Agenda item

Quieter Neighbourhoods - Walking & Cycling Infrastructure

To receive an update on information on consultations that have taken place for Quieter Neighbourhoods and walking & cycling infrastructure.


Richard Eason introduced and highlighted the key aspects of the report, including but not limited to: the process and phases of consultations which had taken place for various projects, the platforms and methods used to communicate with residents, and engagements with a disability focus/ reference group.


In response to Members’ questions and comments regarding resident feedback from consultations, officers replied that resident engagement was listened to and did impact on projects. A Fox Lane scheme was given as an example where the means of achieving the projects outcomes which taken forward were altered following consultation. Officers expressed that consultations were a mechanism for gathering views rather than a public vote, and residents’ comments had to be balanced/ weighed against opposing views and other factors. They explained that at phase 2 of engagement, data was collected in order to better understand the demographic of those engaging, and listening to the views of those with protected characteristics, such as disabilities, was very important to them. Some schemes were inevitably going to be controversial, and benefit some people more than others, but no scheme was designed to inconvenience anyone. Officers added that they could provide Members with maps relating to individual projects if requested.


In response to Members’ enquiries relating to statistics and engagement with overlooked groups, officers advised that within their equality impact assessments for all projects, the impact of schemes on individuals with protected characteristics were considered, as was their legal duty. Residents who may be overlooked by this were encouraged, like anyone else, to engage in the consultations and share their views. If there were people being overlooked when projects were considered, then officers could pick this up. Officers said that they were transparent in their break down of engagement statistics, and were doing more than they were required to do, particularly when trying to balance their resources.


In response to Members’ questions regarding a Ponders End to Enfield Town scheme, officers responded that there had been lots of engagement; officers had supported ward councillor meetings on the project, and feedback was taken into account. Cllr Jewell clarified that there had been concern and confusion with road improvements as part of the scheme, which were currently being looked at again. Officers added that they would continue to reflect on how they could communicate complex interventions clearly so that they would not be misunderstood.


In response to Members queries regarding obesity, officers replied that such studies were an issue for Public Health colleagues, but the integration of active travel into residents’ lives where possible, particularly young people, would help to address the issue. Cllr Jewell expressed that walking and cycling projects were all intended to encourage parents and children to pursue active travel when attending school, with another three school streets having been announced recently. Officers would speak to colleagues in Education and Public Health about initiatives to better encourage active travel in schools, such as getting children to walk around the playground before school, and the benefits of this were highlighted.


In response to Members’ questions and comments relating to the impact of quieter neighbourhoods on active travel, officers advised that long term data collection was needed and underway, but more time was needed. The installation of more permanent continuous counting locations to monitor the number of people walking and cycling in different areas was being looked at. More broadly across the country, data supported that the benefit/cost ratio for investment in active travel was high.


In response to Members’ enquiries regarding bike hangers at train stations, officers responded that there were hubs at Enfield Town and Edmonton Green; they were working on designs for hubs at other stations before seeking funding, and they were encouraging developers to contribute to multi-modal journeys.


A member of the public asked about street cleaning and planting of more trees along streets, to which officers and Cllr Jewell said there were over 25,000 trees in Enfield’s streets and that if trees were removed to facilitate off street parking, they were replaced. As part of a transport strategy currently being consulted on, and a walking action plan, a healthy street approach and improvements were being pursued, which would involve cleaning and planting.


The Panel AGREED to note the report which provided information on consultations that had taken place for Quieter Neighbourhoods and walking & cycling infrastructure.

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