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Contact: J Bayley Democratic Services Officer
Apologies and named substitutes
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors Salman Akbar, Andrew Fry and Jenny Wheeler. Members were advised that Councillors Joanne Beecham and Yvonne Smith were attending respectively as Councillor Akbar and Wheeler’s substitutes.
Declarations of interest and of Party Whip
To invite Councillors to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and / or Other Disclosable Interests they may have in items on the agenda, and to confirm the nature of those interests, and any Party Whip.
There were no declarations of interest nor of any party whip.
To invite members of the public who have registered in advance of the meeting to speak to the Committee.
There were no registered public speakers on this occasion.
At a meeting held on 4th August 2020 the Executive Committee considered a report in respect of the potential for an E-scooter trial to take place in Redditch. Members are advised to refer to Minute Item No. 12 in the minutes of that meeting of the Executive Committee as background information, alongside the report that has been attached for this item.
The Strategic Planning and Conservation Manager presented a report outlining the Council’s proposals for a bid to take part in a national e-scooter trial.
During the presentation of the report the following matters were highlighted for Members’ consideration:
· The Government had been proposing to launch an e-scooter trial in 2021. The Department for Transport (DfT) had brought the scheme forward in response to the Covid-19 pandemic in order to provide an alternative form of sustainable transport to the public.
· In Britain, e-scooters remained illegal outside of private land. Legislation was going through parliament to permit e-scooters to operate on public highways in certain circumstances.
· The deadline for applications to be submitted to the DfT to participate in the e-scooter trial was 31st August 2020. Successful bidders would need to identify a location in which the trial would take place. E-scooters would not be permitted to operate outside of that identified area.
· Since the Executive Committee meeting the Council had been advised that it was likely that the West Midlands Combined Authority’s (WMCA) e-scooter bid would cover parts of Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry. There would not therefore be an opportunity for Redditch to be the focus of the combined authority’s trial.
· Should the bid for Redditch be successful, the Council would need to ensure that appropriate Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) were in place before the trial could be launched.
· The Council had gone out to tender in respect of an e-scooter trial in Redditch and there had been 12 responses. A company had been selected in this process to deliver the trial in Redditch. This operator had experience of managing similar schemes in big cities.
· The location for the trial in Redditch, should the bid be successful, would range throughout parts of the town centre.
· The operator would be expected to take on all liabilities in respect of the e-scooter scheme and would be responsible for maintenance and recovery of the e-scooters after use. The company would be insured for these purposes.
· Should the bid be successful Council Officers would meet with representatives of the operator on an ongoing basis to discuss the trial.
After the report had been presented Members discussed the following points in detail:
· The positive impact that e-scooters could have on vehicle emissions in Redditch town centre and the potential for electric buses to operate in the Borough. Officers explained that Bromsgrove District Council had recently made a successful bid for electric buses to operate in their district and Redditch would feature on the routes for some of these vehicles.
· The benefits to be accrued, in respect of climate change, as a result of people using alternative forms of transport rather than relying on cars.
· The extent to which people with physical disabilities and parents with young children in pushchairs could use e-scooters. Officers acknowledged that, as with bicycles, e-scooters would not be suitable for everybody to use.
· The requirements in respect of customers who would use e-scooters. The Committee was informed that drivers ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
The minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee held on Tuesday, 4th August 2020, were considered. Officers explained that during that meeting the Suicide Prevention Task Group’s final report had been considered and all of the group’s recommendations had been approved. Due to the importance of the evidence gathered in this investigation, an additional proposal had been added by the Executive Committee in respect of this matter, which called for a copy of the group’s report to be shared with Worcestershire County Council and the MP for Redditch.
During consideration of the minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee held on 4th August 2020, Members noted that there had been a discussion of an updated Amenity Standards Policy for the Council. This policy applied primarily to Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in the private rented sector. Members commented on the importance of HMOs as a source of housing for residents and the need for these to be managed appropriately. A request was made for an update to be provided to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in respect of HMOs at a later date.
The content of the Executive Committee’s Work Programme for the period 1st September to 31st December 2020 was considered. Members noted that the Housing Strategy item, that had been scheduled for the Executive Committee’s consideration in September and for pre-decision scrutiny in the same month, had been postponed. Clarification was requested in respect of the reasons for this delay.
1) an update report in respect of Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) should be provided at a future meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee;
2) the minutes of the meeting of the Executive Committee held on 4th August 2020 be noted;
3) Officers to clarify the reasons why the Housing Strategy report had been postponed from September to October for the consideration of the Executive Committee and Overview and Scrutiny Committee; and
4) the content of the Executive Committee’s work Programme for the period 1st September to 31st December 2020 be noted.