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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms CDE, Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden, SM4 5DX

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Joan Henry (substituted by Councillor David Chung) and from the three co-opted members -  Helen Forbes, Emma Lemon and Colin Powell.

2.

Declarations of pecuniary interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.

3.

Call-in of "public health, air quality and sustainable transport - a strategic approach to parking charges" pdf icon PDF 59 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair reminded all present that the purpose of the call-in was to determine whether Cabinet’s decision on 15 July was flawed in relation to the council’s principles of decision making and, if so, to demonstrate where it fell short. The Chair also said that as this decision had been the subject of extensive pre-decision scrutiny by the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel, the Commission should focus its attention on new information. He explained that the Commission would take each of the two call-in requests in turn, starting with the one that had been received first.

 

Liberal Democrat Call-In Request

The Chair invited Councillor Anthony Fairclough to speak as a signatory to the call-in request. Councillor Fairclough said that he believed that Cabinet’s decision had been flawed in relation to two of the principles of decision making - respect for human rights and equalities ; and clarity of aims and desired outcomes.

 

In relation to human rights and equalities, Councillor Fairclough said that the council had failed to actively engage with organisations representing the affected groups that had been identified on the equality impact assessment, in particular in relation to measures to mitigate any potential negative impact. He said that this was clearly a requirement of the equality analysis process as set out in stage 8 of the equality analysis flowchart.

 

In relation to clarity of aims and desired outcomes, Councillor Fairclough said that the claim that increased parking charges will lead to an improvement in air quality can’t be assessed, that the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Panel had asked for further evidence and although some has been provided, it does not support the contention increased charges will result in a reduction in car ownership. He said that the proposals lacked information on how such an impact would be assessed and, without this, the proposal looked like a revenue raising measure.

 

In response to questions from members, Councillor Fairclough made some additional points:

 

·         the Canadian Parking Association study cited in the Cabinet report found that in Amsterdam, residents were prepared to pay a considerable premium for housing with a parking space, implying that a large increase in parking charges would be required in order to have the desired impact

·         the council should look at a range of alternative measures suggested in the responses to the consultation

·         the council’s equality assessment process requires officers to consult on proposals, assess potential negative impact, identify mitigation and to review in consultation with stakeholders. Three versions of the equality impact assessment were produced and revisions were made in the absence of input from affected groups. Failure to follow that process is a breach of the decision making principle on human rights and equalities

 

Cabinet Member response

The Chair asked the Cabinet Members and Director to respond to the points made by Councillor Fairclough.

 

The Director of Environment and Regeneration, Chris Lee, assured the Commission that the public sector equality duty to pay due regard to the impact that policy changes might have  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.