selecting instead a TR Committee hearing), thereby avoiding any independent assessment report on the much challenged traffic 'modelling', upon which CTP depends for all viability and credibility,

    Do they agree that this amounts to a prejudicial interest in them now furthering final Cabinet approval for the implementation as Permanent of the contested CTP TROs, and will they therefore withdraw from Item 5's discussion and any vote, (which for transparency does need to be a recorded vote)?

    5. Questioners Name: Mr Ken Pollock Respondent: Cllr Mark Hawthorne

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    To the Leader

    Considering:

    (1) the many documented defects (notably:

    (A) Equalities Due Regard Statement, created far too late to be legally valid, signed off by Vernon Smith on 28th January;

    (B) a skimpy spreadsheet on GCC/CBC Risks, produced after the TRO Committee hearing, too late to be critiqued for the CBC Full Council decision;

    (C) the non-answering by officers of numerous modelling and Network queries/challenges);

    Officers have advised me that the County Council has followed all relevant procedural rules in bringing this paper to Cabinet. The recommendation is to use a phased approach, which will allow for the scrutiny of individual elements of the scheme that Mr Pollock suggests.

  • (D) the TR Committee's wholly inadequate performance for such a major scheme, (e.g. poor photocopying of 1500 Responses pages, and their late distribution; ruthless guillotining/truncating of major Objectors' presentations; non-local councillors clearly unfamiliar with Cheltenham streets referred to; pre-decision discussion held in private, and for a mere ten minutes; failure to produce a written report on their reasoning; ambiguous definition of trialling the Boots Corner "element", subsequently restricted by Scott Tompkins, who has admitted being "biased" towards implementation);

    (2) that accordingly (at CBC Full Council's decision on 26th January) CTP lost all cross-party support from Cheltenham;

    (3) that GCC has stated that it has already secured the relevant 600,000 of LSTF funding; and

    (4) that the draft implementation timetable has now slipped to late 2015 (after Martin Horwood MP's re-election chance) for starting the first major works (the three Oriel Road and Imperial Square junctions, which will be unaffordable to reverse if/when they cripple Cheltenham's major east-west flow route into St. George's Road),

    Will Cabinet use this newly available 6+ months (before needing to confirm these TROs as Permanent) to re-examine properly all the above deficiencies and further consider the options for scheduling the implementation of the CTP elements in an incremental fashion, subservient to the primary objective of closing and redesigning Boots Corner which now awaits a Trial (which ought to include trialling some arrangement thereof as a shared-space "square")?

  • 6. Questioners Name: Mr Ken Pollock Respondent: Cllr Mark Hawthorne

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    To the Leader

    Considering: During the TRO Committee meeting on the 15th January, the question of the cost of part or full reversal of the scheme was raised and who would pay, and one of the GCC Members stated there was no money! However it was stated at the CBC Full Council meeting on 26-1-15 that the County Council would have to bear all the costs of part or full reversal.

    Cheltenham residents are therefore extremely concerned that the TRO Committees decision to implement all of the TRO road changes permanently, before trialling the closure of Boots Corner, could mean that any unacceptable traffic chaos in Cheltenham will remain unrectified for a very long time, due to GCCs inability to provide sufficient funding to pay for the reversal, especially in the light of the forthcoming severe budget cuts.

    Therefore, do you think it is a wise decision to implement all of the elements of the CTP on a Permanent basis, and at a considerable cost, before completing the trial of the Boots Corner road closure, when the actual closure of the road itself would cost virtually nothing by comparison ?

    These questions will be further substantiated in documents sent to Cabinet members shortly.

    Part of the reasoning for moving to a phased implementation approach is to ensure that sufficient funding is available for the delivery of each element of the scheme and that funding is also available to adjust, change or reverse schemes to ensure efficient working of the network. Funding for their implementation and for any changes required after implementation will be the responsibility of the County Council.

    Decisions about increased need for funding will be subject to the normal capital programme approval process. It is not possible to trial the changes to the inner-ring road as the costs of a trial are exceptionally high and would be confusing to drivers as they would not work in the same way as the permanent scheme.

    Officers are confident that the inner-ring road changes can be adopted using an incremental approach safely and adjusted as required to ensure they work and are bedded in before any further changes to Boot's Corner are progressed.

    7. Questioners Name: Mr Peter Sayers Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    What power does the Cabinet have to stop these Traffic Order changes being forced through when the Majority political party forcing them through clearly has no mandate from the town, the first official TRO consultations showing over 70% opposition raising

    The Cabinet are considering the Traffic Regulation Orders under their powers as the Highways Authority as provided through the Highways Act. Were certainly well aware of strong voices opposing the original scheme, just as we are strong voices in support of it.

  • to over 90% by the end of the second. There is unilateral cross party opposition to the changes, with even some of the Members of the Majority Party whose wards are affected, voting against it.

    The only support CBC can claim is from an unofficial consultation which deceived the public with the promise of an undeliverable public Square. The Pedestrian Crossing cannot be moved or removed and the bus lane, an integral feature of the scheme, cannot pass directly over the top of it. The Consultation paid insufficient regard to the impact of the traffic dispersal of the scheme upon the residents of the town and did not clearly identify the areas impacted. This data is still not available in an intelligible or digestible format for the residents, yet they are aware of the implications and are firmly against it.

    Are you able to stop this scheme that is clearly detrimental to the towns Traffic network circulation, capacity and resilience? If not, who will be responsible for the cost of its reversion and under what condition and what criteria are to be used to determine that the scheme has failed?

    Thats why were looking at a phased approach that allows for changes to be brought in gradually, and for modifications to be made if something doesnt work. The County Council will be responsible for the costs of any revision.

    8. Questioners Name: Mr Peter Sayers Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    What is the point of two-waying Oriel Road and the North side of Imperial Square. There are already alternate routes to this that could be signed and one that could be implemented with far less disruption. Across Montpellier Terrace or Imperial Sq South and Vittoria Walk, and reversing the flow on Imperial Lane. What is more, real time signage of car space availability would identify the car parks with space available and save wasted journeys.Or is the intent of this scheme purely to severely restrict the capacity of this key section of the ring road and so reduce the flow at Boots Corner and make any future decision to close it more palatable, once these and other restrictions on the Ring Road have been unconditionally enforced?

    The proposed changes to the inner ring road are designed to improve access to car parks, and provide alternative routes around the town centre thus avoiding the need to travel through Boot's Corner.

    Restricting traffic and reducing capacity on the inner ring road is part of the overall aim of the Cheltenham Transport Plan as it encourages modal shift and allows better pedestrian access on the High Street. During the final design stages of the inner ring road, changes efforts will be made to ensure the most efficient designs are achieved to avoid unnecessary traffic congestion.

  • 9. Questioners Name: Louise Rayner Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    I am a resident of Clarence Road, Cheltenham, GL52 2AU.

    I have been following the controversial, and in my opinion, extremely ill conceived Boots corner closure proposals with both interest and increasing alarm for some time.

    When this issue was first raised, I understand that all of the proposed traffic changes were introduced, consulted on and recommended to Cheltenham residents as an indivisible package of proposals.

    Now that the Boots Corner closure is no longer recommended by the County Traffic Officer, and the Town Council have chosen not to pursue this closure in the immediate future, the proposals are restated to be divisible. This would seem to undermine the original intention of the Traffic Regulation Order Committee.

    However, in my view, even the reduced plans that are now being proposed will lead to a creeping degradation of the ring road, which in turn will have an extremely negative impact upon Cheltenhams town centre, its traffic flows and its attractiveness to shoppers, businesses and visitors.

    I therefore write to ask the following questions at the meeting on the 22nd July:

    Question 1: You now seek to separate out the various traffic elements, implementing change in phases, when, at the start of the Traffic Regulation Order it was stated categorically that the various elements were to be considered as a whole. How can this process now be lawful when your approach to the Traffic Orders that remain has altered so dramatically from the original indivisible package of proposals?

    Boots Corner has not been excluded from this proposal it will be progressed when and if the other parts of the Cheltenham Transport Plan have been completed. This will allow a clearer understanding of the impact of those changes in reaching a decision on Boots Corner and ensure that there is sufficient funding available to progress that part of the scheme.

  • 10. Questioners Name: Louise Rayner Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Question 2: By the Traffic Officers own admission, no traffic count data (existing or commissioned) was available explicitly for the Monsoon Avenue/ Clarence Square (South) junction at the time when the Cheltenham Town Centre Paramics traffic model was prepared. Given that there has clearly been no modelling on the impact that the closure of the various elements would have upon this aforementioned area, how can the Public or TRO Committee properly consider the implications of the changes that you are now proposing?

    The modelling work was validated and gave a sufficient picture of traffic growth and the impact on almost every road in the town centre. A phased implementation approach is now recommended which will allow for better assessment of the impact of the changes of a longer period of time. Sufficient information was available for the TRO Committee to consider the plan and for the Cabinet to now consider the recommended phased approach.

    11. Questioners Name: Louise Rayner Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Question 3: When are the feasibility trials of the various planned changes going to take place, and for how long? If the feasibility trials are not going to be carried out, please provide an explanation as to how the feasibility of these remaining proposals is to be tested?

    Should Cabinet give approval for the phased approach then officers will begin the work of finalising the designs for each element of the inner ring road changes before planning their construction. Once constructed officers will assess over a period of time the performance of the schemes and make adjustments or changes as required before moving on to develop the next phase of schemes.

    12. Questioners Name: Dr Liz Rolls Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    I have been concerned about the lack of support in the respective consultations to which the Cheltenham Transport Plan has been subjected, and in my question to the meeting of the 4th February 2015, I cited a number of consultation figures that indicated a lack of majority support, including a considerable reduction amongst Cheltenham Borough Councillors. I asked that the Cabinet ensure that there was sufficient support for it to go ahead.

    Were certainly aware of strong voices both for and against these proposals. Thats why weve looking at a phased approach, so that we can try to address the concerns raised by all sides in this discussion. Its worth noting that consultations are not referendums they help inform decisions, but dont determine them.

  • In this most recent Cheltenham Transport Plan Traffic Regulation Orders, Section 8 gives details of the feedback of the two consultations. Invalid responses - the general enquiries and those who responded Yes and No to the proposals - have been excluded.

    In consultation 1, 159 of the 208 responses objected to the plan indicating an objection rate of 76%.

    In consultation 2, as well as the invalid responses, 33 respondents appear to have had their response dismissed because they responded to the first consultation.

    Having left these and the invalid responses aside, we are left with 115 responses of which 108 objected to the plan indicating an objection rate of an astonishing 94%. Even if all the 33 were included, the objection rate would still be 73%.

    Having reviewed the results, does the Cabinet consider that so little support - at best 25% and at worst 6% - is sufficient for these proposals to go ahead?

    13. Questioners Name: Dr Liz Rolls Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Can the Cabinet explain on what grounds those who responded to the first consultation have been excluded from having their vote counted in the second (as indicated in section 8)?

    The Cabinet report makes reference to the outcomes from the first consultation in the background section of the report. Section 8 looks specifically at the feedback from the two statutory consultation periods that were subsequently considered by the Traffic Regulation Order Committee. No consultation feedback has been excluded from consideration.

    14. Questioners Name: Dr Liz Rolls Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    I have been concerned about the lack of the lack of information that has been made to residents about some aspects of the plan,

    A traffic signalled junction is planned for the Bath Road/Oriel Road junction.

  • and this is reflected in my Question 2 to the meeting of the 4th February 2015.

    Whilst some further information has been forthcoming, there are still significant gaps.

    Following the unsuccessful trial of the traffic changes on the Bath Road (from two-lanes to one) that resulted in traffic congestion, traffic backing up the London Road, an increased use of smaller residential side roads, and increased dangers to pedestrians, can the Cabinet explain, as it is still not clear, how the Bath Road/Oriel Rd junction will be managed for cars, cyclists and pedestrians?

    Should Cabinet give approval for the Traffic Regulation Orders then consider further design work will be undertaken on each element of the inner ring road changes including how this traffic signalled junction will operate.

    15. Questioners Name: Mrs Mary Nelson Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    I wish to have the three questions I submitted for the February Cabinet meeting re-submitted to the above meeting.

    My questions are still applicable and require answers because GCC Cabinet and the supporting officer's report for the 22nd July Cabinet CTP decision are still relying and dependent upon the original CBC CTP Public Consultation and most importantly upon the 18th November 2013 CBC Extraordinary Full Council CTP Key Decision meeting, in addition to the recommendation of the TRO Committee of the 15th January 2015 to progress the CTP.

    Furthermore the 26th January 2015 CBC Extraordinary Full Council decision to support the recommendations of the TRO Committee was made before the very late and altered Equality Due Regard Statement which was only published two days later, on the 28th January, and just a few days before the aborted CTP Cabinet decision of the 4th February.

    The latest DR statement of 28th January was inappropriately made to read as if backdated (pre-dated even), the underlying Key CBC CTP Full Council Decision of the 18th November 2013, for which

    The Traffic Regulations Committee was clear that the primary objection to the proposed Traffic Regulation Orders was around the perceived negative affects of dispersing traffic from Boots Corner to other roads.

    To test this, the committee recommended that the Boot Corner closure only go forward as a trial scheme. A trial scheme will not alter the current bus routes and will predominately be set up to understand the impact of the dispersed traffic. If the trail was successful and the Traffic Regulations Committee either made the TROs permanent or considered a further trial period then officers would begin to look at testing other scenarios including the possibility of altering the bus movements at Boots Corner.

    However, during the consultation it became clear that there were considerable concerns about vulnerable pedestrians crossing at Boots Corner and officers gave assurance that the Boots Corner pedestrian crossing would be retained.

    Before any changes to the bus routing could be considered officers would need to investigate a design which catered for the safe passage of pedestrians. The changes to the bus routing would not be implemented

  • no evidence was provided covering Equality/Due Regard issues or even any mention made thereof.

    Therefore my questions concerning Equality Impact/Due Regard are still applicable and relevant.

    In addition I wish to submit some further questions concerning the Cabinet meeting CTP Report. As this was only published yesterday evening it has allowed very little time for public questions.

    Considering Cabinet will be making a Key Decision which will significantly affect the town of Cheltenham for years to come, and be extremely expensive to reverse, the late publication of this report does not conform with the requirement for a 28 day notice period for all supporting documents for Key decisions, and this is a particularly important consideration during the summer holiday period, as some people affected by the decision may be denied the opportunity of submitting public questions due to being away.

    Original Question

    On 15 January 2015 the TRO committee permitted a new bus lane in front of Boots shop, which passes straight through the existing busy pedestrian area at Boots Corner, yet this new bus route was not shown on any of the 150 CTP TRO Public Notices placed around Cheltenham Town centre. If this was not illegal, it was certainly misleading and deceptive for the public.

    In a public question submitted to the 26-1-15 CBC Extraordinary Full Council meeting, I asked the Cabinet Member responsible, Cllr. McKinlay, whether he agreed that it was imperative that this new bus lane was trialled, as part of the Boots Corner 10 month Trial, as the promised and much publicised new public square at Boots cannot be implemented without it.

    He relied that buses would not use this new route, and would continue to go around Imperial Circus, thus avoiding answering the question, and he asked for confirmation from Lead Traffic Officer, Scott Tompkins.

    unless it could be done safely and the designs passed by independent safety auditors. This represents a staged approach which is the only prudent and practical way to implementing the scheme so that safety can be assured.

    This is the decision-making meeting, and there is a full equality assessment to support this item.

  • Mr. Tompkins said that the new bus lane is not a change its the same as what is there now (an unclear and unsatisfactory statement, which also avoiding answering my question).

    Cheltenhams residents were not properly informed of this new bus lane, as it was only stated in the text of the TRO and not shown in the map provided. Therefore do you agree that:

    1. GCC have failed to address the serious safety implications and associated Equality issues (affecting older people, as well as the impaired) which would result from this new bus route (which intersects at right angles with the existing bus lane in a very busy pedestrian area), which they are required to do before and at the time the decision was taken by the TRO Committee to permit it, as is required by the Equality Act 2010

    and

    2. The statement made by Mr. Tompkins at the CBC Full Council lacked the required transparency, because he avoided acknowledging in his answer that the new bus lane had been permitted because it is imperative for a new public Shared Space at Boots Corner.

    (My question required an honest answer from Scott Tompkins in the context of such an important Decision Meeting, where there was reference to the safety and Equality issues of the proposed Boots Corner Shared Space in the councillors own speeches, following the public questions.)

    16. Questioners Name: Mrs Mary Nelson Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    At the 11th hour, on the 28th January 2015, another, altered and expanded CTP Due Regard Statement appeared on GCCs website dated 28th January 2015.

    Due Regard Statements are living documents and are updated to reflect changes in the proposals, consultation feedback and other considerations during the decision making process.

  • This new DRS has been produced too late to be considered by the 7 hour long CTP TRO Committee Meeting held in Cheltenham Town Hall, and too late to be considered by councillors at the Extraordinary CBC CTP Full Council Meeting held on the 26th January 2015, and appears to have been re-published merely to safeguard the final step in the decision process GCC Cabinets final ratification.

    The late publication of this revised document does not therefore comply with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.

    Comparisons with the earlier DRS produced for the Second TRO Consultation indicate that some of the additional information and alterations appear to have been made in direct response to the objections I raised in my TRO 2 response document, which focused almost entirely on Public Realm & Equality Compliance issues, including my concern over CBCs first CTP Full Council Decision Meeting on 18-11-13.

    Therefore do you not agree that:

    1. this very late , amended and expanded 4th DRS attempting to retrospectively cover CBCs first CTP Decision on the 18-11-13, (when no Equality information or EIA (of 25-6-13) was made available to Full Council), has been published too late to properly inform the decision makers, including both the TRO Committee and CBC Full Council on 26-1-15, and thereby fails to comply with the PSDR and Equality impact considerations as required by the Equality Act 2010, and

    2. as the GCC Cabinet decision to agree to implement the recommendations of the TRO Committee for the Cheltenham Transport Plan is stated to be a Key Decision, the last minute publication of a much revised CTP DRS, just one week before the Cabinet Decision meeting takes place, is unacceptable and does not provide the 28 days advance publication required for documents relating to that Key Decision?

    The Due Regard Statement was updated following the completion of the Traffic Regulation Committees hearing on the 15th January to take into account concerns about air quality that were expressed during public comment and the recommendation by the committee that the Boots Corner element of the Traffic Regulation Order be experimental.

    This update occurred in preparation for the issue to potentially be considered by Cabinet in February, so that Cabinet could consider the most up-to-date equality considerations when making their decision about the traffic regulation orders. Likewise a further update has been made to the Due Regard Statement ahead of this Cabinet meeting to reflect the change to a phased approach. Should the scheme be approved by Cabinet the Due Regard Statement may be further updated as issues emerge during the final design and stage two safety audit process.

    A full EIA will be considered by Cabinet today in coming to its decision.

  • 17. Questioners Name: Mrs Mary Nelson Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Cheltenham Borough Council has made two important decisions regarding the CTP: on 18th November 2013 and on 26th January 2015.

    Both Councils claim to have had a close working partnership throughout the process of the development of the CTP.

    Which Council was responsible for ensuring that all the existing and relevant information relating to Equality and PSDR for the CTP was put before CBC councillors for both of those decision meetings - was it GCC or CBC, and if it was CBC can GCC confirm that all the necessary Equality information, including the 3 CTP Due Regard Statements (and the first EIA) was provided to CBC officers before those meetings making it clear that it was a legal requirement that councillors consider the Equality information, bearing in mind that no mention was made in either of Mr. Redmans CBC Reports for those meetings of the EIA/DRS, or even of the requirement to consider the Equality impacts/PSDR of the CTP at both meetings?

    Consideration of equalities by Cheltenham Borough Council in its decision making processes is a matter for Cheltenham Borough Council.

    Cabinet is considering the recommendations of the Traffic Regulations Committee. When making its recommendation the committee ensured that its equality duties were met by reviewing a comprehensive Due Regard Statement. The Cabinet in further considering the committees recommendations will be considering equality in its decision and an up-to-date Due Regard Statement has been provided for the Cabinet.

    18. Questioners Name: Anne Brookes Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The recommendation of the Traffic Regulation Committee to make an experimental order for restricting the traffic through 'Boots corner' clearly showed concern about the impact of the Cheltenham Transport Plan. Albeit approval was given to make permanent orders for the network changes, these include the bus lane across Boots corner (Schedule 1 from Pittville Street to Bennington Street in a westerly direction) and is the ONLY element of the plan which can deliver the public realm improvements promised to the public or deliver the (spurious) claims for the economic benefits.

    The LSTF bid contained a large package of sustainable transport improvements in both Gloucester and Cheltenham. The Boot's Corner scheme was only one element of the bid. The recommendation Cabinet are considering for a phased approach does not move away from the aims of the Cheltenham Transport Plan or the LSTF.

  • In view of the shift of emphasis, now, to the junction and network changes, with no certainty that the restrictions at Boots corner will ever be forwarded, how can the aims and criteria of the LSTF be met by the junction changes alone?

    19. Questioners Name: Anne Brookes Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    When GCC agreed to make a second tranche bid to the LSTF, the elected members did so only if assurances were given by CBC of the economic benefit of the Cheltenham Transport Plan, as the guidance following the unsuccessful first bid identified this failure. This assurance was given by Andrew North, Chief Executive of CBC, by linking the progress and investment in Brewery 2 directly with the closing of Boots corner. This was known to be false from CBC documents, (now confirmed as development almost complete) and GCC are compromised by the fact that this was an opportune 'punt' to finance the long held desire of CBC to close Boots corner.

    As the County Council are responsible for the Cheltenham Transport Plan, both financially and reputationally, and have not shown support for the closure of Boots corner prior to getting the LSTF monies, (because of the traffic problems), are the Cabinet confident that the permanent orders should be made for the junction changes, particularly in view of the officers' recommendation to do further modelling, when officers were happy to totally rely on the previous model to implement the whole scheme, until the TRO Committee recommended an experimental order for Boots corner?

    The LSTF bid was based around a range transport improvements in both Cheltenham and Gloucester. The proposed works continue to comply fully with the LSTF criteria.

  • 20. Questioners Name: Anne Brookes Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    As removal of traffic from Boots corner was always the focus and reason for the CTP can you please confirm that the junction and network changes were never proposed on their own and were primarily to enable the closure of Boots corner and justify the traffic and transport management reasons for the junction changes?

    Changes to Boot's Corner has always been one of several key changes proposed by the Cheltenham Transport Plan; however, the changes to the inner ring road were both an enabler of the Boot's Corner and also deliver their own individual benefits in improving access to the town. This was highlight at the TRO Committee.

    All of the schemes are linked and the successful delivery of the inner ring road schemes in a phased approach will allow for Boots Corner to be progressed through an experimental order.

    21. Questioners Name: Anne Brookes Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    It is the responsibility of GCC as Traffic Authority, BEFORE making TROs to balance their power to restrict or prohibit the traffic against their duty to secure expeditious, convenient and safe movement of traffic (including pedestrians) and against the effects of the TROs. The Cabinet must be sure that this has already been done before agreeing to these TROs.

    As the junction and network changes proposed will introduce more complex junctions with right turns, and therefore 'waiting' congestion, and more conflict between vehicles and cyclists and pedestrians, there is no evidence that any effects have been properly considered.

    Can you please provide details of where the effects of these TROs have been balanced against the authority's powers and duties and where this is documented?

    Considerable evidence was produced during the two statutory consultation periods including significant traffic modelling work. The Cabinet report also makes it clear that further modelling work at junctions and traffic signals may be required to progress the final designs of the inner ring road changes.

  • 22. Questioners Name: Anne Brookes Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    It would appear that although officers have repeatedly insisted that it was impossible to separate the closure of Boots corner from the junction and network changes, because they were inter-dependent, they are now asking you to agree to do just that.

    It is incredible that although officers continually expressed confidence in the whole scheme, and the modelling, that it now appears that further modelling will be required, and possibly extra funds above the LSTF monies will be necessary, to implement just a small part of the Cheltenham Transport Plan.

    As this clearly shows that no proper consideration of the viability, impacts, or the practical implementation of the entire scheme had previously been undertaken, are members of the Cabinet content to agree to the expenditure for these junction changes, and the 'tweaking' when the primary objective to close Boots corner to most traffic to enable public realm improvements is in doubt?

    The primary objective of the Cheltenham Transport Plan is to improve access to the town, which is exactly what these proposals will do. Boots Corner will only be progressed if other parts of the scheme have been successfully implemented.

    23. Questioners Name: Anne Brookes Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The Cabinet are aware of the considerable opposition to the Cheltenham Transport Plan, and contrary to the report by Scott Tompkins, this was not confined to the closure of Boots corner. The detailed objections to the scheme had safety worries about the proposed 'shared space' and the dispersal of traffic to adjacent, mostly residential areas, but also expressed many concerns about severing the one-way ring road. Introducing bits of 2-way into the road network will cause considerable and deliberate bottlenecks and congestion for no significant or understandable benefit.

    Although there were some concerns raised about two-way working on Oriel Road, it is consistent and fair to summarise the consultation feedback received during the statutory consultations and the debate at the Traffic Regulation Order Committee meeting as mainly focusing on the impact of the Boot's Corner changes. The vast majority of written consultation submissions were focused on Boots Corner.

  • Can you please confirm that it is not true to say that there was little objection to the network and junction changes and identify the benefit of the 2-way and junction changes to the traffic flow across the whole network?

    24. Questioners Name: Anne Brookes Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The report refers to the 'trial' of the Bath Road narrowing, which proved to cause considerable traffic congestion and outcry, and if the junction changes are implemented at the Bath Road/Oriel Road junction, it will be necessary for the Bath Road to be one lane by the time it reaches this junction. The 'trial' in Bath Road gave a clear illustration of the impact on traffic flow, yet this will proceed.

    As this will introduce conditions diametrically opposed to the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of traffic, how can the County Council fulfil this duty as Traffic Authority and what is the point of any trail if the outcomes are ignored?

    The Bath Road Trial provided a number of learning points for the Council and this has been noted in the Cabinet report and listed as one of the reasons why a phased implementation approach is now being recommended.

    A traffic signalled junction is planned for the Bath Road/Oriel Road junction. Should Cabinet give approval for the Traffic Regulation Orders then consider further design work will be undertaken on each element of the inner ring road changes including how this traffic signalled junction will operate?

    25. Questioners Name: Christine Saunders Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    I have read the report and I am disappointed that concerns regarding increased traffic in key areas such as St. Lukes and College Road, pollution and quality of life have not been satisfactorily addressed. Although I am pleased that some sense has prevailed in that the closure of Boots Corner has been deferred, the question of making Oriel Road two way is still very disturbing. Northbound traffic can still use Boots Corner as the most direct route whilst Westbound traffic will now have the opportunity to divert from The Promenade into Oriel Road to join a new junction at Bath Road and thence find its way through St. Lukes into College Road.

    The Bath Road Trial provided a number of learning points for the Council and this has been noted in the Cabinet report and listed as one of the reasons why a phased implementation approach is now being recommended. A traffic signalled junction is planned for the Bath Road/Oriel Road junction.

    Should Cabinet give approval for the Traffic Regulation Orders then consider further design work will be undertaken on each element of the inner ring road changes including how this traffic signalled junction will operate.

  • The idea of making Oriel Road two way is strange in that the recent unsuccessful trial in the Strand/Bath Rd had to be abandoned since it caused complete chaos and was curtailed due to public opposition. It would seem that the current proposal would require the same single lane restriction in order to accommodate the flow of traffic at the junction of Bath Rd with Oriel Rd.

    As a result of the change to the junction of Oriel Rd with Bath Road it is inevitable that traffic flow will slow down and ultimately back up into the Strand/ London Road (as it did in the failed Bath Road trial) and also along the Bath Road in the direction of the Shurdington Rd.

    There are also considerable concerns with regard to the changes to the Oriel Road junctions with The Promenade and, in particular, the Bath Road with respect to the safety of pedestrians and cyclists negotiating what will be an extremely busy junction with traffic approaching from all sides.

    Can you explain how this junction will be managed for the safety of all and how 2 lanes in Bath Road can converge into one to negotiate this junction?

    26. Questioners Name: Christine Saunders Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The Report states that there will be a trial period for each phase during which time it is hoped that traffic will settle into alternative routes and then the plan to close Boots Corner will be resurrected BUT, if it is, then we are back to square 1 with 20,000 vehicles going through Boots Corner daily having to disperse through residential areas.

    Can you now answer a question that has been on everyones lips where will the traffic go and how would the increased traffic in the two/three main alternative routes, eg College Road be managed?

    Changes to Boots Corner will only go ahead when other elements of the plan have been successfully implemented, and if there is sufficient budget. Issues such as dispersal will clearly be an important part of any future discussion.

  • 27. Questioners Name: Christine Saunders Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Can the Council guarantee that there will be enough funding for the reversal of failed changes and mitigation in the event of the scheme exceeding the funding available as laid out in Item 3 Risk Assessment of the report

    The recommendation to Cabinet is for a phased approach in part because it allows for greater control of spending and reduces the risk that funding will run out before necessary adjustments or changes to the scheme are made.

    28. Questioners Name: David Saunders Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    600K has been estimated as the cost of implementing the CTP, but now we can see the extent of the road narrowing in Lower Bath Road, (quite ridiculous, as evidenced by the failure of the recent trial) with several extensive build-outs of the pavement and a new puffin crossing required. It is clear that this road alone will require a very substantial chunk of that money.

    600K estimate is most likely far too low, therefore can you confirm that GCC will be paying all of the implementation costs when they exceed that figure?

    Yes.

    29. Questioners Name: David Saunders Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Can you confirm that there will be no loss of on-street parking in St. Lukes/College Road as a result of the proposed changes?

    I dont believe so on the current proposals although there is still detailed design work to be done if this proposal is agreed.

  • 30. Questioners Name: David Saunders Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    I find it extremely difficult to envisage how the proposed changes to the inner ring road network will provide any benefit to the town, indeed it seems to me that the opposite will be the case.

    Can you therefore provide specific instances of how and where it is expected that benefits will accrue, particularly in respect of the Oriel/Bath road changes?

    Please see the answers to questions 8 and 24

    31. Questioners Name: Michael Ratcliffe: Chief Executive of Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce

    Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Is Cabinet aware that the proposed and wholly unexpected delay in implementing the Boots Corner element of the Cheltenham Transport Plan has been received very negatively by the Cheltenham retail, business and investment community?

    Given the uncertainty this creates has Cabinet assessed the risk to both current and future private investment in central Cheltenham currently in excess of 100m? And the consequent impact upon the County given Cheltenhams roles in driving the local economy?

    Frankly, as Mr Radcliffe will perceive from the volume of public questions on this issue, if the closure of Boots Corner is as important to his members as he believes, it is disappointing that they have failed to make the case for those changes to the public in Cheltenham. Indeed, question 41 suggests that not all of Mr Radcliffes own members agree with his stance.

    What we are proposing is a fair and sensible phased approach that will allow the Cheltenham Transport Plan to be implemented sensibly and within budget. The sudden implementation of major changes, in my view, would be much more likely to cause significant disruption to traffic which would itself be a risk to businesses in Cheltenham.

  • 32. Questioners Name: John Firth Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    If a decision is taken to go ahead with the inner ring road changes, will the council please ensure that success/failure criteria includes impact on nearby residential streets with the traffic volumes in those streets measured AND the results PUBLISHED at reasonable frequency (Monthly) before and after the road changes and during any efforts at mitigation. Please ensure that any more than a 5% traffic increase in the narrow residential streets like St Lukes Road and College Road is categorised as failure, and remedial action taken.

    A before/after traffic study will be undertaken and published at an appropriate time before consideration of changes to Boots Corner.

    33. Questioners Name: John Firth Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Will the council please ensure that success/failure criteria includes improvements in the levels of oxides of nitrogen throughout the affected areas, (especially residential streets with their static

    populations), the levels are measured AND PUBLISHED at reasonable frequency before and after the road changes and after any efforts at mitigation, so that impact of the change is visible and ensure that remedial action is taken if the road changes have a detrimental effect on air quality.

    The criteria has not yet been fully developed, but is likely to include some assessment of the impact on air quality.

    34. Questioners Name: Daphne Simon Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Please note: I wish you to register my objection to implementation of the Cheltenham Transport Plan.

    I live in Bath Parade, which is a small residential road linking College Road to Bath Road.

    We are certainly aware of strong voices arguing both for and against these proposals. Thats weve tried to balance both views, by taking a proportionate, phased approach.

  • I thus can write with personal knowledge of the impact on this area when a small part of the scheme was trialled earlier this year in the Bath Road. Fortunately common sense prevailed, and the trial was abandoned, mainly because of the knock on effect on surrounding roads.

    This area of Cheltenham is already suffering from dangerous levels of pollution from vehicles.

    How can an increase in this be justified and at the same time Cheltenham try to become a "greener" town.

    Please think again, and scrap the whole Scheme

    35. Questioners Name: Carl Reading Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The statement of 'The proposed scheme is in line with the Countys LTP3 policy objectives to promote sustainable travel by commuters.. Can this statement be explained as I can see no changes to encourage activities such as cycling, e.g. new cycle lanes - and my view is that the extra complexity of the inner Town road network will make cycling more dangerous. Although there are minor changes to bus lanes, there is no evidence that this will improve bus services or that more people will start to use the existing services. I can understand that for some travellers, there will be easier access to car parks, although at the expense of others but how does this help with regards to sustainable travel?

    The Cheltenham Transport Plan includes more than just the proposed changes implemented by the Traffic Regulation Orders being considered by Cabinet. The proposals also allow cycling through the pedestrianised areas of the High Street and are designed to encourage modal shift. Details of the entire plan can be found on the Councils website and on Cheltenham Borough Councils website.

    36. Questioners Name: Carl Reading Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The report talks about 'In addition, a trial scheme on Bath Road was also undertaken in January to test some proposed safety

    The Bath Road Trial provided a number of learning points for the Council and this has been noted in the Cabinet report and listed as one of the reasons why a phased implementation approach is now being

  • improvements and lane restrictions.' however it neglects to then state what the dire consequences were. To my understanding, the original planned changes to Bath Road and Oriel Road will be more severe in their impact than the January trial. If I may quote from the Gloucestershire Echo where it reported on 'Calls to end Bath Road highways trial early after a week of traffic chaos'. Can you please explain how traffic flow will operate at the Bath Road/Oriel Road junction. If Oriel road is two way at this T junction, traffic going South down the Bath Road that wants to go towards the Town Hall will have to stop and make a 90% turn. This is already a narrow space - how will it cope with lorries and coaches and is this not going to add to traffic congestion and cause road accidents? How can this be tweaked to make it workable and why does the Bath Road not appear on the implementation plan schedule?

    recommended. A traffic signalled junction is planned for the Bath Road/Oriel Road junction.

    Should Cabinet give approval for the Traffic Regulation Orders then consider further design work will be undertaken on each element of the inner ring road changes including how this traffic signalled junction will operate.

    37. Questioners Name: Carl Reading Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Has any specific modelling been done of this set of proposed changes (i.e without any change to Boots corner?) and in the sequence being proposed. If not, how can any confidence be given to that hope that there will be an improvement in air quality - one of the key aims.

    The modelling work previously undertaken looked specially at the entire Cheltenham Transport Plan package and gave officers confidence to move forward with progressing the Traffic Regulation Orders required to implement the plan. Should any further modelling work be required this is likely to be junction and traffic signal specific modelling work in order to assist with the final design stages of the schemes and not to prove the overall value of the changes.

    38. Questioners Name: Carl Reading Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Do you agree that without a definite change at Boots corner, there is no change to 'the High Street shopping experience', hence a key aim of the work has a great chance of failure.

    No, I do not. Changes to the inner ring road will help enhance the High Street by providing easier access to car parks and helping to reduce overall traffic.

  • 39. Questioners Name: Alan McDougall Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The TROC committee and Cabinet could well mislead their prospective audience by acting on the Commissioner's reports where the essence of the Plan is to greatly restrict the traffic flow in and around the town centre on the pretext that it is good for business etc. One of the benefits of the current road scheme is that it allows both visitors and business people alike to eyeball the town and get a feel for Cheltenham's great presence and environment. There is nothing worse for these visitors than being forced beyond their intended destination into a no man's abyss or traffic maelstrom. The real cost in this scheme is a severe reduction in the capacity and resilience of Cheltenham's traffic network thereby exacerbating and creating many issues of congestion, danger and pollution around the town.

    The Bath Road traffic failed to such an extent that it had to be withdrawn early due to public outrage at the lack of clarity and good measure of the plan. This trial only affected traffic in one direction of the Bath Road, whereas the now proposed junction change takes this traffic plus all of the Northbound traffic through the town on the A46.

    In just another example of many, the Westbound Junction of Oriel Road and Rodney Road, it is planned that the number of lanes be halved at the same time as increasing the phases on the lights sequence from two to four. The most likely outcome will lead to the time that traffic can pass through the junction being halved, thereby vastly restricting the flow.

    It would further seem that the existing and functioning oneway system of the town is therefore being intentionally crippled for no other reason than to implement this phase of the scheme without trial, thus permanently restricting the volume of traffic that would be entering Boot's Corner. This would then lead to the reintroduction of this part of the plan by default.

    The benefits of the Cheltenham Transport Plan are highlighted on both the Councils website and Cheltenham Borough Councils website. The Traffic Regulation Orders were subject to a pre-consultation and two extended statutory public consultations prior to going to a public Traffic Regulation Order Committee. Cheltenham Borough Council has twice voted (full Council) to support the scheme.

    The Cabinet is being asked to consider a phased implementation approach to a scheme which has under gone considerable democratic approval processes. The scheme has been adapted and changed taking on board significant amounts of the public consultation received. I have confidence that moving forward with this scheme through a phased approach is the right thing to do.

  • Passing these proposals as presented or further altered in such a fashion could enable public realm schemes, may of which may be unworkable, and also not publicly consulted on to remain undefined despite repeated requests for them to be so. As the County Council presiding over this Traffic Authority you have a duty of care for the traffic network capacity and resilience in Cheltenham.

    You have been made fully aware of the issues this plan creates and the level of objection to it. Why then are you still considering the enablement of this scheme, which is so crippling to the town, at the request of a political majority when the rest of the town and political parties are so firmly opposed to it?

    40. Questioners Name: Alan McDougall Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The presentation of evidence being made by Commissioner's reports to the TROC committee and Cabinet appears to contradict the original remit of the scheme in that it is a total and inclusive plan. The rules have now been changed by the separating out, and the cherry-picking of, parts of the scheme, thus making alterations that cannot be agreed through major public consultation.

    The 'Plan' itself appears to be based on traffic flow monitoring evidence of a period around 2007-2009 and has no up to date information attached to it.

    Clearly what appears to be happening is that the 'Real' plan is unfolding piecemeal and as such part of the intended greater plan is to 'regenerate' and relocate the commercial centre of Cheltenham, with CBC vacating the Municipal Buildings and the relocation of the bus node from Royal Well to North Place. The relocation of the latter is now on hold due to an earlier catastrophic lack of joined up thinking. Therefore the considerations being made from the current 'Plan' set before you will become even more fragmented and unworkable.

    The Traffic Regulation Orders were subject to a pre-consultation and two extended statutory public consultations prior to going to a public Traffic Regulation Order Committee. Cheltenham Borough Council has twice voted (full Council) to support the scheme. The Cabinet is being asked to consider a phased implementation approach to a scheme which has under gone considerable democratic approval processes. The scheme has been adapted and changed taking on board significant amounts of the public consultation received.

  • The additional obvious practise of picking and reanalysing small areas of the plan are for political agreement, achieved by stealth, to enact another unknown 'great' plan without public consultation.

    It is difficult to understand why CBC and GCC appears not to have fully managed, considered and documented meetings with major developers and other interested third parties over such a key central commercial development scheme that would have obvious and greater impact on traffic issues for Cheltenham. In fact these would be greater than the current tabled proposal, which by defaulting on sharing this knowledge would make this scheme as presented, totally redundant.

    If both Councils have not included this major retail development in the scheme, then they have failed in measures of due diligence. Then again engaging with information mostly available to an informed Public regarding the development of North Place leading to its own failure, when apparently CBC, The Task Force and other aligned parties were not so informed.

    Why then is consideration being given to a scheme, whether in part or whole, and when the entire plan is suspect, thus enabling the crippling of the town's traffic system when public opinion is and political parties are so firmly opposed to it and why are decisions being made without full democratic public consultation?

    41. Questioners Name: Peter Christensen: Cheltenham Hospitality Association

    Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    I was present at the meeting at the Cheltenham Town Hall during the consultation process at which time I presented objections to the plan, as did the vast majority of speakers at that meeting. I noted that a statement has been made that the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce is fully in favor of this Plan. I sit on the Council of the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce as the Tourism Representative and I am not in favour and many others are not, so I would like to see the Evidence that all members of the Chamber

    We are certainly aware of strong voices arguing both for and against these proposals. Thats weve tried to balance both views, by taking a proportionate, phased approach.

  • of Commerce are in favour.

    I have asked the Chamber of Commerce for the evidence to show support, but I have not received any. Consequently I believe there may be a misrepresentation of the facts.

    Perhaps the Cabinet can provide this evidence? I would hope that I am correct in presuming that no members of the Task Force will be involved in any voting at Cabinet regarding this issue. I also have the role of Chairman of the Cheltenham Hospitality Association and can confirm that we are not in favour of the Plan and certainly not in favour of the closing of Boots Corner with all the disruption that will entail, including making navigating around Cheltenham and parking even more difficult than it already is for visitors and residents alike. It seems to me that the majority of people consulted are not in favour of this plan and that it is quite clear from the representations during the consultation process that the plan is not supported.

    42. Questioners Name: Carl Friessner-Day Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Throughout the process of the Cheltenham Transport Plan, Cheltenham Borough Council has repeatedly contradicted itself on a number of issues. Many of our Councillors have recently argued against the Joint Core Strategy due to the impact on infrastructure inclusive of concerns over traffic, yet they fail to acknowledge that the same traffic would then have a knock on effect on the figures presented in the current modelling in the Atkins report; their justification being the model accounts for only AGREED PLANNING to 2016 and already has accounted for population growth, which is very different from housing increase. Whilst we acknowledge the Paramics Modelling is the market standard tool and acceptable under normal conditions, the validity of the numbers produced and disappearing cars, not only have been

    Any future modelling would use the best available information as to expected traffic patterns.

  • question by ourselves, but were a major concern to the TRO Committee.

    Given the EXTRA ORDINARY perfect storm approaching of the JCS building and that the model is only appropriate in normal scenarios of population growth, would this Council give reassurance that any future modelling done to look at impact will not just include population growth, but actually include the additional vehicles that would come with any accelerated building which would increase vehicles above and beyond a standard population growth scenery?

    43. Questioners Name: Carl Freissner-Day Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Recent legal events involving NO2 emissions in the UK and the Court action brought about by Client Earth, no longer gives the UK any excuse for not meeting agreed levels. The pending fines bear the risk of being made a Council issue as under localisation the Council has ownership for the AQMA and as a result their failings.

    The TRO Committee have questioned the validity of the environmental claims of the Cheltenham Transport Plan suggesting that in their opinion at best the benefits are balanced by the disbenefits, and at worst more. With this in mind if this Council had to formulate a new Cheltenham Transport Plan to ensure that Cheltenham best met its AQMA obligations, on the evidence provided to the TRO Committee, would Boots Corner be part of this plan or would there be a better solution to solving our pollution problem?

    I cant speculate on the impact of NO2 emissions of unspecified speculative future plans. Cheltenham Borough Council is responsible for air quality management in Cheltenham and questions on it are best addressed to them.

  • 44. Questioners Name: Mike Evans Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    The Cheltenham Transport Plan report contains many misrepresentations of the real picture.

    With respect, the Commissioners reports to the TROC and Cabinet are a disgraceful misrepresentation of the real picture. No comment is made of the unanimous cross-party opposition to the scheme, or the fact that even the members of the supporting party that represented the most affected wards voted against it.

    The reports repeatedly over-state the support and unsubstantiated claimed benefit of the scheme which has been generated at great expense and thanks to the perseverance of the Borough Council and promoting body for the scheme.

    At the same time it either ignores, undermines or understates the failings of the plan and dismisses opposition, whilst persistently refusing to give a true picture of the impact of the changes to the residents of the town as a whole. Nor does it answer the questions raised in the original consultations and by the TROC.

    The report states there was little opposition to the ring road changes, although there was to Boots Corner, yet fails to tell us what the opposition was or why it was raised.

    Of particular significance is that the elements of the scheme were loudly declared as being indivisible, inseparable, unified until the TROC meeting, when suddenly it was claimed the scheme could work without one or more of the previously essential parts. Clearly it was easier to outline the fault with the most ludicrous elements of the scheme so as not to jeopardise the remainder.

    There is no mention of the indivisibility of the scheme in the Cabinet Report. Even the results of the formal consultations identifying the opposition are pushed to the tail end of the report in favour of the initial informal consultation that suggested far more

    I am well aware of the opposition to the Cheltenham Transport Plan proposals from many in Cheltenham just as I am aware of strongly held views supporting it. In taking a phased approach, the County is trying to do its best to reconcile those two approaches.

    I would disagree with your points about the Cabinet report being misleading. It is a balanced report which tries to honestly summarise and assess the consultation responses and views expressed during the Traffic Regulation Order Committee hearing.

    One of the key objectives of the Cheltenham Transport Plan is to encourage modal shift. This is a key aim to assist with combating significant anticipated traffic growth. Without any plan in place air quality in the town centre is predicted to worsen. The plan seeks to balance changes to improve overall air quality, but there has always been a recognition that this change will mean a worsening situation at some junctions.

  • modest qualified support. This result was achieved by totally underplaying the disadvantages whilst promising undeliverable options as public realm enhancement.

    Furthermore, at the Junction of Fairview Road and Winchcombe Street the NO2 levels are already in exceedance, at 105% of the statutory European levels. The traffic at this junction is set to increase by 117% under the proposed plan.

    Yet the report to the TRO Committee states: Should the scheme proposals be accepted it is possible that air quality levels may slightly deteriorate at two of the other locations identified as currently being in exceedance. A regime of pre- and post- scheme monitoring is already in place. Funding is set aside to address issues should they be realised.

    Will you please seek justification for this statement and identify the other areas of the report where impacts of proposed changes and exceedences are similarly misrepresented?

    45. Questioners Name: Mike Evans Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Let us review, please, how residents Human Rights are considered.

    The Report to the TRO Committee states: Article 1 of the First Protocol is a qualified right. It protects ones right to the peaceful enjoyment of ones property. The article refers to possessions, which has a wider meaning than just land and property interests. It should also be noted that the article refers to enjoyment of possessions; it does not guarantee the right to live in a pleasant environment.

    The modelling work shows how traffic disperses across the network based on a worse case scenario at 2026 including significant future traffic growth. In almost all cases this work does not indicate significant increases in traffic volumes beyond the anticipated growth that would occur if no plan was put in place. Certainly none of the predicted traffic increases are predicted to have severe impact. It is recognized that the overall plan does increase traffic in some areas and this has always been a controversial issue, particularly for the residents that live in those areas, which is why a phased implementation plan is being proposed so that the impacts of changes can be fully understood and schemes adjusted or mitigation measures considered.

  • Increases or decreases to environmental pollution or excessive noise will not necessarily amount to a breach of this article. If there are significant detrimental effects on the value of property then the proprietor may be able to claim some form of compensation. This is not anticipated to be the case for this Cheltenham Traffic Plan proposal. The modelling does not show there to be detrimental impacts on properties by increased congestion or pollution and therefore increased noise and damage to health i.e. more HGVs, more queuing traffic. It is not the intention of the Council to apply to make any compulsory purchases of property or assess areas for compensation, it is not anticipated that the proposal would have a detrimental effect on properties or property prices or health.

    So why does the modelling not suggest any significant increases?

    Perhaps it is the artificial capping of the traffic volumes on particular roads in the modelling that is hiding any major increases that enables GCC not to anticipate any detrimental effect. These certainly were not the conclusions of Julie Girling MEP of the GCC and their modelling in 2008!

    Also the new modelling, post-Girling, does not account for the additional journey lengths and times caused by attempts being made by a vehicle to complete a journey when it determines that its original intended route is not available as a result of congestion. The busier it is, the more of these additional journeys will be made. And they are not counted by the model used. A comment made by a CBC councillor at the Full Council meeting in January 2015 was: If I had a house in College Road (Cheltenham) then I would be putting it on the market by now. As Members of this Cabinet, given the paucity of the modelling to date and the lengths to which CBC and the Traffic Authority have gone to mask the understanding of the traffic increases, do you really believe there will not be sufficient loss of amenity for individuals, communities and pressure groups not to consider taking out individual legal proceedings, or worse still, a class action. I suspect none of us wants to see that.

  • 46. Questioners Name: Mary Nelson Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Why has the CTP not included, or made any allowance for, the huge JCS traffic growth that is clearly anticipated, when it has been known for the last few years that housing growth was necessary, and especially for the last two years that it would be on a significantly large scale i.e. c. 10,000 new houses for Cheltenham? (There has been a 7 month long interval this year from January to July when some further CTP modelling could have been carried out to incorporate some estimated JCS traffic growth.)

    The Council is currently updating it's SATURN model to include JCS growth, the work on this project has been on-going for the last year and the model validation has not been completed yet, so it has not been possible to carry out any updated modelling work nor do officers consider it necessary given the considerable growth that was accommodated in the 2026 modelling work that was provided to the Traffic Regulation Order Committee. Any future modelling work if required will utilise the updated model taking into consideration all of the JCS growth.

    47. Questioners Name: Mary Nelson Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    On the 10th July 2015 a new JCS document entitled Cheltenham, Gloucester & Tewkesbury Joint Core Strategy Transport Mitigation Summary Report (dated 10th July 2015) appeared as a JCS Examination document to be included as part of the JCS Evidence documents. I have been told by the JCS Programme Officer that the JCS Inspector reluctantly accepted this document as late evidence for the JCS Matter 8 sessions covering the Strategic Site Allocations, including the large urban extensions at North West Cheltenham and Leckhampton. This document can be viewed in the Examination document library as EXAM 84.

    However this document reveals for the very first time that one of the JCS transport mitigation measures proposed for Cheltenham is for the Lower High Street to become a Bus lane only inbound entry into Cheltenham.

    A phased implementation approach will provide the opportunity for the JCS and any other emerging issues to be full considered before progressing schemes to final design stages.

  • The massive Cheltenham North West JCS urban extension of almost 5,000 houses, two new schools, a health centre, a retail centre, a nursing home and various other ancillary development amounts to a new settlement the size of a small new town or large village. (These terms have been used by the developers themselves at the EiP.) It will result in a huge increase in traffic on the Tewkesbury Road (A4019).

    In addition a further mitigation strategy is for new Park and Ride to be sited close to the North West urban extension (at Uckington).This will necessitate a bus lane all the way along Tewkesbury Road from the new Park & Ride, becoming bus-only through the Lower High Street to where it meets the junction with Ambrose St. This new bus lane will be imperative to avoid the bus queuing on the busy A4019. In addition there is great dependence upon model shift as an additional justifying JCS mitigation measure.

    However EXAM 84 also states that the new Park & Ride at Uckington is predicted to reduce traffic journeys by only 5%, so will contribute an insignificant reduction considering the traffic consequences from this massive urban extension.

    Does the Cabinet know and understand what effect this new bus lane entry into Cheltenham along the Tewkesbury Road plus the restriction to buses only in the Lower High Street will have on the traffic modelling that underpins the CTP, and does Cabinet not think that the CTP and the JCS Transport Mitigation Strategy need to be coordinated and take account of each other, and therefore a hold should be put upon any agreement to implement any phases of the CTP until the JCS Examination in Public has completed and we have the Inspectors report on transport viability and sustainability for Cheltenhams two large urban extensions?

    Reducing Cheltenhams two-lane Inner Ring Road to one lane in places, with the ultimate aim of closing the inner ring completely at Boots Corner, may well not be compatible with the increased traffic resulting from the JCS development, and until these two major plans can be assessed together any final CTP decisions and expenditure should be put on hold.

  • In addition a much need wets and north-west Outer Ring Road has not been included in the JCS plan submitted.

    Note: I have submitted statements on transport issues for JCS Matter 8, which includes transport for Strategic Site allocations, but Transport itself is due to be examined in the autumn. I intend to include my CTP questions nos. 1 and 2 and their answers, as part of my submission to the forthcoming JCS Transport session(s), as I have already mentioned that all these major plans overlap and need to be co-ordinated, otherwise they undermine public trust and confidence in master planning the future for Cheltenham.

    48. Questioners Name: Mary Nelson Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Does the Cabinet agree that the CTP proposals/TROs consulted upon in the Second TRO Consultation and put before the TRO Committee for their decision on the 15th January 2015, contained an unacceptable and serious Safety/Equality Due Regard conflict - namely that the TRO Committee were being asked to recommend to permit a new bus lane to pass in front of Boots shop and continue down the Lower High Street, yet this new bus route crossed directly through the pedestrian crossing and therefore necessitated its removal, which was clearly stated in all the CTP documentation as being retained, and thereby in so doing the TRO Committee overlooked and failed to acknowledge the serious Safety/Equality Due Regard issues involved in this obvious clash, and which the accompanying CTP Equality Due Regard Statement also failed to either acknowledge and address?

    As your answer to the above question is almost certain to be No, you do not agree, please would you state why you dont agree and why GCC allowed this obvious and dangerous contradiction to go before the TRO Committee (i.e. to approve a new bus lane which clashed with the crossing) .

    It was made clear at the Traffic Regulation Order Committee hearing that any scheme at Boot's Corner would need to go through a final design stage and be subject to safety audit. Officers also stated that when the decision to continue to include a pedestrian crossing to meet the needs of vulnerable users was made it was recognized that this would have implications on the design of the layout Boot's Corner and may mean that bus movements would need to continue as they currently do. These details would need to be worked out during the final design stages.

    The decision to retain the pedestrian crossing was a direct result of the Council listening to feedback from the consultations and considering its equality duties. The final design will retain a crossing and will take into account the safety of all users.

  • The public could not be relied upon to notice this contradiction because no map or plan was provided to show the new bus lane, it was only listed in the technical text of the TROs.

    In addition the Committees decision was to:

    a) To adopt the Boots Corner element of the Traffic Regulation Orders on an experimental basis and that this be implemented as soon as practicable and be reviewed 10 months from implementation by this committee

    b) To support all other aspects of the Traffic Regulations Orders

    The TRO Committees decision was unacceptably unclear, because if they did mean to include putting the bus lane into operation on an experimental basis as soon as practicable, this would mean that they completely avoided acknowledging and addressing the very obvious safety and Equality risks of the bus lane clashing with the busiest pedestrian crossing in Gloucestershire.

    On the other hand, if the Committee meant trialling only the inner ring road closure at Boots Corner, and not the bus lane, then they were not concerned about trialling the bus lane at all (with the safety implications inherent in it), and the second statement of their decision To support all the other aspects of the TROSs meant they were happy to permit the new bus lane without acknowledging or addressing the fact that its implementation meant certain removal of the crossing.

    Whichever way their decision is interpreted, the safety implications of the new bus lane clashing with the existing pedestrian crossing failed to be addressed either by the Equality Due Regard Statement available to them or by the decision that they made.

  • Therefore the TRO Committees recommendation decision of the 15th January 2015 was unsound, and merely compounds the earlier CBC 18-11-13 and 26-01-15 Full Council CTP decisions, which were also unsound, because, as I have pointed out to GCC on a number of occasions, those decisions also failed to address this key CTP Safety/Equality Due Regard issue pertaining to the new bus lanes clash with the pedestrian crossing. However the Boots Corner element, which has always been the key driver of the CTP, is only being deferred at the present time, as is made clear in the officers report.

    49. Questioners Name: Bob Martin Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Please explain what has changed since the Traffic Regulations

    Order Committee approved the Cheltenham Transport Plan on the 15th Jan 2015 including implementing the plans for Boots Boot Corner on an experimental trial basis?

    A significant range of issues have changed in that period. In February Cabinet asked officers to provide more details on an implementation plan and the subsequent investigation into this has in part led to the recommendation that a phased implementation plan be taken forward.

    The TRO committees role is to advise not to make a final decision.

    50. Questioners Name: Bob Martin Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    In the Report to the Traffic Regulations Order Committee the Lead Commissioner Highway Authority - stated that Many of the proposed alterations are inter-dependent in that they can only be introduced as a complete package in order for them to work as intended. He further stated that The TROs being considered by the Committee are interdependent in that one cannot be implemented without the others in place. The proposed changes include changing the one way system and restricting vehicle traffic at Boots Corner.

    Boots Corner has not been excluded from this proposal it will be progressed at a later date once the implementation of other parts of the Cheltenham Transport Plan has been completed if they prove successful. This will allow a clearer understanding of the impact of those changes in reaching a decision on Boots Corner and ensure that there is sufficient funding available to progress that part of the scheme.

  • Neither change could be implemented on its own. It is therefore difficult to envision how the committee could choose the option to implement only a portion of the scheme that is less restrictive Could he therefore explain why he is now recommending implementing only part of the scheme i.e. excluding Boots Corner?

    51. Questioners Name: Bob Martin Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Is Cabinet aware of the depth of feeling within the business community in Cheltenham at the proposal to defer the changes at Boots Corner and that a large number of town centre retail businesses together with major investors, the Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce and the bus operator are urging Councillors to approve the Cheltenham Transport Plan in its entirety in accordance with the Traffic Regulations Order Committee on the 15th January 2015 and the Cheltenham Borough Council on the 26th January 2015?

    We certainly are, just as we are aware of the very strong feelings from others opposing all aspects of the scheme. This proposal attempts to balance both those viewpoints in a fair and sensible way.

    52. Questioners Name: Derek Plumb Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith

    Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan

    Over the past 24 months Traffic Authority Officers have received requests for data that has not been produced. Much of this data could have been very easily supplied but was not. Can you please ensure the following base data is made available for full consideration before any decision is made by this Cabinet.

    Night-time traffic flows through residential areas, such as All Saints Road, where the houses front directly onto this narrow street on both sides. This data should be available from even the most simple of traffic counters. Houses fronting directly onto the road will no longer be able to leave their bedroom windows open at night.

    I have assurances that officers provided all of the available information and have responded to all inquiries about data. Specifically officers have assured me that they have responded regarding inquires about night time traffic. Approximately 25% of the traffic travelling through Boots Corner does so between the hours of 7pm and 7am and less than 10% travels between 11pm and 7am. Considering that if Boots Corner were to be closed this small amount of traffic would disperse over a number of roads the impact is not anticipated to be significant and would not impact on night time noise levels.

  • Peak Hour spread, what is the extent to which these will expand on the main routes and what are considered to be the main routes?

    Capacity-capped streets, these are the remaining routes in the network which when cars attempt to pass down them are considered to be full by the modeling.

    So the vehicle either queues or searches for another route generating increased traffic, but not it seems counting as a vehicle in that street so that traffic volumes appear much lower in the modeling than they actually are. None of these streets are identified. Again suspicions on All Saints Rd which shows an increase of just 6% of traffic yet it seems one of the most likely roads where the volume of cars trying to use it could well triple, Yet this information was withheld from residents.

    Overall dispersal of traffic, At every stage officers were requested to supply a simple single map of the town which graphically gave an idea of how the traffic would disperse, however there was a refusal to supply this instead they insisted on concentrating on individual roads and areas so that it was not possible for respondents to get an overall idea of the dispersal.

    A clear map identifying the dispersal routes for the traffic is required before a decision can be made on this and before it can be approved.

    A clear map of traffic dispersal, showing anticipated traffic levels on almost every town centre road was provided as part of the Traffic Regulation Order Committee report. The map shows anticipated traffic levels on a worst case scenario at 2026 with considerable future traffic growth. Officers also assure me that they have responded to inquires on this issue

of 50/50
PUBLIC QUESTIONS CABINET MEETING – 22 July 2015 1. Questioners Name: Mrs Maggie Rayner Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan The trial earlier this year of a single line of traffic down the busy section of the Bath Road from the High Street was such a hindrance that it did not even complete its full term of trial due to the number of complaints made and the traffic tail-backs that were caused. In view of this failure – on one of the most important access points to the town – why is the plan still being considered in whole or in part? (I am not a NIMBY – I am a pedestrian resident and want to see a properly integrated, whole town plan which considers the needs of residents, vehicles and businesses equally.) The Bath Road Trial provided a number of learning points for the Council and this has been noted in the Cabinet report and listed as one of the reasons why a phased implementation approach is now being recommended. 2. Questioners Name: Mr Carl Friessner-Day Respondent: Cllr Vernon Smith Item 5 - Cheltenham Transportation Plan In 2008 GCC stopped the closure of Boots Corner predominantly due to the traffic and impact around St James Square. In this recent manifestation known as the ‘Cheltenham Transport Plan’, it has been argued that the change of Oriel Rd will help serve to offer relief on the volume of traffic directed to St James, by directing cars more readily to car parks across the town. However, the traffic model shows that there is little difference in the DO SOMETHING/DO NOTHING model figures for cars driving up Rodney Rd and accessing the car parks. Could the Committee therefore clarify the ‘value for money’ in spending on these changes as they appear not to achieve the goals stated or alternatively does the committee confirm that cars will take this route matching the stated objectives and that the model is therefore wrong? The changes proposed to the inner ring road will offer easier access to car parks and are part of the overall package of measures that help prepare Cheltenham's network for future anticipated, and move toward removing some traffic from the High Street improving the connectivity of the town centre for pedestrians and providing further economic growth opportunities. Although the modelling work is showing similar traffic flows on Rodney Road, it may be that some of that traffic is not travelling around the entire ring road but utilising only a short section of it because of the increased access provided by the two way working.
Embed Size (px)
Recommended