Sustainable Travel Town Bids
The Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability presented the two recommendations, which were referred to in the Executive report of 24 November 2020, regarding Sustainable Travel Town Bids.
Councillor Bell said that she supported the idea behind these proposals and she had some reservations coming from a more rural community where public transport made accessing towns by any means other than a car quite difficult. She said that in general this report went some way towards making East Herts a more carbon neutral community by reducing pollution on the road network.
Councillor Goldspink stated that she found this proposition difficult for several reasons. She supported the idea of a sustainable travel town and said that the County Council’s picture of a town in which everyone walked, cycled or used public transport was a most attractive picture. She said however that there were some flaws in the detailed plans as there was no mention of how public transport would be provided and there was no allocated budget.
Councillor Goldspink said that the criteria for becoming a sustainable travel town contained some drastic changes to the planning requirements such as high density housing with no parking spaces or at the very least with reduced parking standards. She said that she could not support these recommendations and with regret would be voting against them as she was not content with it being made impossible for people to own cars due to there being nowhere to park.
Councillor Crystall defended the idea of the sustainable travel town programme. He said that the proposals had to be considered as a whole as they did include improved bus and train services, bus priority infrastructure, improved cycle and pedestrian access and park and ride. He said that if these elements were taken together and were implemented on a long terms basis, it might be possible to arrive at a point in a couple of years where free parking in towns and parking on developments could be reduced.
Councillor Wilson said that he praised the general direction of Hertfordshire County Council and East Herts Council. He stated that he was supportive of modal shift and sustainable transport. He talked about the context of the proposals and said that the most important things were incentives and investment. He said that the infrastructure was not in place for some vital journeys that people needed to make, to Epping, Stevenage and Cambridge.
Councillor Wilson stated that he believed that a reduction in car parking would be overly draconian and unfair. He concluded that he would be supporting these proposals as doing something was better than doing nothing.
Councillor Curtis said that some important points had been raised by the opposition Members. He highlighted the fact that the Executive was recommending that the Council was supportive of the aspirations of policy LTP4 regarding sustainable travel towns. He said that the infrastructure must be in place for alternative forms of travel before there was a move towards sustainable travel towns.
Councillor Redfern said that ... view the full minutes text for item 302
The Executive Member for Sustainability submitted a report which set out the Council’s aspirations within Hertfordshire County Council’s Local Transport Plan 4 (LTP4) and the principles relating to the conditions for achieving Sustainable Travel Town status. The Executive Member said that the Council championed sustainability and that it would influence and encourage others to be more environmentally sustainable. He referred to the criteria developed by HCC which was being introduced to support travel towns sustainability.
The Executive Member said that meeting the criteria would be challenging. He said that the principles fitted those of this Council and that he would be recommending to full Council that East Herts supported the aspirations of the LTP4 and the Sustainable Travel Town criteria and would support towns who wished to submit bids to achieve this status.
The Leader said that the report set out our aspirations and that the Council would support towns who wished to do this as a way forward as it supported the Council’s commitment to the “green” agenda.
Councillor Goldspink queried the authority of “Shaping Stortford” to submit a bid on Bishop’s Stortford behalf, and whether this committee reported to East Herts Council. She felt that it should report to Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor McAndrew explained the group’s composition. The Deputy Chief Executive further expanded on this information including the remit of the group. She explained that any entity could submit a sustainability travel bid. She said that the minutes and any other documents of their meeting were transparent and were publically available and on their website. The Leader asked that the Member be provided with a link to the “Shaping Stortford” website Minutes.
Councillor Crystall said that of the three towns only
Bishop’s Stortford Town was directly supported by East Herts
in the report. He queried whether Officers had looked at the three
towns and whether the Council should support any of the other towns
to help them achieve travel town sustainability status? The
Executive Member for Sustainability explained that 10 applications
had been submitted, three from East Herts, none had gone through
the District Council. He said the first week of December would
determine who had been successful but for those who had not been
successful, HCC would work with the applicants to get them further
along to match the criteria.
Councillor Buckmaster said that he did not feel that it was necessary to show preferential support as this was inherent within the principle and recommendation.
Councillor McAndrew then proposed and Councillor Goodeve seconded a motion to support the recommendations in the report. On being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – to recommend to Council that (A) East Herts Council supports in principle, the aspirations of the LTP4 and the Sustainable Travel Town criteria; and
(B)East Herts supports, in principle, towns wishing to submit bids for Sustainable Travel Town Status.