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Extraordinary Council - 28 July 2020

Virtual meeting with remote access28th July 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 28 July 2020 at 7pm for the purpose of transacting the under mentioned business:-

 

Please note that the meeting is being held virtually. The business of the meeting will be live streamed at –

https://aisapps.sonicfoundry.com/AuditelScheduler/Player/Index/?id=b3e14fdc-5b7f-4cf8-83a1-9c648feff238&presID=fdc12b66bef64b8dad6a495c5860e4f41d

 

the virtual meeting protocol is provided below:

protocol-for-virtual-council-meeting

AGENDA

1.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

2. APPOINTMENTS/CHAIRS/VICE CHAIRS OF COMMITTEE/AND OTHER COUNCIL AND OUTSIDE BODIES APPOINTMENTS

20-07-28-appointments-update

spreadsheet-of-appointments-app1-update

 

 

3.  MOTIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 11

 

  1. Councillor Sara Bedford to move under Notice duly given as follows:

Amended Motion received 8 July 2020 to be moved and debated at Extraordinary Council on 28 July 2020

Council notes that:

  1. Hate crime in this country is steadily increasing and that the vast majority of hate crime involves a person's actual or perceived race or religion. This includes: - Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and others
  2. Almost half of all religious hate crime is directed against Muslims, whilst almost 20% is anti-Semitic.
  3. 70% of victims of hate crime do not feel able to report these crimes to the police or other authorities.
  4. There are widely accepted and recognised definitions of antisemitism and definitions of Islamophobia.
  5. The Three Rivers Community Safety Partnership's Hate Crime Action Plan will be considered at the next Policy & Resources committee.
  6. Council agrees that:
  1. All hate crime is unwarranted, toxifying public life, and preventing many minority groups from being able to go about their lives feeling safe and secure.
  2. As this is a sensitive subject, which requires an evidence-based approach, Council resolves to:
  3. a)  Establish a sub-committee at the next meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee to discuss any changes needed to the Council's Comprehensive Equality Policy to reflect definitions affecting community groups and the impact on others,
  4. b) Bring the recommendations back to Council once they have been considered by Policy & Resources committee, and
  5. c) Withdraw all motions on equalities issues from Council agendas until the next meeting after the sub-committee has both reported to Policy & Resources committee and the recommendations have been considered by Council.

 

  1. Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, seconded by Councillor Sara Bedford to move under Notice duly given as follows:

Amended Motion received 28 July 2020 to be moved and debated at Extraordinary Council on 28 July 2020

This Council agrees that local democracy should be truly local.

Council therefore opposes any move to a single unitary Hertfordshire, or a larger local authority, with or without a Mayor.

 

  1. Councillor Dominic Sokalski, seconded by Councillor Peter Getkahn to move under Notice duly given as follows:

Council recognises the invaluable contribution of EU citizens living and working in Three Rivers to the economic success and cultural vibrancy of the area.

Council believes that all EU citizens in the District should retain their existing right to vote in and stand as candidates at local elections.

Council therefore resolves: 

  1. That subject to existing budgets and resources, to facilitate the advising of EU citizens in the District in applying for Settled Status or Citizenship so they may continue to be valued members of our local community;
  2. To write to the three MPs covering part of the District, confirming Council's view that all EU citizens should retain their right to vote in and be candidates in local elections;

To request that the Community Safety Partnership monitors violence and harassment against EU citizens, and to discuss what actions they could implement to provide reassurance and support to EU Citizens living and working in the District.

 

  1. Councillor Sara Bedford, seconded by Councillors Andrew Scarth and Sarah Nelmes to move under Notice duly given as follows:

Amended Motion received 28 July 2020 to be moved and debated at Extraordinary Council on 28 July 2020

Homelessness and poor housing are a growing issue, harming the lives of families across the country and in particular across the south of England, where housing costs are highest.

Council believes that the housing needs of this authority are best addressed through the Council’s own policies.

Council therefore calls on the Government to: 

  1. Ensure that Councils are able to access sufficient funding to increase housing stock within their areas to meet local needs.
  2. Continue to permit Local Panning Authorities to set the levels of affordable housing and tenure split within their own local plans.
  3. Ensure that viability cannot be used as a reason for not providing sufficient affordable housing, except in cases of regeneration, contaminated land or exceptionality

 

  1. Councillor Alex Michaels, seconded by Cllr Debbie Morris to move under Notice duly given as follows:

Council adopts the following IHRA definition of antisemitism:

Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.

 

     6.   Councillor Reena Ranger, seconded by Cllr David Samson, 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.

 

  1. Councillor Reena Ranger seconded by Councillor Shanti Maru to move under notice duly given as follows:

This Council condemns all hate crime.

This Council condemns all hate crime and speech which is religiously or ethnically motivated. 

This Council condemns the rise in hate crimes and boycotts against our and all Chinese communities and persons, which have increased during the Covid-19 crisis. This Council will work with those affected and partners to do all we can to offer support and assistance.

This Council calls on the government to work with government and domestic partners to contribute and formulate an internationally recognised definition of Islamophobia so that authorities and individuals can more effectively understand and work to challenge it.

This Council will work towards promoting a safe and harmonious environment for all residents and visitors regardless of race, ethnicity and religion.

 

  1. Councillor Joanna Clemens to move under Notice duly given as follows:

This Council believes in equality before the law for all its citizens, regardless of race or religion. It will neither tolerate discrimination of any kind, nor practise any kind of discrimination itself. It will not give privileged access to its funds or services to any citizen based on distinctions of race or religion; it will not intervene to promote the economic or social well-being of any ethnic or religious group ahead of others, nor attempt to alter outcomes in favour of one such group at the expense of others, not judge the well-being of any such group as more important or worthy of attention than that of any other, nor legislate with such effect. It will not represent itself or its services differently to different groups. It will be neutral and impartial and seen to be neutral and impartial. It will unequivocally reject any calls for it to abandon neutrality and impartiality. Nothing in the foregoing shall be read or given effect in a way that prevents education or cultural exchange events.

 

  1. 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 28 July 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.

 

10.  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 28 July 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 Kindertransport 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.

 

 

11.  Councillor Stephen Cox, seconded by Councillor Joan King, to move under Notice duly given as follows:

Amended Motion received 8 July 2020 to be moved and debated at Extraordinary Council on 28 July 2020

 

This Council notes: Article 9 of Schedule 1 to the Human Rights Act which states:

  1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching practice and observance. 
  2. Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of public safety, for the protection of public order, health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others” 

This Council agrees: 

Three Rivers is a diverse and welcoming community encompassing all faiths. Many Three Rivers residents practice no faith, are humanists or atheists and are equally valued.

All hate crime is to be deplored and tackled at every opportunity to ensure our communities live in peace and harmony with one another. Freedom of speech and freedom of religion is an essential part of the British way of life and a vital component and cornerstone of our democracy, but freedom of speech must not be abused so as to incite hatred of anyone or any group (religious or otherwise) or to unlawfully discriminate against anyone or any group.  

The Council resolves:

To condemn all hate crimes whether directed against religious or other groups or individuals who should be free to undertake their lawful business free of fear and in safety;

To seek definitions of hate crime from all such groups and adopt these definitions where it is lawful and appropriate to do so;

To update this Council’s equalities policies to reflect these definitions where it is lawful and appropriate to do so.

 

4. REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER AND LEAD MEMBERS

Attached are responses to the questions by the Leader, Lead Member and Chairs of Committees:

20-07-28-cl-Council-Summons-answers-to-questions

trdc-c19-Grants

  • 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 many 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

  • AUDIT COMMITTEE

Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Audit Committee (Cllr Margaret Hofman).

  • PLANNING COMMITTEE

Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Planning Committee (Cllr Sarah Nelmes).

Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, 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?

  • LICENSING

Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Licensing Committee (Cllr Martin Trevett).

  • REGULATORY SERVICES

Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Regulatory Services Committee (Cllr Martin Trevett).

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                          Joanne Wagstaffe

Chief Executive

                                                                                                          20 July 2020

 

Three Rivers House

Northway

Rickmansworth

Herts. WD3 1RL

General Enquiries: Committeeteam@threerivers.gov.uk