Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Remote Microsoft Teams Meeting

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Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chair.

Minutes:

It was agreed that Councillor Pavia would chair this meeting.

 

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chair.

Minutes:

It was agreed that Councillor Dymock would be vice-chair.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

4.

Reopening of Town Centres (report to follow). pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Minutes:

Officer Mark Hand presented a report, “Re-opening Monmouthshire’s High Streets”, explaining the measures which have been taken to ensure that it is safe for shoppers and visitors to return to town centres. Each of the main towns was considered in turn, explaining the measures and reflecting on the lessons learned, changes made, successes, ongoing challenges, and next steps to be taken.

Councillor Greenland added that even before the current crisis, town centres were facing a gradual decline due to internet shopping and malls. We have been working towards changing the fortunes of our town centres for some considerable time. What needs to be done, first and foremost, is to make shopping safe for residents, which means social distancing. All of the measures which have been put in place are temporary, and would only become permanent following consultation. We hope that the measures will begin to show the way towards our town centres becoming successful.

Challenge:

Mark Hand, Roger Hoggins, Paul Keeble, Carl Touhig and Councillor Greenland responded to the questions.

Regarding café culture, can we dictate what sort of barriers will be used, in order to ensure that they do not present difficulties for the partially sighted?

An application process was set up for pavement café licences, prior to which press releases were issued inviting businesses to apply for a licence. We wanted to take a favourable approach to helping businesses, in particular where they could utilise roads which are now closed. The licence is £10, as it has to have a cost against it, legally. The application is checked by our Highways colleagues, before being passed to a technician who assesses the site to ensure it will be safe. A copy of the application also goes to our licensing and environmental health teams. The new legislation has reduced the time and other requirements in order to support the businesses with these licences. Control ultimately comes down to Highways. Part of their assessment would include whether the barriers present a restriction. The sort being used tend to be the same as ‘crowd control’ barriers, we are encouraging businesses to put a covering on them but we haven’t really looked at it from a DDA-compliant approach, other than to maintain the prescribed 2-metre distance for pedestrians. It’s something we can look at, and make it part of the recommendation in approving the licence when the officers make their assessment.

We aren’t aware of transparent screens having been proposed, but we will keep an eye out for any. There is a distinction to be made between ‘crowd’ barriers and those used by businesses to demarcate their table areas. We created banners to go on highway barriers to increase their visibility, and on which advertising can be placed. Further information as to the type of screening which is a concern provided by Tony Crowhurst via Councillor Dymock will be very welcome and included in considerations henceforth.

Could the plans for Caldicot be outlined, and what are the timescales involved for implementation?

Significant changes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.