A letter had been received by the Monitoring Officer from seven Councillors requesting that an Extraordinary Meeting be held regarding Dixon's Bank Improvement Scheme proposals.
The letter stated as follows:
The nature of business to be transacted and debated at this meeting is:
"We, the undersigned wish to debate the proposed scheme which has been approved by the Executive of Middlesbrough Council. The proposal was put out to consultation in such a way that it was disorganised, limited in detail and only allowed a small number of residents impacted by the scheme to respond.
It has been widely acknowledged by the Mayor that this proposed scheme will not improve anything therefore, we believe that the electorate who were consulted and responded, should be listened to.
It is "unacceptable to do nothing" has been repeatedly quoted and we agree, but it is also unacceptable to implement a scheme at a cost of £1.7 million recklessly."
The purpose of the meeting is to debate the issue and discuss alternative solutions to the problem.
The Chair invited Councillor Rathmell to speak on behalf of the signatories in support of the request to call an Extraordinary meeting of the Council.
Councillor Rathmell stated that the meeting was to discuss the Dixons Bank/Stainton Way improvement scheme costing £1.7m. Councillor Rathmell advised that the scheme would not solve the towns congestion problems as the real issue was at Marton shops but the Council did not have funding for that at the moment. Doing nothing was not a solution.
Councillor Rathmell stated that in his view, the consultation on the scheme was disorganised and only a small number of residents impacted by the scheme were originally consulted but this was later extended following representations from the Councillor and Nunthorpe Parish Council.
The Councillor stated that the Marton Crawl had been an issue for a number of years. In his view the proposed scheme was a "sticking plaster solution" which could create a Coulby Newham and Hemlington crawl which would feed into the A19 and A174 interchange.
The Councillor stated that the current proposals to widen Dixons Bank, along with added traffic from new housing developments, would actually increase the amount of traffic. If people could not access the city centre they would not come to the town to work. The improvements to the bus networks had been carried out some time ago but there had been cuts to bus subsidies and bus services and services to South Middlesbrough had been reduced. The rail network timetables were random and services to JCUH required people to walk around the perimeter to Marton Road to access the site.
The Councillor stated that two lanes of traffic would feed into the same funnel, up to the Southern Cross which would free up a third lane for people to turn left but people would be sitting in a queue for up to twenty minutes in a bottleneck in Hemlington/Coulby Newham Roundabout/Newham Way.
Councillor Rathmell stated that Nunthorpe residents were concerned about the exhaust fumes from waiting traffic at the junction, in particular in relation to the play park at Dixons Bank. Councillor Rathmell suggested that a new staged, cost effective scheme should be introduced. Councillor Rathmell referred to initiatives such as the provision of a bike or a £250 bus voucher as incentives not to use a car but he stated that Nunthorpe did not have a good cycle network or good bus services.
Councillor Rathmell stated that the issue affected a number of Wards and he opened up the floor for discussion.
A debate was held and a number of Members commented on the issue.
The Executive Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure advised that with regard to the major road network, this had been submitted to the Government for approval and the Council was waiting for a decision. He stated that he would get more details on the pollution surveys to the Member. The Executive Member stated that the view of Middlesbrough Council, which was supported by the Arup Report, was that the process, the scheme and the mitigation was sound and should be implemented as part of a wider highways package.
The Chair invited Councillor Rathmell to close the meeting. Councillor Rathmell stated that this would not be the end of the issue. He stated that some residents did not feel that they had been consulted and many had not been consulted. He stated that there was no reference to the pollution reports and no information provided in relation to them. He stated that residents were waiting for consultation responses. There was no reliable bus service and an inadequate cycle network in Nunthorpe. Councillor Rathmell requested that the issue be reconsidered.
The meeting was subsequently closed.
The Chair stated that he wished to clarify that all papers for Council meetings were issued five working days prior to the meeting. All papers were also available on line. Any Councillor who did not receive papers for a meeting could ring Democratic Services to ask for a set to be forwarded to them.