A report from the Director of Regeneration and Environment is attached. This seeks approval to undertake detailed design, statutory consultation and implementation for segregated cycling facilities and public realm improvements along the A105 between Enfield Town and Palmers Green. Note: Appendix E to the report will be circulated “to follow”. (Key decision – reference number 4111)
(8.40 – 8.45pm)
Councillor Doug Taylor (Leader of the Council) invited Mr Peter Gibbs (Chair of FERAA) to present his statement to the Cabinet.
Mr Gibbs raised a number of points in relation to the proposals presented in the report which included the view that safer cycling and an increase in cycling in the Borough was supported by all. However, concerns were expressed over the detailed proposals, the consultation process and the benefits claimed from the scheme. He highlighted the extent of the difference between the original bid in 2013 and the proposals now being considered. He expressed the need for effective consultation with all parties involved. It was felt that the proposed scheme did not have the support of the majority of residents. Particular issues were highlighted with regard to the impact on air quality and economic issues, and the needs of vulnerable groups in the borough and the potential impact on them.
Mr Gibbs highlighted the change in the Mayor of London later in the year and the impact that this could have on going forward. He highlighted the possibility of a judicial review being sought.
In conclusion, Councillor Taylor thanked Mr Gibbs for his contribution and invited a spokesperson from those present at the meeting, in support of the proposals, to make a statement to the Cabinet.
Clare Rogers, representing nearly 300 Facebook supporters of the scheme, took this opportunity to inform Members that the supporters were excited and proud of the proposals being put forward. The scheme would benefit a large number of cyclists and provide benefits to the next generation in the provision of safe cycling routes to school and tackling childhood obesity. Air pollution in the Borough was recognised as an important issue that needed to be addressed. Support was expressed for the consultation which had taken place.
Councillor Daniel Anderson (Cabinet Member for Environment) introduced the report of the Director of Regeneration and Environment (No.174) seeking approval to undertake detailed design and statutory consultation for segregated cycling facilities and public realm improvements along the A105 between Enfield Town and Palmers Green A105.
1. Councillor Anderson acknowledged the considerable and healthy debate which had taken place to date on the scheme proposals. He recognised the differences of opinion which had been expressed and the challenges which had been made. All comments had been taken into account in considering the way forward.
2. Members were reminded that in March 2013 the Mayor of London had published his Vision for Cycling with the overarching aim to double the number of people cycling by 2023. One of the key elements had been the Mini-Holland programme with all outer London boroughs having the opportunity to bid for funding. Enfield’s bid had been successful. It had had cross-party support and included within the bid had been the provision of segregated cycle facilities along the A105 and enhancements to both Palmers Green and Winchmore Hill town centres. This is what the current proposals set out to deliver. It was noted that the support of the Conservative Group had now shifted.
3. That the number of cyclists in Enfield was relatively low, the aim was to increase cyclists in the borough by providing safe routes to use.
4. That the funding for the scheme was external, it would not be directly funded by the council. This represented a significant level of investment in the borough.
5. That this was a transformational project which would rejuvenate the areas in question. The significant population growth in Enfield was acknowledged as was the need to facilitate alternative forms of travel alongside the use of cars.
6. That consultation had been undertaken and over 1,600 responses had been received, the majority in favour but some against. The comments received had helped shape the scheme and had resulted in a number of significant changes that had improved the scheme. Extensive discussions had taken place and thanks were expressed to all of those who had participated. It was noted that the consultation was not a referendum. The different views which had been expressed on the scheme were acknowledged.
7. That the Council needed to show leadership in implementing such schemes whilst recognising that all forms of change could create fears and concerns.
8. That if the proposals were agreed tonight, there would be further opportunity to engage in the detailed design process and work would be undertaken to address the concerns raised by some disability groups. Many elements of the scheme required the making of traffic management orders and the consultation required as part of this process would provide further opportunity to make representation on the scheme. Discussions would continue with local businesses.
9. Councillor Anderson asked those officers present to highlight some of the key design changes following the consultation as well as what had been done to address concerns about the impact of the scheme on air quality, congestion, parking, town centre vitality, and older and disabled people.
10. David Taylor (Head of Traffic and Transportation) on behalf of the Director of Regeneration and Environment, provided a full and detailed statement to Cabinet Members and highlighted a number of issues included within the report being presented for approval. In summary the statement included the following:
Process of Consultation
· Section 4 of the report highlighted the engagement and consultation that the Council had carried out. The detail of the consultation was set out for Members. The consultation had run from 17 July to 9 October 2015. The range of consultees was highlighted including day centres and sheltered housing complexes.
· A total of 1,646 responses to the A105 consultation had been received: 50.7% (835) fully supporting, 8.6% (142) partially supporting, 38.9% (640) not in support and, 1.8% (29) no opinion or unsure.
· Many of the comments and suggestions received had resulted in design changes, as detailed in Appendix B of the report. The key changes were highlighted for Members.
· Key concerns that were raised in respect of air quality, town centre vitality, parking, and impact on disability were set out in section 5 of the report. Two external assessments had been commissioned to ensure that these impacts were fully understood. The detail of the two assessments regarding air quality and economic impact, were outlined to Members and were addressed within the report.
· Parking implications were set out in section 5.9 of the report and the mitigation measures that were under consideration.
· The detail of the equalities impact assessment set out in Appendix E of the report.
· Public realm improvements addressed in section 5.8 of the report.
· Effects on journey times detailed in paragraph 5.12 of the report.
· The positive health implications explained in section 14 of the report.
Feedback from West Enfield Partnership Board
· During the preliminary design stage, the Cycle Enfield Partnership Board (Enfield West) had met on four occasions to enable stakeholders to influence the designs and share information with the organisations that they represented.
· Following the Board meeting on 21 January 2016 a number of comments had been received from members of the Board which had been provided to Cabinet Members in advance of this meeting to allow time for consideration, the documents that had been circulated were listed for clarification, totalling 18 documents. Councillor Taylor confirmed that these had been received.
· The common themes of the comments were highlighted and references made back to the relevant parts of the report. It also set how the Council proposed to deal with the issues raised.
· Members were asked to note the points that had been raised as part of their consideration of this report.
Feedback from Project Board
· The Cycle Enfield Project Board meeting on 2 February 2016 had made a number of recommendations to the Cabinet which were set out in detail for Members’ consideration.
11. In conclusion of the officers’ statement, the next steps were outlined, should the Cabinet approve the proposals set out in the report. There would be further detailed design work to take on board the issues that had been raised. A period of statutory consultation would take place including consultation on the traffic management orders. There would also be a public engagement event on the revised scheme plans.
12. Councillor Taylor noted the content of the comments and representations that had been received which ranged from general to more specific issues. All comments received would be considered at the next stage by the design team.
13. Councillor Bambos Charalambous (Associate Cabinet Member – Enfield West) reported that he had chaired the Partnership Board meetings. Extensive discussions and thorough consultation had taken place. He highlighted a number of specific issues which had been raised and welcomed constructive comments on the proposals. Councillor Charalambous reiterated the impact of population growth and the need for long-term transport solutions. It was not an option to do nothing. Approval of this report would move the scheme on to the next stage.
14. Following the information provided above, Cabinet Members were invited to comment and ask questions which would be responded to by officers present. Some of the issues highlighted were summarised below.
15. Councillor Sitkin expressed his support for local businesses, he acknowledged the concerns which had been stated and highlighted that the scheme could be positive for businesses. He asked officers to outline how the economic impact assessment had been carried out.
16. Councillor Cazimoglu sought assurance on how the Council could ensure that the scheme would be delivered in the best way possible.
17. Councillor Taylor questioned the process to be followed in keeping the Cabinet informed as the scheme progressed.
18. Councillor Brett was reassured that the equalities impact assessment had been well-considered and questioned how the results would be used to inform the scheme design and address the needs and concerns of vulnerable groups. Councillor Brett noted that the London Ambulance service had not yet responded to the consultation and sought assurance that the scheme could proceed without this having been received.
19. That other issues raised by Cabinet Members for clarification included the need to address health inequalities in the Borough and tackle childhood obesity; the air quality implications particularly around junctions; the impact on parking and parking provision; and, the proposed public realm improvements.
20. That the proposed provision of free time in specific pay and display car parks had increased to 45 minutes.
21. At this point in the meeting, Councillor Neville (Leader of the Conservative Group) was invited to address the Cabinet. Councillor Neville presented a full and detailed statement highlighting a number of issues for Members’ consideration. He reiterated the need for the statutory consultation to be comprehensive and for further engagement on the proposals going forward. Councillor Neville requested that the wording of recommendation 2.2 of the report be amended to delete the words “and implementation” and outlined the reasons for this.
Councillor Neville referred to section 3.3 of the report with regard to cross-party support and pointed out that at that stage the scheme bid had not been subject to public consultation. He questioned the consultation that had been undertaken and the results received which had included respondents from out-borough. No alternative option had been provided in the consultation. Councillor Neville stated his reasons for believing that the consultation process had been flawed.
Councillor Neville highlighted the need for effective engagement with the emergency services. He further outlined the results of the economic impact assessment and its effectiveness. Section 5 of the report was referred to in detail and a number of specific issues noted.
In conclusion Councillor Neville asked Cabinet to consider all comments received fully; to engage and work together with all parties, as requested in Mr Gibbs’ statement; and to address the wider picture and look at all possible alternatives.
22. Members noted that alternative routes had been considered and dismissed on safety grounds, including the use of the towpath as a cycle route.
23. Councillor Taylor agreed that the wording of recommendation 2.2 of the report be amended with the deletion of the words “and implementation”. This change is reflected in decision 2 below.
24. In response to the points of clarification and questions raised by Members, Officers responded in full and provided a number of reassurances which included the following points. The Economic Impact Assessment had considered town centre vitality, not individual businesses, a range of issues had been considered for both the construction period and final stage. The Equalities Impact Assessment (Appendix E of the report) was a dynamic document and included a clear action plan. Engagement would continue with vulnerable groups. Positive feedback had been received on the assessment undertaken, as detailed by officers at the meeting. It was noted that the statutory consultation stage would include engagement with the London Ambulance Service and that a decision could be made at Cabinet tonight without this input.
25. Detailed design issues were highlighted including implications for junctions, public realm improvements and the positive health benefits that could be promoted.
26. Whilst recognising the potential impact on air quality at junctions there would be an overall improvement in air quality along the cycle routes. The mitigation measures with regard to parking provision were highlighted as were the proposed public realm improvements.
27. In conclusion Councillor Anderson acknowledged all of the points raised during the debate and the proposals for moving forward. He thanked Councillor Neville for his contribution and involvement in the Partnership Board. A number of suggestions received had resulted in an enhancement to the scheme. The original bid submitted by Enfield had had to meet a number of detailed criteria to be successful to which both political parties in Enfield had been committed. Councillor Anderson highlighted the detailed response figures from the referendum which had been carried out by David Burrowes MP (over 14,000 of the 17,000 polled had not responded. The 1,973 who had responded and indicated that they were opposed had therefore been 11.6% of those polled, not 75%. The 1,973 responses represented 3% of the 65,000 in the constituency). The proposals before Cabinet this evening represented a viable and practical scheme.
28. A vote took place and all Cabinet Members approved the recommendations in the report, as amended at the meeting.
29. Councillor Taylor acknowledged all the statements that had been made at the meeting and reiterated that this was an on-going process and all interested parties were encouraged to participate and influence any further improvements to the current scheme.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED that alternative options that had been considered as set out in section 6 of the report and summarised below:
1. The Council could decline the Mini Holland funding. However, this would mean forgoing £5.9 million of investment in the borough on this scheme, £24.1 million of investment on other Mini Holland schemes and the associated economic, health and transport benefits.
2. It had been suggested that the Council should consider re-routing the cycle lanes along an alternative road route parallel to Green Lanes or via the banks of the New River. These alternative options had been ruled out for the reasons set out in paragraph 6.2 of the report.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed
1. To note the results of the public consultation.
2. That approval be granted to undertake detailed design, statutory consultation for lightly segregated cycling facilities and public realm improvements along the A105 between Enfield Town and Palmers Green.
3. That subject to TfL’s Surface Board releasing the next tranche of Mini Holland funding, approval be granted for capital expenditure of £5.9m for detailed design, statutory consultation, implementation and client costs.
4. That delegated authority be granted to the Cabinet Member for Environment to approve and implement the final design of the scheme subject to consultation and completion of all necessary statutory procedures.
Reason: NOTED the reasons for the recommendations as set out in section 7 of the report: To make places cycle-friendly and provide better streets and places for everyone; to make cycling safe and enjoyable choice for local travel; to create better, healthier communities; to provide better travel choices for the 34% of Enfield households who had no access to a car and an alternative travel choice for the 66% that do; to transform cycling in Enfield; to encourage more people to cycle; to enable people to make short journeys by bike instead of by car; to increase physical activity and therefore the health of cyclists; to reduce overcrowding on public transport; and, to enable transformational change to our town centres.
(Key decision – reference number 4111)