Meeting documents

Scrutiny & Overview Committee
Wednesday, 24th May, 2017

Scrutiny & Overview Committee Minutes

Wednesday 24th May 2017
6.30 p.m.
Room F5, the Town Hall, Katharine Street, Croydon CR0 1NX

Attendance Details


Councillor K Bee, Councillor C Bonner, Councillor J Buttinger, Councillor S Fitzsimons, Councillor S Mann, Councillor V Mohan, Councillor S Bashford(Also In attendance), Councillor M Bird(Also In attendance), Councillor S Brew(Also In attendance), Councillor S King(Also In attendance)

Also present:
Steve Iles (Director of Streets) and Mike Barton (Service Manager - Streets).

Item Item/Resolution

There were no disclosures.


There was no urgent business.


There were no exempt items.


The Chair introduced the item and the Committee reviewed the reasons for the Call-In.

The Committee RESOLVED to accept the call-in and review the decision on 20mph limits in zones 3, 4 and 5, taken by the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment.



Councillor Bashford, introducing the reasons for the Call-In, stated that it had been submitted for two key reasons. The first reason was that the process had been fairly administered across the whole borough. The second reason was that consideration should be given to the outcomes of the implementation in zones 1 and 2 before introducing the limits to the rest of the borough.

Councillor Bashford stated that zones 1 and 2 had the opportunity to vote on the 20mph scheme through a referendum however this had not been available to residents in zones 3, 4 and 5. The latter consultation did not allow for submissions in favour of the scheme, only objections, and thus a comparison of points for and against was not provided for within the consultation. Manchester City Council had recently changed its policy on 20mph zones and had diverted some of the funding to alternative road safety measures; this approach should be considered by the Cabinet Member. There should be a focus on accident hotspots rather than blanket speed limit zones.



The Chair invited officers present to respond to the points arising from the Call-In.


The Service Manager introduced the report that had been to the Traffic Management Advisory Committee (TMAC). The report considered the objections received in the consultation and provided officer responses. There had been considerable work undertaken to publicise the consolation, including 1,500 notices on site and 90,000 letters individually sent to properties in the affected zones. The consultation period was also extended by an extra seven days. These measures went over and above what was statutorily required for the consultation. The objections received were categorised into nine themes, and all objections were considered. The recommendation from the consultation was to implement the decision as stated in the report.



The Chair invited Ward Members present to make representations.


Councillor Bird stated that the consultation was unfair and unjust to residents, with no referendum provided for those in zones 3, 4 and 5. It was claimed that there was no intention to take into account residents views. It was further claimed that the 20mph limit had not resulted in a reduction of accidents. The scheme was thus not value for money and was funding that could instead be spent on adult social care or the maintenance of roads. The 20mph limits had increased pollution by keeping cars running in higher gears, and the slower speeds had caused more aggressive driving from impatient drivers.

Councillor Brew stated that at a recent meeting the police borough commander had stated that he had not met with the Cabinet Member regarding the enforcement of 20mph limits in Croydon. Since that time the police had clarified that they would enforce 20mph limits in the same way as other speed limits in the borough. It had been clear that the police had no intention of taking resources away from other priority areas such as domestic violence and knife crime.

Councillor Brew stated that the cost of the scheme was not value for money, and the funding had gone into a large amount of signage that had cluttered streets. The money spent on signage would have been better spent on speed calming measures in accident hotspots. It was further stated that the evidence from the Manchester scheme had been mixed: the average speed decreased in some zones but increased in others. Similarly the rates of cycling accidents in 20mph zones had not been uniform and saw increases and decreases in different areas.



At this stage of the meeting, the Chair invited questions from members of the public who were present at the meeting.


Mr Peter Morgan commented on the responses to objections, claiming that the responses had been disproportionately longer for the zones 1 and 2 consultation compared to the 3, 4 and 5 zones consultation. Mr Morgan also stated that some of the summaries of the objections in the report did not accurately reflect the points that had been made. It was also stated that central government had been conducting a report analysing the impact of 20mph zones across the country, and Mr Morgan stated that the implementation in zones 3, 4 and 5 should wait for the outcome of that report, which was due to be published by the end of 2017.


The Service Manager responded that in his opinion the responses for zones 3, 4 and 5 were likely to be the most comprehensive of any undertaken for a TMAC report.

Mr Bernard Munt asked why the decision was made to accelerate the process to meet the target date of March 2018 for implementation, rather than postpone the target date. Mr Munt also asked why there appeared to be an arbitrary designation of some roads as major through roads and some not.

The Service Manager responded that through the consultation process some of the zoning was altered; some roads were re-designated to 30mph and some roads were re-designated to 20mph. It was accepted that there were some roads where a close decision was made over which speed limit to designate, but this did not rule out that certain roads could be reconsidered at a future time. As far as was practicably possible. A-roads and B-roads were to retain 30mph limits.



The Chair then invited questions from Members of the Committee. In response to questions, the following was stated:




The Director of Streets stated that the borough commander for Croydon was not the lead Metropolitan Police officer for traffic policing in Croydon. There was a different police unit that dealt with traffic enforcement. Council officers were in regular discussions with this unit. The issue of enforcement appeared to be more an issue of perception. The police enforced speed limits from targeted action. There was also a range of other methods used to enforce speed limits, such as speed visors on roads and community Road Watch schemes. The Road Watch schemes did fall under the portfolio of the borough commander, however they were not enforcement but were part of community involvement in road safety.


The Service Manager stated that the following:

  • 20mph limits were just one scheme in a portfolio of road safety measures being undertaken in the borough, which included road islands, zebra crossings and physical traffic calming equipment.
  • Discouraging "rat running" on residential roads was a separate matter however a reason for avoiding 20mph limits on main roads in the borough was to encourage their use for journeys rather than using residential roads as short cuts.



The Director of Streets stated that funding for the 20mph zoning came from Transport for London (TfL) local implementation funding, and was not internal Council money. The money is delivered on the basis of proposals submitted by the Council. It would therefore be inappropriate to spend this money on other parts of the Council's services.


The Service Manager stated the following:

  • There were four key funding streams for road works and that road maintenance was funded through a different budget to road safety and the respective budgets could not be cross-spent on other areas.
  • The total amount Croydon had received from TfL was approximately £4m over a four year period; the 20mph scheme would cost approximately £1m from that funding.


Councillor King stated that the TMAC report detailed the broader savings that would be expected through the reduction in accidents anticipated from the 20mph speed limit roll-out. However, it was emphasised that this was not the main reason for introducing the scheme, which was primarily for the purpose of increasing the safety of residents on the borough's roads.




The Director of Streets stated that the government guidance on signage for 20mph zoning was vague but there was a requirement for signs to be placed at new entry points onto roads with 20mph limits, such as junctions.


The Service Manager stated that positing two signs at junctions ensured that drivers could not plead ignorance of the new limits and covered potential blind spots at junctions. There would have been a very limited saving by reducing signage at junctions to one. However it had been communicated to the contractor that residents were concerned about street clutter and that this should be kept to a minimum.



The Service Manager stated that the number of public notices issued for the consultation were far beyond the requirements of the Regulations. Where residents had stated that they did not receive a letter in the post, officers would visit the household to investigate. In approximately 90% of cases investigated, the letters had been received but had not been picked up by the resident, for example due to being received by a different member of the household.


Councillor King stated that the reasons for the change in process for the scheme in zones 3, 4 and 5 compared to zones 1 and 2, had been set out in the December 2016 Cabinet report. The feedback from residents in zones 1 and 2 was that the process had been confusing and therefore the decision was taken to undertake a clearly process for zones 3, 4 and 5. There had also been a timing issue, that following the zones 1 and 2 model would not allow for the implementation of the scheme to fall within the March 2018 deadline. When the proposed change of process went to Cabinet in December 2016, there had been no questions or objections from the opposition present at that meeting. It was further stated that less than 2% of residents from zones 3, 4 and 5 had objected to the 20mph limit proposals.




Councillor King stated that approximately one third of road accidents in the borough occurred on non-main roads (roads that were not designated as A or B roads).

The Service Manager stated that the main cause of car pollution was from acceleration and breaking, not necessarily from driving at slow speeds; the available evidence was still not conclusive either way. In any event, a journey impact assessment was made and officers identified that the average car journey would be minimally affected by the 20mph limit zoning.




At this point in the meeting the Committee thanked the officers, Councillors and members of the public for their contributions and considered the submissions that had been heard. Some Committee Members stated that they wished to receive data on the impact the 20mph scheme had made in zones 1 and 2.

The Chair of the Committee advised Members of the site visit to Portsmouth that had taken place several years previous, in which it was advised that a minimum of three years' worth of data was needed to make an accurate impact assessment of 20mph zoning.



The Chair moved, and Councillor Bonner seconded, the following motion:


  1. To resolve that no further action was necessary in respect of the decision taken by the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment in relation to the 20mph limits in zones 3, 4 and 5 and confirmed that the decision could now be implemented.
  2. To recommend to Cabinet that a three year impact assessment be undertaken on the implementation of 20mph limit zones in the borough.
  3. To recommend to Cabinet that future consultations should, as far as possible, use one consistent method throughout the borough.


The motion was put to the vote.
The following Councillors voted in favour of the motion: Sean Fitzsimons, Carole Bonner, Stephen Mann, and Kathy Bee.
The following Councillors voted against the motion: Jan Buttinger and Vidhi Mohan.



The motion was carried, and therefore the Committee RESOLVED:

  1. That no further action was necessary in respect of the decision taken by the Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment in relation to the 20mph limits in zones 3, 4 and 5 and confirmed that the decision could now be implemented.
  2. To recommend to Cabinet that a three year impact assessment be undertaken on the implementation of 20mph limit zones in the borough.
  3. To recommend to Cabinet that future consultations should, as far as possible, use one consistent method throughout the borough



Not required.

The meeting finished at 8.15pm.