Agenda, decisions and minutes
Venue: This will be held as a virtual online meeting
Contact: James Kinsella, Governance Manager Tel: 020 8937 2063; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The press and public are welcome to attend this as an online virtual meeting. The link to view proceedings can be accessed via the Live Streaming section on the Democracy page of the Council's website or through the link on the agenda frontsheet
Prior to its formal opening, the Mayor welcomed everyone to the virtual meeting and invited the Chief Executive to outline the guidance relating to conduct of the meeting.
The Mayor also advised he was delighted to announce that Councillor Liz Dixon had been awarded an MBE in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours. The award was in recognition of her outstanding work in restorative justice and her efforts in rehabilitating offenders over the last three decades. On behalf of the Council, the Mayor congratulated Councillor Dixon on her award.
The Mayor then moved on to the formal agenda for the meeting.
Apologies for Absence
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Conneely.
Apologies for lateness were received from Councillors Ethapemi and Hirani.
The Mayor advised that direct apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Conneelly. Apologies for lateness were also received from Councillors Ethapemi and Hirani.
It was also noted that Councillor Mitchell-Murray and Ramesh Patel were unable to attend due to technical issues in being able join the meeting remotely.
Declarations of Interest
Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.
To hear any deputations, agreed in accordance with Standing Order 32.
NOTED the following deputations received at the meeting:
· Joel Davidson, on behalf of the Brondesbury Park Residents Association objecting to the Local Traffic Neighbourhood proposals in their area.
· Mark Falcon, on behalf of Brent Cleaner Air Campaign highlighting their support for the principles and objectives behind Brent’s Active Travel Programme alongside the need for effective local engagement and monitoring.
· Charlie Fernandes, on behalf of the Brent Cycling Campaign highlighting their support for Health Low Traffic Neighbourhoods.
The Mayor advised that he had accepted requests for three deputations to be presented at the meeting on the subject of Healthy Neighbourhoods.
The first of these had been from Joel Davidson on behalf of the Brondesbury Park Residents Association. The second from Mark Falcon, speaking on behalf of Brent Clean Air Campaign and the third from Charlie Fernandes, speaking on behalf of the Brent Cycling Campaign.
The Mayor advised that unless otherwise indicated by Members, he intended to allow each of the nominated speakers up to five minutes to present their deputations. He would then allow Councillor Tatler, as Lead Member for Regeneration, Property and Planning up to five minutes to respond on the deputations received.
As no issues were raised on the approach outlined, the Mayor moved on to welcome Joel Davidson to the meeting and invited him to present the first deputation on behalf of the Brondesbury Park Residents Association. The following issues were highlighted as part of the deputation:
· The Brondesbury Park Residents Association felt that the Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes were being pushed through undemocratically by the Council, with local people not having been consulted or engaged before implementation. The approach towards the concept of “retrospective consultation” was deemed unacceptable and unsatisfactory by local residents in the area;
· Concerns were also highlighted in relation to the design of the schemes based on what was felt to be “anecdotal data”, with schemes elsewhere across London also causing similar concern, for example in Ealing, Hackney and Islington. In Wandsworth and Redbridge, this had led to local authorities reversing decisions to implement the schemes;
· It was also felt the schemes would make traffic, and therefore air pollution, along main roads in the Brondesbury Park area, such as Kilburn High Road, Salisbury Road and Chamberlain Road worse, with a number of local schools also likely to be adversely affected by the increase in traffic;
· Highlighting that Brent had one of the largest percentage of daily trips by public transport and one of the lowest percentage of daily trips for motor vehicles in London, the Resident Association felt this weakened the case for introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. Moreover, it was also felt there was a need to recognise that air pollution levels had reduced as a result of the pandemic. As such, the need for such measures was deemed questionable, especially as it was felt the use of road closures and barriers in local areas would not prompt residents to move to alternative modes of travel;
· Low Traffic Neighbourhoods were also felt to discriminate against those with mobility issues, the elderly and tradespeople, all of whom struggled to travel without the use of motor vehicles;
· Whilst highlighting that Resident Association remained keen to improve their local environment and were supportive of the efforts being made to encourage more active modes of transport such as walking and cycling, it was felt this could be achieved and coexist alongside motor vehicle use. The approach would, however, require a joined up approach ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
For Members to consider any petitions submitted with more than 200 signatures, in accordance with the Council’s petition rules and Standing Order 66.
1. the following petitions presented at the meeting:
· Yogi Pandya – objecting to proposals within the Brent Active Travel Plan: Preston Area (PM29).
· Alexandra Kelly – objecting to the Low Traffic Neighbourhood proposals in the Kensal, Brondesbury & Queens Park Area (LTN 19).
· Christopher Mahon (on behalf of Kilburn Village Residents Association) – objecting to the Low Traffic Neighbourhood proposals in the Kilburn Area (LTN20).
2. The response from the Lead Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning to both the deputations and petitions, which highlighted:
· the trial nature of the proposals which had been designed to address the climate emergency and encourage more active and local modes of travel;
· the need to ensure full cooperation and collaboration in recognition of the concerns raised, along with the wide ranging nature of the discussions and engagement undertaken to date and planned moving forward;
· the fast tracked nature of the government’s conditional funding made available to support the initiative and context within which the proposals had needed to be developed. Whilst this had required consultation and engagement to be undertaken as part of the active trials, the Council was keen to encourage further local active participation and engagement as the experimental Healthy Neighbourhood schemes continued to be developed.
In addition to the deputations received, the Mayor advised that he had also agreed to accept three petitions at the meeting again relating to Healthy Neighbourhood proposals.
The first of these related to the Active Travel Programme within Preston ward with Yogi Patel as lead petitioner. The second related to proposed road closures in the Kensal, Brondesbury & Queens Park area, with Alexandra Kelly as lead petitioner. The third and final petition was from the Kilburn Village Residents Associated and related to proposed road closures in their area with Christopher Mahon as lead petitioner.
The Mayor advised that unless otherwise indicated by Members, he intended to allow each of the nominated speakers up to five minutes to address the meeting in order to present their petitions. As with the previous item, he would then provide Councillor Tatler, as Lead Member for Regeneration, Property and Planning with an opportunity to respond to the issues raised, for which she would also be allowed up to five minutes.
As no issues were raised in terms of the approach outlined, the Mayor welcomed Yogi Patel to the meeting and invited him to present the first petition, with the following issues highlighted:
· Speaking on behalf of local residents from Thirlmere Gardens and other local roads in the area, Yogi Patel advised that whilst those who had signed the petition were supportive of the healthy neighbourhood concept and promotion of active travel in the area they were opposed to the blocking of roads, which were felt to create unnecessary boundaries between neighbourhoods;
· Concerns were also highlighted in relation to the evidence around air quality, congestion and road safety used as the basis for designing the scheme implemented in their area and at the lack of prior consultation or engagement with local residents;
· The practical difficulties created for local residents following implementation of the scheme were also highlighted, which included lack of what was felt to be adequate or accurate signage, limited turning space for vehicles, additional congestion, inconsiderate driving and vehicles not able to use the blocked roads having to make longer journeys, which in turn led to higher emissions. This was seen as dangerous for local residents and properties;
· Concerns were also raised in relation to the timing and execution of the works, taking account of other building and utilities works in the area which had led to some temporary barriers being moved to provide access;
· As an alternative to the measures introduced, local residents had advised they would be supportive of one-way systems and increased signage to support the existing 20mph zone and to encourage traffic to use alternative routes without the need for planters or barriers. In summing up, members were asked to recognise the impact in terms of congestion and parking which further development would have in an already densely populated area and the concerns raised in relation to consultation and the evidence provided to support the design of the scheme. Those who had signed the petition were instead keen to focus ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
In accordance with Standing Order 29, to debate the motion submitted by the members who have requisitioned this Extraordinary meeting of the Council.
A copy of the motion to be debated has been attached.
Also attached for consideration as a supplementary item (published on 15 October 2020) is a proposed amendment, submitted by the Labour Group, to the original motion.
Council RESOLVED to approve the following substantive motion (as amended):
Healthy Neighbourhoodsand their part in addressing air quality and climate change
That this Council:
§ embraces its obligations to ensure that every possible intervention against climate change is considered and explored;
§ recognises that air quality in this borough falls well below the standards that should be expected, not least in relation its impact on the physical health and wellbeing of its residents;
§ endorses the intention underpinning Brent’s experimental ‘Healthy Neighbourhoods’;
§ acknowledges the unorthodox conditions attached to conditional government funding necessitating public consultation and engagement within the six-month period of these low traffic trials and not prior to them as might more commonly be expected;
§ welcomes the many lessons that have been, are being, and will continue to be learned throughout this programme with regards to the initiative itself and the manner in which the organisation interacts with the communities it serves;
§ highlights the progress already made through planned and promoted public meetings, thanks each and every participant for their invaluable contributions thus far;
§ thanks those responsible within the organisation for their efforts to date, and commits itself – in light of the importance of these measures as a first tangible foray against climate change set in the context of the new behaviours and habits that they are designed to encourage – to continue providing comprehensive updates to the appropriate forums and committees, this one included, at the earliest opportunity, covering, but not limited to, the following:
- Clarity of the rationale for the introduction of these temporary measures in the various areas;
- Details about how these areas are chosen;
- How we anticipate that they will impact on the council’s active travel, clean air, and climate change targets;
- What stakeholder engagement is involved;
- Comment on how the relative real or perceived pros and cons of these schemes will be weighted and proposed mitigations for addressing concerns of those residents that might feel that others’ ‘gains’ are their ‘losses’;
- Consideration of the risk that some measures may increase congestion elsewhere and the implications that may have on emissions;
- An explanation of overall methodology – including ensuring an adequate baseline for evaluating outcomes, including the goal of lower overall traffic how these schemes will be monitored, and how their viability will be assessed.
Councillors Colwill, Kansagra and Maurice abstained from voting on the amendment to the original motion and substantive motion (as amended) set out above, advising that as an alternative they supported the wording of the original motion.
Before moving on to consider the motion listed on the summons, the Mayor reminded members that, in accordance with Standing Orders, a total of 30 minutes had been set aside for consideration of the motion submitted for debate.
The Mayor then invited Councillor Gill to move the motion submitted by the members who had requisitioned the Extraordinary Council meeting.
In moving the motion Councillor Gill outlined why the members who had requisitioned the meeting had felt it necessary to do so, highlighting the strong and extensive level of representations received from members of the public and important issues being raised as a result. Many of the concerns raised had been in relation to the lack of prior public consultation, although it was recognised that the process of engagement and consultation had been a result of the way in which central government had sought to introduce active trials. Whilst those members who had submitted the motion retained faith in officers and the Lead Member in being able to justify the schemes, the need had been identified to ensure the background to their introduction was clearly explained and was seen more clearly in the context of the global climate emergency and concerns regarding air quality and pollution within Brent. The difficulty in making meaningful changes to the environment in order to address the climate emergency and air pollution had been recognised, along with residents’ desire to see change which, in summing up, he felt highlighted the need to ensure the background, aims and flexibility behind the plans were fully explained along with the relevant outcomes and review process. This had been what the motion sought to achieve.
Following the original motion being moved, the Mayor advised Members of an amendment submitted by Councillor Donnelly-Jackson, the details of which had been included with the supplementary agenda published in advance of the meeting and were set out below. Councillor Donnelly-Jackson formally moved the amendment, highlighting what she felt was the need for the Council to continue taking a proactive and courageous approach in the face of the climate emergency. Highlighting the Council’s commitment to being carbon-neutral by 2030, she felt it important to recognise the impact of pollution and poor air quality as a well-known cause of health issues, particularly within Brent.
Focussing on the pandemic, she felt this provided a unique opportunity to reimagine and adapt the borough’s streets, taking account of the financial support being provided by central government, which would provide more space for both pedestrians and cyclists. Recognising that the Low Traffic & Healthy Neighbourhood proposals were experimental, Councillor Donnelly-Jackson pointed out there was much evidence at home and abroad that these schemes could have the desired effect with the amendment to the motion also accepting the importance and welcoming active scrutiny of the proposals as they continued to be developed.
The amendment moved was as follows:
“Title: Healthy Neighbourhoods
TO ADD AT THE START:
That this Council: ... view the full minutes text for item 6.