The Byelaws (Alternative procedure) (England) Regulations 2016 (The Regulations)

Statement of the Assessment of Regulatory Burden imposed by proposed byelaw

Background

The Council have proposed to replace the existing byelaws that regulate the use of Bancroft Gardens (including The Tramway) and the Recreation Ground with a new byelaw encompassing all three areas.

The review of the byelaws for these particular areas arose following the use of part of Waterside Area within the Bancroft Gardens, by motorcyclists, which highlighted that the byelaws for the Bancroft Gardens and the Recreation Ground were outdated and in need of review.

To clarify, many of the byelaw clauses contained in the 1901 Bancroft Gardens Byelaw were not replicated in the Recreation Ground Byelaw, although both were effectively managed as one overall pleasure ground. Conversely, however, the latter byelaw included a clause, which allowed the parking of motorcycles on the Bancroft Gardens (if the Council deemed this acceptable), had the byelaws replicated both areas.

The proposed re-drafted byelaw was considered by the Council's Regulatory Committee at its meeting held on 28 January 2022. It replaced the original draft byelaw placed before the Regulatory Committee on 12 July 2019, and was based on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Model Byelaws, with 30 out of the 42 byelaw provisions similar to those previously contained in either the Bancroft Gardens or Recreation Ground byelaws, or both, however, suitably amended due to local scenarios.

The proposed byelaw also included twelve new model byelaw clauses. It was considered, however, that six were already under council management control, examples being the use of the grounds for overnight parking and children's playgrounds.

The six new byelaw provisions proposed to be included in the new byelaw, were considered to be of a minimal burden in conjunction with other officer duties on the Grounds. The Council's comments to consultation responses, at Appendix 3, provided the reasoning for this consideration with regard to the respective byelaw provisions.

The objective of the proposed byelaw, therefore, was to provide a contemporary set of rules, which could be relied upon as a basis for the effective and equitable management of the pleasure grounds as a whole. This, in turn, would enable the general public to understand what matters could, or could not, be undertaken so all could enjoy the amenity of the pleasure grounds.

Consultation

The public consultation process period from November 2019 to January 2020 followed by consideration on 12 July 2019, by the Council's Regulatory Committee in respect of a report, sought approval of the then proposed byelaw, which encompassed the three areas into a new byelaw and revoked all existing byelaws for those particular areas.

The Council's Regulatory Committee resolved on 12 July 2019 (Minute 129 2019/20 refers), that the byelaw process, set out in the Legal Implications section of the agenda report, could proceed following assessment of the then proposed byelaw and officer updates reported to the Committee.

As part of the process, the District Council sought comments from the general public, as part of its consultation process (before submission of the application to the MHCLG), to ascertain the level of support for the proposed byelaw and address any points of issue with regard to the wording of the byelaw clauses.

The Council consulted such persons as it considered would be affected by the proposed byelaw. For clarity, relevant local groups were contacted directly asking for their views on the proposed byelaw, as well as the general public through the Council's website. The consultation exercise was also advertised through local newspapers and the Council's social media channels to ensure all members of the public had an opportunity to have their say.

Whilst the majority of the 363 responses received during the consultation period related mainly to the motorcycle issue, concerns or comments were made in relation to some of the other byelaw clauses. The consultation exercise, therefore, gave the Council an opportunity to re-assess some of the current issues (such as cycling and skateboarding) and re-consider changes to some of the proposed byelaw clauses, whether the public made a comment or not.

Following the assessment of the consultation responses, as set out in the attachment at Appendix 3 (the Council's comments to public consultation responses), twelve amendments and two new insertions were proposed, and were set out in the re-drafted proposed byelaw at Appendix 1 (which included the Plan as set out in Appendix 2).

In view of the above changes, the proposed byelaw was referred back to the Regulatory Committee for final approval on 28 January 2022, before submission to the MHCLG for permission for leave to make the Byelaw. The Regulatory Committee duly approved the report with attachments.

Regulatory Assessment

As part of the process for making new byelaws for pleasure grounds, public walks and open spaces, the Council were required, by Regulation 5 of The Regulations, to carry out a Regulatory Assessment of the proportionality of the proposed Byelaw. In addition to the proposed byelaw, the Assessment had to take into consideration consultation with such persons that it considers would be potentially affected by the proposed Byelaw. The Council's comments to the public's consultations responses, at Appendix 3, had assisted in the final assessment and conclusion of proposing a new byelaw.

Initially, the Council assessed the objective of what the proposed byelaw was trying to secure, however, this had already been identified in the background section to this statement.

Next, the Council assessed whether the objective could be achieved in any other way, short of a byelaw. The conclusion, following the consultation exercise, was that no other enactments could fulfil the purposes of the new byelaw objective, although it was acknowledged, as set out in Appendix 3, that certain matters on the Grounds were enforced by other measures. These other measures, to limit/remove any conflict between the byelaw and other enactments were, therefore, not included in the proposal.

In terms of impact on persons potentially affected by the proposed Byelaws, having the consistency of one set of rules for an area generally managed as one overall pleasure ground, (even with the inclusion of six new byelaw clauses that were considered to be of minimal burden, if any), the Council considered this created little or no negative impact, as it replicated the ongoing management and amenity use of the Grounds.

The Council then assessed the increase or decrease in the Regulatory Burden of the new byelaw and the cost implications as a financial cost or benefit. As highlighted above, it was considered that there was little or no negative impact in respect of the updating of the pleasure ground byelaws, therefore, any cost implications were limited.

Note: In addition to its normal officer cost burden and to replicate the Council's current process in reducing its Regulatory Burden and therefore costs, the draft byelaw provisions, in many instances, also requires the consent of the Council to undertake an event, performance or undertaking within the pleasure grounds. The regulatory burden of the consent, will depend on the nature of the application. The consent process acts to ensure the activity: does not cause nuisance or anti-social behaviour; will be carried out safely; the public will be protected; that any necessary protections, such as public liability insurance, will be in place; and that the tests of necessity and proportionality will be met.

Finally, the Council compared the difference between making the new byelaw and taking no further action. The proposed byelaw was considered preferable, as the same would result in a usable set of rules, which could be relied upon as a basis for the consistent, effective and equitable management of the pleasure grounds and open spaces. Whereas, no action would leave the Council with the existing Byelaws, which for the reasons set out above, were not considered fit for purpose.

Conclusion

In view of the above, the Council considered that the proposed byelaw was reasonable in its proposed application and, as such, had a neutral impact in terms of Regulatory Burden. In addition, the consistency offered in only having one set of rules to cover the Grounds, rather than separate ones for different locations, would lessen the burden on those affected.

Equality Act 2010

As part of the Regulatory Assessment, the Council considered the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, in respect of its duty on such matters as per the byelaw guidelines and in response to comments received on accessibility (as set out in Appendix 3 in response to certain concerns raised). The Council considered the proposed byelaw to be more reflective of a modern society, which would have a positive effect on equality.

Next Steps

This Statement of Assessment has been published here as is required by the Byelaws (Alternative Procedure) (England) Regulations 2016.

Having fully considered the consultation responses and completed the Regulatory Assessment and published its Statement of Assessment, the Council will now write to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, seeking approval of the proposed Byelaw. The Ministry must respond to the Council with any comments within 30 days, either giving leave to the Council to make the Byelaw or sending an acknowledgement that the Secretary of State will issue a substantive response as soon as practicable or, refusing to give leave to the Council to make the byelaw.

Note, if the Secretary of State gives the Council permission to make the byelaw, and the Council decides to proceed with making the byelaw, then a further public consultation period has to be undertaken by the Council. The Council then has to assess representations made as part of that further public consultation period before it decides whether to the make the byelaw by Order, which it has six months from the end of the public consultation period to do so.

Document - Appendix%201%20New%20Byelaw%20Proposal%20Final.pdf

Document - Appendix%202%20Plan%20for%20Bancroft%20Recreation%20Ground%20and%20Tramway.pdf

Document - Appendix%203%20Consultation%20Response%20and%20Council%20s%20Position%20Final.pdf

Document - The%20proposed%20byelaw%20for%20Bancroft%20Gardens%20The%20Tramway%20and%20the%20Recreation%20Ground.pdf

Contact: the Environmental Health team

Last updated on 03/03/2022