50.1. Mr Michael Newsham, Integrated Transport Officer, confirmed that as had been reported during the previous item, the Proposed Bus Stop Relocation on Elmcroft Road had been proposed as part of the Council’s agreed project to install raised bus stop kerbs on the routes of service 9 and 10 to ensure that bus services could be accessed by all, of which a raised kerb was especially important for passengers who were elderly, had physical disabilities, mobility problems or with prams/buggies.
50.2. The bus stop in question (outside 71 Elmcroft Road) had been identified as it could only be accessed via steps and therefore could not be used by wheelchair users or those with other mobility problems, due to the steepness of the gradient of the verge. As a result of this a consultation had been carried out earlier in the year to relocate the bus stop to the position outside 79/81 Elmcroft Road and install a 23 metre bus stop clearway restriction in force at all times. Seven objections had been received which had been included with the report (although some were within the exempt appendix). Due to the exempt information obtained within some of the objections (which detailed the significant impact this would have on members of their households), it was considered appropriate to put the proposal on hold pending a consultation on an alternative proposal to relocate the bus stop outside 95/97 Elmcroft Road and install a 23 metre bus stop clearway restriction in force at all times.
50.3. An objection had been received on behalf of two households to the alternative proposal which had been included in the report. The principle grounds of objection had been with regards to the loss of on street parking however, having considered all of the objections, officers recommended that the bus stop should be relocated to the alternative position at 95/97. The reasons for this included that there would still be some off street parking available whereas with the original proposal, the objectors had none and their personal circumstances had been taken into consideration.
50.4. Mr Newsham confirmed that during the consultation period on the alternative proposal, one of the objectors to the proposal had advised that they had requested permission for the installation of a dropped crossing at their property, which the Council had not previously been aware of. Suffolk County Council had sent further information on the day of the meeting advising that it would need to re-consider, should the Committee agree the alternative proposal, that it would still be possible to install a DDA compliant ramp at this position. Therefore, the new recommendation to the Committee requested that the bus stop be relocated to the alternative position but with the caveat that this would be subject to confirmation from Suffolk Highways that a DDA compliant ramp could still be installed. It was also recommended that Option One be dismissed for the reasons given and referenced in the Exempt Appendix.
50.5. Councillor Fisher asked if surveys had been undertaken regarding the usage of the bus stop. Mr Newsham said that the project had been designed so that access to public transport could be provided to all and had not been based around the quantity of passengers using an individual bus stop.
50.6. Discussion took place around whether because the service operated on a loop if this meant passengers could board and depart from the inbound bus stop on the opposite side of the road. Mr Newsham advised that although this would be possible, there could be additional time and distance covered for a passenger required to do this.
50.7. Ms Hutchings, a resident of 77 Elmcroft Road, spoke on the original proposal and raised the following objections:
· A bus stop outside their home would remove their ability to park outside, which would cause issues with regards to ensuring the safety of moving their disabled son and young child from the car to their house. They relied on the good will of their neighbours already on some occasions and there would be multiple properties affected by the proposal.
50.8. Mr Clarke, a resident of 79 Elmcroft Road, spoke on the original proposal and raised the following objections:
· They had a young child with a diagnosed disorder which they felt could be worsened by the positioning of a bus stop directly outside their home.
· The route ran on a loop and passengers would not incur any extra cost getting off at a different stop.
· The value of their property would decrease with a bus stop outside.
50.9. Mr Bloomfield, a resident of 81 Elmcroft Road, spoke on the original proposal and raised the following objections:
· Detailed the difficulties with parking already.
· The bus stop outside would have a massive impact on the families who lived there.
· Other options/positions for the bus stop could be considered.
50.10. In response to one of the queries raised by an objector, Mr Newsham confirmed that the design and construction work had been undertaken by Suffolk Highways. The reason a 23 metre clearway restriction was recommended for approval was because previously Suffolk Highways had calculated this as the amount of space needed for the bus to pull up flush to the kerb should a legally parked vehicle be at both ends of the clearway.
50.11. Councillor Fisher asked whether a crossing could be placed on Elmcroft Road instead. Mr Newsham advised that this could be suggested to Suffolk County Council as the Highway Authority and a consultation would be required but any crossing would be subject to parking restictions.
50.12. A resident of 93 Elmcroft Road spoke on behalf of herself and the residents of 95 and 97 and raised the following concerns on the alternative proposal:
· There would be a decrease in parking space available.
· This was a busy junction and they were concerned that a bus stop there would affect visibility.
· The owner of 95 used a large vehicle for transporting children with access needs to school and would be unable to park on their drive with a bus stop outside.
50.13.The Committee considered the spoken objections, the objections in the report and the Officers recommendations.
It was RESOLVED:
that, provided that a ramp that is compliant with government guidance regarding wheelchair accessibility could be installed, the outbound bus stop outside 71 Elmcroft Road be relocated to an alternative position outside 95/97 Elmcroft Road and that a set of raised bus stop kerbs together with a 23 metre bus stop clearway restriction, in force at all times, be installed at the relocated bus stop, in accordance with the plan shown in Appendix C of this report.
Reason: to ensure that bus passengers could easily and safely board and alight from buses.