Agenda and minutes

Environment and Customer Services Policy and Scrutiny Committee - Monday 9th November, 2015 7.00 pm

Venue: Rooms 5, 6 & 7 - 17th Floor, Westminster City Hall, 64 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6 QP. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Deacon  020 7641 2783

No. Item



To note any changes to the membership.


1.1      An apology for absence was received from Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg.  Councillor Guthrie McKie replaced Councillor Dimoldenberg at the meeting.  Councillor Julia Alexander was welcomed as a newly appointed Member of the Committee.


Declarations Of Interest

To receive declarations of interest by Members and Officers of any personal or prejudicial interests.


2.1      Councillor McKie declared that he is a Patient Governor of the Royal Brompton Hospital and that the Hospital could potentially be affected by the possible location of a Crossrail 2 station in Kings Road, Chelsea.    Councillor Karen Scarborough declared that Baker Street and Gloucester Place, featured in the Baker Street Two Way Project proposals, are located in the ward she represents, Marylebone High Street.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 8 September 2015.


3.1      RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 8 September 2015 be signed by the Chairman as a correct record of proceedings.


Update From Cabinet Members pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Question and Answer session at the meeting with the Cabinet Member for Sustainability And Parking and the Cabinet Member for City Management and Customer Services.


Written updates from the Cabinet Member for the Built Environment (Appendix 1), the Cabinet Member for City Management and Customer Services (to follow) and the Cabinet Member for Sustainability And Parking (to follow).

Additional documents:


4.1       The Committee received written updates from the Cabinet Member for the Built Environment, the Cabinet Member for City Management and Customer Services and the Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Parking on significant matters within their portfolios.  


4.2       The Chairman welcomed Councillor Heather Acton and Councillor Melvyn Caplan to the meeting.  Councillor Caplan had recently been appointed as the Cabinet Member for the newly combined portfolio of City Management and Customer Services. This change had been reflected in the amended name of the Committee.  The Committee firstly put questions to and received responses from Councillor Acton on a number of matters that were relevant to the Sustainability and Parking portfolio.  These included the following topics:


·           What was the impact on the owners of parked vehicles which it was proposed would be relocated to alternative parking locations, including for example during special events?  The Cabinet Member replied that any vehicle moved in this instance would be taken to an alternative safe place and the owner would be able to find out by telephone where the vehicle was located.  Ten days’ notice would be given of any proposed parking changes.  Residents’ permits did advise that owners of vehicles needed to be aware not to leave them unattended for more than a week.

·           What areas do the four marshals and supervisor visit every Thursday and Friday evening under Operation Neon?  Councillor Acton replied that they went to specific hotspots where traffic issues arose, largely in the West End.  If Councillors advised her or officers that there were any specific hotspots they were able to liaise with Transport for London (‘TfL’).

·           What are the numbers of people participating in the cycle schemes particularly the bike loan pilot and adult cycle training?  Councillor Acton agreed to provide the Committee with the specific numbers involved.

·           Had the joint coach marshalling pilot resulted in a decrease in problems in coach parking use in Buckingham Gate and the Aldwych?  The Cabinet Member believed there had been a slight improvement although the biggest impact was likely to be during the summer when tourist coaches used the area.  It was intended that the operation would be expanded for next year’s summer period.  Discussions were taking place with the Royal Parks so that the coaches could use a designated area there.  Motorists and taxi drivers were becoming more aware of issues relating to vehicles idling but there was still a long way to go in terms of educating motorists.

·           Were there any plans to expand the pilot such as in Ebury Bridge Road?  Councillor Acton informed Members that the Council was working across Westminster on addressing vehicle idling.  If there were problems but the coaches were moving the Council would not be able to take action.  

·           What was the position with the configuration issues affecting the portal for parking permit applications when iPads were used within libraries?  Councillor Acton replied that currently iPads could not access this system because of the protections Apple had placed on the iPads which were designed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Baker Street Two Way Project pdf icon PDF 286 KB

Report of the Head of Strategic Transport Planning and Public Realm.

Additional documents:


5.1       The Chairman referred to the Committee having previously held a public meeting in June 2015 at the University of Westminster Campus in Marylebone Road where the details of the Project were scrutinised.  This meeting had been well attended by members of the public, residents’ groups and local Ward Members.  A verbal update had then been provided by Graham King, Head of Strategic Transport Planning & Public Realm, at the meeting in September 2015.  A report had been provided for the current meeting with a further update on the Project including the results of the public consultation and also the proposed next steps.  


5.2       Mr King introduced the report.  He referred to the matters raised in the consultation responses, many of which had been outlined at the September meeting prior to the results being published and also what the proposed next steps were.  The report summarised the responses to the public consultation at Appendix A and then provided the officers’ comments in respect of the key issues raised in the consultation at Appendix B.  He made the point that this had been the biggest response to any Westminster consultation exercise in terms of numbers received and it had always been intended to be one of a number of consultations.  Before any report to the Cabinet Member for the Built Environment was provided, recommending a decision on the Project, there would be a report on the detail of traffic management, loading and parking.  This was of particular concern to a large number of small businesses, particularly to the south of the area set out in the proposals.


5.3       Mr King reported that an e-petition had recently been received against the Baker Street Two Way project which had been published on the Council’s website with 433 signatories.  Another petition was also understood to have been presented for the full Council meeting on 11 November by Councillor Adnan Mohammed.  Mr King stated that officers were not able to see this petition before the Council meeting on Wednesday.  However, the two petitions would be taken account of before any final recommendations were provided.


5.4       Mr King stated that there were a number of stakeholders, including residents’ groups and associations and schools, who were in communication with officers about the Project.  Dates were in officers’ diaries to meet stakeholder groups towards the end of November.  A report for Cabinet Member consideration was due to be submitted after the end of the consultation period with the stakeholders.  It was anticipated that the Cabinet Member report was likely to lead to a further round of consultation to be undertaken in early 2016.


5.5       The Chairman thanked the St Marylebone Society and North Marylebone Traffic Group for the papers they had provided which were circulated to the Committee ahead of the meeting.  He also invited Councillor Brian Connell, the Council’s Cycling Champion, to address the Committee.  Councillor Connell commented that the one way traffic status quo was unacceptable.  However, people needed to be encouraged to cycle that do  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Crossrail Line 2 pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Report of the Head of Strategic Transport Planning & Public Realm.

Additional documents:


6.1       Graham King, Head of Strategic Transport Planning & Public Realm, introduced the report.  He referred to the current Crossrail 2 consultation which was being held between 27 October 2015 and 8 January 2016 which focussed on the stations and the best route alignment.  TfL were expected to formally seek powers to construct the scheme from 2017.  The Mayor had stated that the project should be completed by 2030.  Crossrail 2 was scheduled to be a feature in two areas in Westminster, Victoria and Soho.   


6.2       The Committee heard evidence from Gabrielle Coyle who is the Consents & Environment Manager for Crossrail 2 at TfL.  She informed the Committee that the Crossrail 2 proposals were very fluid and this was a real opportunity to influence them.  It was very beneficial working with officers at Westminster (particularly taking into account Mr King’s experience of projects) as putting together proposals to squeeze the infrastructure into very busy areas of the borough such as Soho was very challenging.  Ms Coyle stated that she had also worked on Crossrail 1 and there had been a number of lessons learnt.  A number of TfL staff had worked on multiple projects, including the construction process and had experience of the issues that might arise. Crossrail 2 would benefit from updated technology.  Ms Coyle stated that there was more flexibility for Crossrail 2 on use of land as in the case of Crossrail 1, a lot of the engineering had taken place a long time ago. Crossrail 2 would also take into account a number of factors such as biodiversity and the needs of cyclists to a greater extent than Crossrail 1.  Ms Coyle urged Members to encourage their constituents to attend the consultation events at Victoria Station on 18 November and Victoria DoubleTree Hilton Hotel on 19 November, and at St Giles Square on 30 November and 1 December.  She had provided Members with a report entitled ‘Crossrail 2 and the environment’ which gave an early view of the scheme, its evolution, the key environmental issues relevant to its development, and the principles that will be applied in addressing them.


6.3       In response to questions from the Committee, Mr King and Ms Coyle made a number of additional points.  Ms Coyle advised that funding of specific aspects of the project was her key concern.  She stated that Soho was a difficult location for Crossrail 2 because there were a lot of listed buildings.  Work sites had to be of a certain size to be viable.  Curzon Soho Cinema was well loved but the lease was coming to an end and it was possible that the cinema would not remain at the site regardless of whether the Crossrail station was located there.  There were problems moving the station further south as there would potentially be the need for a further vent shaft site which would require further land take and infrastructure to fit into a tight knit community.  There would also be greater problems regarding travel distances and making  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Cycling Strategy pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Report – to follow.

Additional documents:


7.1       The Council adopted the Westminster Cycling Strategy in November 2014, which was approved by Councillor Acton, in response to the Mayor for London’s ‘Vision for Cycling in London’ published in March 2013.  The Committee had played a key role in the development of the Strategy, including establishing a Task Group to scrutinise this.  The Committee received a report on the progress made on implementing actions and meeting the Strategy’s Core Targets to date, one year after the Cycling Strategy was adopted. 


7.2       Councillor Acton wished to put on record that officers had worked particularly hard on meeting an intense cycling programme schedule, particularly in respect of the Cycle Superhighway schemes.  Barry Smith, Head of City Policy & Strategy, introduced the report.  He stated that the Strategy had always been viewed as a living document that would be updated regularly to reflect emerging priorities and funding streams.  The Strategy covered the period up to 2026.  The adoption of the Strategy had taken place in November 2014, this current meeting one year later was taking place eight months into the 2015/16 financial year so there remained another four months of potential spend for the year and further actions would be taken forward.  Some measures were easier to implement in the short term than others.  There were approximately forty actions in the Strategy with four high level objectives, ‘to create safer and more legible routes’, ‘to improve road user interaction, education and enforcement’, ‘to facilitate bicycle ownership/access and parking’ and ‘to raise awareness and participation in cycling’.  Actions designed ‘to create safer and more legible routes’ were more complex and challenging to deliver as they encompass physical infrastructure works on the public highway.  Mr Smith referred to the flowchart submitted with the report at Appendix 1 which showed how it was intended that the vision would be delivered in the form of actions.  Appendix 2 was a detailed action tracker which had an entry against each of the forty actions.  Appendix 3 was indicative of the Westminster Cycling Grid.     


7.3       In response to questions from the Committee, Councillor Acton, Jayne Rusbatch, Project and Programme Manager (Public Realm)and Toby Jacobs, Cycling Projects Officer made a number of additional points:

·           Councillor Acton identified that one of the main areas of difficulty was to manage the limited kerb space and avoid conflict between cyclists and pedestrians and cyclists and motorists.  It was difficult to deliver Cycle Quietways routes so that they were satisfactory for people to use (who were not used to cycling) without there being the necessary segregation. 

·           Councillor Acton stated that people needed to be persuaded in certain cases not to park their car right outside their homes or close by.  Car ownership was going down quite significantly in Westminster.  The car club membership was increasing.

·           The Cabinet Member had met with TfL and their modelling indicated that the proportion of vehicles at certain junctions on the East-West Cycle Superhighway would reduce significantly.  Traffic flows had already started to improve over the last  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Press Releases

The Committee to consider whether it wishes to issue any press releases in relation to its work.


8.1      The Committee decided not to produce a press release in relation to the items on the agenda at this time.


Annual Work Programme and Action Tracker pdf icon PDF 22 KB

Report of the Scrutiny Manager.

Additional documents:


9.1      Mark Ewbank, Scrutiny Manager, introduced the item.  He referred to the topics scheduled on the Work Programme that had been published in the papers.  These included the Open Spaces Strategy, scheduled for the next meeting of the Committee on 18 January 2016.  The Committee was content with the items as currently set out although there was the potential for an update on the Baker Street Two Way item in January.   The Chairman made the point that there was the option available to Members to schedule the next meeting, with the Open Spaces Strategy currently the lead item on the agenda, in a venue outside City Hall.  Mr Ewbank drew Members’ attention to the fact that the next meeting of the Sustainable Travel Task Group, which was examining the development of a strategy relating to sustainable travel which included but was not limited to pedestrian experience and parking, was scheduled to take place on 17 November 2015.


9.2      It was agreed that in order to ensure Cabinet Member availability, the meetings of the Committee previously scheduled for 29 February 2016 and 12 April 2016 would now be held on 7 March 2016 and 18 April 2016 respectively. 


9.3      Mr Ewbank was congratulated by Members on having been selected for a secondment to be a senior member of the scrutiny team in the House of Commons.


9.4      RESOLVED: That the meetings of the Committee previously scheduled for 29 February 2016 and 12 April 2016 be held instead on 7 March 2016 and 18 April 2016 respectively.


Any Other Business The Chairmen Considers Urgent


10.1    There was no additional business for the Committee to consider.