STATEMENT TO LCC's TRAFFIC & HIGHWAYS REPRESENTATION COMMITTEE, 2nd SEPTEMBER 2014 (continued)
We say that the Council has FAILED TO CONSULT RELEVANT BODIES. This is with specific reference to the bus company HTL. In our objection statement we pointed out that it is a legal requirement (SI 1996 No.2489, section 6) for the local authority to consult the operator of a local bus service affected by a proposed traffic calming scheme. We stated that Huyton Travel Ltd (the operator of bus route 174) was opposed to the use of speed cushions, but had not been formally consulted. This was dealt with as Objection Point 3.63: "Huyton Travel Ltd has not been consulted". The Officer Comment is that "Merseytravel were consulted regarding the proposals and returned no negative comments. Merseytravel cascade information on consultation exercises to bus operators via regular meetings however HTL choose not to attend". The point we were making was that it is the duty of the City Council, not Merseytravel, to consult HTL. In November 2013 I had, in fact, made Merseytravel aware of the following comments which I had received from the Operations Manager of HTL Buses, Darren Stewart:
"I am not in favour of speed cushions as I too feel they are uncomfortable for our passengers and because we have to drive really slow over them cause a nuisance to other road users who often try and overtake our buses and could potentially cause a serious accident. As far as I am aware we have not been consulted directly over this".
I drew the need to consult HTL Buses to the attention of Matthew Hopkins of Amey on three separate occasions - 18 November 2013, 28 November 2013 and 2 January 2014 - but didn't receive a reply.
Finally we are, not surprisingly, concerned that the Council has FAILED TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE GATEACRE SOCIETY'S VIEWS. In our objection statement we highlighted the fact that the Gateacre Society has a known and longstanding interest in this topic. Our opposition to the installation of speed cushions in Gateacre Park Drive was explicitly recorded in the City Council's Planning Committee Minutes of 28th June 2011. In 2013, when Aldi's amended planning application was submitted, we reiterated this view. Yet the Gateacre Society was not formally notified of the public consultation exercise by the City Council's Highways Department. Objection Point 3.67 states: "Why were the Gateacre Society not consulted?". The Officer Comment is that "All frontages affected by the proposals were consulted. Following discussions with some residents they advised they would discuss the proposals with other members of the Gateacre Society that had not received the consultation documents". We cannot understand why, when for the past 40 years our Society has been recognised for consultation purposes by the Council's Planning Department, the Highways Department refused to consult us directly on this matter. Had we been consulted when the negotiations with Aldi were underway in 2013, the outcome might have been very different and this whole wasteful wrangle could have been avoided.
It seems quite clear to us that traffic calming measures have an impact across a wide area. It is not just a few 'frontages' that are affected. As long ago as February 2001, during a debate on the Road Transport Bill, Maria Eagle MP spoke in the House of Commons about traffic calming in Gateacre and Childwall, and the failure of Liverpool City Council to consider the impact of their proposals on the wider community. Unfortunately, it seems that the message has still not got through.
Newsletter Editor & Environment Secretary
THE GATEACRE SOCIETY
2nd September 2014