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Agenda item

Notice of Motion No 21 -Walking and Cycling

To consider the attached motion from Cllr Brian Mathew and Ross Henning.

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that a motion had been received from Cllr Brian Matthew as amended in agenda supplement 1.

 

Cllr Brian Matthew explained that the Covid-19 response had included short-term works to re-prioritise walking and cycling. It was proposed that this response could be built on, to ensure that our roads were safe for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. This would help to reduce road traffic and pollution, whilst also improving public health.

 

Cllr Brian Mathew proposed the motion. This was seconded by Cllr Ross Henning.

 

Cllr Matthew also requested that there was a recorded vote on this item.

 

Public Participation

 

·       Dave Knight, representing the Royal Wootton Bassett Environment Group, had submitted a statement in support of the motion. The statement was read by the Democratic Services Officer.

·       Jane Laurie had submitted a statement in support of the motion. The statement was read by the Democratic Services Officer.

·       Bill Jarvis had submitted a statement in support of the motion.

 

Cllr Bridget Wayman, as Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Waste was invited to respond. Cllr Wayman referred to the briefing note in agenda supplement 1, which confirmed that Wiltshire Council already had many policies in place covering walking, cycling and horse riders and to ensure that they had a high priority across all the Council’s activities.

 

For clarity and in response to a point of order, Cllr Brian Mathew proposed the amendments to the motion as detailed on page 11 of agenda supplement 1. This was seconded by Cllr Ross Henning.

 

The Chairman then moved that motion as amended be debated. This was seconded by Cllr James Sheppard.

 

The Chairman then invited group leaders to speak before opening the debate up to all members.

Cllr Philip Whitehead, Leader of the Council, stated that he would have supported the motion, however Wiltshire Council already did all of these things, apart from the Czars, who really would be Portfolio Holders. Cllr Whitehead confirmed Wiltshire had the third highest amount of Rights of Way (ROW) in the country. The Leader stated that proposal one of the motion would in effect mean that someone adding a small extension to their house would have to show a safe cycling/pedestrian route. Cllr Whitehead did not support the motion and stated that improvements to walking and cycling routes could be achieved through existing structures, for instance the CATG. The Leader expressed disappointment that the motion was not sound and this could have been avoided if officers or Scrutiny had been invited to consider the matter.   

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, stated that he thought this was an excellent motion and he urged Members to support it. Cllr Thorn felt that Cllr Mathew had introduced the ideas in good faith as an extension of what Wiltshire Council already does and that debate should not be discouraged.  

 

Cllr Ernie Clark, Leader of the Independent Group stated that he was not sure what the motion added to what Wiltshire Council already do.

 

Cllr Ricky Rogers, Leader of the Labour Group understood Cllr Wayman and Cllr Whitehead’s point of view, however he thought that this was a worthy motion as it focused the mind on important priorities.

 

Members then debated the motion.

 

Comments included that sharing the roads with fast motor traffic was not safe, putting more cyclists, walkers and horse riders onto fast roads was not a good idea; that Wiltshire Council did not have unlimited funds; further breakdown of Cllr Mathew’s data was requested; the changes to planning policies made sense for major applications, but not for smaller ones; traffic calming was expensive and unpopular; that a lot of the proposals were already being actioned with existing policies and that the motion was a positive one.

 

An amendment was proposed by Cllr Chris Hurst, that the wording of line 3 of proposal 1, rather than refer to all planning applications, be amended to refer to all major planning applications of 10 units or more. This was seconded by Cllr Ruth Hopkinson.   

 

Cllr Brian Mathew and Cllr Ross Henning were happy to accept this as a friendly amendment.

 

Further debate followed where comments included that the motion implied the current administration did not do anything for walking and cycling, which was not considered to be the case and that the motion needed to go through scrutiny.

 

It was noted that the people friendly streets scheme in Salisbury was a really good example of what was already being done; CATG budgets were miniscule and Wiltshire Council needed to step up; section 106 monies was being used successfully to place safe cycle routes and traffic calming measures; over 500 schemes to enhance cycling and walking had been proposed showing there was a need for change; people wanted a green recovery; having a portfolio holder or Czar would show commitment; although there were positive aspects to the proposals there were negative aspects too, you could not make a substantive change to planning policy in the middle of Full Council without officers and scrutiny assessing the proposals and having information and evidence to see if they would work; the needs of cyclists and horse riders were not identical and were often in conflict and not supporting the motion did not mean that you did not support walking and cycling.

 

Cllr Wayman responded that she had pointed out that these policies and plans were effectively already in place.

 

Cllr Mathew stated that he would be cycling home after Full Council, he again requested a recorded vote, he had over 10 councillors support in this, so a recorded vote was agreed.

 

At the conclusion of the debate it was,

 

Resolved:

 

That Wiltshire Council would not adopt the motion as amended.

 

In accordance with Cllr Mathews request, this was a recorded vote.

 

Votes for the motion (31)

 

Votes against the motion (52)

 

Votes in abstention (2)

 

Details of each vote are attached to the minutes.

 

 The Chairman called a 10 minute recess.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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