Community Transport Strategy
Council considered the recommendations of the Executive in respect of the Community Transport Strategy.
Councillor G Jones moved, and Councillor Suzanne Rutland-Barsby seconded, a motion that the recommendations now detailed, be approved. After being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
Council approved the proposals now detailed.
RESOLVED – that the draft Community Transport Strategy 2018-2021, as now submitted at Essential Reference Paper B, be approved.
(see also Minute 314)
The Executive Member for Economic Development submitted a report introducing the Council’s first Community Transport Strategy. This outlined the proposed vision for community transport in East Herts along with the Council’s three key priorities:
· to provide practical support and advice to those considering the need for community transport in their locality;
· to assist with funding new and existing services; and
· to promote the importance of community transport.
The Executive Member for Health and Wellbeing referred to the successful scheme run in Sawbridgeworth, which involved sponsorship from various partnerships. He expressed concern that smaller schemes in smaller parishes might prove to be unsustainable. He commented on the importance of flexibility, the role of the masterplanning process and the need for towns and parishes to take the initiative to link their communities.
Various Members commented on the deterioration of bus services generally, especially in the evenings, and the impact this had on vulnerable groups.
In response to Members’ questions, the Executive Member for Economic Development referred to the twice yearly conference with town and parish councils and undertook to engage directly on this Strategy.
Councillor G Jones moved, and Councillor E Buckmaster seconded, a motion that the recommendation now detailed be supported. After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
The Executive supported the recommendation now detailed.
RECOMMENDED - that the draft Community Transport Strategy 2018-2021, as now submitted, be approved.
The Head of Housing and Health submitted a Draft Community Transport Strategy report covering the period 2018 – 21. He explained that community transport was an element of Council activities and played a key part of the Council’s approach to health and wellbeing in the district, particularly to vulnerable residents. The Services Manager, Community Wellbeing and Partnerships provided an overview of the proposed vision for community transport.
Councillor J Jones welcomed the approach, especially in Buntingford, which he said had poor bus services to the town and outlining villages. Councillor J Jones referred to some voluntary services which struggled to get volunteers especially from younger people.
Councillor S Bull commented that car ownership was lower in Buntingford and that it was in desperate need of improved transport in the town and villages. He referred to the difficulties people faced to get to clinics and the need for the Council to get behind community transport. Councillor I Devonshire said that it was not just about transport in rural areas in the daytime, as it was needed in the evening.
Councillor G Cutting applauded the approach adding that high car ownership in an area did not necessarily reflect high incomes but could be out of necessity, as family members might work out of the district or work difficult shift patterns. Councillor N Symonds concurred with this viewpoint. She said that Silverleys Ward had the highest car ownership in Bishop’s Stortford and that Central Ward had the lowest car usage.
Councillor M Stevenson and the Committee Chairman sought and were provided with clarification in relation to a query about funding the initiative from the viewpoint of start-up funding and over time. Councillor M Casey felt that the budget figures needed more detail, especially in relation to service costs and users.
The Head of Housing and Health explained that what was before Members was an action plan and accepted that it needed more detail. He explained that, initially, the initiative would be funded from capital, some schemes might qualify for match funding and the possibility of using some Section 106 monies.
Councillor H Drake referred to the social isolation people suffered, particularly young people in villages who might not have parents to take them places. The Head of Housing and Health explained that the strategy aimed to enable partners to come forward with ideas which could work in the locality including town and parishes.
Councillor S Bull sought and was provided with clarification on how the strategy would be disseminated to communities.
Councillor K Warnell suggested that more work should be done with schools and the congestion caused by school runs. The Head of Housing and Health confirmed that there were ongoing discussions with the County Council regarding school transport.
The Head of Housing and Health confirmed that the proposal could be managed from existing staff resources.
The Committee Chairman thanked Officers for their summary.
It was moved by Councillor M Allen and seconded by Councillor J Jones that that the recommendations as detailed, ... view the full minutes text for item 197