24th November FOI request to WSCC regarding conversion of Westgate and Sherbourne Road pavements into Cycle Tracks

24th November FOI request to WSCC regarding conversion of Westgate and Sherbourne Road pavements into Cycle Tracks

Second Update

WSCC replied to ChiCycle’s FOI request FOI/3119

ChiCycle’s original questions appear in black type.

WSCC responses appear in blue type.

ChyCycle comments regarding the responses are shown in red type.

The biggest bombshell revelation is answer No 11! WSCC claim to have engaged with an organisation that disbanded 8 years ago. It is not clear how this would be possible without a time machine.

Dear Mark Record,

Our Ref: FOI/3119

On 24/11/2021 you made the following request for information, which has been dealt with in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

Clarification over the planning process to remove the legal status of footway from Westgate and Sherbourne Road pavements (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980)

We have now completed a search for the information which you requested and confirm that this Authority holds data relevant to your request.

The Response to your request is as follows:

1) Will there be (or has there already been) a planning application that includes the finalised detailed plans for conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne pavements into shared use cycle tracks that are associated with the S106 agreement for 14/04301/OUT? If so, what is the planning application reference and where is it available?

Planning application CC/14/04301/OUT was the application which obtained the necessary planning consent for these highway works and was approved by Chichester District Council (CDC) as Local Planning Authority (LPA).  All the details and documents submitted in relation to this planning application are publicly available on the CDC planning register (https://www.chichester.gov.uk/viewplanningapplications).

This answer fails to address the question asked. 14/04301/OUT included several indicative plans for the treatment of the Westgate/Sherbourne-Rd mini roundabout. However, all the indicative drawings preserved the foodways on the north-west, north-east and south-east quadrants of the roundabout, maintaining them for exclusively pedestrian use only. 14/04301/OUT gave no indication whatsoever that the narrow urban pavements passing blind driveways and rounding bind corners, would be converted into shared use cycle-tracks. ChiCycle doubt the outline planning application could possibly have given planning permission for conversion of these pavements to shared use since this concept was not indicated anywhere within the original outline planning permission documents.

2) What opportunity for consultation will be given to disabled residents and/or organisations representing them, regarding conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement into shared use cycle tracks?

Planning application CC/14/04301/OUT, which effectively approved the proposed highway works, was subject to formal public consultation in line with the statutory requirements set out by National Government.  This consultation was undertaken by CDC in their role as LPA.  This enabled residents and interested parties to comment upon and provide their views the proposals within the planning application.  The application was also considered and determined by CDC councillors in a public meeting where members of the public could request to speak at the meeting.

The highway works were also subject to further local public consultation as WSCC as Highway Authority required that as part of the permission an Infrastructure Steering Group be set up.  This enabled local groups and residents associations the opportunity to comment and help inform the detailed design of the off-site highway works associated with phase 1 of the West of Chichester development.  The Traffic Regulation Orders associated with these works have also been subject to the necessary public consultation.

Once again, WSCC failed to address the question raised. The S106 agreement forming part of CC/14/04301/OUT did not include any indication that footways would be inappropriately converted into shared use cycle-tracks. Disability groups could not have been expected to pre-empt subsequent detailed plans would follow an entirely different design concept from the published indicative drawings or that the designers would depart entirely from and adherence to national-guidelines/design-standards for inclusive mobility and walking and cycling. Voices representing vulnerable and disabled residents were also excluded from any participation in the Infrastructure Steering Group.

3) What opportunity for consultation will be given to groups who represent pedestrians and cyclists regarding this proposed conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements into shared use cycle tracks?

See above response to point 2.

4) What opportunity for consultation will be provided for members of the general public who rely on safe Westgate/Sherborne footways being available for their journeys made on foot within the city?

See above response to point 2 and 3.

5) When will it be decided (or has it already been decided) to remove the legal classification of footway (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) from the sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement being considered for conversion into shared use cycle tracks?

WSCC haven’t removed the footway status. Footway may be converted to shared use by a resolution of a Committee or as a consequence of Agreements under Section 278/38 of the Highways Act 1980 or Section 106 Town and County Planning Act 1990.

ChiCycle doubt the answer given is 100% correct. Nonetheless, there are instruments that local authorities are able to employ to convert footways to cycle-tracks. However DfT guidelines make it clear that it is highly undesirable to convert urban pavements into shared use cycle-tracks and at an early stage that disability groups must be actively engaged and consulted about the proposals. This is an important stage for local authorities to meet their statutory duties under the 2010 Equality Act.

LTN1/20 (Page 176) Creating a cycle track within the highway boundary. Procedure – Highways Act 1980 states:

Public consultation is not a mandatory requirement, however, engagement with those likely to be affected is strongly recommended, particularly groups representing disabled people.

LTN1/20 6.5 Shared use (Page 67)

6.5.4 In urban areas, the conversion of a footway to shared use should be regarded as a last resort. Shared use facilities are generally not favoured by either pedestrians or cyclists, particularly when flows are high. It can create particular difficulties for visually impaired people. Actual conflict may be rare, but the interactions between people moving at different speeds can be perceived to be unsafe and inaccessible, particularly by vulnerable pedestrians. This adversely affects the comfort of both types of user, as well as directness for the cyclist.
6.5.5 Where a shared use facility is being considered, early engagement with relevant interested
parties should be undertaken, particularly those representing disabled people, and pedestrians and
cyclists generally. Engaging with such groups is an important step towards the scheme meeting the
authority’s Public Sector Equality Duty.

6) Has the legal classification as footway (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) already been removed from the sections of Westgate and Sherbourne Road proposed for conversion into shared use cycle tracks?
There is no evidence WSCC informed any existing disability groups about the conversion of the footways to shared use. This is clearly a failure to abide by DfT guidelines that allow WSCC to meet its statutory duties under the 2010 Equality Act.

See above response to point 5.

7) Who will take (or who has taken) the decision over whether or not to remove the legal classification of footway (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) from sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement? How can the people taking this decision be contacted to lodge opposition to this scheme?

See above response to point 5.

8) Will details of the planning process be published for the conversion of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements into shared use cycle-tracks? Will this include details such as, planning meeting dates, agendas and attendees? Will these details be made available online? If so, where and when will they be made available.

Details of planning application CC/14/04301/OUT are already publicly available on the CDC planning register (https://www.chichester.gov.uk/viewplanningapplications).

This information includes all the submission document by the applicant and their consultants, consultee formal comments upon the planning application, the CDC planning decision notice and the CDC officers planning committee report.  Agendas, dates and minutes of planning committee meetings in relation to CC/14/04301/OUT can be found on the CDC website here https://www.chichester.gov.uk/planningcommitteedates.

Once again WSCC refer to the outline planning agreement CC/14/04301/OUT but this contained indicative drawings showing cycles would remain segregated from pedestrian footways on pavements with blind corners.

9) Will the outcome of planning decisions made regarding the 14/04301/OUT S106 scheme to convert Westgate/Sherborne Rd footways into cycle-tracks, be published? If so, how when and where will the outcome of these planning meetings/decisions be made publicly available?

The planning decision notice for planning permission CC/14/04301/OUT is available on the CDC planning register website https://www.chichester.gov.uk/viewplanningapplications and minutes of the CDC Planning Committee meeting where planning application CC/14/04301OUT was formally approved is available here https://www.chichester.gov.uk/planningcommitteedates.

10) A (presumably draft) copy of (TRO) CHS9038RC is now available from the WSCC website as of the time of writing on this the 24th Nov 2021. Because the copy currently available from the WSCC website (and attached with this FOI request) neither carries an agreement date nor bears a Common Seal of West Sussex County Council, ChiCycle assume it has not yet received final approval. When will the final decision be made giving approval for (TRO) CHS9038RC? How will the public be notified of the date of approval for this order? How and when will a signed and sealed final copy of the document be made available on the WSDC website so there is transparency over the date of final agreement and showing who has signed to authorise this order?

The Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport has now authorised that the proposed Traffic Orders can be made. The draft Order will be sealed and brought into operation once the onsite highway works to implement the Order have been undertaken. A statutory notice will be published in the Chichester Observer confirming that the Order has been made and the operative date in accordance with the Procedural Regulations.

11) (TRO) CHS9038RC includes parallel cycle crossings at Westgate/Sherborne Rd. These cycles crossings fail to meet numerous DfT standards and will inappropriately route cyclists onto narrow urban pavements, leading cyclists into conflict with pedestrians on bind corners of the pavement bound by brick walls and pillars. DfT strongly recommend disability groups are consulted before routing cyclists onto urban pavements and it is stated that engagement in this type of situation is a vital step for local authorities to meet their statutory duties under the 2010 Equality Act. Please list which parties representing disabled and/or vulnerable people have been actively consulted/engaged by WSCC over the (TRO) CHS9038RC proposals to route cyclists onto the Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements?

Specifically in relation to consultation on the Traffic Regulation Order the West Sussex Association for Disabled People were consulted and are on all statutory consultations.  They are a large forum representing the interests of disabled people across the whole of West Sussex.  Additionally, the WSCC website is fully compliant with the accessibility regulations enabling general members of the public to provide representations so their views can be considered.

It is difficult to imagine what kind of consultation took place between WSCC and the group West Sussex Association for Disabled People (WSAD). This organisation was wound up by its former trustee Glynis Spencer in 2013. Glynis wrote to ChiCycle on the 17th Dec 2021 explaining her astonishment that WSCC had made this claim of engagement and consultation:

I am more than a little intrigued by the claim that WSCC has consulted West Sussex Association for Disable People (WSAD), as I was a Trustee for WSAD and the Company and Charity were wound up in 2013.

Bill Sharp and made further investigations into the history of WSAD. He wrote the following in an email sent on the 17th Dec 2021

According to the Charity Commission Website entry for the West Sussex Association for the Disabled (https://tinyurl.com/4rvrj5ht), the Association was removed from the register on 8 October 2012. At this date, its funds were transferred and it amalgamated with the INDEPENDENT LIVING ASSOCIATION (https://tinyurl.com/3c2bt3y4).
If you click on the various tabs on this latter link, the Independent Living Association itself looks pretty small and inactive; with no income, no expenditure, and one trustee. It also seems to have a narrow remit of “Information & advice to customers in West Sussex regarding independent health needs.
Supporting customers who receive a direct payment for the purpose of engaging personal assistants”. (My emphasis).
So, even if WSCC had consulted with the Independent Living Association and simply mis-named it, it’s not clear that the Independent Living Association has any expertise in pathway design for the mobility impaired.
(I would have thought that Wheels for Wellbeing would be the go-to charity for that these days: https://wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk/. But maybe WSCC Highways already knew the kind
of thing they would say, and didn’t want to hear it.)…….

This morning I walked down South Pallant. The apparent registered address at No 10 South Pallant was converted to flats some years ago. There are flats 1-5. None of these has any indication that it may house the WS Association for the Disabled.
Looking at Google Streetview, a plaque suggesting a conversion into flats from whatever was there before (offices or single dwelling?) was put up on the wall to the right of the door some time between 2009 and 2011.
BEFORE the plaque: https://tinyurl.com/2cp75azx AFTER the plaque: https://tinyurl.com/ycktzk3n.
The “after” view dates from June 2011. This ties in closely with the last recorded Facebook activity for the Assn for the Disabled (March 2011), And it also ties in reasonably well with the amalgamation on 8 October 2012 (and with the application to strike the company off the register in 2013 which was mentioned in one of the earlier attachments).

For completeness, it may be relevant that I also found another address on the Web:
7 St John’S Parade, Alinora Crescent,Goring-By-Sea, West Sussex – BN12 4HJ
The Tel. No is 01903 244457. But when I dialled, this elicited “the number you dialled has not been recognised” (I tried twice to make sure).Further, the website giving this address was updated “more than 2 years ago”, so it’s hardly up to date(https://goring-by-sea.cylex-uk.co.uk/company/west-sussex-association-for-the-disabled-16550045.html)
That said, an address move from Chichester to Goring by Sea, at some unknown date, ties in with later amalgamation with the Independent Living Assn.,
which is in Worthing, near Goring by Sea.


Update

WSCC have at least acknowledged receiving their most recent FOI request from ChiCycle.

Dear Mark Record

Thank you for your request which has been assigned reference FOI/3119

Clarification over the planning process to remove the legal status of footway from Westgate and Sherbourne Road pavements (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) and their following conversion to the legal status of cycle tracks (under Section 65(1) Highways Act 1980)

If you have submitted a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), we aim to respond within the statutory timescale of 20 working days, i.e. by or on 22/12/2021. However please be aware that many of our services continue to experience pressures due to the Covid-19 pandemic so your response may be delayed beyond that timescale.

Should you have any further enquiries concerning this request, please reply to this email leaving the subject line unchanged.

Yours sincerely,
West Sussex County Council


Original Post

Did you make your request via our online form at https://foi.infreemation.co.uk/westsussex/new ? If not, why not use it in future for a simple and convenient way to make FOI requests.

ChiCycle previously sent a FOI request to the WSCC TRO Consultation Team on the 4th Nov 2021. We are disappointed not to have received a reply within 20 days as should have been the case according to guidelines established by national government.

Chichester District Council have advised ChiCycle that CDC are not responsible for the highway planning decisions relating to the White House Farm (WHF) / West of Chichester (WoC) development.

We are sending another FOI request to WSCC in the hope they will respond this time! The request contains questions that we hope will clarify the planning process for the transport infrastructure related to the WoC development. ChiCycle are particularly concerned about the city’s pavements being inappropriately converted to shared use cycleways to prioritise the carriageways to carry increased volumes of motor traffic through sensitive residential neighbourhoods.

ChiCycle feel that routing heavy traffic from a large new housing developments access road, onto currently quiet streets carrying several National Cycle Routes, is the opposite to the approach recommended by UK national guidelines (Gear Change) and is also the opposite of the sustainable transport approaches being adopted throughout continental Europe and particularly in the Netherlands.

ChiCycle’s 24th November FOI request to WSCC regarding the conversion of Westgate and Sherbourne Road pavements into Cycle Tracks is available below the horizontal line. We will update this page (if) when we get a response.


WSCC highways traffic Regulation Order (TRO) CHS9038RC includes road humps and crossings on Westgate and Sherbourne Road. Drawings included as part of this TRO illustrate that there must be other plans for the Westgate and Sherbourne Road junction soon to be decided upon. Although the (TRO) CHS9038RC does not appear to cover the conversion of Westgate pavement into shared use cycle tracks, planning agreements to permit the conversion of pavements to shared-use must be necessary in order to permit cyclists to use the parallel crossings shown in the TRO.

The relocation of cyclists from the South Coast National Cycle Route No2 onto Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements is part an S106 agreement relating to the West of Chichester Development (14/04301/OUT). These works are defined under point 7 on page 22 of a document available through the CDC planning portal, listed as (11 Apr 2018-Legal Agreement-SECTION 106 PLANNING AGREEMENT-11.04.18-PART 1 OF 9). The works are defined within the S106 agreement as “A junction improvement scheme for Westgate/Sherborne Road as shown indicatively on Highway Works Drawing 7 attached to this Agreement at Appendix 8 or as otherwise agreed in writing by the County Council”.

According to the Department for Transport (LTN1/20 Appendix C Page 187)
“To create a cycle track using part or all of an existing footway (or extending the kerbs into the carriageway) the Highway Authority must first ‘remove’ the existing footway under Section 66(4) (Highways Act 1980) and then ‘create’ the cycle track under Section 65(1)”… “Public consultation is not a mandatory requirement, however, engagement with those likely to be affected is strongly recommended, particularly groups representing disabled people”.

Please provide ChiCycle with the following information

1) Will there be (or has there already been) a planning application that includes the finalised detailed plans for conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne pavements into shared use cycle tracks that are associated with the S106 agreement for 14/04301/OUT? If so, what is the planning application reference and where is it available?

2) What opportunity for consultation will be given to disabled residents and/or organisations representing them, regarding conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement into shared use cycle tracks?

3) What opportunity for consultation will be given to groups who represent pedestrians and cyclists regarding this proposed conversion of sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements into shared use cycle tracks?

4) What opportunity for consultation will be provided for members of the general public who rely on safe Westgate/Sherborne footways being available for their journeys made on foot within the city?

5) When will it be decided (or has it already been decided) to remove the legal classification of footway (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) from the sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement being considered for conversion into shared use cycle tracks?

6) Has the legal classification as footway (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) already been removed from the sections of Westgate and Sherbourne Road proposed for conversion into shared use cycle tracks?

7) Who will take (or who has taken) the decision over whether or not to remove the legal classification of footway (under Section 66(4) Highways Act 1980) from sections of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavement? How can the people taking this decision be contacted to lodge opposition to this scheme?

8) Will details of the planning process be published for the conversion of Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements into shared use cycle-tracks? Will this include details such as, planning meeting dates, agendas and attendees? Will these details be made available on line? If so, where and when will they be made available.

9) Will the outcome of planning decisions made regarding the 14/04301/OUT S106 scheme to convert Westgate/Sherborne Rd footways into cycle-tracks, be published? If so, how when and where will the outcome of these planning meetings/decisions be made publicly available?

10) A (presumably draft) copy of (TRO) CHS9038RC is now available from the WSCC website as of the time of writing on this the 24th Nov 2021. Because the copy currently available from the WSCC website (and attached with this FOI request) neither carries an agreement date nor bears a Common Seal of West Sussex County Council, ChiCycle assume it has not yet received final approval. When will the final decision be made giving approval for (TRO) CHS9038RC? How will the public be notified of the date of approval for this order? How and when will a signed and sealed final copy of the document be made available on the WSDC website so there is transparency over the date of final agreement and showing who has signed to authorise this order?

11) (TRO) CHS9038RC includes parallel cycle crossings at Westgate/Sherborne Rd. These cycles crossings fail to meet numerous DfT standards and will inappropriately route cyclists onto narrow urban pavements, leading cyclists into conflict with pedestrians on bind corners of the pavement bound by brick walls and pillars. DfT strongly recommend disability groups are consulted before routing cyclists onto urban pavements and it is stated that engagement in this type of situation is a vital step for local authorities to meet their statutory duties under the 2010 Equality Act. Please list which parties representing disabled and/or vulnerable people have been actively consulted/engaged by WSCC over the (TRO) CHS9038RC proposals to route cyclists onto the Westgate/Sherborne Rd pavements?

If possible, please send an electronic copy of the response to this FOI request to mark.record@chicycle.co.uk

Many thanks in advance for information you are able to provide.

Mark Record (Secretary for ChiCycle)

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