Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Royal Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS
Contact: Mark O'Callaghan Democratic Services Officer
Note: Please note that the public proceedings of the meeting will be recorded and made available for playback on the Tunbridge Wells Borough Council website
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillor Oakford.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest by Members in items on the agenda. For any advice on declarations of interest, please contact the Monitoring Officer before the meeting.
There were no disclosable pecuniary or other significant interests declared at the meeting.
Notification of Visiting Members wishing to speak
To note any members of the Council wishing to speak, of which due notice has been given in accordance with Council Meeting Procedure Rule 18, and which items they wish to speak on.
Councillor Moore had registered to speak at minute TB15/18.
The Chairman noted that three members of the public had registered to speak at minute TB14/18 and two members of the public on minute TB16/18.
To approve the minutes of a previous meeting as a correct record. The only issue relating to the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.
Members reviewed the minutes. No amendments were proposed.
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting dated 16 July 2018 be approved as a correct record.
John Barber, for the Friends of Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall Commons, had registered to speak and welcomed the completion of the Major York’s Road crossing and progress on the Langton Road crossing. At a site visit on 31 Januray 2018 it had agreed that a traffic survey would be undertaken to inform the next steps and the cost of approximately £750 would be met jointly by County Councillor Rankin and Rusthall Parish Council. This was subsequently confirmed in updates at the April and July meetings of the Joint Transportation Board. He was concerned by an apparent lack of progress and confusion between officers and Rusthall Parish Council who appeared not to have received any quotes for the survey.
Adrian Berendt, for the Royal Tunbridge Wells Town Forum, had registered to speak and commented that there was a lack of progress and, in some cases, counteractive actions on many significant issues including congestion, safety and pollution. Cars were being prioritised at the expense of people. Kent topped the list of road casualties with 811 in 2017. There had been very little progress on safety schemes and no progress on increasing the number of journeys taken by active travel. £20m was being spent on town centre parking which would not help with congestion or pollution but a small fraction of that amount would have a transformational effect on active travel. The Council’s consultation on air quality clearly identified road traffic as the main component of poor air quality yet noting was being done to tackle it. 2019 should be the year to make radical changes, to protect vulnerable road users, to make reductions in pollution and to reverse decisions making things worse.
Lachlan Burn, resident of Pembury, had registered to speak and commented that traffic used the country lanes such as Kings Toll Road to access or bypass the A21. Several stables along the road catered for school children and disabled people who, along with the stable staff, were at risk from increasingly heavy traffic. The road also formed part of a designated route popular with walkers and cyclists. The narrowness of the road and the acute angle of the junction with the A21 was a hazard to all road users, some drivers were ignoring the no right-turn causing significant danger to oncoming vehicles. Action should be taken to dissuade drivers from leaving the A21.
Comments were made in respect of the following items (other items were taken as read):
Pedestrian Crossing on Langton Road
· County Councillor Rankin had not received confirmation from Rusthall Parish Council that it would share the cost of the surveys but on receipt of such she would complete the necessary paperwork to facilitate the use of her Combined Member Grant.
· The surveys only informed the next stages and did not guarantee that a crossing would be forthcoming.
· The Chairman of Rusthall Parish Council had confirmed to Councillor Stanyer in a recent telephone call that they were willing to share the cost.
· Lisa Gillham, District Manager for Tunbridge ... view the full minutes text for item TB14/18
Nick Baldwin, Engineer, TWBC, introduced the report and noted that having considered the wider implications of the proposals the Council was proposing alternative restrictions to those which had initially been discussed. Details were set out in the report.
Councillor Moore, member for Park Ward, had registered to speak and commented that elected members needed to demonstrate leadership and responsiveness. Through the Board’s support, the revised restrictions set out in the report provided an appropriate response to reasonable concerns and she supported the recommendations.
The discussion included consideration of the following matters:
· Current parking on roads adjacent to Grove Hill Road was tight but provided sufficient space to allow vehicles to turn, thus avoiding the need for vehicles to reverse out on to Grove Hill Road.
· The support for the proposals expressed by local residents and the local member was satisfactory justification for approving the recommendations.
RESOLVED – That the Board endorses the proposed minor amendment to parking restrictions in the Grove Hill Road area to extend restrictions for one hour parking between 8am and 8pm Monday to Saturday with no return for four hours, to between 8am and 10pm Monday to Saturday still with no return within four hours.
Lisa Gillham, District Manager for Tunbridge Wells, KCC, introduced the report which included the following comments:
· Resurfacing of the A26 through St. John’s Road was completed in August 2018.
· All sites listed for micro-surfacing and surface dressing as set out in the report had been completed on schedule.
· Resurfacing of Langton Road was due to commence this evening.
· Six surface drains in the Nevill Street area had been disconnected from the Southern Water sewer and connected to the River Grom to help reduce the risk of flooding in the area.
· A drain cleansing ‘blitz’ had recently been completed.
· A full drainage report would come to the next meeting. In the meantime, it was confirmed that drains on minor roads were cleansed in response to reports whilst drains on major roads were routinely cleansed on an annual basis or biannual basis in high risk areas.
· Gully cleansing had commenced in October and was due to complete in November 2018.
John Coupe, for Tunbridge Wells Bicycle User Group, had registered to speak and questioned how the reduced provision for the A26 cycle route achieved the objectives of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, as set out at Appendix D4 to the report. Previous proposals enjoyed support from 70 per cent of respondents to the public consultation which, whilst not perfect, were a significant improvement. The designs to be implemented were much poorer by comparison. Retention of six on-street parking spaces would reduce the benefits of the scheme and there were more examples where the scheme was being undermined. Actions were failing to live up to promises.
Paul Mason, for Tunbridge Wells Bicycle User Group, had registered to speak and noted that the purpose of TWBUG was to get more people to cycle. Appendix E to the report contained 15 examples where a bell-mouth junction was to be installed, some of which had already been completed. Tight-curve junctions were considerably safer and should be preferable. Bell-mouth junctions were no-longer best practice and in many instances were being replaced by tighter curves, doing so now would reduce future costs and demonstrate the Council’s commitment to making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Comments were made in respect of the following matters:
A26 Cycle Route (page 32):
· A26 cycle route was a priority route for TWBC and efforts were ongoing to improve it further.
· The diminishing of the cycle route and the lost opportunity of completing the raised tables at the same time as the resurfacing was disappointing.
Bell-mouth Junctions (pages 33-36):
· The design of junctions was inline with established standards and dependent on local conditions, turning curves needed to accommodate larger vehicles as well as cars.
· Bell-mouth junctions had lower long-term maintenance costs.
· Design standards had been slow to take account of increasing trends towards more walking and cycling.
· Clarification was sought as to whether there was agreement with the principal of tight-curve junctions being safer.
· Officers were increasingly mindful of local conditions in determining the most appropriate junction for the location.
· Given that there ... view the full minutes text for item TB16/18
To agree any topics for future meetings, of which prior notice must be sent to the Chairman and Democratic Services Officer no later than 4pm on the working day before the meeting. There can not be any substantive debate, discussion or any decision on any topics raised, except to agree whether the topic may come forward in future.
Comments were made in respect of the following items:
Reporting of Performance Indicators
· Following a request from the Chief Executive, the reporting of some key performance indicators may be possible, however, consideration was ongoing and would be reported to a future meeting.
· Thousands of fault reports were received and acted upon in Tunbridge Wells each year, any such reporting must be effective and appropriate.
· Numbers of people killed or seriously injured on Kent roads was the worst in the UK and there should be a regular item to monitor both numbers and actions taken to mitigate incidents.
· If statistics were to be provided, a standard method of comparison would need to be established.
· The number of people killed or seriously injured was a national data point required by the government.
· A limited number of key points would be helpful to determine the actual state of affairs rather than having to rely on anecdotal evidence.
· Any statistics would need to be considered in context.
· Crash statistics were key in determining the necessity of crash remedial works which reduced the amount of money for other improvement works. Any such spend needed to demonstrate a reduction in crashes.
Members agreed that the item come forward to a future meeting.
Criteria for 20 mph Zones
· A recent response from KCC for a 20mph zone in the Banner Farm area had set out the criteria for future consideration of such schemes and were noted here for members information.
· Community led schemes which were not safety schemes required external funding.
· The Schemes Planning and Delivery Team are only able to initiate 20mph schemes if either a crash remedial scheme or if led by a public health agenda with evidence to suggest that the local area is highly ranked in terms of priority based on public health indicators.
On-Street Parking Enforcement Reserve
· The JTB had no budget.
· The reserve consisted of the surplus from penalty charge notices after costs had been deducted. TWBC held the money on KCC’s behalf.
· The Borough Council could put a business case to KCC to access the reserve. Applications would be made through officers.
· Only small surpluses were made so the reserve needed to accumulate funds over long periods. The reserve was currently £317k.
· The Council could not ‘profit’ from penalty charge notices therefore any surplus must be spent on road transport projects.
· JTB could recommend priority projects, within the criteria, for consideration of an application for funding from the reserve.
· There had not been any recent applications to the reserve but a number of projects were expected from the forthcoming review of the Parking Strategy.
· Use of the reserve should be positively publicised to avoid accusations of profiteering from penalty charge notices.
Members agreed that the item come forward to a future meeting.
High Brooms Rail Bridge
· A heavy goods vehicle had again become stuck under the High Brooms Rail Bridge leading to considerable disruption.
· Given the unlikelihood of physical alterations to the bridge, creative solutions would be needed. ... view the full minutes text for item TB17/18
Date of Next Meeting
To note that the next scheduled meeting will be held on Monday 21 January 2019 at 6.00pm.
The date of the next scheduled meeting was Monday 21 January 2019 at 6pm.