Venue: Easthampstead Baptist Church, South Hill Road, Bracknell, RG12 7NS
Contact: Lizzie Rich 01344 352253
To receive and note the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on
The minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2017 were approved as a correct record.
Access to Town Centre Car Parks
Louise Osborn, Operational Support Manager attended the meeting to update the group on plans for access to Town Centre car parks following the town centre redevelopment.
While the Council was already responsible for the High Street and Charles Square (soon to be renamed Braccan Walk) multi-storey car parks, the new town centre car park, The Avenue, would be opened under Council management from September 2017 with 13,000 spaces. There was also surface car parking available, such as at Albert Road and Wick Hill. In addition, Louise informed the Group of plans to open Wick Hill and Time Square car park to the public at weekends.
Louise informed the group of improvement work which had been undertaken at High Street and Braccan Walk car parks, to install LED lighting, refurbish staircases, replace doors and windows with touch panels and improve lift access. Toilets had been recently been opened at High Street car park, and a trial of dementia friendly bays in partnership with the Alzeimers Society was ongoing. There were no enforcement strategies for these bays, and it was hoped that they would be used on a goodwill basis.
Access to the car parks would be barrier operated by ANPR or Chip and Coin.
In response to questions from the Group, it was noted:
· Avenue Car Park would be opening in line with the town centre opening in September 2017.
· There was an ongoing discussion about provision for less mobile people who were not registered disabled, and whether this should be catered for in a similar way to mother and child bays.
· The dementia bays were being trialled for a period of two months, and would require significant communications if extended to inform the public of their purpose.
· Electric charging points were installed at High Street car park, although their uptake had not been significant. It was commented that with the improvement of technology, the range of electric cars had increased and so drivers should be able to complete their journey back home on one charge. Louise resolved to find out the usage of these, but commented that there were not plans for more to be installed.
· If a car park user was ANPR registered, the barrier would raise on arrival. If they were not registered and unable to use to chip machine, it was hoped that a car park attendant would be able to assist from their office next to the barrier.
The Chairman thanked Louise for a helpful report and for attending the meeting.
Equality Scheme 2017-20 Consultation
Abby Thomas, Interim Head of Performance, Partnerships and Transformation updated the Group on the Equality Scheme 2017-20 Consultation.
The existing Equality Scheme had been established in 2012 with 13 objectives and an action plan. The 2012 scheme had come to an end, and a refreshed scheme was being developed with the following four key objectives:
· Access to Information
· Maintaining High Levels of Community Cohesion
· Narrowing gaps in outcomes
· Ensuring a positive and diverse workforce
Group members were encouraged to respond to the consultation and to read the short report at the following address by the closing date on 16 March 2017: http://consult.bracknell-forest.gov.uk/public/cee/equality_scheme_2017-20/equality_scheme_2017-20
Abby Thomas, Interim Head of Performance, Partnership and Transformation updated the Group on progress on the Council’s Transformation programme.
In December 2015, the Council heard that the grant from central Government would be reduced by 80%, and that the Council must review its services in order to save £25 million over the next three years.
Six services were in the review process at the time of the meeting, and Abby updates in the following areas:
During consultation, Councillors had been keen to ensure all nine libraries remained open. In order to do this, stock purchases were being reviewed, investment in technology was being investigated, and volunteers were being sought to help staff the libraries. The proposals for libraries were due to be considered by the Council’s Executive on 10 March 2017.
The Council was keen to maintain services at Coral Reef, Bracknell Leisure and Downshire Golf Club, and were market testing for a private leisure contractor or charitable trust to deliver services whilst remaining in Council ownership.
There had also been significant investment of £190k to the building at South Hill Park, in order to assist the Trust to increase their commercial income.
The Council was measuring the volume and type of contact with customer, to encourage digital contact where possible.
The Council was reviewing its properties.
In response to questions, the following points were noted:
· Library staff would be maintained to support and work alongside volunteers.
· A roll out plan for new library technology had not been established, and it was anticipated to take six months to procure the technology.
· Communications had been maintained with those who completed the libraries consultation, and further communications would be employed following the decision from the Executive in March
Items for Future Meetings
To note proposed items for discussion at the Panel’s next meeting and consider any additional items for discussion at future meetings.
Items for next meeting:
Items for future meetings:
The next meeting of the Access advisory Panel will be held on <<DATE>> at 7.30pm in <<VENUE>>
Group members were encouraged to attend and invite guests to the next meeting which would be town centre focussed, with Simon Russian of Legal and General and Rachel Carter of Disabled Go in attendance.
Any Other Business
Marcos Busurto-Castillon proposed a future discussion on disabled parking bay abuse, as had been implemented in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Jane Figg commented that she had not received an update on the use and roll out of the React system which reads aloud bus destinations from signs at the stops. Jane commented that she had been in contact with Phil Burke, but had not seen a progression in the software being rolled out across the borough, or any publicity about the feature. Jane had received support for the feature from people with visual impairments, and also those with learning disabilities and dementia.
Fiona Goodhand suggested that an orientation day might be arranged for those with visual impairments or learning disabilities to familiarise themselves with The Lexicon before opening. It was suggested that this could be raised with Simon Russian at the June meeting.
Isabel Mattick reported that she had asked Sainsburys, Bagshot Road to lower the height of the clothes peg in the disabled toilet to allow for undressing in necessary, but this had not yet been done.