Report number: CAB/WS/22/003
Chair of the Committee: Councillor Ian Shipp
Lead officer: Christine Brain
(Councillor Sarah Broughton declared a pecuniary interest in the Councillor Call for Action element of this item, as her husband owned a parcel of land adjacent to Orttewell Road, Bury St Edmunds. Councillor Broughton left the meeting during the consideration of this item.)
The Cabinet received this report, which informed members of the following substantive items discussed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 13 January 2022:
1. Suffolk County Council update provided on Councillor Call for Action recommendations
2. Markets Review Working Group update
3. Work programme update 2022
Councillor Ian Shipp, Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny (O&S) Committee, drew relevant issues to the attention of Cabinet, including that a number of recommendations for action relating to 1. above were presented within the report for Cabinet’s consideration.
Councillor Shipp firstly explained that the review of the district’s markets was progressing well with another meeting of the Markets Review Working Group being held the previous day. It was expected that the findings and recommendations of the Working Group would be presented to the O&S Committee, and Cabinet thereafter in summer 2022.
Councillor Shipp then sought Cabinet’s support and endorsement for a number of recommendations relating to 1. above.
In accordance with the Constitution and having exhausted all other possible avenues for resolution of the issue, Councillor Trevor Beckwith had submitted a CCfA entitled “Impact of the Eastern Relief Road and A14 Junction 45 on the Moreton Hall Residential Area” for the O&S Committee’s consideration on 10 June 2021. The Committee had agreed to accept the CCfA and referred the matter to a CCfA hearing.
On 2 September 2021, the Committee heard from a variety of organisations and witnesses who had been involved in this matter. As the issues of concern largely fell within the responsibility of the Highways Authority (HA), the Committee had made a number of recommendations to Suffolk County Council (SCC) as the HA and requested a three-month progress report for presentation at its meeting on 13 January 2022.
The recommendations of the Committee to SCC and their subsequent responses to each were reproduced in Report number: CAB/WS/22/003.
Councillor Shipp explained that on 13 January 2022, the Committee had shared Councillor Beckwith’s disappointment with the responses of SCC in respect of addressing the legitimate concerns of the residents of Moreton Hall. Councillor Birgitte Mager, one of the other ward members for Moreton Hall had similarly expressed her concerns and the adverse impact the current issues were having on the residential amenity of those living in the area.
The Committee considered the Cabinet should take the matter further and had presented a number of recommendations, as set out in paragraph 2.1.5 of Report number: CAB/WS/22/003 to endorse and take forward.
Councillor Shipp personally thanked Councillor Beckwith for his endeavours, recognising that he had spent a considerable amount of time and effort over the past five years on this matter to try and provide a better quality of life for the residents in his ward.
A detailed discussion was held and the Cabinet also acknowledged the extensive work and commitment Councillor Beckwith had dedicated to the issues contained within his CCfA. The Chair sought clarity from Councillor Beckwith on specific points and invited him to speak.
Councillors Susan Glossop and Andy Drummond responded to areas that were covered within their portfolios, including:
· The Growth portfolio included strategic liaison with Suffolk County Council on highways matters and Councillor Glossop would work with officers to investigate the issues raised and take forward the Committee’s recommendation to write to the County Council.
· It was noted that one of the recommendations was to return the Rougham Hill Lorry Park to operation; however, this was not under the ownership or responsibility of West Suffolk Council, as it was owned by SCC and managed by Highways England under a lease. Highways England had indicated that the facility was operating as normal. The current situation with the lorry park would, however, be checked and any issues raised with the County Council or Highways England, as appropriate. Councillor Mildmay-White also offered to carry out a visit to the lorry park with Councillor Beckwith as this also affected her ward.
· The air quality along Orttewell Road was monitored in 2019 and the levels of nitrogen dioxide pollution along this road were very low when compared to other locations in Bury St Edmunds and the wider district. However, despite this, the Council was aware of the complaints received from residents regarding the perceived poor air quality in this location and a monitoring point had been reinstated. This should provide evidence to ascertain whether there had been any substantial change in air quality over the last three years.
· There was no legal limit regarding the level of road noise generated and therefore no enforcement powers could be utilised by West Suffolk Council to mitigate any potential impact of noise from the road. However, some of the measures suggested by the O&S Committee to reduce the noisier vehicles and flow of traffic may assist with reducing noise levels. Councillor Drummond would support Councillor Glossop with her work to raise these issues with SCC. In addition, the continued promotion of greener vehicles not only had a positive impact on the environment but would also help to reduce noise levels.
Although no vote was required, the Cabinet formally noted, supported and endorsed the recommendations of the Committee for Cabinet to take forward, which were as follows:
It be agreed that West Suffolk Council Cabinet will write to Suffolk County Council to:
1. Find out whether Orttewell Road has been monitored as part of the county HGV review and if so, what are the results.
2. Request Suffolk County Council (SCC) to define “no frontage development” and why numerous dwellings, play area, sports field etc. adjacent to Orttewell Road are not considered vulnerable.
3. Find out what is “the very significant projected increase in traffic flow as a result of planned housing developments” preventing opening-up the rail bridge to two-way traffic flow? and whether SCC advised the local planning authority (LPA) of the need to restrict traffic flow at the bridge during the Vision 2031 process?
4. Request Suffolk County Council and/or West Suffolk Council Cabinet to establish if National Highways are still agreeable to new A14 signage and if developers of Suffolk Park are open to funding.
It be agreed that West Suffolk Council Cabinet will:
1. Instigate investigation into noise, air pollution and residential amenity in the Orttewell road area.
2. Check that the Rougham Hill lorry park is in full operation.
The Chair thanked Councillors Shipp and Beckwith for their contributions to the discussion.
(At the conclusion of this item, Councillors Beckwith and Shipp left the meeting and Councillor Broughton returned.)