Agenda item

Councillors Questions

To answer any questions from Councillors under Rule 10 of the Council Procedure Rules.

 

Details of any questions received will be reported at the meeting.

 

(Note: There is a time limit of one minute for asking a question and three minutes for its answer, with supplementary questions being allowed, with a total of 30 minutes for all questions).

Minutes:

Question one from Councillor Eden-Green

 

Given that Canterbury City Council is planning to build some 11,000 houses on the Eastern, Southern and Western flanks of the City, why is there still no comprehensive plan to deal with the resultant traffic and pollution on the ring road?

 

Response by the Leader

 

The joint Kent County Council and Canterbury City Council Transport Strategy (2017) set out the approach to dealing with the predicted additional demand to travel and proposed measures and targets to mitigate this.

 

The Air Quality Action Plan (2018) set out measures and targets to deal with matters in regard to air quality.

 

As the Highway Authority, the responsibility for tackling traffic congestion and the resultant air pollution rested with Kent County Council but Canterbury City Council used its influence wherever possible as well as providing direct investment to help in a number of areas.

 

Examples of the sustainable transport initiatives and projects that the council was currently delivering were given as follows:

 

·         Operating and subsidising over two thousand Park & Ride spaces with plans to expand at Wincheap

·         Investment in ANPR technology in our car parks that will provide real time data to reduce driver time searching for spaces

·         Helping to progress road infrastructure schemes which will relieve ring road congestion such as the Wincheap off-slip and an eastern by-pass

·         Investment in new cycle routes such as the Canterbury riverside link between Asda and Vauxhall Avenue and extension to the Crab & Winkle Way in Whitstable

·         Investment in pedestrian areas in the city such as Best Lane/Friars and St Georges Street

·         Establishment of a Sustainable Transport Forum to help develop future transport ideas

·         Part of a Quality Bus Partnership, contributing an annual investment in new bus shelters

·         A ‘Park & Pedal’ initiative that allows people to park for free at Wincheap Park and Ride (and in the near future at Sturry Park and Ride) and cycle to work

·         Installation of a first phase of electric vehicle charge points (9 double on-street and 3 off-street) using green energy from Vantenfall’s off-shore wind farm

·         Plans to introduce a car club and cycle hire scheme

 

Question two from Councillor Warley

 

“At Full Council on 14/2/19 you spoke against the Labour Group proposal to fund an Affordable Homes Team tasked with finding sites to build Council homes on. You stated that such a team in effect already exists and that there are a number of plans in the pipeline to build Council homes in the District but that you were unable to provide specific details of those plans.

 

10 weeks on from that meeting can you please specify in detail to this Full Council the sites that have been identified since the beginning of this calendar year, the number of council homes to be built and the projected commencement and completion dates of those building programmes?”

 

Response by the Leader

 

Initially, the quickest and easiest way to get more council homes was to buy former council properties on the open market. It required minimal resources and could start immediately. In the three years from 2015/2016 to 2017/18, we brought 47 properties for just under £10 million.

 

In the short term the council was undertaking to do the following –

·         Complete remodelling of Parham Road.

·         Implement planning permissions that we already have for the former site of the Sturry Road Social Club (10 bungalows) and 64 Warwick Road (8 flats).

·         Implement the findings of an LGA-funded study by consultants for 19 plots, which should produce 52 flats and houses at an estimated cost of £8.3 million by undertaking more detailed financial viability studies and applications for planning permission. Delivery was expected in 2012-22.

 

In the medium term (5-15 year) the council was seeking to buy groups of properties designed to our specifications from developers on Local Plan sites, which would also encourage developers to bring sites forward.

 

In the long term (10 to 15 years onward) the council would seek to regenerate obsolete or unpopular HRA assets, increasing density and introducing market tenures to cross-subsidise council homes. These projects would be complex, requiring considerable consultation and community engagement. Buying properties sold under ‘right to buy’, either by agreement or compulsory purchase would have to be factored into the financial viability modelling.

 

Supplementary question by Councillor Warley

 

How many potential homes had been since the start of the year?

 

Response by the Leader

 

Sites for around 300 potential homes had been identified since January 2019.