To agree the public minutes and summary of the informal, hybrid meeting held on 20 July 2021.
The public minutes and summary of the informal, hybrid meeting held on 20 July 2021 were considered and approved as a correct record.
Panel Arrangements – Wider Consultation (page 7)– A Member questioned whether any progress had been made in terms of the engagement strategy referred to by the Chair at the previous meeting and secondly he questioned when a further report on Panels would be put to this Committee, offering Members a further opportunity to vote according to their preferences.
The Chair reported that he and the Deputy Chairman were due to hold informal engagements meetings with approximately ten stakeholders across the City, beginning on Wednesday 15 September. Following these meetings, Officers had been asked to bring forward a report to this Committee in the first instance.
Another Member questioned who had been invited to attend the meetings. The Chair reported that they included representatives from the development community as well as most of the major Residents Associations in the City. The Chair asked that the full list of those invited be circulated to all Members of the Committee via email at the conclusion of the meeting. Another Member requested that the full list of invitees also feature in the minutes for full transparency. She added that this might also encourage others who were not represented to come forward with their views.
A Member reported that the matter of how this Committee operated going forward was being considered alongside but also outside of the main Lisvane recommendations around the wider governance of the City Corporation.
Another Member questioned how City residents who were not part of Residents Associations were to be represented in these engagement sessions. The Chair stated that only those Residents Associations that were formally constituted had been invited to attend and that he and the Deputy Chairman had reviewed the list of invitees and were satisfied that they represented a broad range of interests across the City.
In response to a question around who would take the final decision on Panels, the Town Clerk reported that a report would come forward to this Committee, before being sent to the Policy and Resources Committee and, ultimately, the Court of Common Council. The Chair underlined that the Court were keen to hear the views of this Committee as part of the process.
A Member questioned why wider, public, formal consultation was not being undertaken on this matter. She also expressed concern at the fact that it appeared that this exercise would sort City residents into those who were considered to be major stakeholders and those who were not. She stressed that every City resident had an equal and valid view which should be sought. The Chair reiterated that those invited to these meetings were believed to represent the main residential areas of the City as well as other stakeholders. He added that these sessions were not about making planning policy and that it was therefore important that they were informal and a space where all invited could express their views openly and honestly about how this Committee works and how they might like it to work in the future. The Chair went on to underline that all members of this Committee, the Policy and Resources Committee and the Court were representative of their respective Wards and interests would therefore be represented in this way.
A Member reminded the Chair of the petition which, amongst other things, opposed the formation of Planning Panels and suggested that it would also be useful for him meet separately with the sponsors for this petition on the matter. The Chair responded to state that he believed that there were already plans in place for this to happen.
A Member spoke in support of the Chair’s approach to this matter and reiterated that the final decision on this matter would be taken by all 125 elected Members of the City Corporation.
Beech Street (page 18) – A Member requested a further update on the Beech Street zero emissions project. Officers responded to state that all members of this Committee should have received the update that went to all residents and local businesses on Beech Street on this matter via email. This set out the next steps which were, essentially, that the experimental scheme would conclude on 18 September which marked the end of 18 months and the maximum period for which the experimental traffic order could run for. On 19 September Beech Street would therefore revert back to its previous state and reopen to all traffic. Officers reported that they had begun the process of engaging with local residents associations and others with a view to developing options for the next stage for Beech Street. This was likely to continue until the end of the year with the intention being to take a report to the December 2021 meeting of the Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee and seek a final decision on this and approval to launch the consultation.
Officers went on to recognise that there had been comments received around the need to consider changes across the wider Barbican and Golden Lane area as well as to Beech Street itself and they confirmed that they were in the process of initiating a project to develop a Healthy Streets Plan for this area which was one of the proposals set out within the Transport Strategy and would incorporate consideration of the potential zero emission zone.
The Member spoke again to ask if there was a case here for setting out lessons learnt, particularly around costs and consultation. Officers stated that it would be possible to reflect on this within an Issues/Update report but reassured Members that lessons had already been learned with a much more robust process now in place around the signing off of traffic orders. It was recognised that the first legal challenge on this had revealed two procedural errors on the City Corporation’s part meaning that the organisation was unable to then take the truncated route to transitioning from an experimental to a permanent order. Steps had now already been taken to avoid a repeat of this in future. It was confirmed that this project had enabled Officers to learn lots of lessons that would help shape future schemes on Beech Street and the surrounding area as well as for other projects aimed at improving air quality.
A Member stated that she had previously raised questions around the gaps in the central reservation that had been instated to allow people to turn into the carparks and forecourts during the trial period and whether these could be retained. Officers undertook to report back to the Member on this matter and the progress of the road safety audits here.
Members asked that the interim report on lessons learned be shared with both the Streets and Walkways Sub-Committee and this Committee in due course.