Members gave consideration to the Gainsborough Cycling and Walking Network Plan. The Assistant Director of Planning and Regeneration explained that Lincolnshire County Council had commissioned the production of the plan and the report was finalised in March 2021. The plan had been produced to take advantage of future and additional funding streams; maximise the best opportunities for improving cycling and walking rates; make cycling and walking a priority and to make Gainsborough one of the best towns in the UK for cycling and walking. The objectives of the plan were to produce an evidence-based infrastructure network plan; identify early network investment priorities and potential interventions; secure stakeholder “buy-in” for the network and potential interventions and to provide high-level feasibility for investment in the highest priority cycling and walking infrastructure. Members were being asked to adopt the Gainsborough Cycling and Walking Network Plan 2021 for use by Officers on related projects and future decision making.
There was considerable disquiet amongst Committee Members regarding many of the proposals within the plan, including the pedestrianisation of the town centre, the removal of on-street parking in several areas of the town and the removal of several trees along those same routes. The Committee was not satisfied that the details of the plan correlated with the aims and aspirations of West Lindsey District Council. Questions were raised as to how Lincolnshire County Council had come to the final document and there was significant discussion as to the need for local Members and communities to have a much greater input to any changes to their local area. There was little support amongst Committee Members to agree to the adoption of the plan.
The Assistant Director of Planning and Regeneration recognised the concerns raised and assured Members that the proposals would have to proceed through considerable consultation processes before any final decisions were made. It was emphasised that the adoption of the plan would enable Officers to work closely with communities and the County Council in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the town.
With further discussion amongst Members as to their concerns regarding the plan and the lack of support for the proposals, it was suggested that the recommendation for adoption be amended to better reflect the discussions of the Committee. It was acknowledged that Members were concerned the voice of the District Council would be lost and it was considered of great importance to ensure the council, Members and the local community were strongly represented during any future discussions with the County Council.
With several suggested wording options being discussed, the Vice Chairman sought advice from the Democratic Services and Elections Team Manager (Interim). Members of the Committee clarified their position towards the plan and, on being proposed and seconded, the Chairman took a vote on the proposed amended and additional recommendations. With the vote on the amended recommendations CARRIED, the Chairman asked Committee Members to indicate their support or otherwise with a second vote.
With 10 for, 1 against and 1 abstention, it was
RESOLVED that Members:
a) Support, in principal, the Gainsborough Cycling and Walking Network Plan 2021 for use, as an evidence base, by Officers on related projects and future decision making; and
b) Support cycling and walking in Gainsborough and the wider District of West Lindsey; and
c) Require Officers and Members on the Gainsborough Transport Board to robustly challenge the proposals put forward in this paper, and ensure appropriate and suitable alternatives are developed.