Agenda and draft minutes

Planning, Transport, Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 1st February, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: South Essex College, High Street, Grays, RM17 6TF in room W1.23 and W1.24

Contact: Grace Le, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email: Direct.Democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

30.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 206 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Planning, Transport, Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committeemeeting held on 7 December 2021.

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the Planning, Transport, Regeneration O&S Committee meeting held on 7 December 2021 were approved as a true and correct record.

31.

Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972. To agree any relevant briefing notes submitted to the Committee.

Minutes:

 

There were no items of urgent business.

 

The Chair stated that the Thurrock Transport Strategy and Vision, Tram, Active Travel and River Connectivity briefing note had been circulated on 21 January 2021 to the Committee. Members confirmed that they had received and read this.

 

32.

Declaration of Interests

Minutes:

The Chair declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he owned a car in Thurrock and that he lived in a PPA parking area.

 

33.

Fees and Charges Pricing Strategy 2022-23 (deferred from 7 December 2021 meeting) pdf icon PDF 441 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by Leigh Nicholson.

 

Councillor Kerin raised concerns over the number of charges that had risen above inflation particularly in Darnley Road and Argent Street car parks and in car parks where there were sports recreation facilities. He said that the charges would impact on businesses and users of the sports facilities and questioned why the charges were above inflation. Referring to page 15, he pointed out that the charges on Argent Street would increase by 42% which he felt was not justifiable even if the charges had not increased over the past 3 years. He was also concerned over the increases in the car parks for Coalhouse Fort and Belhus Cricket Club.

 

Phil Carver explained that the service aimed to maintain a consistent approach in charges and had benchmarked their charges against other local authorities. He said that the methodology used for charges were outlined in the report. In regards to the increase in car park charges for Coalhouse Fort and Belhus Cricket Club, he explained that the car parks were well used and that although it was currently free, it cost the service to maintain the car parks. The increase in the car park charges was to offset this cost. Maintenance of the car parks included resurfacing and filling potholes which caused accidents to users. The charges would be ring fenced back to these car parks. Adding on to this, Julie Rogers referred Members to paragraph 3.3 and said that the service looked at their neighbouring authorities’ charging schemes to try to keep a consistent approach in charges.

 

Councillor Kerin said that he could not agree with the principles for increasing the car park charges as the borough’s recreational spaces were much needed and well used. He pointed out that people had to drive to these places to access these and felt it was not right to have charges there.

 

Referring to 5.3, Councillor Kelly questioned whether this had influenced the decision to increase car park charges. Julie Rogers replied that Covid had played some part but the pandemic had an overall impact across the Council. She explained that the car parks cost the service to maintain and pointed out that the charges had not increased over the years but this needed to be balanced to ensure they were maintained.

 

Councillor Carter pointed out that the 42% increase was in line with inflation and that if the charges did not increase, the service would not be able to maintain the car parks well. Councillor Watson questioned whether the charges would be over a 7 day period or during Monday – Friday. Lisa Preston answered that the car park charges would be during Monday – Friday except for the car park in Grays Beach. For Canterbury Parade, the charges would be in place during Monday – Saturday, but would remain free for the first hour.

 

The Chair commented that an increase in charges was not well liked by people but pointed out that car parks required  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Introduction of additional Pay and Display sites within Thurrock (deferred from 7 December 2021 meeting) pdf icon PDF 261 KB

Minutes:

The Chair stated that a statement from a member of the public had been accepted and he invited Mr Cansdale to speak. Mr Cansdale read out his statement:

 

“Unfair Tax on Outdoor Sport and Lifestyles

 

I believe that our local parks and recreation grounds contribute to healthy living and residents should be encouraged to visit them and should not be deterred by car parking charges. It is my understanding that Council policy is to encourage outdoor activity as part of a healthy lifestyle.

My concern is that the car park charging will drive away organised sport from the venue as club members may choose to participate elsewhere at one of several venues where sport is played in Thurrock and where it is free to park.  Or they may choose not to play at all.  Teams do not pay for car parking at ‘away’ fixtures and it is likely Thurrock teams will be ostracised by leagues and competitions, potentially leading to expulsion and social division.

 

Essentially, Thurrock Council is proposing that a very small sub-set of the population of Thurrock, which uses Ockendon Recreation Ground very frequently, will be paying a very heavy price for repeated visits as Council looks to gain additional revenue to recover the reported £34.3m funding gap and we would suggest that contributions to close this gap are made across the whole Thurrock community, not via these proposed car parking charges, so that an unfair and disproportionate financial burden on our membership can be avoided.

 

I wish to point out that the statutory guidance for local authorities on enforcing parking restrictions from HM Government, section 2.1, states that ‘Enforcement authorities should not view it in isolation or as a way of raising revenue”.  

 

HM Government’s Sports Strategy

 

The report appears to be contrary to HM Government’s Sports Strategy, published in December 2015, with the mantra of ‘a new strategy for an active nation’.  The first key heading for a series of 23 performance indicators is ‘More People taking part in Sport and Physical Activity’.  I suggest that, in Thurrock, this objective will not be met if Council erect pay and display equipment in the car parks of local recreation grounds, such as that planned at Ockendon. 

 

Objectives of DCMS Renewal Taskforce

 

On 20th May 2020, the DCMS announced the creation of this taskforce, chaired by The Right Hon. Oliver Dowden CBE MP, with the view of ensuring that sport and culture can re-open successfully in the post-covid era.  I believe this is part of HM Government’s pledge to ‘Build Back Better’.  I therefore suggest that charging to park vehicles at Ockendon Recreation Ground is contrary to the objectives of HM Government, the DCMS and its renewal taskforce. 

 

Thurrock Council’s Active Place Strategy

 

This strategy was adopted by Cabinet at its meeting held on 13th January 2021.  A Council member in recommending the report for adoption, said: “Sports will be at the centre of the new local plan and this report will help to increase sport  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Parking Policy and Strategy and Parking Design and Development Standards pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was presented by Navtej Tung.

 

Councillor Kelly asked whether there were any substantial changes since the report was last discussed at the PTR meeting on 5 October 2021. He commented that the parking strategy needed to acknowledge the issues that the borough currently faced and highlighted issues of the lack of visitor spaces in developments. He felt that there needed to be spaces for delivery vehicles to unload as well. Referring to the multi-storey car parks in Lakeside, he said that these worked well and commuters were able to park there for free but other areas such as Grays did not have this. Navtej Tung replied that there were no substantial changes since the last report but gave Members the opportunity to look at the policies again as requested by the Chair (Councillor Alex Anderson).

 

Referring to parking standards in new developments, Councillor Kerin asked if this took into consideration the changing nature of families as children became adults but was still living at home. This usually resulted in the purchase of another car which meant another parking space was needed. He also asked what support was in place to help schools with car parking issues. Referring to page 142, Matthew Ford said that a range of different land use and parking standards were outlined and this was applied to ensure that there were good provisions within schools such as drop off and pick up points. He referred to a recently approved planning application for the Orsett Heath Academy and explained how extra parking had been provided due to the recreational uses within the site and also to provide for the multi-functional provision to maximise these. He explained that land use focused on the area of a development where there were opportunities to relax parking standards such as town centre locations with other modes of transport or to provide appropriate parking provisions for facilities that were further away.

 

Councillor Kerin questioned what was in place to support existing schools who did not have those extra car parking spaces. Matthew Ford replied that the parking standards were not designed to mitigate existing schools and that there were different procedures for these. The service encouraged schools to use travel plans but needed schools to work with the service on these.

 

In regards to residential developments near train stations, Councillor Kerin commented that these did not have an adequate number of parking spaces. He queried the views of the service when developments proposed less parking spaces because of the proximity to the train station. Matthew Ford explained that over the past 10 – 15 years it had been difficult to evidence the need for adequate parking spaces in residential developments without a parking policy in place. He said that government policies had shifted to require certain parking standards which was reflected in the NPPF to require an appropriate mix of parking spaces. He went on to say that there were some developers who tried to reduce the number of spaces proposed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Integrated Transport Block Capital Programme 2022-23. Highways Maintenance allocation and programme 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was presented by Mat Kiely and Peter Wright.

 

There were no questions or comments from Members.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.1       Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny provide comment on the report and the following Cabinet recommendations:

 

1.2       Endorse the ITB Capital Programme allocations, policy and prioritisation direction for the DfT ITB Block funding under the key Policy areas of Road Safety Engineering, Safer Routes to School, Area Intervention Programme and EV charging programme.

 

1.3       Endorse the Highways Maintenance Block Allocation Programme (as detailed in Appendix 4) for 2022/23.

 

1.4       Support the process which delegates authority to the Director of Public realm, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, to review and make local changes to the ITB programme and the DfT Maintenance Block Allocation programme, as well as other funding allocations that may arise within-year.

37.

A13 East Facing Access Update and Outline Business Case Proposal pdf icon PDF 532 KB

Minutes:

The report was presented by Mat Kiely.

 

Referring to option 1A, the Chair questioned if this was a preliminary plan. Mat Kiely explained that this option would require a more extensive design idea.

 

Councillor Kerin commented that there was not much to say until it was confirmed who would be the scheme promoter. He said that the report needed to be brought back to committee once this was confirmed. He questioned why National Highways had been approached to be the scheme promoter and why Thurrock Council could not be the scheme promoter themselves. Mat Kiely replied that this was due to the ability to find more funding and National Highways had funding for road investments. National Highways were also more familiar with large scale road infrastructure delivery and the road was also a part of their strategic road network. Thurrock Council had taken the initiative to bring the scheme forward in a much needed area.

 

Councillor Kelly commented that the scheme should have been implemented years ago due to the Lakeside basin. He mentioned that there was a football pitch in the area and said that the service needed to ensure that the pitch was supported in their move. Navtej Tung explained that the service had been in discussions with the sports pitch providers and there were a number of options in moving the pitch. The service would work with them to ensure that there would be minimal disruption to them.

 

The Chair commented that the scheme was needed and would help to improve journey times and reduce the amount of traffic on the roads. He asked that the report be brought back and that it needed to highlight potential pitfalls within the project.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.1       Planning Transport and Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny provide comment on the report and the following Cabinet recommendations:

 

1.2       Members are asked to note the work undertaken to produce the EFA Outline Business Case to date, to endorse the approach that has been taken and to provide comment on the OBC.

 

1.3       Members are asked to note and comment on the proposed approach to work with National Highways to identify how the OBC submission and responsibility for the scheme can be progressed.

 

1.4       Members are asked to note and comment on the proposed cost and risk implications identified within the report.

38.

Stanford-le-Hope Interchange Report pdf icon PDF 470 KB

Minutes:

Members discussed whether the item should be discussed in an exempt session. Councillor Kerin and Watson wished to discuss the exempt appendix in an open session as they felt that this needed to be discussed in an open public meeting. The Chair, Councillors Kelly and Carter voted to discuss the item in an exempt session and Councillor Kerin and Watson voted against. Councillor Kerin and Watson chose not to participate in the item in an exempt session.

 

This item was discussed in an exempt session.

 

39.

A13 Widening Project pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

Due to the time limit of the venue, this item was deferred to the next meeting.

40.

Tilbury and Grays Town Fund Updates pdf icon PDF 455 KB

Minutes:

Due to the time limit of the venue, this item was deferred to the next meeting.

41.

Regeneration Programme Update pdf icon PDF 519 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Due to the time limit of the venue, this item was deferred to the next meeting.

42.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Minutes:

Members requested that Stanford Le Hope Interchange Update and A13 Widening Update remain as standing items on the work programme in the next municipal year.