Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Healthy Neighbourhoods: 'Let's face it, we weren't up to scratch,' Cllr Kennelly tells Cabinet

 Cllr Kennelly made a presentation to the Cabinet yesterday regarding the Healthy Neighbourhoods scheme.

He said that the Council needed to make sure that the local community was fully engaged but it sas clear from residents and fellow councillors that they felt totally cut out of the process.  Had they been consulted they would have been able to identify the issues and would have sought to address then with Cabinet and project leads.

Kennelly asked a series of questions: (verbatim as far as possible)

1) Can you provide written consultaion responses from the emergency servies, particularly the ambulance service?

2) When will a clear outline be published to demonstrate the success that will be needed for the schemes to be made permanent?

3) How did you accurately measure the width of the road turning points and closures? What risk assessment was done and will these be made public?

4) What consideration was given to suggestions made in the inter-active consultation on active travel and by communities which I do not recall having road closures on these and other schemes? 

5) Why has the signage and implementaton of the scheme, let's be fair, not been up to scratch? It hasn't been done the way we would have wanted and why has it taken as long as it has to get the community engagement involved?

6) Will you publish the documentation surrounding both previous and current funding bids as these plans are submitted ahead of time?

Cllr Butt in response said that they had to ensure funding bids were submitted in a timely manner under Emergency Powers Act. He said that it was a UK issue, not just a Brent one and everyone had the right to walk uo and down the  streets without hindrance. 

Cllr Tatler said that she was willing to look at any recommendations in her portfolio area on active travel and the econony, the latter also involved Cllr Stephens. Any decisions relating to the budget must be done within the wider context.

Turning to Cllr Kennelly's presentation she said that she wanted to push back on the claim that councillors had been cut out of the process. She and Cllr Krupa Sheth had engaged with councillors throughout the summer including pre-implementation of any of the schemes; 'Councillors have been involved in shaping some of the, all of the, schemes.'

She said that the Council was committed to making sure residents are involved throughout the trials. These are not a fait accompli in any way, shape or form.  These are trials and by their nature, as traffic orders the Council has to consult during the process.  She said that she could confirm that during the process the Council will be making sure that residents are asked for feedback at the 2, 4 and 6 month intervals of the scheme: 'If anything needs to change we can come out and meet residents and so on'

She went on to claim that to say that councillors had been cut out of the process was probably an inaccurate picture. Councillors had been involved in shaping of schemes in their particular wards.

She concluded:

We are completely committed to the air quality agenda and the climate emergency agenda. It is vital that we work towards trial schemes that could help better quality of air, quality of life and ensure that our children, going forward, can breath cleaner air in our borough.

Cllr Krupa Sheth (Environment Lead) made a very short contribution referencing the climate emergency and the need to spend Covid19 monies wisely.

Cllr Butt said that there was a need to appreciate that these were difficult decision and not everyone would be on board.


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