Full Council - 12 July 2016
Penn Chamber, Three Rivers House11th July 2016
To: ALL MEMBERS OF THE THREE RIVERS DISTRICT COUNCIL
You are hereby summoned to attend an ordinary meeting of the Council to be held in the Penn Chamber, Three Rivers House, Rickmansworth, on Tuesday 12 July 2016 at 7.30pm for the purpose of transacting the under-mentioned business:-
A G E N D A
1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Council meeting 17 May 2016 (pages A1 to A17).
3. CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENTS
4. LEADER’S REPORT
5. RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE
To consider the recommendations of the Policy and Resources Committee at its meetings on 13 June 2016 (page B1)
PR08/16 Summary of the Financial Outturn for 2015/2016
6. REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER AND LEAD MEMBERS
LEADER OF THE COUNCIL
Question from Councillor Ty Harris to Councillor Sara Bedford (Leader)
The Affordable Homes Programme prospectus 2015-18, page 37, point 204, states, “Social rent provision will only be supported in very limited circumstances. For example, social rent could be considered where decanting existing social tenants into new homes is necessary”.
The Oxford Dictionary states the definition of “decant” in English means to “temporarily transfer (people) to another place”.
(i) Does the Leader accept the Council’s awarded £2.83 million grant from the Homes And Community Agency was, and could only be, awarded in accordance with the terms of the “Affordable Homes Programme 2015–2018 (AHP 15-18)” prospectus, and the prospectus states the word “decant”?
(ii) Does the Leader, (a) confirm that the Council, with all the paid experts, consultants and lawyers in this project, did not understand the meaning or terminology of the word “decanting”, and (b) will the Leader retract her statement in the Watford Observer 10th June 2016, “Nowhere in the HCA documentation does it state that this is for the first let only,” and admit the prospectus was not fully understood?
(iii) Can the Leader confirm the total cost of the South Oxhey Initiative, and a breakdown of the consultant costs to date?
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, PLANNING AND TRANSPORT
Reports from the Lead Member for Economic Development, Sustainability and Transport (Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst) and the Lead Member for Housing, Planning and Strategic Schemes (Cllr Martin Trevett) and questions.
Question from Councillor David Sansom to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst (Lead Member for Economic Development, Sustainability and Transport)
As the employment survey carried out in February 2016 for South West Hertfordshire (including TRDC) did not “undertake a comprehensive analysis of all employment land within the FEMA, but has focused on the most important part – i.e. the larger employment sites,” And that “99% of businesses employ fewer than 250 people. Of these, the majority are micro businesses, employing fewer than five people. Official statistics indicate that micro businesses account for just over 75% of businesses.” Do you agree that this employment survey is of little value for a District like ours with a great many small businesses and business premises and that if we are to have a credible Planning Policy we need a new employment survey?
Question from Councillor Ty Harris to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst (Lead Member for Economic Development, Sustainability and Transport)
Following my "Local Jobs For Local People" motion on 13th December 2011, the Council supported free enterprise and thought more could be done for local community economies to thrive and improve prospects for local people. Can the Lead Member inform us what the Council has done to secure the Local Labour In Construction (LLiC) agreements in the South Oxhey Initiative, as outlined in the Good Practice Guide from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation?
Question from Councillor Ty Harris to Councillor Martin Trevett (Lead Member for Housing, Planning and Strategic Schemes)
Can the Lead Member confirm the future vehicle cross over policy will treat every resident in the District equally, and those who already cross over Council land without charge, will then be required to pay the same licence fee as new applicants?
LEISURE, WELLBEING AND HEALTH
Reports from the Lead Member for Leisure, Community and Wellbeing (Cllr Chris Lloyd) and the Lead Member for Health (Cllr Alison Scarth) and questions.
Question from Councillor David Sansom to Councillor Alison Scarth (Lead Member for Health)
Were you as disappointed as I was by the NHS presentation on the “Your Care, Your Future”? Do you agree with me that the language used:-
“Hubs, Community Navigators, Hot sites, Cold sites and Centres of Gravity,”
does not seem designed to communicate, and would you urge the NHS Herts Valley Clinical Commissioning Group to remove this opaque language?
GENERAL PUBLIC SERVICES AND COMMUNITY SAFETY
Reports from the Lead Member for Public Services (Cllr Phil Brading) and the Lead Member for Community Safety (Cllr Roger Seabourne) and questions.
Question from Councillor Rupert Barnes to Councillor Phil Brading (Lead Member for Public Services)
Can the Lead Member indicate what has been the uptake for the paid-for brown bins scheme, in terms of numbers and a percentage across the District, and how this matches the financial break-even point?
Further, concern has been raised about the process for taking away the bins from those who have not signed up for the scheme. The removal of bins was projected to last until September, but this timetable was always dependent on the numbers opting not to pay for collections. In the light of the take-up figures, can the Lead Member indicate how long the process of taking those bins back is expected to take, and at what cost, and will it be possible to indicate to residents when they should put their bin out for removal? - otherwise they might have to leave it outside for months.
RESOURCES AND SHARED SERVICES
Report from the Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services (Cllr Matthew Bedford)
Question from Councillor Ty Harris to Councillor Matthew Bedford (Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services)
The three attachments produced to full council on 24th February 2016, in reply to the question put to the Lead Member at the meeting on 23rd February 2016, as to why the 48 Social Rented Homes in the South Oxhey Development were now put at risk, stated the reasons were due to a last minute, unexpected funding condition, from what appeared to be a recently imposed and far more stringent application of Government funding through the Homes And Communities Agency (HCA), and an outworking from the Chancellor's statements on the 25th November 2015.
(i) Does the Lead Member retract these statements and does he accept the HCA strongly deny they imposed an unexpected funding condition?
(ii) Does the Lead Member agree there has only been one prospectus to which applications are awarded against and this did not change between the transfer of TRDC and the registered provider?
(iii) Does the Lead Member believe it is unjust for this Council to say in the Watford Observer 10th June 2016, that the HCA "assumed it was for social rent for the first tenancy", when it is understood in the prospectus what the word "decant" means, and is it offensive to the HCA to suggest they assume anything when awarding millions of pounds of grant to numerous organisations?
Question from Councillor Angela Killick to Councillor Matthew Bedford (Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services)
Does the Lead Member consider there is sufficient commercial light industrial space available in South Oxhey to accommodate the displaced businesses who will lose premises as a consequence of the South Oxhey regeneration project? If not, what is the Council doing about it?
7. REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIRMEN OF THE AUDIT, PLANNING, LICENSING AND REGULATORY SERVICES COMMITTEES
Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Audit Committee (Cllr Sarah Nelmes).
Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Planning Committee (Cllr Chris Whately-Smith).
Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Licensing Committee (Cllr Steve Drury).
Report from and questions to the Chairman of the Regulatory Services Committee (Cllr Steve Drury).
8. QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 15
9. PETITIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 18
10. MOTIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 11
(1) Councillor Peter Getkahn, seconded by Councillor Phil Brading, to move under Notice duly given as follows:
Broadband speeds within the district vary wildly between excellent to incredibly poor. Often these variations mean that some within a 1 mile area can access speeds up to 80mbps, whilst others are forced to manage with under 10.
The Council recognizes that the success of small business in the area is threatened by a lack of stable broadband connections.
The Council notes that residents are prevented by low broadband speed from working efficiently from home and that this situation damages both the environment and larger businesses in the UK.
Similarly, residents are prevented from accessing elements of the digital economy and that damages both residents’ quality of life and future job prospects. The poor and immobile are particularly affected by this situation, as they are not able to gain the benefits from online purchases and arrangements (bookings, utility tariffs etc.).
The Council contacts providers of fibre-optic broadband and urges them to fill any gaps in coverage as soon as possible. The providers should also involve local Councillors, as they are likely to have knowledge of areas that require urgent action.
(2) Councillor Sara Bedford, seconded by Councillor Peter Getkahn, to move under Notice duly given as follows:
On behalf of Three Rivers District Council:
1. We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant community, where people of different ethnic backgrounds live and work together.
2. We believe that all those living in Three Rivers are valued members of society.
3. We unequivocally condemn all racist or xenophobic attacks, and the use of racist or xenophobic language which makes others feel uncomfortable or unwelcome.
4. We will ensure that Three Rivers District Council continues to work with the police and community groups to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia.
(3) Councillor Paula Hiscocks, seconded by Councillor Reena Ranger, to move under Notice duly given as follows:
This Council needs to encourage new businesses and safeguard a mixture of business and residential premises to promote vitality and growth in our District. Securing our strategic commercial centres against predatory residential development is important for local employment and business generation. The Conservative motion of October 2015 asked this Council to take immediate action to review its existing policy and seek to protect its strategically important commercial areas by utilising the Government’s protection option (Article 4): thereby returning control of local planning policy to the proper scrutiny of its Planning Committee. This Council has finally decided to apply for an Article 4 direction to protect the three strategic industrial areas of Maple Cross/Maple Lodge, Croxley Business Park and Tolpits Lane, however, this is too little and too late.
The reluctance of the political administration to include the central area of Rickmansworth in its initial proposal means that significant further harm may be inflicted.
The local Chamber of Commerce, Rickmansworth Residents Association and Conservative councillors have been calling on the Council to implement an Article 4 Directive to protect our vital commercial areas for over two years. This Council, as a consequence of its political administration’s failure to act, has been negligent in its stewardship of the District’s economy and has failed to protect our strategic areas and small business premises with devastating consequences.
(4) Councillor Ty Harris, Seconded by Councillor Rupert Barnes, to move under Notice duly given as follows:
In July 2014, this Council was awarded £2.83 million from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) "Affordable Homes Programme 2015-2018". The grant was awarded to Three Rivers District Council (TRDC), in accordance with the programme prospectus, to build new homes in the South Oxhey Initiative (SOI) development.
The Council acknowledges it promised residents the longevity of 96 Social Homes in the development, and on 11th and 14th December 2015, the political administration at TRDC acknowledged that 48 Social Rented Homes were now at risk.
This Council recognises that residents in South Oxhey, and the rest of the District, have been let down by this Council’s failure to ask the HCA the right questions to ensure the Social Rented Homes would be secured in perpetuity.
This Council also expresses its disappointment that the Liberal Democrat administration failed to use the £1.5 million set aside to purchase additional homes in the SOI to maintain its promise and secure the Socially Rented Homes now at risk.
This Council recognises its reputation rests on the paramount importance of fulfilling its promises and it will use every effort to retain in full the 96 Socially Rented Homes promised to the local community, if not in this development then in future developments.
11. COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE REVIEW BALLOT - OPTIONS PAPER (pages C1-C9)
12. CHANGES TO COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIP
To note that Councillor Kate Turner has replaced Councillor Joy Mann as a Member of the Environmental Forum.
To note that Councillor Andrew Scarth has replaced Councillor Alison Scarth as a Member of the General Public Services and Community Safety Committee.
13. APPOINTMENT OF NEW VICE CHAIRMAN OF POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE
14. CHANGES TO COMMITTEES
To note that the South Oxhey Initiative Steering Committee is to be disbanded from September 2016, to be replaced with the South Oxhey Community Board.
Council are asked to nominate one Member from each Group to serve on the Board.
4 July 2016
NOTE AS TO PRAYERS: prayers will be read at 7.25pm. Members who are not already in their places are requested to refrain from entering the Chamber during the reading of prayers. Sufficient time will be allowed for Members to do so after the close of prayers in order that the business of the meeting may begin at 7.30pm.