Report of the Director of the Built Environment
The Sub Committee considered a Gateway 4c report of the Director of the Built Environment regarding the Bank Junction Improvements project. The Chairman introduced the item and advised that as it was not usual Sub Committee practice, the recommendation regarding delegated authority should be amended, with any matters for decision to be brought back to the Sub Committee on an efficient basis. The Director of the Built Environment then introduced the report and drew Members’ attention to the key points, also outlining the plan for the public consultation.
The Sub Committee then discussed the proposals, particularly in respect of the public consultation. Members sought assurances that the consultation would be sufficiently broad, account for users of the junction not currently in the City of London and account for the post-COVID-19 landscape. The Chairman added that if the response was not felt to be sufficiently comprehensive then this would need to be addressed, and pausing the project was an option if necessary. The Chairman then reiterated the suggestion made at the Streets & Walkways Sub Committee that officers consult with TfL on the possible use of their channels for advertising the consultation.
The Director of the Built Environment advised that a target for responses had not been set, but cited responses to the Bank on Safety scheme, CAS Return to Work Task Force consultations as a guide. Alongside social media officers would utilise partners such as the Cheapside Business Alliance to encourage businesses to respond to and amplify the consultation. The consultation had been planned in accordance with the project’s challenging timeframe, and whilst there would be an opportunity to pause the project at the next Gateway, it was noted that this would prevent completion by the current 2022 timeframe.
The Chairman asked that the Sub Committee be kept updated on the consultation’s progress, noting the anticipated launch in mid-March. Members stressed the importance of ensuring the consultation was effective, by targeting the right people to capture the views of genuine users and stakeholders, and taking proper account of the responses received.
The Chairman asked officers to report back to the April meeting of the Sub Committee with an update on the number of responses received so far and how the engagement could be analysed to gauge representation.
RESOLVED – That the Projects Sub Committee:
1) Approve the detail and programme set out within this report to go out to public consultation, including:
a) Agree to maintain the current restriction timings and mix of traffic of Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm on the ‘open arms’ to bus and cycle only as the base assumption for the consultation.
b) That Queen Victoria Street between Bucklersbury and Bank Junction is closed to all Motor Vehicles in an eastbound direction 24/7
c) That Threadneedle Street is closed to Motor Vehicles between the junction and Bartholomew Lane in both directions 24/7
d) That Princes Street is open to buses and cycles only in a northbound direction 24/7
e) That Princes Street southbound is also intended to be the route for traffic to access Cornhill for servicing, as well as bus and cycles.
f) Seeking views on potentially extending the restrictions times
g) Seeking views regarding the traffic mix during the hours of restriction
h) Seeking feedback on the various public realm enhancement proposals outlined in paragraphs 39 to 50.
2) Approve the following details to maintain pace of the programme:
a) Agree that for the reasons set out in this report the proposed traffic model submission for TfL traffic management approvals, has the ‘open’ arms of Cornhill westbound, King William/Lombard Street and Poultry operating as Buses and cycles only Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm.
b) Note that Members will be asked to approve the design, timings and mix of traffic following the public consultation, and should they consider it appropriate to seek amendments to the timing and vehicle mix assumptions (in 1a), these can still be considered prior to the scheme becoming operational at the end of 2022.
3) Agree to delegate the final approval of the consultation material and consultation survey to the Director of the Built Environment in consultation with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee.
4) Agree that the project can go to Projects Sub Committee in June ahead of the Streets and Walkways Committee in July if necessary, given the programme constraints.
5) Agree that if necessary, delegated authority is given to the Town Clerk in consultation with the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of Streets and Walkways Sub Committee, to consider the outcome of the public consultation to take minor design decisions, and/or agree changes to process or programme that require earlier approval ahead of the next available committee date in July; with these matters to be submitted to the Projects Sub Committee for consideration if required; and
6) That a Costed Risk Provision of £95,000 is approved to be retained (to be drawn down via delegation to Chief Officer).