A maximum of 15 minutes will be allocated to public questions submitted in writing to Democratic Services (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 4 p.m. on the working day prior to the meeting. Questions must be relevant to items appearing on the agenda and will be submitted in the order in which they were received.
The Deputy Monitoring Officer informed the Committee that many questions had been received. In the interests of time the Deputy Monitoring Officer had summarised each question but assured the committee that the full versions of the questions and answers would be recorded in the minutes and the questioners would receive the full responses in writing.
Eleanor Horner submitted the following requests for clarification and questions.
I would like to ask some points of clarification on the report on the Mayor’s Challenge Fund at Agenda Item 8.
At paragraph 3.4 the report refers to “several non-MCF funded schemes” including BEE Network Crossings at Gorsey Lane and Dunham Road. The paragraph further states that the Gorsey Lane project has “ATF4 funding approved, currently at tender stage with works expected to start by Autumn 2023”. There is no other reference to ATF4 in the report, only Active Travel Fund Tranches 1 and 2.
When the Gorsey Lane/Dunham Road scheme was approved by the Executive on 12 October 2022, the report to that meeting stated that this was an MCF-funded project. As I brought the original petition to Council in 2019 and as MCF-funded projects are being reprioritised, I would appreciate clarification and assurance of the status of this scheme.
1. Are the Gorsey Lane and/or the Dunham Road schemes referred to in paragraph 3.4 the same as the scheme that was approved on 12 October 2022?
2. Have there been any significant design amendments to the scheme as set out in the report that was approved in October?
3. Please confirm that the scheme that was approved in October is fully funded and proceeding to delivery in Autumn 2023 and not being delayed in the reprioritisation of MCF-funded schemes.”
The Executive Member for Climate Change provided the following response to the requests for clarification.
Trafford Council did not directly make any ATF4 bids. The GMCA via TfGM made ATF4 bid submissions. As part of ATF4 TfGM proposed several bids, that met the “shovel-ready” criteria which included additional Bee Network crossings.
Yes is it the scheme approved by the Executive on 12 October 2022. The Gorsey Lane/Dunham Road scheme is funded through the Mayors Challenge Fund however the lead agent is TfGM not Trafford council.
In response to the three questions the Executive Member for Climate Change gave the following answers.
1. Yes, the Gorsey Lane and/or the Dunham Road schemes referred to in paragraph 3.4 the same as the scheme that was approved on 12 October 2022.
2. There have been no significant changes to the scheme as set out in the report that was approved in October. The designs have been refined, in terms of technical aspects, i.e. Road Safety Audits, drainage, LTN 1/20, trees placements.
3. Yes. The MCF funding sits with TfGM. They are expecting to go to the TfGM contractor framework and appoint a contractor by the end of August 2023. With works to start thereafter.
The Following question was submitted by Mr Andrew Gould
I read with dismay the Urmston Active Neighbourhood section of the MCF agenda item for this meeting.
As you will be aware it contains plans for blocking roads to motorised traffic on the Canterbury Rd estate (Route D). This will mean that many residents will only be able to reach their homes by the junctions of Canterbury Rd with Croftsbank Rd or Lostock Rd. These junctions are busy at peak times and will cause major issues for residents accessing the estate. There is also the matter of queueing traffic on Canterbury Rd right next to the children’s playground if it becomes one of the only exit points.
There is no mention of what the problem is that this scheme is trying to solve. There is a vague mention of satisfying the Walking and Riding policy but I’m at a loss to see how. If this is a drive for ‘low traffic’ this only is an issue for the entire estate with school traffic. Urging parents not to drive to school has had limited effect and reducing the ways of getting on to the estate is unlikely to change behaviour drastically.
There is some ‘rat running’ at the east end and some traffic using the side streets to get to Canterbury Rd shops. The ‘rat running’ appears to be people leaving the motorway and heading towards East Urmston / West Stretford. I still believe this will happen, but they would now be likely to head down Canterbury Rd as an alternative impacting local traffic, extending the busy period and causing yet more queueing by the children’s play area.
I am against plans for this scheme continuing for the reasons mentioned above.
This scheme is substantially the same as one discussed at length and consulted on during the E.A.T.F. consultation in 2020. The outcome of the consultation was that 74% of residents rejected the scheme. This was reported as part of decision M/11.9.20/EAQCC(1) and the plans for the Canterbury Rd. Estate recommended for no further action. It is disgraceful that in the intervening years more public money has been spent in development.
In the same report it was concluded that “there is no clear way forward for an alternative layout that would be accepted by residents and businesses”. Will the portion of Route D around Canterbury Rd now be excluded from Urmston Active Neighbourhood permanently – No more talk of trials or further wasteful consultations?
The Response below was provided by the Executive Member for Climate Change.
The decision mentioned to M/11.9.20/EAQCC(1) refers to Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) Tranche 1 Modal Filters Projects and not the wider Urmston Active Neighbourhood scheme. These Modal Filters Projects formed part range of isolated proposals developed following announcement of Emergency Active Travel Funding that was made available for Trafford as part of an allocation by the Department of Transport (DfT).
Trafford first consulted a range of stakeholders on proposals to introduce more active travel measures for the wider Urmston Active Neighbourhood scheme in 2020 as part of a Mayoral Challenge Fund (MCF) application. This consultation was met with a high degree interest with over 3,400 comments received and over 600 individuals attending drop-in sessions where Neighbourhood Map via Trafford Council’s Commonplace website.
These comments are still available online at: https://urmstonactiveneighbourhoodmap.commonplace.is/comments/5e66061e23b526001128130c
This consultation identified safety, car driving, parking, traffic congestion around schools and dangerous rat-runs through residential areas as some of the key issues for the stakeholders
Resident feedback has been a key part of the development of the plans being taken forward. This has factored in how people move around their neighbourhood and risks they encounter each day.
Conceptual designs for Urmston Area Active Neighbourhood and were presented to Trafford Council, Ward Councillors and TfGM in 2022. The overall designs were split the scheme into serval phases beginning with interventions along eight potential minor or major routes that cover the whole of Urmston.
Phase 1 comprising Route C: Flixton West and Route D: Davyhulme Park, including the Canterbury Rd estate have been identified for further engagement and consultation planned for in Autumn 2023. In addition to consultation, the intention is to include an option of trials post the consultation.
Both routes propose active travel measures include modal filters (barriers to stop cars at specific points) along with new cycle ways, pedestrian paths and controlled crossings of busy roads or other physical barriers that divide communities. These will be incorporated into the wider Bee Network for sustainable travel in the Greater Manchester area.
The aim is that all the residents of Urmston will take this opportunity to lead and make their voices heard on this ambitious initiative, changing the way they view and interact with their neighbourhood though the inclusion of more environmentally friendly community spaces, safer walking and cycling routes connecting schools and communities and ultimately prioritising the movement of people and cyclists over vehicles.
The following questions were sent by Kevin Smith on behalf of Friends of John Lee Park.
Note prior information, review was provided to the meeting on the 18th. The issues raised were not fully answered to our satisfaction. For completeness our input on specific items on the Report reviewed are copied below.
What utilisation rate (% of hours available to book) is expected for the pilot. What proportion of these are expected to be charged? These are bookings separate to any outreach programme.
Any realistic assessment of income net income must be based on an achievable usage and charges.
We’ve not seen that.
Why have we not seen a full description of a typical outreach programme – How many hours per court per week. Charges to users. Fees to the operator / coaches. Who the courses are for (Age/other).
Without this key change to court use it is not possible to judge the benefits of the proposed options.
We cannot judge.
Where is this programme working. What are the numbers. What is the outreach, utilisation, charging structure.
Any pilot should be informed by best- and worst-case examples of implementation elsewhere and the learnings to date.
We’ve seen no detailed examples.
As John Leigh Park is not part of the pilot the Friends expect no further suggestions for change to their court use over the 2-year period of the pilot.
We do expect normal court maintenance to continue.
The Executive Member for Executive Member for Leisure, Culture, Art, and Heritage provided the following response.
I’d like to thank the friends of John Leigh Park for their questions. They’ve raised 3 areas of concern where they feel the meeting with Council officers on 18th July to discuss the pilot proposals did not fully cover. I understand that John Leigh Park does not wish to be in the pilot scheme and this is reflected in the proposal, however the Friends of Parks group suggest that further explanation would benefit those parks who have opted to be involved in the local pilot.
Many of the issues raised here regarding usage levels and income will be developed as we work over the next two years with local communities to shape the local programmes and collect data on usage and income generated for each pilot scheme. Understanding these factors and determining what works for our communities are important elements of the pilot, which is why there haven’t yet been a detailed breakdown of income, usage and charges.
However, current booking data has been considered and referenced in the report as it shows Trafford residents and tennis players are willing and able to use the booking system.
We have been working closely with the Lawn Tennis Association, the national governing body and they are very supportive of the local pilots to test all elements of the approach and consider how the outreach programmes can best reflect the varying community needs in each locality.
The LTA have advised that a park court typically needs a collective maintenance and sinking fund of £1,500 per annum. The revenue model developed for the Pilot responds to this with a flexible model that can balance free bookable access, coaching and outreach and paid for slots.
Demand data, supports the pilot and suggests there is considerable latent demand for Tennis in the borough. The demand data covers all of Trafford and covers all ages within a 0-20 min drive time to courts.
We will continue to draw on the LTAs expertise and the learning gained as they roll out this national programme across Greater Manchester and wider.
Providers will be asked to tender for the local provision and will be expected to connect and collaborate with local schools and clubs to ensure a pathway and provide a range of sessions across all age groups abilities and at varying times and costs to meet community needs while generating required income levels.
As this is a national scheme it is early days in the roll out programme, however working closely with Manchester City Council and Bury Council we have been able to draw on the learning from case studies. both report usage levels of 50-60% per week.
Manchester City Council has a scheme with over 19,000 users and have demonstrated that sites with access gates have more bookings, than those that do not and that these have increased on a monthly basis from April 2023. They have also engaged a provider across a range of Parks who deliver junior, adult and family sessions at all levels with varying charging packages in place. This is delivered alongside a rolling programme of court upgrades, including installing lockable gates and introducing charges for court hire.
We will continue to work with the LTA, and colleagues within GM and beyond to learn from their experiences- good and bad. We look forward to bringing that learning back to share with Friends of Parks and feed into the Trafford pilots.
The final question below was received from Mr Andrew Gould
Park Friend’s Groups across Trafford have been engaged with the Tennis Improvement Program for some time.
Most parks have deep misgivings about plans to charge a fee to access any part of a public park. During the One Trafford / Parks Meeting in February 2023 not one group supported the councils plans for Tennis. Running a trial isn’t going to change that. In two years, no matter how successful the pilot, Friends groups are likely to be of the same view then because it’s fundamental to free access principals.
These plans have now been shared with the wider community and a consultation run. The result was overwhelmingly of the view that Trafford should not be considering limiting access to Tennis courts to those that were able to pay.
The idea of charging has been rejected by 80% of those who responded to the consultation. What level of disapproval would it take for Council Officers to recommend something more acceptable?”
The Executive Member for Leisure, Culture, Art, and Heritage provided the following response to Mr. Gould’s question.
I’d like to thank Mr Gould for his correspondence, the points he has raised and his specific question in relation to the consultation. The Friends of Parks Groups across Trafford have been involved in the project for some time. Their opinions on each site and local insight have been invaluable, and we will continue to work with the Friends of Parks groups as we progress with the pilots in each community.
We have also worked with the Lawn Tennis Association in bringing together the level of investment required to improve park courts across the borough. As detailed in the report, the level of funding required of £587,242 to bring our courts up to an acceptable standard and ongoing maintenance of £46,500k per annum is, unfortunately not one that the Council could meet given the current level of budget pressures.
This proposal provides a significant opportunity to work closely with local residents, alongside tennis’s national governing body to learn from their experiences and that of other authorities and communities as we pilot the approach together.
In relation to Mr Gould’s question on consultation and charging.
We acknowledge that not all elements of the scheme were fully supported through the boroughwide public consultation process – particularly on charging. Equally, some elements of the scheme were supported and the levels of support for each element varied from location to location, as did the level of charging that people thought acceptable. Therefore, the idea is to work out a fair and accessible structure that will not prevent anyone from being able to play tennis. How we do that is exactly what we hope to test in our local pilots.
We accept that the boroughwide public consultation process was somewhat limited in its reach. By piloting the approach in local communities, we are seeking to engage families, young people, local schools, and clubs to gauge their opinions – taking a focused community, place-based approach. These local voices were not captured in the broader boroughwide consultation process to date.
At the end of the pilot, we will carefully consider the learning and available options to determine the best offer for all our residents.