To receive any questions from members of the public. The standard protocol to be observed by public speakers is attached.
Councillor Roger Hickford, Chairman, reported that a significant number of people had registered to speak in relation to specific items on the agenda for this meeting. He therefore proposed that those questions be put at the relevant item.
The following questions did not necessarily relate to any items on the agenda for this meeting and were therefore asked and answered at this stage of proceedings, as follows:
Question by Mary Pountain
In view of the late publication of consultation responses, some of which not being published until the evening of 31 May 2016, Mary Pountain was concerned that this was not a democratic process with there not being enough time allowed for proper reflection on the schemes, particularly in view of the Executive Board meeting having been brought forward by a week. She therefore asked whether the Joint Assembly would recommend the postponing of the Executive Board meeting to allow sufficient time for the Joint Assembly Members, and members of the public, to assimilate all the information and review the impact of each scheme when combined with the other City Deal proposals.
Bob Menzies, Director of Strategy and Development at Cambridgeshire County Council, said that officers supporting the City Deal programme were committed to openness and the democratic process, together with making sure as much information as possible was in the public domain. He stated that the consultation report was published five clear working days in advance of the meeting, as required, but that some of the information contained within background reports had not been available for technical reasons.
Question by Wendy Blythe
Wendy Blythe reported that Cambridge communities were finding it difficult to maintain faith in the process, especially in view of the publication of late information and the officer responsible for community engagement being seen to limit attendance at the recent Histon Road and Milton Road briefing. In respect of the proposed Local Liaison Forum, she asked how Forum stakeholders would be identified, on what basis objectives would be set and what success would look like.
Mr Menzies reported that Local Liaison Forums would involve all local Councillors from the County Council, City Council and District Council where appropriate and that it would be up to them to decide which stakeholders they wished to invite. The Forum itself would set its own terms of reference, setting out its objectives. In terms of what success would look like he highlighted that Local Liaison Forums were not decision-making bodies. He therefore added that success would be judged by the end product of the scheme.
Question by Roxanne de Beaux
Roxanne de Beaux asked whether the Joint Assembly would recommend to the Executive Board that the designs for Milton Road should include dedicated, segregated and sufficiently wide space for people who walked, together with separate, dedicated and sufficiently wide space for people who would be cycling. She also asked whether the Assembly would remove the recommendation that floating-bus stops were not considered.
Stuart Walmsley, Head of Major Infrastructure Delivery at Cambridgeshire County Council, highlighted that discussions had taken place in length to establish how best to integrate all levels of usage along the Histon Road and Milton Road corridors. Further work was still needed and there were lots of options to consider. Floating bus stops were one of the options that still had to be considered and at this stage it was unclear whether or not they could work along these corridors.
Mr Walmsley made the point that cycling featured very highly as part of all City Deal transport infrastructure schemes. In respect of the Histon Road and Milton Road schemes, he said that there was still a high level of design work to undertake. Mr Walmsley took the opportunity, however, to highlight the cross city cycling item due for consideration later at this meeting which gave very good examples of high quality cycling facilities and provision for the area.