East Lothian Council recently published their draft road safety plan.
ELTRP held a consultation event with tenants to inform our response, which we can now share with you all! We'll let you know what feedback we get from ELC.
East Lothian Council Road Safety Plan
In response to the draft Road Safety Plan, the members of the East Lothian Tenants and Residents Panel would make an overarching observation that the plan is overly reliant on charts and has little information on timescales or who is responsible for completing the actions. The charts could be simplified, some technical terms should be better explained. Clarity about when, where and who will be implementing the plan would facilitate monitoring of delivery by interested parties.
We would also like to know what the consultation process has been, beyond publication of the plan. Road safety is a vital community issue and the road safety plan should be shared with communities as widely as possible.
Our members have the following comments in relation to the Actions listed on page 13.
Action: Undertake road safety audits on any proposed changes to the local road network
ELTRP response: As with much of the road safety plan, our members would welcome clarification of who carries out audits, how residents and communities are involved and how priorities are decided.
Action: Continue to explore innovative solutions in delivering safe / more efficient services
We would suggest that maintaining existing signs properly could be a valuable first step in improving road safety. This includes regular tree trimming to ensure signs are visible.
Action: Following the East Lothian Council Plan key actions for transport, introduce measures to reduce speeding including 20mph speed limits where appropriate and where they are supported by residents
ELTRP response: Our members questioned the enforcement processes for 20mph speed limits given that 30mph areas regularly see speeding. We would welcome further consideration of a ‘speedwatch’ programme as well as enforcement of speed limits by police.
Our members reiterate that 20mph areas are regularly proposed by tenants and residents associations, and that we would welcome East Lothian implementing 20mph speed limits as a default in all areas immediately, without the need for trials.
In the meantime, our members would appreciate information as to how they might go about applying to have areas designated as 20mph zones. A clear process should be outlined, including stipulation of conditions – for example; would it require majority support in the community? Will ELC survey residents? What support would be offered by ELC, the police in relation to signage placement etc.
We note with interest that the Scottish Government is looking seriously at nationwide 20mph zones and would be interested to know what discussion ELC has had with the Scottish Government about this.
In addition to 20mph zones, our members queried whether the use of speed bumps has been considered as a speed control tool.
Action: Improve the inspection programme in line with current best practice
ELTRP response: Members would be keen for clarification of what current best practice is; whether there is a link to the estate inspections process; and who any issues are fed back to. An explanation of exactly what the inspection programme entails, how often it is carried out, how it is monitored and prioritised would be useful.
In outlining best practice it would be useful to know for instance; how bad road or pavement surfaces have to be before they are re-surfaced; what are the requirements on utility companies to restore road and pavement surfaces after works.
Action: Annual review of ELC’s Winter Maintenance Plan
ELTRP reponse: Our members would welcome clarification on how and where the winter maintenance plan is made available, and we would urge ELC to produce hard copies as not all residents have access to or are comfortable with online resources.
We would also suggest specific training courses in driving during the winter season.
Action: Empower and engage with communities to promote ‘Self Help’ in winter
ELTRP response: Whilst we recognise the need for communities to be able to help themselves during winter weather our members would like to stress that a certain level of assistance from ELC is expected during winter weather. A clear outline of who takes responsibility for what and resources for assisting with ‘self help’ should be made available, on and off line.
Action: Actively promote and support Road Safety in education by providing information, training for school staff / pupils / partners, resources, funding and expertise in addressing safety issues
ELTRP response: As well as ensuring the wider community are offered educational opportunities, our members fully support education in schools on road safety including young drivers’ courses which we feel should be compulsory, awareness of tomorrow’s drivers is vital.
We would highlight East Lothian’s aging population and suggest that refresher courses in road safety for older drivers might also be worth considering.
We would also offer the following general comments:
We feel that cycling would be more appealing if the roads were better maintained – consideration of all areas of the road and all road users should be key to maintenance, we would especially note that drains and potholes are frequent hazards for cyclists. Road safety courses for cyclists would be welcome.
We look forward to the revised plan and your response to our comments.
Today's blog is a plea from Ron Goldie, the Chair of our Haddington East Tenants and Residents Association. Representing the neighbourhood between the River Tyne and Haddington Golf Course, the Haddington East Tenants and Residents Association (HETRA) is a community group eager to hear from new voices.
Over to you Ron:
I was only recently press ganged into the chairmanship of Haddington East Tenant and Residents Association. I am now into my 4th month and am anxious to make some changes. For too long, our organisation has been in the same old rut and I am making it my job to steer us out of this rut.
We are representatives of your community and from time to time, some important decisions concering your community need to be made. Our problem is, not enough members of the Haddington East community seem to be interested in becoming more involved and as it is, we cannot consider ourselves a true cross section of the community.
I personally, would like to invite you to become more involved in the decision making process. I would like to see some new faces at our meetings, with new, fresh ideas. I want young people to become members of HETRA, because younger people have a more modern outlook.
You may think we are a bunch of old fuddy duddies, sitting around a table grunting, passing wind and scratching our bits while making decisions for you. Think again. Our meetings are fairly informal, although business is taken care of to the best of our ability, as old fuddy duddies do. We need you though. You can help make the important decisions which affect your community and environment.
Our next meeting will be held Monday, 8th August, in the Nungate community centre and I would like to see more of you becoming involved and voicing your opinions. You even get a cup of tea, or coffee.
Some of the area represented by HETRA
HETRA isn't just a talking shop, they have made a real difference in the local community.
Since 2001, the Scottish Government has required landlords to actively develop and support tenant participation and HETRA meets regularly in order to make sure Haddington East folk get their say.
HETRA directly influences almost £100,000 of East Lothian Council spending. They undertake Estate Inspections to report repairs to the local Housing Officer, apply for funding for local campaigns – including the successful award of Lottery money to pay for two speed reactive cameras on Whittinghame Drive – and help local tenants who have encountered issues, like the Tyne Court members who suffered storm damage in 2011.
The chair of HETRA, Ron Goldie was elected four months ago and he is keen to increase the membership of the organisation and work with other tenants to achieve positive change in Haddington East.
In 2010 the Scottish Parliament passed the Housing (Scotland) Act. Along with abolishing the right to buy, the Act established the Scottish Housing Regulator and introduced the Scottish Housing Charter.
The Charter sets outcomes that all social landlords should meet in their relationships with their tenants – from repair times to tenant participation.
The Scottish Government are currently reviewing the Charter so it’s your opportunity to tell them what you think is good or bad about the Charter at the moment and what you think it could do better. What’s working for you and your neighbours and what’s not?
The consultation is open until August 24th 2016 and you can simply go to the Housing Charter consultation page and answer the questions they’ve suggested. Feel free to include your own thoughts, comments and ideas about how the tenant / landlord relationship might be improved, or what’s working well for you already.
We’ll blog again nearer the closing date to remind you, but meanwhile, happy responding!
By the way, if you would prefer a print out of the consultation and the questions, just let us know by contacting us on 0131 665 9304 or by email.
It's that time of year again - we're asking all our group and individual members to renew their membership for the next 12 months. We've sent out renewal letters to all the groups we know about in East Lothian, as well as interested individuals who aren't covered by a tenants and residents association.
So if you are part of a tenants and residents group in East Lothian, or you are a tenant without a TRA, why not join us? You can read more about what we do across the website, and check benefits of membership here.
Many ELTRP members, along with our Executive Committee and staff team attended the 2016 Tenants Information Service annual conference in June.
Held at the Westerwood Hotel and Resort in Cumbernauld, TIS was able to takeover the whole hotel for the weekend. Highlights of the event included a keynote address from Mike Dailly, Scottish Housing Regulator (SHR) Board member, who announced the recruitment of a team of Tenant Advisors with the support of TIS as a way of bringing a tenant perspective to the Regulator’s scrutiny of landlord’s services.
ELTRP is delighted that our own Chair, Mark Ormiston is one of these new Tenant Advisors. We will be asking him to share his experiences with you in due course.
We're now looking forward to our own annual conference. This year we're holding a short evening event to ensure as many folk as possible can make it along. We'll be at the Port Seton Community Centre on September 14th from 6.30pm. Included in the evening will be the launch of the new Tenants Participation Strategy as well as presentations and stalls from member Tenants and Residents Associations, and a buffet! We'll be sending out invitations soon.