Agenda item

Public Participation

Mrs O’Loughlin will be attending the meeting for Public Participation regarding the Kendal Experimental Order

Minutes:

1             Mrs O’Loughlin had attended the meeting for Public Participation regarding the Kendal Experimental Traffic Regulation Order. Members had viewed photographs from Mrs O’Loughlin, before the meeting of the Committee which showed vehicles parked in parking bays. Mrs O’Loughlin made the following statement:

 

My name is Heidi O’Loughlin and I wish to raise my objections to the experimental scheme for blue badge parking in Kendal town centre. The parking as currently laid out is not as convenient as the previous spaces. The previous spaces were easy to pull in and out of, easier for people with wheelchairs for example loading from the rear.

The 11.00am – 4pm time restriction means that it is probably the busiest time of day and also means that blue badge holders cannot access the town centre outside of these hours. Alternative car parks in the town centre have been mentioned but the vast majority of disabled people would be unable to walk these distances. Also I heard from someone recently, whose relative is no longer able to access the town centre and has to resort to doing everything on the internet because previously he could park in the Market Square and manage to get to nearby shops but is unable to walk the distance from the experimental scheme.

The most significant problem is that other vehicles are using these spaces between 11.00am and 4pm and consequently blue badge holders are finding it impossible to access the town centre. I have spoken to other blue badge holders who admit that they have given up trying to access the town centre. Also I have spoken to CEOs who admit that they cannot be there very often and that as soon as they leave, people abuse the situation again. I have brought photographs all taken between 11am - 4pm during the experimental period to prove the same.

In some cases as you can see there are two commercial vehicles parked at the same time and some being so large that they take up more than one space. The photographs I have provided are only what I have been able to take on the occasions I came into town, generally twice weekly and so the abuse is obviously much more widespread.

The Equality Impact Assessment says it’s necessary to ensure that enforcement of restrictions is robust. Consequently, if the parking cannot be adequately enforced, it is never going to be a satisfactory alternative for disabled people.

Finally, there was a 1253 signature petition opposed to the new scheme handed into the Council and of the responses from the public to the Council’s consultation, only 56 out of 150 were in favour.

 

The Chair read out the following response:

 

Thank you very much for coming and presenting your statement on the Kendal Experimental Traffic Regulation Order.  We welcome the feedback and insights on the operation of the Experimental Traffic Regulation Order which has been in place for 16 months.

 

Local Committee will be considering this matter this morning under Agenda Item number 9.  The Committee will consider your points as the report is presented and discussed.

 

2          Mr W Woods attended the meeting for Public Participation regarding a failure to replace the important bus stop sign, pole and timetable next to the church at Hampsfell Road/Pig Lane, Grange Over Sands and made the following statement:

 

In March last year the popular bus stop next to the church in Grange had rusted through and fell down. It was reported and removed by Highways along with the timetable holder. I assumed Highways would have a stock of posts, use the existing sign and timetable holder and replace it.

 

However, after three months, still no replacement and response from Highways. I contacted Councillor Bill Wearing to hasten it and the reply he received from the Transport Team was “this work has been requested, so should be completed in the near future”. So it appears Highways just remove and nothing else and wait for a work order.

 

A further 3 months later (September), still no bus stop. I contacted Councillor Wearing again who sent a red reminder which I assume is a wakeup call, however, the reply from the Bus Service Officer was, I will ask our Bus Infrastructure Officer to chase Highways to give an indication when the job will be completed. And inform our Senior Manager so he can take up the delay with his opposite number at their next management meeting. Unfortunately, it is out of our hands, some of the areas of the county are responding promptly to requests but other areas including South Lakeland are failing to deliver or keep us informed of holdups.

 

All this talk but another three months, early January and still no replacement so, I contacted Bill Wearing once again to chase up, which he did which fell on deaf ears and advised him that unless the work was completed in the next two weeks, I will be coming to your meeting to address you.

 

As at the 23 January, no bus stop sign, pole and timetable has been installed. So I contacted your meeting officer to speak at this meeting and sent her the address topic with details. Within about three hours, a message had been received from Highways after she contacted them, to enable a response to be made at this meeting, it was announced the work will be completed the next day and I was asked in light of this information do I still wish to address you.

 

Yes, the work was completed the next day however the bus timetable and holder is still awaited but you need to know about this very simple systems failures.

 

You councillors get a lot of grief sometimes from residents when simple jobs are not done and your work is made more difficult when the officers fail to deliver despite being chased many times.

 

This is despite a bus service officer, a bus infrastructure officer, their senior manager and his opposite number in Highways still getting involved and still nothing happens. This is the reason I have come here today because it is important to get a grip of your organisation and get answers. Yes things can get overlooked once but not this many times and the impression is nobody cares. I hope officers can take you through the procedure to replace bus stop posts etc. Do Highways keep a stock of posts etc, are work sheets automatically produced when a bus post falls down?

 

I was on the bus about two weeks ago and noticed the bus stop post had fallen down at the Haverthwaite Steam Railway. I hope it does not take nine months to get replaced. I will be going past on Friday to see if there has been any activity. And finally can I be assured the timetable and holder will be fitted in a few days?

 

The Chair read out the following response:

 

Thank you for presenting your statement regarding the failure to replace the bus stop sign, pole and timetable outside St Paul’s Church on Hampsfell Road Grange-over-Sands.  I apologise for the delay there has been in getting this work completed.

 

The delay has been in part due to staff issues, both workload and staff absence and unfortunately Officers were not aware that the works had initially been missed from ordering.  We can only apologise for this error which has meant that it was not ordered promptly.  The works were ordered in December 2019 and were then able to be programmed for completion in January.

 

I am pleased to report that that the works were completed last week and the pole and flag is now in place.  The timetable cases are installed by the bus company once the pole is in position.

 

3             Mr G Parr had attended the meeting for Public Participation, in relation to Agenda Item 10 – Grange Over Sands Traffic Regulation Order 2019 and highlighted the following:

 

·                     He understood the role of the Local Committee and had taken on board what had been reported by Councillor Thornton.

·                     He had asked officers what the safety concerns were and had been advised accordingly.

·                     Mainly deliveries made in white vans and shopping deliveries caused the issues. He thought this brought the Order into doubt

·                     He offered to circulate a photograph of a neighbour being taken away in an ambulance which would prove that an ambulance could get access.

·                     He asked why the Order was under consideration

·                     He referred to a complaint from G Parr, 5.12.19 to  Kim Baxter, CCC Corporate Customer and Community Services and Ben Davis, CCC Traffic Management,  ' It was reported on p23 of Westmorland Gazette, 21.11.19, that CC Cllr Peter Thornton, Cabinet Member for Finance, is planning for further £33M savings by CCC over the next 5 years.  This means CCC will need to prioritise its work more discriminately.  

·                     The single reason given for this Order is ‘…to facilitating (sic) the passage on the road for emergency and refuse vehicles accessing Cragg Drive’,  supplemented in letter to residents of Cragg Drive  ref. APM/19-20/Grange/Grange TRO  ’ The proposals have been developed ‘...to try to improve the parking situation on Cragg Drive because of ‘….safety concerns…’ 

·                     He referred to a letter dated 20.12.19 from CCC Team Leader Traffic Management to G Parr, stating ‘I can confirm that no specific concern has been received by Officers from refuse collection or emergency services ‘

·                     He thought the reason for the order was not upheld.  He asked if it could be explained why the order was under consideration

·                     He referred to the papers for the Committee meeting; item 10, Statutory Consultees response from Grange Town Council: 'Cragg Drive – Objects to the proposals due to residents stating to the Town Council that they haven’t had enough consultation.’

·                     He quoted Minute C19/130 of Grange Town Council meeting 09.12.19: 'RESOLVED • Cragg Drive – Proposed no waiting restrictions:

·                     He emphasised that Grange Town Council (GTC) objected to the proposal as no evidence is given that the restrictions are needed. In the previous consultation, GTC requested that the County Council undertakes a thorough on-site consultation with residents to resolve this. Evidence from residents suggests that this hasn’t happened.

·                     Because the information from the GTC minutes that is presented to this Local Committee it is incomplete, it could mislead Committee members.  The premise upon which the Order is predicated has been challenged without response from CCC: nor is there any evidence to uphold the assumption that forms the reason for the Order, and upon which the Order has been progressed.

·                     Exchanges of some correspondence between G Parr and CCC on this matter are as follows: Complaint from G Parr, 5.12.19 to  Kim Baxter, CCC Corporate Customer and Community Services and Ben Davis, CCC Traffic Management:

·                    He asked if Local County Councillor Bill Wearing had confirmed the veracity of the safety concerns raised from residents and how did the elected representatives, referred-to in para 1 of the Statement of reasons for the Order assess the veracity of the information before, and upon which, they made their representations to the County Council?

·                    He referred to a letter dated 20.12.19 from CCC Team Leader Traffic Management to G Parr, Letter 20.12.19 from CCC Team Leader Traffic Management to G Parr which stated 'The confirmation of the veracity of the concerns raised is covered by our initial, informal, consultation whereby we contacted all the properties affected directly by any parking, to allow indication of whether any restrictions should be progressed.' 

·                    He referred to a letter where he felt a number of his responses had been misinterpreted. This related to checking with residents if they had registered their concerns being a redundant exercise and asking if residents’ concerns were true

·                    He thought that inviting residents for comments on options assumed that a problem existed. He considered it logically impossible to prove something did not exist.

·                    He asked the following questions: Is it in order for Grange Town Council’s decision to have been misrepresented, by omission? Is there any evidence that shows the assertions upon which this Order is based are true? Since nothing has been presented to uphold this Order, will it be withdrawn? If this Order is not withdrawn, could the reason why not be clearly stated?

The Chair read out the following response:

 

Thank you for presenting your statement to this Local Committee. 

 

The Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for Grange-over-Sands which contains Cragg Drive is going to be considered as agenda item number 10.  Members will be able to consider your statement in conjunction with the report and whilst considering a decision.

 

Cragg Drive is a narrow cul-de-sac on an uphill gradient a short distance away from Grange Town centre local shops and services.  A request was made to look at issues with parking on Cragg Drive which narrows the carriageway to less than 3 metres.  Concerns were raised about poor parking leaving the road impassable for large vehicles such as refuse and emergency services vehicles.  Therefore the TRO is proposed due to safety concerns raised. Photos of vehicles parking significantly reducing the road width and a video showing a refuse wagon brushing against the hedge next to it as it tries to work alongside parked cars, has been received and considered in response to the consultation.

 

Site visits and assessment of Cragg Drive was undertaken to inform several proposed options for initial consultation on restrictions.  Initial consultation was undertaken in June 2019 at which time Mr Parr you did contact us by email and then sending in a response form regarding the options presented.  One option given to residents was ‘I do not support the proposals’ In addition there was a ‘comments and suggestions’ section to allow residents to give specific feedback.  Following the initial consultation and summarising the initial consultation it was found that there was a majority of respondents supporting an option for restrictions and No Waiting 8am – 6pm, single yellow lines was indicated as favourable.  Therefore the statutory 21 day consultation and advertising was undertaken starting on 21st November 2019 when all households were letter dropped.  

 

There was a change in order of business to allow items 9 and 10 to be taken straight after item 5. This was to allow the Public Participation attendees hear the determination of the decisions in the reports relating to their attendance.