Agenda item

Liveable Neighbourhoods

At its meeting on 10th December 2020, Cabinet adopted the three Liveable Neighbourhood strategies (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods; Residents’ Parking Schemes; and On-Street Electric Vehicle Charging Strategy). This report provides an update on work undertaken since that Cabinet meeting and recommends priority areas for liveable neighbourhood schemes.


Councillor Sarah Warren introduced the report by reading out the following statement:


‘Liveable Neighbourhoods are residential areas where road space is reconsidered. They create pleasant outdoor environments in which people can relax and socialise and enjoy spending time. They are safe, welcoming spaces for outdoor activity, where neighbours are able to make more connections with one another, and they make for vibrant local high streets where people want to spend time and money.

To create these schemes, a range of measures, which may include vehicle restrictions, traffic calming, residents’ parking zones, additional planting, and electric vehicle charging, are used to reduce the dominance of motor vehicles in residential areas, although people are still able to access their homes by car. By making it safer to move around actively, such measures enable more journeys to take place on foot and have been demonstrated over time to reduce the number of journeys taken by car. This may even reduce congestion on the roads for those with no alternative but to travel by car.

They will not disadvantage, and should actively assist disabled people, by incorporating wider pavements and disabled parking spaces where needed, and by enabling more people who can, to leave their cars at home.

The schemes are an important part of the council’s wider programme of works aiming to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, enhance road safety, and promote healthy lifestyles by encouraging the use of sustainable transport. They will breathe new life into residential areas and improve the quality of the public realm. The programme builds upon our pioneering project bringing in the first charging Clean Air Zone outside London earlier this year.

Some have expressed concern about traffic displacement, and about air quality impacts outside the schemes. Whilst displacement can be an issue in the initial few days, over the weeks that follow installation, a new pattern of traffic flow develops, as people find new routines – and fewer of these new routines will involve a car. However, we do recognise people’s real worries, so as for the Clean Air Zone, we will commit to monitoring locations of concern, so that we can determine the facts, and take action if necessary.

Cabinet adopted our Liveable Neighbourhoods policy on 10th December 2020 following a consultation on the principles, which received over 1,500 responses, demonstrating overwhelming support for the concept.

47 schemes were submitted, and tonight, Cabinet, I am bringing forward to you the first 15 that we are proposing to take forward for detailed community consultation and design, the next stages in the process. 12 of these are in Bath, and 3 in North East Somerset, reflecting the fact that many more Bath councillors made submissions.

This is absolutely not a policy, however, that can only work in cities, and I would strongly encourage all North East Somerset councillors to reconsider, ahead of the next deadline on 5th August, whether their residents might also benefit, along with people in Bath, from a pleasanter public realm, and calmer residential areas. I am sure that every ward has a spot with too much through traffic, and I would encourage all councillors to engage their communities in identifying these. 

Prioritisation of submissions was carried out using a scoring matrix including factors such as: number of affected households, severity of issues, level of through traffic, community deprivation index, and impact on routes to school – but also factors to do with the logistics of implementation. So, in the first instance, we aim to complete relatively simple schemes, saving complex ones for when we have gained organisational learning from earlier projects.

For the first phase of schemes, residents, businesses and local organisations will be consulted and given the opportunity to work with councillors, with preliminary designs prepared, starting in the autumn. There will then be further public consultation, before detailed designs are drawn up and the first schemes implemented. 

All schemes judged to be deliverable will be delivered in due course, and work to design Phase 2 schemes will follow on from Phase 1. Indeed, as we consult and listen to residents, it is possible that some schemes in Phase 1 may fall by the wayside, and projects in Phase 2 may be brought forward more rapidly. Several schemes will be installed by 2023, and designs completed on others so that they can progress rapidly when funds and capacity permit.

Cabinet, Liveable Neighbourhoods were a manifesto commitment, forming a key pillar of our administration’s plans to improve public health, and enable sustainable transport choices. They will create connected, healthy, vibrant communities where motor vehicles are less dominant, improving the local environment for residents, and fostering conditions where people are enabled to use alternatives to the private car. I commend this report to you and ask you to approve provisional allocation of £2.2m funding for the development and delivery of the first 15 schemes, over the next two financial years.’


Councillor Sarah Warren moved the recommendations.


Councillor David Wood seconded the motion by saying that he was delighted to support this report which would be applicable not just to Bath but also to rural areas of North East Somerset.  This report was about giving power back to our residents who have helped the Council in identifying what the problems were in their communities.


Councillor Dine Romero welcomed the report and added that she would want to see more about arrangements regarding traffic that may be displaced.


Councillor Alison Born welcomed the report by saying that these schemes were the start of the move to reduce dominance of cars in our streets, and to support the development of communities where people should feel that children can travel to school safely independently, and where people can interact without the ever present threat and fast moving through traffic.


Councillor Manda Rigby also supported the report by saying that the schemes going forward were on the agenda because of requests from the community, and the same community would be involved and consulted on further schemes.  Councillor Rigby added that the administration was committed to raising the quality of where all of our communities live, and this was just a starting point.


Councillor Tom Davies also welcomed the report by saying that, designed well with engagement with local residents, Liveable Neighbourhoods have the ability to transform our communities - making our neighbourhoods safer, healthier and ultimately happier places for all.  Councillor Davies thanked to all involved in the production of this proposal and said that he would be looking forward to the next few months to see the transformative impact of these new Liveable Neighbourhoods on our communities.


Councillor Tim Ball also welcomed the report and added that by implementing these schemes the Council should make sure that there was nobody adversely affected by these schemes.


Councillor Richard Samuel also welcomed the report by saying that this was the beginning of the rebalancing of local priorities away from the dominance of vehicles in streets across B&NES and towards less intrusive environments for residents.  The response from local communities and their ward councillors has been tremendous and this report now moves that to the next level.  Councillor Samuel announced that in preparing the 22/23 budget he would intend to commit further capital funds to this programme to enable it to extend further in 22/23 and beyond into 23/24.  The precise amounts would not be announced today but would be determined once the impact of the schemes being announced today has been assessed.


RESOLVED (unanimously) that the Cabinet agreed to:


1.  Approve the priority list of phase 1 liveable neighbourhood areas to be progressed as outlined in section 3.11 to 3.12 of this report.

2.  Note schemes will be considered in consultation with other workstreams.

3.  Approve expenditure of £1m from £2.2m allocation (£1,700k in 2021/22 and £500k in 2022/23) for liveable neighbourhoods within the Transportation Delivery Programme Provisional Approval.  This will provide funding to support project activity outlined in 3.14 up to detailed design in 2021/22 and provide some funding to deliver priority schemes that are aligned with other portfolio priorities and capable of early implementation.

4.  Full approval of balance of funding for programme delivery to be delegated for approval by the Director of Place Management in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Climate and Sustainable Travel and the Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Resources as schemes become ready for implementation.

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