Agenda and minutes

SWT Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 3rd February, 2021 6.15 pm

Venue: Webcasting - Virtual. View directions

Contact: Andrew Randell Email:  Marcus Prouse Email:

Webcast: View the webcast

No. Item




Minutes of the previous Scrutiny Committee held on 2nd December 2020 and 6th January 2021 pdf icon PDF 179 KB

    This has been added to the agenda under Access to Information Procedure Rule 5.2, which states ‘Where there are special circumstances requiring an item to be added to the agenda after publication, the revised agenda will be open to inspection from the time the item was added to the agenda.’


    To approve the amended minutes of the previous meeting of the Committee held on 2 December 2020 and 6 January 2021, deferred from the previous meeting of the Committee.

    Additional documents:


    The minutes of the meetings held on 2 December 2020 and 6 January 2021 were approved.


Declarations of Interest

    To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary or prejudicial or personal interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.


    (The personal interests of Councillors and Clerks of Somerset County Council, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes.)

    Additional documents:


    Members present at the meeting declared the following personal interests in their capacity as a Councillor or Clerk of a County, Town or Parish Council or any other Local Authority:-



    Minute No.

    Description of Interest


    Action Taken

    Cllr N Cavill

    All Items

    West Monkton


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Coles

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr L Lisgo

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Mansell

    All Items



    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Perry

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee


    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr N Thwaites

    All Items



    Spoke and Voted


    Councillor Darch declared an interest as a member of Taunton area cycling campaign.


    Councillor Buller declared a personal interest as a prospective property investor in relation to item 10.


Public Participation

    The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.


    For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.


    Temporary measures during the Coronavirus Pandemic

    Due to the Government guidance on measures to reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19), we will holding meetings in a virtual manner which will be live webcast on our website. Members of the public will still be able to register to speak and ask questions, which will then be read out by the Governance and Democracy Case Manager during Public Question Time and will either be answered by the Chair of the Committee, or the relevant Portfolio Holder, or be followed up with a written response.

    Additional documents:


    The following member of the public had requested to speak on item 9 on the agenda.


    East Street – Accessibility for Disabled & Older People – MRS SUE GLENN


    Prior to East Street being closed to Traffic, for those with a Blue Badge there were around 35 parking opportunities throughout the day when you include the general bays and the yellow line parking that Blue Badge holders were permitted to use. A campaign by the Taunton Disability Action Group (TDAG) has resulted in a few additional Blue Badge bays, 2 on an incline in Billet Street which are not suitable for those unable to negotiate the incline, and others in Magdalene Street which are too far away for many, as is the Multi Storey Car Park. The PIP descriptors which automatically qualify disabled people for a blue badge sets the maximum distance that people can walk to be 50 meters and you must consider the return journey within that. There seems to be an opinion among the able bodied that all disabled people can use wheelchairs or mobility scooters, this is not the case.

    When I put it to the leader of the council back last year in a Zoom meeting, “can anything stop this? “ she said  “no, it’s been a long held desire of the council, one which we inherited” so it would appear the decision has been reached then. Social distancing was, I believe, an excuse used to deliver the pedestrianisation that the public and businesses were previously against, there were other ways to achieve Social Distancing and the Taunton Disability Action Group put several suggestions forward but they were met by a blanket policy of no vehicular access full stop. Further representation by TDAG saw access for Blue Badge parking between 8am – 10am granted, although most businesses don’t open until 9am and is too early for many who live disabled lives to be out and effectively limits when disabled people are allowed to shop, that is not equality.

    You may be aware of a very similar scheme introduced by Sadiq Khan which recently lost a High Court challenge after being deemed seriously flawed by a judge (Mrs Justice Lang) who found  "It was possible to widen pavements to allow for social distancing, and to allocate more road space to cater for an increase in the number of cyclists, without seeking to 'transform' parts of central London into predominantly car-free zones. "In my judgment, it was both unfair and irrational to introduce such extreme measures, if it was not necessary to do so, when they impacted so adversely on certain sections of the public."

    The situation with East Street is that the Council have ignored the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, have removed the accessible parking that allowed many disabled and older people to live independent lives, it is life limiting and life changing and is a sad indictment of the councils attitude towards older and disabled people, the council preferring to make things easier for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 129.


Scrutiny Committee Requests/Recommendation Trackers pdf icon PDF 11 KB

    To update the Scrutiny Committee on the progress of resolutions and recommendations from previous meetings of the Committee.

    Additional documents:


    (Copy of the Scrutiny Committee Action Plan, circulated with the agenda).


    Affordable Employment Land Local Development order was queried and considered if it could be removed. The LDO was for small developers to bring forward employment on their own land.


    Page 12 setting out the extension of public space was discussed, Executive had agreed for this to go ahead.


    Funding for tree planting was questioned. Plans within Climate Change and the CNCR budget could be further explored. Research on tree planting across the district was encouraged. Further information around roadside tree planting as part of the garden town project was requested from the Committee.


    An item in relation to Cannonsgrove was due to be considered in March, the local communities were being engaged with.


    Further concerns were expressed around the rough sleeping strategy in the wider context and not solely in relation to Cannonsgrove.


    The Chair of Scrutiny would write to the Leader of the Council for a response in relation to these items.


    Resolved that the Scrutiny Committee Action Plan be noted.


Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 99 KB

    To receive items and review the Forward Plan.

    Additional documents:


    (Copy of the Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan, circulated with the agenda).


    Councillors were reminded that if they had an item they wanted to add to the agenda, that they should send their requests to the Governance Team.


    Resolved that the Scrutiny Committee Forward Plan be noted.


Full Council Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 59 KB


Executive Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 60 KB


East Street/St. James Street, Taunton Pedestrianisation pdf icon PDF 1 MB

    This matter is the responsibility of the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation, Cllr Mike Rigby.


    This report is split into two recommendations. The first details a plan to increase participation in active travel, reduce private car and public transport use whilst enabling social distancing in Taunton town centre, centred around new interventions on East Street. The second seeks authorisation for SWT Officers to work with the Highway Authority to make a permanent traffic regulation order on St James Street, following the successful 12-month trial closure which ended earlier this year. 


    Additional documents:


    The report was split into two recommendations, which contributed to the same goals and objectives. The first detailed a plan to increase participation in active travel, reduce private car and public transport use whilst enabling social distancing in Taunton town centre, centred around new interventions on East Street. The second sought authorisation for SWT Officers to work with the Highway Authority to make a permanent traffic regulation order on St James Street, following the successful 12- month trial closure which ended earlier this year.


    In May 2020 the Government announced a £2bn funding package to increase levels of active travel in the UK. This grant was broken down into two phases: Emergency Active Travel Fund Tranche 1 to enable social distancing while allowing non-essential retail to reopen in July after the first national lockdown; Tranche 2 sought to embed these changes in travel habits and create more permanent schemes to increase active travel in the long term.


    Following the first national lockdown and the reopening of nonessential retail, July 2020 saw the closure of East Street to allow for social distancing and increase walking and cycling to reduce reliance on public transport and private car use. A temporary barrier was added to the Fore Street junction at the Burma Memorial roundabout and was marshalled throughout the day to allow emergency vehicles and retail deliveries one-way access on to East Street.


    Throughout this time, a longer-term solution to the marshalled temporary barrier was also being sought and the Council launched consultations – both online and directly with key stakeholder representatives.


    An interim measure to allow socially distanced shopping throughout December was in force which allowed Blue Badge holders one-way access to park on East Street before 10 am. A longer term plan for East Street had been developed that incorporated public realm improvement work, consultation feedback and allowed social distancing.


    The Council, working in partnership with Somerset County Council agreed to create additional Blue Badge holder bays in key town centre streets and some car parks. In tandem, a plan to restrict vehicular access to East Street is proposed that will also look to enable greater traffic movement during peak travel times around Taunton town centre


    Cycle lanes would be created which will enable two-way directional travel for bicycles 24 hours a day and new cycle storage and street furniture would be added to complement the anticipated increase in cyclists this scheme would see.


    To address the needs of those with mobility issues, extra parking would include Blue Badge bays on Billet Street and on Magdalene Street, with two additional Blue Badge spaces in the Crescent Car Park. The layout of the proposed car park on the bus station site in Tower Street would also have an increased proportion of Blue Badge bays when it came into operation in the New Year.










    Councillor Rigby set out a response to Mrs Glenn’s public submission.


    Clarification was provided that East Street had not permanently adopted pedestrianisation. The temporary Closure of East Street to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.


Executive Cllr PFH Session Kravis pdf icon PDF 94 KB

    To consider reports from Executive Councillors on their respective Portfolios;


    i.Councillor Marcus Kravis – Asset Management and Economic Development


    3.2 of the Scrutiny Terms of Reference state that the Scrutiny Committee may review and scrutinise and ask questions of the Leader, lead Councillors, the Executive in relation to their portfolios.



    Additional documents:


    The report of Councillor Marcus Kravis – Asset Management and Economic Development was presented to the committee.


    Updates in relation to the following Major and Special Projects were provided:-


    Coal Orchard Work continued on the project, with significant progress made on all of the buildings. Work will start on the riverside steps, a vital part of the public realm and flood mitigation measures, in the New Year. The revised programme is now to complete all three blocks and the public realm for May 2021.


    Seaward Way light industrial build. The main build was all but finished with some minor highway works being pushed back due to the ground conditions. Snazaroo have started their tenant fit out, with fixtures fittings and signage now being installed. The design of the residential build is being progressed by the Housing team and is being debated at Full Council on 1st December 2020.


    Firepool GWR building / cycle path The GWR refurbishment work has now commenced, aiming to secure and return the building to active use as a site office by Q1 2021. Plans for the cycle path are being adapted to allow for the build programme and construction footprint of the Innovation Centre which overlaps with the original temporary route. Access will be made available from Trenchard Way to Canal Road for pedestrians and cyclists in Spring 21 as planned.


    Digital Innovation Centre SWT are continuing to work in collaboration with SCC on delivery of a 3000m2 Digital Innovation centre on the Firepool site. The project teams are working up the detailed infrastructure and services plans, and aligning respective build programmes to allow delivery of the Innovation Centre alongside the key infrastructure work.


    Special Purpose Vehicle SWT have been exploring the most efficient delivery route for large projects such as Firepool and a dedicated development arm which will be solely focussed on delivery of key regeneration projects was approved a Full Council on 3rd November. The detailed work to progress this key component is now underway, with a view to formation of the new company in the next quarter.


    Infrastructure, Utilities and Flood work Work continued on the detailed design and specification work to address the many civil and engineering issues on the main Firepool site has been continuing, and work will start in earnest in Q1 2021.


    Bus Station The planning application to convert the Bus Station to a temporary car park will be submitted before the end of calendar year.


    Heritage The Heritage team have been particularly busy throughout the quarter, working alongside owners, funding bodies and consultees on projects across the district.


    Tonedale Mill The S48 Repairs notice has been served and discussions continue with the owners on their response to the notice and the emergency works required on site.




    Dulverton Weir SWT continued to work with the Dulverton Weir and Leat Conservation Trust and other stakeholders to investigate future options for the repair and long term future of the site.

    Norton Hillfort Work continued to secure the transfer of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 135.