Tuesday, 24 January 2012

City Beach

On Thursday, the Independent report into City Beach comissioned in September will be discussed at cabinet and will then go through the scrutiny system.

Firstly I think it is important to immediately dispel the myth that this report was only commissioned as a reaction to criticisms of City Beach, mostly unjust and unwarranted in my opinion, as it was always the intention to conduct a review after the summer period.

The Independent report undertaken by John Dales at Urban Movement is certainly comprehensive and covers every aspect of the scheme in detail. It was interesting that a key point of the report suggests that the term ‘shared space’ should not have been used as people do not like the concept rather than the actual design of the road.

This theory may have some merit as the High Street is ‘shared space’ in all but name and yet nobody has batted an eyelid.

In my view it is immaterial what the scheme is called but what ultimately matters is that this administration had the conviction to invest and regenerate in our seafront and respond with a scheme that is safe, well liked and a major improvement to how Marine Parade operated previously which I am pleased has been acknowledged in this report.

This report has also vindicated the original decision to have no formal crossing point between the Kursaal and Pier Hill and the report confirms that there is no evidence to suggest that no formal crossing in this area makes the scheme unsafe.

In addition to the recommendations on monitoring and communication the report makes six recommendations, which includes the enhancement of the existing informal pedestrian crossing facilities to courtesy crossings, where some adjustments to the design of the scheme need to be made.

It is only right that if an Independent Report is commissioned that you agree to implement all of its findings in full and I reiterate that commitment made at Full Council in December.

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