Report of the Town Clerk.
The meeting received the Outstanding References, and noted that any discussion related to Beech St would take place in private session due to the local elections taking place on 05 May 2022 and the involvement of the London Borough of Islington in the matter.
Beech St (in Public section following 05 May 2022 election): The meeting heard that discussions with the London Borough of Islington (LBI) were ongoing, and that LBI had expressed concerns around potential additional traffic on Fortune St and the impact on Golden Lane. Islington have expressed a preference for an area-wide approach to addressing the air quality issues on Beech Street. It was also pointed out that LBI were not working at the same pace as the CoL Corporation, and that CoL was expecting to engage with the new post-election Executive Member for Environment & Transport to reinvigorate high-level discussions as well as embarking upon a full consultation to encompass the views of local residents.
A Member sought clarification on whether that consultation would include opportunities for stakeholders to make their views known offline, and the meeting heard that a range of in-person initiatives were also planned and that information could be submitted for inclusion in Ward newsletters in mid-June.
A Member asked for clarification on wider consultation around Beech Street, and the meeting heard that consultation was expected to be launched at the end of May 2022.
A Member asked whether accident figures relating to scooters were available, and the meeting heard that accident figures could be provided in July 2022. A Member commented that potholes and grills were a significant hazard, and that dockless vehicle parking continued to be an issue.
A Member sought clarification on the existence of plans for when Tower Bridge was closed, and pointed out that it was likely that a new Chinese Embassy would be created at the former Royal Mint site that was likely to attract attention. The meeting heard that the risk of spontaneous demonstrations was an ongoing issue across the Square Mile and that the dynamic response to disruption was well-organised in conjunction with City of London Police.
A few Members expressed concern around potential damage to Tower Bridge, and a Member asked whether there was merit in encouraging vehicles to use Southwark Bridge during diversions rather than the less robust Tower Bridge, notwithstanding a greater risk of disruption due to demonstrations. The meeting heard that concerns around risks to Tower Bridge had been expressed to TfL, that further reports would be submitted on TfL’s findings, and that enforcement by Southwark was proving to be effective.