Local democracy during coronavirus

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Agenda item

Public Participation and Comments of the Scrutiny Chair

At this point in the meeting members of the public who have registered to speak can do so. Members of the public may speak on agenda items or on matters within the remit of the committee.


Please note that our registration deadlines have changed to 2 working days before the meeting, in order to facilitate the management of public participation at our meetings.  The deadline for registering at this meeting is 5:00pm on Tuesday, 16 November 2021. 


To register to speak please visit www.york.gov.uk/AttendCouncilMeetings to fill in an online registration form.  If you have any questions about the registration form or the meeting, please contact Democratic Services.  Contact details can be found at the foot of this agenda.


Webcasting of Remote Public Meetings


Please note that, subject to available resources, this meeting will be webcast including any registered public speakers who have given their permission. The meeting can be viewed live and on demand at www.york.gov.uk/webcasts.


During coronavirus, we've made some changes to how we're running council meetings. See our coronavirus updates (www.york.gov.uk/COVIDDemocracy ) for more information on meetings and decisions.


Public Participation


It was reported that there were 22 people registered to speak at the meeting under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme.  The Chair agreed to waive the usual 30 minute time limit on this item to allow all the speakers to make representations, in view of the extent of public interest in the items relating to the footstreets. 


Gwen Swinburn spoke on governance matters within the Executive’s remit, including the need for consultation on the Constitution.


The following spoke on Agenda Item 5 (My City Centre Strategic Vision – Adoption of Vision and Next Steps):


Steve Secker, of York Property Forum and a member of My City Centre Steering Group, spoke in support of the proposals.

Cllr Douglas supported the proposals, with the caveat that Make It York must take on board feedback and listen to residents.

Jamie Wood queried why only blue badge holders and disabled cyclists were excluded from the city centre.

Cllr Vassie was disappointed to see no mention of public transport and suggested the trialling of an electric shuttle bus.


The following spoke on Agenda Item 6 (Strategic Reviews of City Centre Access and Council Car Parking):


Kate Ravilous stressed that York must be accessible to all, and asked Members to defer the decision on the Car Parking review.


Rob Ainsley, of York Cycle Campaign, urged Members to explore options for a trial cycle route and blue badge cycling in the centre.


Cristian Santabarbara, representing pedal cycle couriers, urged Members to consider the recommendations in the Martin Higgitt report (Annex 7)


Johnny Hayes criticised the data and methodology of the Car Parking review and said it should be rejected.


The following spoke on Agenda Item 6 (as above) and Agenda Item 7 (Consideration of Changes to the City Centre Traffic Regulation Order):


Helen Jones, on behalf of York Disability Rights Forum, said that banning blue badge holders was discrimination and there were other solutions that would meet counter-terrorism requirements.

Andrew Lowson, of York Bid, highlighted the success of the footstreets extension, while agreeing that the city centre should be safe and accessible for all.

Cllr Melly noted the benefits of excluding traffic from the city centre but stressed this did not require excluding blue badge holders.

Jane Albon supported the proposed access improvements, but requested an ‘green badge’ exit facility for disabled people such as her young granddaughter.

Sophie Jewett, as the owner of a business on Castlegate, highlighted the complexities of the situation there, stressing that it was not a case of businesses versus disabled people.

Cllr Lomas pointed out that consultation was not mitigation and that the proposals would have a disproportionate impact on disabled people.

Simon Williams, of the Federation of Small Businesses, highlighted the effects of access restrictions on some businesses and said there was need to focus on the practicalities of access for all.


The following spoke on Agenda Item 7 (as above):


Diane Roworth urged Members to reject the proposals and work   with those affected to find a solution.  She circulated a statement supported by a number of organisations.

Ian Gillies said that the council should do more to bar unauthorised vehicles from the city centre and should prioritise access for blue badge holders over pavement cafes.

Alison Hume spoke against the proposals on behalf of York Accessibility Action, with reference to the petition she had started in 2020, which had been signed by 2,200 people (this was circulated to Members at the meeting).

Andrew Morrison, of York Civic Trust, supported the council’s ambitions for the city centre but said more innovative and collaborative solutions were needed to realise them.


Anna Baldwin, on behalf of the Sight Loss Council, said that some venues were becoming inaccessible to those using buses and taxis; the council should meet people to work out solutions.


Karen Woodward, Office Manager for York Wheels, spoke on Agenda Item 8 (Dial & Ride: Funding and Delivery Arrangements), supporting the proposals in the report. 


Written Comments


Written comments were received from:

·        Susan Leadley - on behalf of her disabled daughter, on lack of access to the footstreets;

·        Sandra Hutchinson – a blue badge holder, on lack of access to the footstreets;

·        Karen Wilson – on lack of access to the footstreets, specifically in the evening due to extended hours;

·        Jason Hawkins – a Castlegate business owner, supporting the continued pedestrianisation of Castlegate.


Comments of the Scrutiny Chair


At the end of the Public Participation session, the Chair invited Cllr Crawshaw, as Chair of the Customer & Corporate Services Scrutiny Management Committee (CCSMC), to speak on the CCSMC’s Recommendations / Comments to Executive published in the first Agenda Supplement.


Cllr Crawshaw outlined the discussions that had taken place at the CCSMC meeting on 8 November 2021, explaining the process that had led to the committee’s recommendations.  He commented on the exclusion of disabled people from the city centre, stated that the legal advice published in the second Agenda Supplement had not come from an equality law specialist, and urged Executive to defer their decisions in relation to access for blue badge holders.


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