The seven Conservative councillors on Ilkley Town Council have responded to the statement made by the seven non-Conservative councillors on 2nd September.
That statement is available here.
The fourteen Ilkley Town councillors are currently split on their views regarding the 20mph scheme, with the seven Conservative councillors calling for Bradford Council to look again and target specific areas such as schools, rather than a whole town approach.
Here's the statement in full from the conservative members:
"In May 2023 we seven Conservative councillors were elected resulting in a split council, although we have far more seats than any other single group. The four smaller groups have entered into an alliance and they issued a statement in early September about the 20 mph scheme. This is our response.
In October 2022 plans were revealed for the placing of speed humps in 108 locations on 15 roads; the result of years of planning with no formal consultation. This was the first time that the full information had ever been published.
Before they signed the Funding Agreement, the previous Town Council held an informal consultation which involved only 54 people who were ignorant of the detailed proposals. The recently held official consultation gained 1,100 responses from people who were by then aware of the true facts.
There was a meeting in March 2020 just as the pandemic started. Amongst other issues, a proposal for a 20 mph scheme involving speed humps was mentioned. The number of humps was neither mentioned nor discussed. The cost which would be payable by Ilkley Town Council was not discussed. 69 residents attended and were asked to submit written comments. Many of the 39 who did so wrote against speed humps.
In February 2021 an article appeared in the Gazette inviting readers to comment upon the 20 mph scheme by sending an email to the Town Council. Again no figures were given. 15 people responded.
The matter was also mentioned in most but not all of the Town Council newsletters. Responses were invited but there is no sign that any were received. Again there was no mention of the number of humps or the likely cost. Even as late as Summer 2022, when the councillors had agreed to pay up to £87,500, this amount was not mentioned in the newsletter.
In October 2022 it became widely known that the scheme would cost £87,500 and would involve 108 speed hump locations and 10 traffic tables on 15 roads. When consulted in full knowledge of the facts, over 1,100 people responded, mostly against the scheme overall, but with a huge majority opposing the speed humps in particular. This formal consultation process took place in December 2022 and January 2023 but the results were not disclosed until 3 July 2023.
COUNCIL MEETINGS ABOUT THE SCHEME
The Transport and Active Travel Committee (TAT) was a sub-committee of the Greenspaces, Environment and Sustainablity Committee (GES) which is a committee of the Town Council. From June 2021 to June 2022 no members of the public attended the six TAT meetings. From 10 May 2021 to 18 July 2023 a maximum of five members of the public attended any one of the 12 meetings of the GES.
The sub-committee’s views were considered by the full council comprising 14 councillors. All meetings were quorate (7 councillors or more) but voting was far from unanimous. In March 2022 the vote in favour of allocating up to £87,500 was passed by seven votes to six, after a request for more public consultation was defeated by the same margin. On 4th July 2022, there was a motion to accept the £87,500 Funding Agreement after an amendment suggesting legal advice which was passed with reluctance; there being 5 votes in favour, 3 against and two abstentions. On 5th September, with only seven councillors present, a commitment to sign the Funding Agreement and pay the £87,500 was passed by 6 votes to 1.
ILKLEY’S NEIGHBOURHOOD DEVELOPMENT PLAN
It is falsely said that, by voting to accept the Neighbourhood Plan in the May 2022 INDP referendum, we gave our approval for the 20 mph scheme. The Plan is an 87 page document which mentions 20mph zones “where needed” in three places.
This is a document providing guidelines about dealing with planning applications, not a manifesto about roads. The plan was drawn up, starting in 2013, by a number of experts who had volunteered to help. Most of them were completely unaware that in parallel there were negotiations going on with Bradford Council about a town wide 20 mph scheme.
The consultant involved, Michael Wellock, states categorically that the INDP did not provide a mandate for a 20 mph scheme (email 31 July 2023):
“...planning policy is never a mandate - the highway authority cannot be compelled to introduce such measures through the INDP.”
On 3rd July the true extent of the objections was revealed and it became apparent that they were to be largely ignored. Large public meetings of disaffected residents took place on a scale never seen before but the Town Council refused to take any effective action in response to the opposition to the Scheme. The Town Mayor, Karl Milner, used his casting vote to support Bradford Council’s plans as drawn. The legal process was started in July by Bradford Council and over 500 residents made formal legal objections to the scheme. These have been for the most part ignored or overruled.
The changes have resulted in humps being removed from three out of the original 15 roads. The number of humps was reduced from 108 locations to 80 and then to 50. This is more likely to have been a cost-saving exercise by Bradford Council as it is to have been a response to residents’ objections; especially as residents attending the consultation last winter were told by officers that the scheme shown on the plans would not be implemented in full and would be much reduced. Unfortunately, the cost to Ilkley has not been similarly reduced and the price we shall pay has increased from £810 per hump location to £1,750 per location. The humps are all on the longest roads in Ilkley and will affect all but the shortest journeys through Ilkley.
As Councillors constituting half the Town Council we cannot ignore the clear expression of wishes by a huge number of our residents. We do not understand why the other seven councillors continue to do so. The Ilkley Road Safety Action Group has called a Town Meeting on 3rd October. We will accept the result of the meeting and hope the other seven councillors will do likewise and act as our residents want.
Please participate in the Town Meeting at 7pm on 3rd October at the Kings Hall so that the Town Council knows how the Town feels."
Dated 26th September 2023
Signed ( in alphabetical order)
A Town Meeting is taking place next Tuesday at the King's Hall in Ilkley, residents attending are asked to arrive from 6.15pm, further details of the meeting are available here.