Environment Policy and Review Panel
Tuesday, 20th March, 2018 7.00 pm - Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Offices, Farnborough

Contact: Panel Administrator, Justine Davie  Tel. (01252) 398832, Email.  justine.davie@rushmoor.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

20.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 63 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 27th February, 2108 (copy attached).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 27th February, 2018 were approved and signed by the Chairman.

21.

REVIEW OF CHRISTMAS 2017 ACTIVITY AND PROPOSALS FOR 2018

David Phillips, Town Centre and Cultural Manager, to advise the Panel on the success of the Christmas activity carried out in the Borough in 2017, including the community event in North Town and the shop front competition, and to introduce the proposals for Christmas 2018.

 

John Trusler, Principal Engineer, to report on the cost of a permanent tree and lights in North Camp and on the outcome of any discussions held with Princes Mead and Kingsmead on the joint procurement of Christmas lights and potential costs involved.

Minutes:

David Phillips, Town Centre and Cultural Manager, and Jenny Atherton, Town Centre and Events Officer, attended the meeting to provide a review of the Christmas activity carried out in the Borough in 2017.  The total budget for all of the events across the Borough had been £11,000, there had been an additional £3,250 raised in sponsorship and grants. 

 

Events in Aldershot had included:

 

·      Christmas Lights Switch-On – Saturday 18th November

·      Christmas Craft Fayres - Saturday 2nd and 9th December

·      Aldershot Communities Together (ACT) Christmas Festival – 3 weekends of activities leading up to Christmas including ‘Community Christmas Celebration’ on Saturday 9th December, ‘Light Up Aldershot Day and Lantern Procession’ on Saturday 16th December and ‘ACT Festival & Carol Concert’ on Saturday 23rd December

 

The ACT activities had been organised by the ACT sub group of 15 volunteers.  There had been £3,000 allocated to the three weekends of activity, all of which had been well attended.  Also in Aldershot had been the North Town Carols on 20th December which had been led by Cllr Keith Dibble and sponsored by Vivid, which attracted approximately 100 visitors.

 

Events in Farnborough had included:

 

·      Farnborough Frost Fair – Saturday 18th November which had also coincided with the Princes Mead lights switch-on

·      Magical Elf Trail – Saturday 2nd December which had involved ten retailers across Queensmead, Princes Mead and The Meads

·      Christmas Fun Day – Saturday 9th December

·      Craft Fayre and Brass Band – Saturday 16th December

 

In addition there had been a best Christmas shop window display competition which had been open to retailers across the whole Borough.  The judging had been led by ACT volunteers and photographs had been taken of all shops which had Christmas window displays of which there had been over 200.

 

The Panel discussed the cost of a permanent tree and lights in North Camp which had been requested at the meeting in September 2017.  The Panel was advised that due to the Council’s financial commitments and, as the provision of a tree and lights was currently not a Council priority or on the Cabinet’s work programme, it would not be possible to be funded by the Council.  One suggestion was to bid for funding from Blanchere Illuminations UK or through sponsorship from local businesses.  Jenny Atherton offered to facilitate the bid for lights.  If the bid was successful the location of the lights would need to be agreed although the preferred option was for neighbourhood centres rather than the main town centres.

 

David Phillips and Jenny Atherton had already met with the Princes Mead Centre Manager who had indicated that Princes Mead would be keen to work with The Meads, Queensmead and other partners on future Christmas activity.

 

Cllr Keith Dibble thanked Jenny Atherton for her help with the North Town Carols event which had been very well received by the community and local businesses had got involved.  The Panel was advised that, if other neighbourhood areas were interested in setting up something similar, it was important to get  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

PARKING CHARGES NOTICES pdf icon PDF 1 MB

At the Council meeting on 22nd February support was given to a motion to assess the activities and procedures of the private-parking operators in the Borough.  The matter has been referred to the Environment Policy and Review Panel for detailed scrutiny. 

 

A report has been prepared by Citizens Advice Rushmoor due to a significant increase in the number of clients coming forward to complain about receiving unfair parking tickets (copy attached).  Councillor Alex Crawford has also produced three reports on the responses received to an online survey carried out to gather evidence on problems experienced by residents with private parking firms in Rushmoor (copies attached).  An update on the outcome of discussions being held between the NHS, the CCG and Smart parking on the parking arrangements at Aldershot Centre for Health will be provided at the meeting.

 

The Panel is asked to consider the evidence and scope out the action available to the Council. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel received information on the problems experienced by residents and visitors with private parking firms in Rushmoor following a motion supported at the Council meeting on 22nd February 2018.  Tony Griffiths from NHS Property Services and Cllr Alex Crawford joined the meeting to provide information to the Panel on the issues and proposed action.

 

Tony Griffiths advised the Panel that NHS Property Services managed a large proportion of Health Centres and GP Practices across the country, of which Aldershot Centre for Health (ACH) was one of the larger sites.  There had been a number of issues with parking on the site since the ACH had been established and in 2016 tenants and users got together to develop a workable parking solution.  An Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system had been introduced in 2016 which recorded car registration numbers at the entrance and the registration number was then entered into the pay machine with an opportunity to top up if required when the visitor left.  It was clear that the system had not been working due to the number of complaints that had been received.  There were a number of issues, which included the ANPR system picking up the registration number at the traffic lights instead of the car park entrance and there were also issues with electrical fluctuations which caused the system to reset itself.  When users had received inappropriate Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) the NHS Property Services had aimed to have them cancelled as soon as issued or rescinded when appealed. 

 

It was recognised that users had experienced a number of problems with the system which included:

 

·      The keyboard being quite low and difficult to operate to enter registration numbers.

·      Unclear information regarding the free 15 minutes parking and the requirement to enter registration numbers.

·      A lack of clear signage as to the procedures, in particular the option to top up parking on exit which caused confusion for users.

·      Blue badge holders not understanding the need to take the badge in to reception and also a reluctance to remove the badge from the car for fear of receiving a PCN.

·      PCNs being issued even when users had purchased tickets and no understanding or leniency from Smart Parking when genuine mistakes had been made.

 

Cllr Alex Crawford had carried out a survey to gather information on the parking issues in the Borough which highlighted a large number of issues with the parking at ACF.  A petition had also been launched which had approximately 2,000 signatures.  Cllr Crawford had recommended to NHS Property Services that the contract with Smart Parking should be cancelled immediately and the parking system at ACF was brought in house.  Cllr Crawford stated that Smart Parking had not applied for planning permission to install the signage therefore the PCNs issued were illegal and criminal.

 

Tony Griffiths advised that NHS Property Services had heard the messages from councillors and users and were acting to make changes.  For reasons of commercial confidentiality he was unable to provide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 218 KB

To note the Panel’s current work programme (copy attached).

Minutes:

The Panel NOTED the current work programme.