- Meeting of Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee, Monday, 20th June 2022 6.00 p.m. (Item 5.)
Notice of question to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon Wednesday 15th June 2022 to the Council’s Monitoring Officer (firstname.lastname@example.org) and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 10.
Please telephone the Committee Services Officer if you have not received an acknowledgement of your question/statement by the deadline for submission.
The Chair indicated that 15 questions had been received, a number of which were in relation to agenda item 7 - Consultation on Proposed Car Parking Charges - Update Report.
The Head of Legal Services reported that the Council had recently received a submission from legal representatives of a local business relating to car parking charges which posed a number of technical legal questions in relation to the car parking and Traffic Regulation Order processes. Due to the late serving of the letter, Legal Services had been unable to provide detailed advice to the Committee, therefore the Committee was advised that they may be minded to defer the consideration of that item until further legal advice could be provided.
In light of the advice from the Head of Legal Services, the Chair informed the Committee that any questions in relation to car parking where the questioner was not in attendance would be responded to in writing, and any questioners present would be afforded the choice of still putting their question and being provided a written response when possible, or deferring their question until the Committee meeting where the item was to be considered.
Sean Martin asked a question on behalf of the New Brighton Coastal Community team, which raised concerns that the Council was acting unlawfully by setting parking charges in order to raise funds as opposed to relieving congestion of traffic.
Rupert Millard asked a question seeking clarification on the consultation summary stating that the objective of the Multimodal Parking Strategy was not to raise revenue, but the Council website stating that the council was in a difficult financial position and was raising an additional £1m from parking charges.
The Chair reported that all other questions in relation to car parking would be responded to in writing.
Verity Smith asked a question on behalf of Jane Lloyd, seeking the Committee’s views on holding a stakeholder meeting with the Hoylake Beach Community group following the consultation period around Hoylake Beach. In response, the Chair detailed the already agreed stakeholder consultation process was due to commence shortly, which would allow consultees to put forward their ideas around solutions and compromises, and those that were deliverable within the regulatory framework protecting North Wirral Foreshore SSSI would be taken into account. It was reported that the consultation exercise would include drop-in events for the community and stakeholders to speak to council officers about the future management options.
Verity Smith asked a question on how the social, financial and environmental benefits of the decision to cease the Hoylake Beach Management Plan were being measured. In response, the Chair outlined that the decision to cease spraying and raking Hoylake beach was not driven solely by the climate emergency and that the decision followed a discussion with a senior officer from Natural England, driven by the biodiversity crisis and the legal parameters of the assent from Natural England and that the Council assesses the social, financial and environmental impacts of its decisions within reports, with a later agenda item displaying the increasing rigour of reporting on environmental policies.
The Chair read out a question on behalf of Derek Holmes seeking sand protector gates to be fitted to the lower part of the RNLI slipway at Hoylake Beach to reduce the sand distribution and the impact of the cost of removal of sand. In response, the Chair confirmed that the Council would consider the request in being mindful of the likely build of sand at key access points.
Charlotte Smith asked a question in relation to a breach of the Habitat Regulation Assessment at Hoylake Beach by the Sand Yachting Club. In response, the Chair thanked the questioner for bringing the issue to the attention of the committee, and explained that the individual involved had been identified as a new member of the Sand Yachting Club and had since given assurances that the breach would not reoccur.
A supplementary question was asked challenging the rarity of the plants growing on Hoylake Beach and concerns in relation to toxic plants growing and urging the Committee to consider implementing a new beach management plan and restoring it to a managed amenity beach. In response, the Chair undertook to provide a written response to the supplementary question.
The Chair confirmed that all other questions received on behalf of individuals who were not present would be responded to in writing.