Venue: Council Chamber, Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby Road, West Bridgford. View directions
Contact: Tracey Coop 0115 9148481
Apologies for Absence
There were no apologies.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest recorded.
The minutes of the meeting held on 13 October 2021 were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.
The Group noted the actions from the previous meeting held on 13 October 2021.
The Landscape Officer delivered a presentation to support the report of the Director – Development and Economic Growth and the concerns raised around the management of trees, tree protection in the Borough through conservation areas and tree preservation orders (TPO’s) and controls on development sites.
The Landscape Officer explained that Tree Preservation Orders (TPO’s) can be used to protect trees where ‘it is expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands in their area’. Government guidelines state that TPO’s should be used to protect selected trees and woodlands if their removal would have a significant negative impact on the local environment and its enjoyment by the public and that trees should at least, be visible from a public vantage point. Images of some prominent trees within the Borough were provided as examples.
The Landscape Officer advised the group that most of the current TPO’s were made as a result of planning applications and that the Council also use conservation area tree notices and enquiries from the public as a catalyst to make a TPO. The Landscape Officer added that in respect of a conservation area due regard needs to be given to the special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance the area and the Council has three options: do nothing; make a TPO or allow work to proceed (no conditions).
The Landscape Officer advised that the Council receives on average 200 notifications a year mainly through development and planning applications. The group were informed that the Council manage over 3000 trees within the Borough with some requests for work from residents in respect of loss of light and potential damage to properties. In this instance Officers would take a pragmatic approach, if damage to property was evident, then removal of a healthy tree would be permitted. However, loss of light would not permit the removal of trees and the Council would address the issue by way of pruning and tree management.
The Chairman asked a specific question relating to trees that currently have a
preservation order within a new development and whether the Council has robust enough policies to ensure that future claims on such trees once they have grown in maturity, still remain protected. The Landscape Officer explained that homebuyers often don’t consider trees when buying a house and that an application to remove the TPO would need to be submitted to the Council. The Council would then consider the application on aesthetic quality and visual impact on the public. If the tree is in a prominent visual location it would be unlikely that it would be removed unless found to be dangerous or diseased.
Councillor Barney commended the Council for its extensive tree planting with over 2500 new trees having been planted across the Borough. Councillor Barney also asked how much of a problem disease was to tree stock and how Rushcliffe compares to other similar authorities when it ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
The Communities Manager delivered a presentation to support the report of the Director – Neighbourhoods on the Provision of Cycling Networks in the Borough and provided and update to enable Councillors to consider the emerging issues related to cycling and to consider the inclusion of walking in making recommendations for future action.
The Communities Manager reminded members of the three presentations from Nottinghamshire County Council Local Transport Plans Manager, the Cycle Campaign Group for Nottingham ‘Pedals’ and Sustans the UK charity for walking and cycling, which were presented to the Growth and Development Scrutiny Group in July 2021.
The Planning Policy Manager provided information in respect of the national policy and guidance including:
The National Planning Policy Framework
Requires local planning policies and decisions to enable and support walking and cycling to:
· Increase active travel and promote healthier lifestyles; and
· Make transport more sustainable (e.g. reduce the need for new roads)
Local Transport Note 1/20
· Provides guidance and good practice for the design of cycle infrastructure
Local Plan Policy
· Cores strategy Policy 14 (Managing Travel Demand)
· Sites already, or which can be made, accessible by cycling, walking (and public transport| should be prioritised for development
· Cycling, walking (and public transport) should be prioritised ahead of measures to increase road capacity
· New/improved cycling facilities should be provided early in the build out of new developments.
The Communities Manager asked the Group to consider the ‘Plan on a Page’ document circulated with the report, highlighting the three outcomes:
· Increase awareness and participation in cycling
· Events – e.g. Dr Bike, Pedal Power Sound, Smoothie Bike
· Working with partners and businesses
· Integration of programmes such as cycling proficiency
· Communications – articles and social media
· Cycle theft preventions
· Safe walking and cycling campaigns
· Nottinghamshire Road Safety Partnership
· Online mapping of safer walking and cycling routes in Rushcliffe
· Increase walking and cycling training – walking bus and cycling proficiency
· Planning obligations and applications
· Mapping of walking and cycling routes in Rushcliffe
· Bicycle storage
· Funding opportunities
· Support fully inclusive walking and cycling events
· New foot and cycle bridge over the River Trent connecting the Borough to the City
In summarising, the Communities Manager asked members to consider the ‘Plan on a Page’ document circulated with the report, which provided a more detailed summary of the Council’s vision and aims.
Members raised their concerns in respect shared foot and cycle paths and asked when planning new schemes whether consideration could be given to them being separated. Members also stated that cyclists needed to be made aware of the dangers and safety element when cycling along a shared network and whether the changes to the highway code would conflict with existing schemes. The Communities Manager explained that the changes to the highway code was minimal and related to a cyclist’s primary position on roads and at junctions. In respect of pedestrian and cyclist segregation the Communities Manager referred to the ‘Plan on a Page’, explaining that outcomes 1 (Promotion) and 2 (Safety) would ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
The Chairman presented the report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services, which detailed the Group’s Work Programme.
It was RESOLVED that the following items for scrutiny be agreed.
20 April 2022
· Planning Communications
· Work Programme