Agenda item

HIGH STREET TEMPORARY PEDESTRIANISATION

(a)        By invitation, S Lakin, Strategic Transport Manager at Central Bedfordshire Council, will attend the meeting to answer questions regarding the trial pedestrianisation of the High Street.

 

(b)       To consider the Motion proposed by Councillor S Owen and seconded by Councillor R Goodchild: “That the Town Clerk be instructed to discuss with Central Bedfordshire Council to secure the provision of additional seating and bad-weather shelters (of a temporary and portable nature) at the two bus-stops on either side of West Street, Leighton Buzzard, with urgency in view of the approach of adverse autumn and winter weather, and to report to Policy & Finance Committee on 21 September whether any contribution by this Council to the cost of such work might be helpful or appropriate.”

Minutes:

(a)          By invitation Mr S Lakin, Strategic Transport Manager at Central Bedfordshire Council attended the meeting to answer questions regarding the trial pedestrianisation of the High Street. Mr Lakin reiterated the three main objectives of the trial pedestrianisation: to support the Town Council in bringing the market back into the High Street, to allow for safe social distancing and to re-start the High Street by providing businesses with additional space in which to expand their offer. This was an experimental order for 18 months and any changes being made to the High Street such as changes to road markings, provision of additional street furniture and planters were temporary. The Town Council was thanked for its encouragement of use of the new pedestrianised space in providing the new additional Thursday market.

 

Some concerns were raised regarding public perception of changes as a permanent decision. Mr Lakin confirmed that no permanent decisions would be made without full consultation with all stakeholders (residents, businesses) as well as full consideration of all the implications to town centre users, including bus users and Blue Badge drivers. Central Bedfordshire Council was mindful of the issues being faced by some High Street users (e.g. cyclists) and was reviewing the question of disabled car parking as well as considering provision of additional, temporary seating to help bus users rest on their journey to and from the temporary bus stops on West Street.

 

In respect of the temporary bus stops on West Street, Central Bedfordshire officers were looking at provision of additional seating as well as the feasibility of installing suitable temporary shelters. Again, no permanent changes would be made. Funding for any shelters was a question yet to be addressed.

 

It was noted that some minor amendments needed to be made to the TTRO in order to address matters such as delivery times to local businesses. It was requested that a copy of this be sent to the Town Clerk for circulation.

 

Mr Lakin encouraged Members to forward any further questions through the Town Clerk or Head of Service and reiterated that all feedback would be stored by Central Bedfordshire Council until such time as any permanent decision was made on the experimental Order. It was also reiterated that any future permanent changes would be subject to a new and substantive round of consultation.

 

RESOLVED to note the information.

 

(b)          Council received a motion proposed by Councillor S Owen and seconded by Councillor R Goodchild: “That the Town Clerk be instructed to discuss with Central Bedfordshire Council to secure the provision of additional seating and bad-weather shelters (of a temporary and portable nature) at the two bus-stops on either side of West Street, Leighton Buzzard, with urgency in view of the approach of adverse autumn and winter weather, and to report to Policy & Finance Committee on 21 September whether any contribution by this Council to the cost of such work might be helpful or appropriate.”

 

Councillor Owen introduced the Motion and advised Council that despite the announcement that Central Bedfordshire Council was considering provision of seating and shelters, that a formal resolution should still be made. Councillor Goodchild seconded the Motion and reiterated the need for seating as well as shelter, given that the temporary TRO would see bus users using the temporary stops during the winter.

 

An amendment was proposed to the original motion by Councillor Jones and it was further proposed that a vote be taken. This was seconded by Councillor Dodwell.

 

Two points of order were raised by Councillor Owen. The Chair ruled that a vote would be taken on the proposed amendment.   A recorded vote was requested (see Appendix A).

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was carried (11 for, 7 against). It was clarified that this was now the substantive motion and no further vote was required.

 

RESOLVED that this Council welcomes the announcement made by Central Bedfordshire Council on Monday 17 August 2020 that temporary shelters and additional seating are being investigated at the bus stops in West Street (occasioned by the TRO on the High Street pedestrianisation) and would ask that this Council be kept informed on the timescale for completion and the progress.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 20:50 and recommenced at 20:55 hours.

 

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