Extraordinary Council - 1 September 2020 (following Extra Policy and Resources Committee)
Virtual meeting with remote access01st September 2020
To: ALL MEMBERS OF THE THREE RIVERS DISTRICT COUNCIL
You are hereby summoned to attend a virtual/remote Extraordinary meeting of the Council on Tuesday 1 September 2020 to be held at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Policy and Resources Committee meeting for the purpose of transacting the under mentioned business:-
Please note that the meeting is being held virtually (link archived).
Council meeting protocol is provided below:
1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
2. TO RECEIVE THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE MEETINGS HELD ON 24 AUGUST 2020 AND 1 SEPTEMBER 2020
The Chairman of the Council has agreed to include this item on the Summons to be taken as urgent business under Rule 30(3).
Recommendation from the Extraordinary Policy and Resources Committee meeting held on 24 August 2020
Minute PR28/20 NEW SUB-COMMITTEE OF POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE
Council are asked to:
Agree to allow the Equalities sub-committee to form small task and finish groups as it felt necessary to assist in its review as detailed in Sections 2.4 and 2.5 of the report.
The Minutes from the Extra Policy and Resources Committee meeting on 24 August 2020 are provided below:
Recommendations from the Extraordinary Policy and Resources Committee meeting being held at 7pm immediately before the Council meeting:
The reports for this meeting can be viewed using the weblink below to the Extraordinary Policy and Resources Committee agenda
or are also provided in the summons
3. MOTIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 11
1. Councillor Reena Ranger, seconded by Cllr David Sansom, to move under Notice duly given as follows:
This Council is currently working towards a completion of the local plan, ensuring future generations have the homes, recreational, employment land they need amongst other infrastructure.
This Council agrees to commit to ensuring that what makes our District and attractive place to live and work is retained as far as possible and in this instance, our greenery.
Our trees are greenery are a vital part of Three Rivers, not only for its human inhabitants but also biodiversity, insect life and healthy ecosystems.
A climate emergency was declared at Full Council, trees are the lungs the Earth and vital in the fight against climate change.
This Council agrees in conjunction with planning permissions granted, our own efforts along with those of our partners including parish and county councils, we do as much possible to plant one tree for every new dwelling built and where appropriate replace one tree for every one removed in the District due to poor health or planning needs.
2. Councillor Alex Michaels, seconded by Councillor Joy Mann, to move under Notice duly given as follows:
Further Amended Motion received 26 July 2020 to be moved and debated at Extraordinary Council on 1 September 2020
TRDC to amend Constitution to allow all parties/groups or non-affiliated Councillors access to Part I and II papers in advance of committee meetings. Each Group Leader should be provided with a copy of papers at the same time Committee Members are.
3. Councillor Alex Michaels, seconded by Councillor Joy Mann, to move under Notice duly given as follows:
Further Amended Motion received on 28 July 2020 to be moved and debated at Extraordinary Council on 1 September 2020
This Council notes that:
Recent conflicts in the Middle East have created the largest refugee crisis in generations.
Thousands of people have died while seeking sanctuary from the violence this year alone trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea; many of them were children. The UN estimates there are over 320,000 people though who live in urgent need of resettlement.
The UK has a long and important tradition of offering sanctuary to those who need protection. 100,000 Huguenots, 10,000 Jewish Kinder transport children spared the Nazi concentration camps, 160,000 Poles following the Second World War many of whom had served in the Battle of Britain, the Vietnamese Boat People, the 28,000 Asian Ugandans fleeing Idi Amin and the people who fled the war in Kosovo. This is our proud and decent tradition.
This Council resolves to:
Formally express an interest in both the VPR and Gateway programmes to the Home Office (or if predated by the UK Resettlement Scheme), requesting that 20 refugees be resettled here. We will limit this to five families unless agreed by the Policy and Resources (P&R) Committee to extend this further. The Council take refugees on the basis of this scheme being 100% funded via the Home Office, with the first five years fully funded. The Council further notes that the scheme has been successful across the Country on this basis. While the housing team plans and prepares for a family to arrive, they do this in collaboration with the community’s team who are the team that manage the programme post arrival as their contact network is much more valuable to new families.
That the Council buys refugee specialist casework support for at least three years from the Refugee Council who deliver the service for most of the county of Hertfordshire. The council further notes Watford & Three River Refugee Partnership are a local group with relevant expertise as well as Herts Welcomes Refugees who can provide additional support as needed. The specialist refugee casework is funded by the Home office grant which pays additional support costs such as education and furniture thus reducing further any costs on Three Rivers District Council (TRDC).
That although housing needs to be procured through the private sector, housing is preferably secured from a philanthropic landlord who can offer to rent the house at LHA rates. If this is not possible housing must be capped at LHA rates. If housing exceeds LHA rates permission must be secured via Council prior to placing the refugees. Otherwise housing is rented privately and funded by the scheme, not by TRDC or via TRDC stock for the 5 year duration.
That the families are encouraged to make use of the new ‘Well-being and work for refugee integration’ project which is available until December 2022 and will support adults with low level mental health needs and prevent them from escalating and will also prepare them for the UK workplace. If this model of support is effective, tariff money can be committed to enable it to be developed after 2022.
Costs for this scheme will be £20k over 5 years per family (£4,000 per annum) in additional staffing costs for the TRDC housing team. This includes an initial three month period finding housing and ongoing 2 days per month management. These costs have been provided by the housing team and the CFO. We will cap the number of families at 5 which limits the total annual cost to £20,000. Subject to available resources any additional costs are budgeted for by P&R as required. Subject to the resources being available we commit to taking refugees on the terms of this motion.
The Council notes that the initial funding is for 5 years, in which time the refugees will be able to seek work to support themselves beyond this time. Council notes that this government strategy has been successful in other parts of the country and expect with the right support from TRDC, Refugee Council and other voluntary organisations there will be no further costs to fund. TRDC will be wholly responsible after 5 years to seek further funding and grants via the home office and other organisations if needed.
To commit to ensuring that refugees are welcomed in this area and help facilitate this process by coordinating local service provision and coordinating the immense public will to help.
4. REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER AND LEAD MEMBERS
The answers to all the questions are provided in the attached document.
INFRASTRUCTURE, HOUSING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
Reports from the Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development (Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst), Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy (Cllr Steve Drury), Lead Member for Housing (Cllr Andrew Scarth).
Question to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development, from Councillor Reena Ranger
In light of Covid-19 and the unknown and potential waiting time outside shops due to social distancing, should TRDC not extend all TRDC owned parking to two hours free to support our local shops, business and residents?
Question to Councillor Andrew Scarth, Lead Member for Housing, from Councillor Joan King
How any homeless (rough sleepers) across Three Rivers District Council’s area are there or were housed in temporary accommodation e.g. hotels, due to Covid-19 and what is planned for those individuals in the future by this authority?
Question to Councillor Andrew Scarth, Lead Member for Housing, from Councillor Alex Michaels
Can you explain why the Council has decided not to buy in specialist long term support via the Refugee Council for the refugees we have settled?
LEISURE, ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNITY – to include any report from February 2020 that the Lead Members thinks appropriate
Reports from the Lead Member for Leisure (Cllr Chris Lloyd), Lead Member for Environmental Services & Sustainability (Cllr Phil Williams), Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships (Cllr Roger Seabourne) and questions.
Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure, from Councillor Paula Hiscocks
What pressure is this Council using to stop Thames Water discharging sewage into our rare chalk stream River Chess thereby protecting our residents and our beautiful Chalk stream habitat?
Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure, from Councillor Shanti Maru
What diligence has been followed for the contractor to build the new swimming pool at South Oxhey Leisure Centre as many residents have complained about damage to their verges and cars?
Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure, from Councillor Stephen Cox
Are the flower beds at the junction of Hayling Road and Prestwick Road the responsibility of this authority?
Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, from Councillor Reena Ranger
Following my question to Council on 16 July 2019 asking about stopping or deterring cars idling outside schools and my email on 02/03/2020 asking if there was any update. Also noting that Three Rivers District Council (TRDC) have a legal duty to ensure that incidents of environmental pollution are kept to a minimum and that TRDC declared a climate emergency on 21 May 2019. Could the Lead Member please let me know, now one year on, if he has looked into this and has an answer. In July 2019 the Lead Member informed Council “Whilst the cost of seeking designation would be minimal and that this would be something to look into (implementing).”
Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, from Councillor Alex Hayward
When will the works on the Depot in Rickmansworth begin?
Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, from Councillor Paula Hiscocks
Last year this Council declared a Climate Emergency and declared it would use all practical means to reduce the impact of Council services on the environment why therefore a year later do we still not have recycling waste bins in our principal town of Rickmansworth or the Aquadrome?
Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, from Councillor Paula Hiscocks
Why is this Council failing our Muslim residents and treating them differently to our other residents, causing them emotional stress by allowing BWF to open the graves of their loved ones without their authority and bury a total stranger on top?
RESOURCES AND SHARED SERVICES – to include any report from February 2020 that the Lead Member thinks appropriate
Report from the Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services (Cllr Matthew Bedford) and questions.
Questions to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor David Sansom
With the advent of Virtual meetings making Councillors Laptops crucial, what are the reliability/failure figures on the Surface Pro PC?
Am I the only Councillor who is locked out by MacAfee, log on with the help of IT only to have it lock again within 1 hour?
Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Paula Hiscocks
Following the pandemic which Government grants are available to Three Rivers District Council?
Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Alex Michaels
Your flagship property investment scheme involved £20 million cash being taken from TRDC reserves and being spent on commercial property despite warnings from several Members at the time, including myself. One of these properties, in Norwich, has not paid rent since March 25th, and leaves an ongoing £60,000 per annum hole in our accounts. How will this be accounted for?
Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Alex Hayward
What evidence can the Council provide to the residents of the Three Rivers District that they have been best served by the Administration’s policy to purchase property outside the District?
Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Michael Revan
I know it’s on a four year cycle, but does the Council believe that the Microsoft Surface Pro is not fit for purpose and should be upgraded immediately.
Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Joan King
What is the Lead Member’s view on the permitted hours of working at the construction site referred to as South Oxhey Central?
Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Stephen King
How much funding has been paid by way of grants to businesses in Three Rivers during the pandemic and how much business rate income is presently outstanding?
Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shard Services, from Councillor Joan King
What is the difference between the costs to the Council of all measures taken due to Covid-19 and the monies received or pledged by the Government?
5. REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIRS OF THE AUDIT, PLANNING, LICENSING AND REGULATORY SERVICES COMMITTEES (RULE 14) to include any report from February that the Chair thinks appropriate
Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Audit Committee (Cllr Margaret Hofman).
Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Planning Committee (Cllr Chris Lloyd).
Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Chair of Planning, from Councillor Reena Ranger
Does this Council think it’s acceptable for a development to completely overlook neighbours and the developer not provide any trees or mitigation measures? Do we as a local authority believe that where we are the applicant/developer, schemes should be of the highest standards not only to protect all our residents but also lead by example?
Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Licensing Committee (Cllr Martin Trevett).
Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Regulatory Services Committee (Cllr Martin Trevett).
21 August 2020
Three Rivers House
Herts WD3 1RL
General Enquiries: Committeeteam@threerivers.gov.uk