Cheltenham Borough Council
Cheltenham Borough Council

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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Municipal Offices

Contact: Bev Thomas, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Oliver, Councillor Stafford and Councillor Flynn.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillors Babbage, Coleman, Dobie, Fisher, Harman, Payne, Sudbury and Wheeler declared an interest in agenda items 9 and 10 as Gloucestershire County Councillors.

 

Councillor Savage declared an interest in agenda item 11 as an employee of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust.

3.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2018.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 December 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.

4.

Communications by the Mayor

Minutes:

The Mayor wished to put on record his thanks to Rosalind Reeves, Democratic Services Manager who had now retired from the Council after 15 years service.

5.

Communications by the Leader of the Council

Minutes:

The Leader reiterated the thanks to Rosalind Reeves, Democratic Services Manager who had made a major contribution to the Council. He also wished to welcome back the Chief Executive, Pat Pratley who was on a phased return following a serious illness. He thanked all officers who had gone the extra mile in her absence, in particular Tim Atkins, Deputy Chief Executive.

 

6.

To receive petitions

Minutes:

There were none.

7.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 185 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 15 January 2019.

Minutes:

1.

Question from Anne Smith to the Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

Who had the casting vote for closure of Boots Corner? This decision seems to be causing more pollution, inconvenience, & loss of revenue to the businesses in the town. When will common sense prevail?

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

The decision was two-fold. This Council confirmed on 26th January, 2015, that it supported the outcomes of the GCC Traffic Regulation Order committee and GCC cabinet confirmed the TRO committee recommendations on 22nd July, 2015.

That process confirmed the phased approach with a trial phase for Boots Corner, which is what is currently being delivered. 

2.

Question from Fiona Mcleod  to the Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

Can I ask please when the decision to close Boots Corner to general traffic will be reversed so that reasonable traffic flow through that town is restored. Closing Boots corner has done nothing to improve traffic flow in the town, it has made the back-log of traffic outside A&E ten times worse during peak times and it has made the town centre far more dangerous for pedestrians. 

 

The ridiculous scenario that cars are now racing down Rodney road and piling up outside the new John Lewis is nothing short of dangerous. As pedestrians gaze at the new John Lewis and step out of the shadows under the scaffolding outside the LloydsTSB building into cars racing up Rodney Road it is a fatal accident waiting to happen.

 

Which councillor is going to swallow their pride, admit it hasn’t worked and reopen that traffic flow?

 

I look forward to being able to drive safely back to Pittville again.

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

A petition requesting the re-opening of Boots’ Corner is being considered by Council at its meeting on 21st January, 2019.

 

However, it should be recognised that the scheme, including the trial, was funded by central government as part of a wider strategy to encourage individuals to consider alternative means of transport.

 

GCC, as Highways authority, plans to make amendments to the scheme to respond to concerns raised, including potential traffic calming on Rodney Road.

 

3.

Question from David Evans to Cabinet Member, Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

Whilst I support the closure of Boots corner I feel that no real alternative measures have been put in place to take the traffic to properly transverse Cheltenham. Because of this if it came to a vote I would vote against the closure.

 

My question is does CBC agree that this is probably the most embarrassing decision that they have made since the introduction of the Noddy train?

 

If the closure becomes permanent what alternative plans are in place to ensure traffic flows better through Cheltenham and would these plans involve demolishing buildings as has been done in the past and destroying the very character of our town?

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

The trial is exactly that, so until a final decision is made, it is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Member Questions pdf icon PDF 76 KB

These must be received no later than 12 noon on Tuesday 15 January 2019.

Minutes:

1.

Question from Councillor Klara Sudbury to Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

In the overview and scrutiny meeting papers (14th January) it states that Gloucestershire county council has decided that they won’t support the much needed refurbishment of paving on the Strand or Cambray Place because these are “shared spaces”.  This is because the government decided in July 2018 that work to create new shared spaces should be paused.

 

Instead the Borough Council now appears to be working with the county council to improve/change areas of the High St impacted by or associated with the Cheltenham transport plan (the area High Street between Rodney Road and Winchcombe Street which has become a lot more congested since the transport plan and the planned Boots Corner shared space).

 

What has CBC done to try to persuade Gloucestershire county council that the High Street between Cambray Place and Bath Road, and Cambray Place are existing and fully pedestrianised areas, that should not be considered to be new shared spaces so that work to improve paving in these areas can take place?

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

The issue was raised at an officer meeting on 8th January, 2019, with a request for an update on the Department for Transport moratorium on shared space.

 

It was decided that both parties will now seek a legal opinion, as with no change to the relevant traffic regulation orders, there is growing doubt that the moratorium applies in this instance.

 

In a supplementary question Cllr Klara Sudbury referred to the contribution of £250k per year for 4 years from the County Council to contribute to the High Street improvements and asked whether if the legal position as to whether these were shared spaces or pedestrianised area was resolved was there sufficient funding for the works at the Strand and Cambray Place to take place.

 

In response, the Cabinet Member confirmed that the funding had been agreed between CBC and the County Council and the delay was related to whether this area constituted shared space and was therefore included in the government moratorium. He believed this was not shared space as there was no through traffic there as such and in fact it did not constitute a new scheme. He was however awaiting legal confirmation from the County Council.

2.

Question from Councillor Klara Sudbury to Cabinet Member Development and Safety, Councillor Andrew McKinlay

 

CBC wishes to create a new shared space at boots corner, where eventually the controlled crossing is removed, and pedestrians share the space with cyclists buses and taxis. Does the government moratorium on shared spaces apply to that area?

 

 

Response from Cabinet Member

 

As the road would remain highway, albeit reduced in width, the moratorium on shared space would seemingly not apply.

 

For your information, no decision has been made on the controlled crossing other than it was to be retained during the trial at the request of the Disability Forum.

 

One solution, should the trial be made permanent, would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Petition to re-open Boots Corner pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member Development and Safety

Minutes:

The Mayor referred Members to the procedure to be followed as set out in Appendix 2 of the Petition Report. He then invited Councillor Harman as the petition organiser to address Council.

 

Councillor Harman introduced the petition and explained that the numbers of people and businesses signing the ongoing petition now stood at 5885. This was therefore the single biggest petition this Council had received illustrating the importance of the issue and the fact that the Boots Corner closure was the most controversial scheme Cheltenham had ever faced. He wished to put on record his thanks to those residents who had contacted him. Hesummarised the feelings of those signing as being too little gain for two much pain. He then quoted from a letter from a Mr Lester Maddrell , Solicitor and for 16 years deputy traffic commissioner and coroner. He had expressed concern on a number of points but mainly the displacement of  traffic following the implementation of the closure and in particular the deterioration of a) the situation in Gloucester Road/Tewkesbury Road and b) the  High Street between the two pedestrianised sections without the safeguard of traffic lights to Winchcombe Street and beyond.

 

Councillor Harman questioned whether the town centre’s issue with air quality had been moved from the town centre to where residents lived and sleep was progress.

He also quoted from an email he had received from the Manager of the Regent Arcade who did not agree that trade had increased and felt that it had dropped since the trial closure. Cllr Harman then referred to one of the public questioners who believed that the base figures for footfall were last years figures prior to the opening of John Lewis and so the increase could not be attributed to the Boots Corner scheme.

 

He then expressed concern that the danger was that members of the public signing the petition would not get a clear answer at this meeting. He therefore gave notice that Cllr Mason would move a motion to vote on what the petition was calling on, i.e. to re-open Boots Corner at the earliest opportunity.

 

Finally, Cllr Harman emphasised that this was a vital issue for Cheltenham. Everyone aspired to having the best town and the best High Street and he questioned whether the closure of Boots Corner was the only way to achieve this. .

The Cabinet Member Development and Safety was invited to address Council. He believed that the petition called for allowing  9000 cars back through Boots corner, for dividing the High Street and would undermine the economic growth seen in the town over the last few years. Government policy on new transport schemes was to have cycling, walking and public transport at the fore. What the petition called for was contrary to the County Council’s transport plan and CBCs corporate strategy. The Cabinet Member proposed that the full debate took place during consideration of the next agenda item and that at this stage the petition should be simply noted.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Cheltenham Transport Plan -Update Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

·         To include presentation from Gloucestershire County Council Officers

 

Report of the Cabinet Member Development and Safety

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Scott Tompkins, Lead Commissioner of the Highways Authority gave a presentation to Members, this included an update on the feedback to date on the scheme, an overview of the traffic flow monitoring and an update on the phase 4 monitoring. He further advised Members of the proposed revisions to the trial and the predicted timeline for the next steps. Rupert Cox, Managing Director of Stagecoach West also gave a short presentation on the impacts of the Cheltenham transport plan on the bus services and ran through the significant positive impacts of the scheme. The presentation is appended to the minutes for reference.

 

The following responses were offered to Members questions:

 

·           Cheltenham is well contained in comparison to other towns and cities with census data suggesting around 70% of journeys taken in Cheltenham are less than 2km. This is in contrast to neighbouring Gloucester which has a lot of out commuting.

·           Transport modelling conducted at the outset of the scheme highlighted that the majority of journeys around Boots corner were through journeys and not people accessing the town centre.

·           The evidence to date shows that in a  number of roads in Cheltenham the traffic levels have fallen since the closure of Boots corner, however, in order to determine whether fewer people were using cars overall they would need to analyse the traffic levels over a longer period of time.

·           Following a query regarding the predicted timescale for the traffic signal improvements on the Tewkesbury/Swindon Road junction, Mr Tompkins advised that the funding had been approved in the last month for the signal work and the feasibility study had already been completed. They, therefore, planned to take it to the design phase in the next year and hoped to deliver the scheme by late 2020.

·           He confirmed that delivery vehicles could only access the area highlighted in red on the map before 10am and after 6pm which is outside of the core hours.

·           The legal requirement for the experimental traffic regulation order is 18 months in length, when that comes to end they have the option to make the elements trialled permanent, abandon them or trial another experimental order.

·           Ideally, GCC would have liked to put the mitigation measures in place before Gold Cup but this would not be physically possible given the timescale, he confirmed that the trail would still be in place during Gold Cup week and so they would still capture the impact on the other roads during this time.

·           Mr Cox advised that they had purchased a number of new vehicles and due to the Euro 6 level of emissions on those vehicles they were seeing great environmental improvements, particularly in the Benhall area. The increased growth would also enable them to make improvements to the bus network.

·           The highways authority were currently looking at the signage and how they direct people in and out of the town. They were also discussing the potential for using VMS signs which would indicate the number of parking spaces available in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Notices of Motion pdf icon PDF 62 KB

Minutes:

Proposed by: Councillor Clucas

Seconded by Councillor Horwood

 

1.That this Council, is mindful of the concerns expressed at the HCOSC meeting on 13th November in relation to General Surgery proposals put forward by Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (GHNFT) Board. A special issue is the letter, signed by some 58 Senior Doctors at the GHNFT, and the effect of changes on the safety of patients from Cheltenham and elsewhere, who, Senior Doctors believe will be put at greater risk as a result of the changes proposed.

 

2. As the next meeting of the HCOSC Committee following the Special Council meeting is scheduled for 20th  February, Council recognises the urgency in forwarding its concerns to that Committee. Council therefore requests the Leader of the Council to write to the Chair of that Committee in relation to the following matters:


3. To request, as was stated at the November 13th  meeting, HCOSC to invite those Senior Doctors,  58 in number, who signed the letter to the Hospitals’ Trust setting out their concerns in relation to the proposed changes, formally to the meeting  on 20th Feb, so that their concerns may be aired and examined;


4. That in addition, the Leader request HCOSC to raise the following Issues and the following requests for scrutiny, formally with the Trust: 


5. The 58 Senior Doctors’ concerns in relation to patient safety; 


6. To raise the statement that the Trust proposals are a ‘Pilot’ and can be reversed. However, reversibility will be very hard to be effected once the ‘Pilot’ is set in train. What is proposed is a ‘Reconfiguration’, which requires public consultation and proper and appropriate scrutiny;


7. To underline that the Trust undertook to examine all Options for change, yet there is clear evidence to show that they have not been properly assessed. This is particularly the case in relation to Option 4. The Trust is requested to state why it has not fully examined Option 4;


8. To raise the issue of serious bed shortages at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital. HCOSC is requested to ask the Trust for those shortages to be quantified and to examine how the shortages are to be met;


9. HCOSC is requested to examine the lack of professional supervision by Senior Doctors which will potentially occur if the proposals are accepted and consequent loss of support for Junior doctors, when Cheltenham’s Surgical Registrar is withdrawn and the HCOSC is requested to examine the implications of such withdrawal;


10. HCOSC is requested to look at the impact of changes, including on the safety of patients, throughout Gloucestershire and in Worcestershire (Gynaecological Cancers), Herefordshire (Urology and Gynaecological Cancers) and Wiltshire (Vascular Surgery), where those patients are treated in Cheltenham GH.


11. Council requests HCOSC to undertake the necessary work as a matter of urgency. The safety of Cheltenham residents - in fact of all Gloucestershire residents and those patients from surrounding counties - who are treated in Cheltenham will, Senior Doctors who wrote to the Hospitals’ Trust believe,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Any other item the Mayor determines as urgent and which requires a decision