A nine-week public consultation is due to start next month after councillors voted to move forward with a pilot low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) scheme.
The latest designs for the Hanover and Tarner Liveable Neighbourhood project follow from a series of public workshops where residents shared their views on design options.
But people living in Elm Grove spoke about fears that more traffic would be pushed into their busy street at a Brighton and Hove City Council meeting yesterday (Tuesday 21 June).
They voiced their concerns in a deputation and petition to the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee at Hove Town Hall.
One resident, Joanne Gorsuch, said that Elm Grove was a residential street with poorly planned junctions and serious accidents every year.
Mrs Gorsuch said: “So-called boundary roads on LTNs see mixed results – and at their worst result in a huge increase in traffic.
“It is no surprise that plans for the LTN provoked worry and anger here. These considerations were sadly neglected in initial proposals for this pilot.”
Alison Guile presented a petition signed by 379 people raising similar concerns.
Green councillor Steve Davis, who chaired the meeting yesterday, said that the council would monitor the results of the pilot scheme to ensure it was a success.
Councillor Davis said that works on the boundary roads, Elm Grove and Queen’s Park Road, were expected to be permanent.
But there would be a further six-month consultation period to allow for amendments as part of an “experimental traffic order”.
He said that the council would monitor any changes introduced to the roads for a further year to consider further amendments or removal.
The council would also monitor air quality in real-time across the scheme, he said, including at sites at Orchard Day Nursery, in Queen’s Park Road, and Elm Grove Primary School.
Councillor Davis said that the council was waiting for the results of a national consultation on pavement parking carried out in 2020 but would consider taking additional action in Elm Grove.
He said: “We know that pavement parking and driving on pavements creates a real danger that residents should simply not have to tolerate.
“It is not acceptable that we do not have the powers to address these in an efficient way and we should have the power to reclaim pavements for pedestrians.”
“Greening” measures for Elm Grove would include new crossing points, traffic calming measures and raised areas for plants.
The committee also received a petition, deputation and public question in support of the project.
Conservative councillors Samer Bagaeen and Robert Nemeth voted against a further public consultation on the project.
Councillor Bagaeen asked how the council had managed to spend £300,000 on the first designs and workshops, saying residents had asked him about how the council appointed design consultancy Project Centre. He did not feel that it had been “transparent”.
Councillor Bagaeen said: “There are residents out there who do not think this is a legitimate and transparent process. We’ve not convinced them that’s the case.
“Reading the report, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not been a legitimate and transparent process.”
Transport officer Oliver Spratley said that the council chose Project Centre after a “mini competition” between three companies with “framework agreements”. The companies had long-standing working relationships with the council, which are reviewed every four years.
The Project Centre bid came in below the cost cap of £75,000. Other costs included surveying 100 points across the Hanover and Tarner area.
One of the council’s most senior officials, Donna Chisholm, said that all the correct procurement procedures had been followed transparently by the procurement team.
The interim co-executive director for the environment, economy and culture said that it was normal for organisations such as Project Centre to have a “framework agreement” with the council. This allowed for the “mini tendering” of projects like the liveable neighbourhood scheme.
Ms Chisholm said: “That is a legitimate and transparent process that is scrutinised by a number of people in the council and periodically by audit.”
She said that the scheme was a pilot scheme and an exercise in experimentation which would come back before the committee.
Green councillor Jamie Lloyd said that it was an exciting project and he wanted to focus on the positives. He said: “We heard from concerned people in neighbouring roads – and I do understand their concerns.
“If this goes ahead, and I’m sure it will, the area will be much nicer, with greening around Elm Grove, more crossings, trees (and) speed monitoring which will make the area much nicer.
“Greening around the school, I think, will be particularly important, which is great, as well as air quality monitoring.”
Labour councillor Gary Wilkinson said that he was frustrated that there was no city-wide strategy for low-traffic and 20-minute neighbourhoods.
He backed the proposals and said: “As the first in the city, I do appreciate that the Hanover and Tarner Pilot LTN will help to test the local Brighton and Hove context and the local public highway network to inform and influence the future co-production, development, and delivery of the city’s future LTNs and/or other liveable neighbourhood measures across the city.
“However, a strategy should ideally have come before the implementation of the pilot scheme. What we have done here is put the cart before the horse.”
The council contacted 7,215 households in the area before the two public engagement exercises.
During the first public engagement mapping exercise in October and November last year, more than 300 people gave their views.
In the second engagement period, in April and May, people gave their views on two concept designs, with 250 people attending workshops and 472 responding online.
Green and Labour councillors voted to consult people on the new designs and to ask the Policy and Resources Committee for £1.1 million funding from the 2022-23 Carbon Neutral Fund.
The Policy and Resources Committee is due to meet at Hove Town Hall at 4pm on Thursday 7 July.
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