A question and answer session from members of the Scrutiny Committee to the Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee.
Indicative time 40 minutes
Councillor Manuel Abellan attended the Committee to respond to questions in his role as Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee.
Q1 How does the Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee envisage the N1 van ban working?
The scheme would require an N1 van to be registered to an address in the permit area in order to be able to park in permit area, as is the current scheme in operation in Sutton. This policy is used in other areas nationally. The impact of this scheme in the St Helier area is being reviewed.
Members reported that ward Councillors have had the issue raised by residents that they would be forced to either move from Sutton or to lose their job if the N1 van scheme was to be implemented. The Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee is aware of this serious issue and this and other concerns will be reviewed in detail through the results of the consultation process.
Q2 Parking issues also relate to increased use of private transport and the pollution emanating from cars. What can we do to increase use of alternative methods of transport including use of public transport, walking and cycling?
To increase alternative methods of transport is an aspiration. There is a link in the borough between the poor public transport provision, meaning other options are limited and the high levels of use of private vehicles. The Council are working to bring a tram to the borough and improve bus provision, these decisions are not always within the Council’s control and are linked to decisions by TfL and central government.
Q3 Under the Council's Parking Strategy, how many spaces does the Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee calculate will be available both before and after the implementation of the plans outlined in Stage 2?
In some roads every piece of kerb space is being utilised for parking, and adding bays and yellow lines will restrict availability but will improve safety and access for eg refuse trucks. Engineers will review specific proposals on a road by road basis, this information will be available on the Council's website when it has been prepared.
The results of the consultation will be analysed to create a strategic policy, rather than looking at individual roads which was previously the case. Responses from the consultation will be reviewed for each road, and common sense applied to the analysis of the number of responses.
Q4 Can residents expect any price increases in their parking permits in the future?
Permit prices will rise in line with inflation as with other charges for services provided by the Council, the current charges are amongst the lowest charges in London.
The Chair remarked that this was the end of the questions regarding parking.
Q5 How many street cleaners does Veolia provide in the borough, and how does this compare to the number deployed by Sutton Council before the service was outsourced?
The Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee, informed the Committee that he did not have these details to hand but could provide a response and discuss resource allocation with Councillor Hicks.
The Chair reminded the Committee and attendees that Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee had not seen the questions in advance of this meeting.
Q6 What is being done to ensure areas with particular issues get more regular cleaning especially shopping parades with fast food shops, and roads with many trees or close to parks where trees overhang the road?
There is an action plan to cover specific areas, which includes deep clean and regular monitoring visits of problem areas.
Q7 Officers have stated that each street in the Borough should be cleaned twice a month who checks on the quality of that cleaning and where is it recorded?
All roads in the borough are visited and inspected fortnightly, and graded, if the road is below grade it is cleaned using either with a mechanical or by a street sweeper. The contact delivers 80% of streets meeting the grading requirement.
Q8 Could the Lead Member advise councillors about the current status of the tram project and provide any indication of the likely outcome and timescales related to this project.
The Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee reported that the consultation by TfL to Sutton residents completed in January 2019 and outlined the how the process would continue noting key dates and the known funding gap.
Q9 The eastern end of the borough has a problem with HGVs using restricted roads. What steps are being taken to tackle this?
Cameras have been put up in some areas. In other area including Sandy Lane South residents have been asked to inform Councillors and the Council of the names of companies whose HGV vehicles are seen in the area. These companies have been contacted and the issue discussed, companies have offered apologies.
Q10 Do you think that the successful reletting of Charles Cryer will help lead to a regeneration of Carshalton High Street and of the arts and theatre in Sutton more generally?
The Charles Cryer is now being used by a new provider which is good news as it was a concern that this was an empty property, the new provider will keep the property in Community use.
Q11 Will the council be paying more attention to heritage in this current administration, and what Heritage Lottery Fund bids does it intend to make in the near future bearing in mind the successful completion of Whitehall Museum?
There are no plans at present bid for more funds, the plan is to complete the current bids including the works at Beddington Park before looking for more funds.
Q12 What legal steps have been taken to protect our green spaces from Traveller encampments?
The Council is aiming to make use of legal process and physical measures to protect green spaces. Capital funding is being allocated to protect vulnerable parks, Ward Councillors have been contacted to discuss the physical measures which they and residents would like to be considered.
Q13 What progress is being made with the new contractor to making Sutton and its constituent parts a visitor destination bearing in mind the variety of its parks and open spaces as well as ponds and rivers?
Initially in the transition period to the contract work was to ensure that standards were met. The strategy is now to review how the contractor is able to make use of activities in areas to attract visitors.
The meeting was adjourned at 8.10pm