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Full Council - 14 July 2020

Virtual Meeting with remote access14th July 2020

 REVISED

To:      ALL MEMBERS OF THE THREE RIVERS DISTRICT COUNCIL

You are hereby summoned to attend a virtual/remote meeting of the Council to be held on Tuesday 14 July 2020 at 7.30pm 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=37fdc5d6-7cec-459f-a454-eea00a64492e&presID=064c3bb1bb8d4bce883346aba5c871c31d

 

The Virtual meeting Protocol for the Full Council meeting is provided below:

protocol-for-virtual-council-meeting

AGENDA

1.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2.  MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 9 June 2020.

 20-06-09-cl-minutes-final-draft

3a.   COUNCILLOR REQUEST FOR EXTENDED LEAVE OF ABSENCE

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3b.  APPOINTMENT OF LEADER OF THE COUNCIL AND DEPUTY LEADER OF THE COUNCIL

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3c.  SPECIAL RESPONSIBILITY ALLOWANCE FOR GROUP LEADER OF INDEPENDENT COUNCILLORS GROUP 2020/21 AND MINOR AMENDMENT TO THE SCHEME FOR MEMBER ALLOWANCES 2020/2021

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4.  RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE

 

To receive the recommendation from the Extraordinary Policy and Resources Commitee meeting held on 14 May 2020:

PR92/19 - SETTING UP SUB-COMMITTEES

That the Remit of the Policy and Resources Committee be amended to include Covid-19 Response.

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Minutes from the meeting

 14-05-2020-pr-mins

 

To receive the recommendation from the Policy and Resources Committee meeting held on 15 June 2020:

 Minutes from the Meeting

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PR07/20          LOCAL PLAN: STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

 

To adopt the amended Statement of Community Involvement at Appendix 1.

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PR08/20        SUMMARY OF THE FINANCIAL OUTTURN FOR 2019/20

That the favourable revenue outturn variance of (£517,045) to be noted.

That the capital outturn as summarised in paragraph 2.6 and Appendix 3 be noted.

Approves to carry forward: the unspent service budgets from 2019/20 to 2020/21 which total £329,207 to enable completion of projects as detailed at Appendix 2.

Approves the re-phasing on capital projects from 2019/20 to 2020/21 which total £1,802,182 as detailed at Appendix 4.

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5.  RECOMMENDATION FROM THE INFRASTRUCTURE, HOUSING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

IHED 05/20 PARKING PROVISION FOR HOLDERS OF DISABLED BLUE BADGES IN TRDC LONG AND SHORT-STAY CAR PARKS

 

That the current parking charges in long and short stay car parks continue to be applied to all users.

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 Minutes from the meeting

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6.  APPOINTMENT TO THE CHILTERNS CONSERVATION BOARD

To appointment a Member to the Chilterns Conservation Board.

 

7.  TO RECEIVE ANY PETITIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 18

None received.

 

8.  QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 15

None received.

 

9.  CHAIRMAN’S ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

10.  REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER AND LEAD MEMBERS

 

OUTSTANDING QUESTIONS FROM THE COUNCIL MEETING ON 25 FEBRUARY 2020 – in italic below

 

Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure, from Councillor Stephen Cox

What progress has been made in assisting Watford Rural Parish Council in their desire to secure Village Green status for South Oxhey Playing Fields?

Response: (given after the meeting in writing by Officers on behalf of the Lead Member)

Council Officers have been in contact with Watford Rural Parish Council following the Council Motion to assist them with their village green application. Officers have and will continue to respond to the Parish Council as and when it seeks assistance.

 

Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure, from Councillor Reena Ranger

Please can we have an update on the wildflower verges behind Eastbury Tennis Courts and any others that have been planted since the July 2019 Council meeting?

Response: (given after the meeting in writing by Officers on behalf of the Lead Member)

Behind Eastbury Tennis Courts - The grass has not been cut and wildflower seeds are ready to be sown as soon as conditions allow this.

There are biodiverse grasslands across the District including Prestwick Road Meadows, The Withey Beds, Chorleywood House Estate, South Oxhey Playing Fields, Leavesden Country Park, The Horse Field in South Way and Stones Orchard.

Woodcock Hill Woodlands Cemetery - A cut and lift takes place once a year at the end of the season.  There is also a planting programme every year where family members can get involved with the planting of bulbs within the woodland part of the Cemetery.

The top end of Oxhey Playing Field - There are a number of selected areas where there is a cut and lift that takes place once a year. 

Horse Field in South Way - Grounds Maintenance now only cut the pathways and the land has been seeded with wildflowers.

Leavesden Country Park

Wildflowers will be planted around the Little Blossom Orchard in the south of the park over the coming months

As part of the works to East Lane Cemetery, woodland wildflowers will be planted across the cemetery over the coming months

The Friends of Leavesden Country Park have also planted 5,000 bulbs across the park over the last 2 years (Crocuses, Morning Glory, Star of Bethlehem, Daffodils etc.)

The Garden at Leavesden Country Park has a wildflower/grasses area around the Bug Hotel, as well as planting in raised plant beds and edible planting around the perimeter.

 

Questions to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability, from Councillor David Sansom

When will the residents of Maple Cross get reliable up to date information on their air quality?

Response: (given after the meeting in writing by Officers on behalf of the Lead Member)

Councillors will be aware a recent report went to LEC Committee (15 January 2020) on air quality as a response to a petition requesting air quality monitoring in Maple Cross. I have incorporated some of the detail in the following response to the question:

In keeping with other Local Authorities, TRDC are legally obliged to monitor air quality in the whole of Three Rivers and to review and report the data annually to DEFRA.  This is undertaken via monitoring equipment installed in specific locations across the District.  The data from this monitoring equipment is analysed in conjunction with other data such as background data and traffic modelling.  There is no evidence of a specific concern in Maple Cross and as such no monitoring equipment is installed in the vicinity and no evidence of a need to do so has been shown.  All current information is up to date as published on the DEFRA website.

Notwithstanding the above, in response to the receipt of a recent petition we have written to the lead petitioner (letter sent 30 January 2020) requesting further details and evidence of their concerns regarding air quality in Maple Cross.  We are yet to receive a response.

Why is cardboard and plastic recycling being put in the skip behind Three Rivers House to go to landfill and not being recycled?

Response: (given after the meeting in writing by Officers on behalf of the Lead Member for Leisure)

Regarding the cardboard items in the skip, there were two cardboard boxes that had been placed in the skip by a hirer over the weekend. Hirers are reminded by staff during the hire to separate recycling, and place in the appropriate bin, and should not have been using the skip. The cardboard items have now been removed and placed in the recycling bins.

Going forward we have taken the following action:

  1. Updated the information sent to hirers in advance to include where to put waste and to separate recycling
  2. Reminded all upcoming hirers about recycling and where waste needs to be placed
  3. Reminded staff to check hirers comply and ensure any Watersmeet waste is placed in the correct bin

The majority of the waste in the skip is from Watersmeet.  The remainder was from Basing House, namely some old office furniture.'

 

RESOURCES AND SHARED SERVICES

Questions to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Joan King

How many Councillors have experienced problems with their surface pros since they were first issued and how many have been returned to Three Rivers District Council?

Response: (given after the meeting in writing by Officers on behalf of the Lead Member)

We have had Surface Pro related calls from 34 Councillors. Please note this total includes problems connecting to the VPN, unable to power on, McAfee lockouts, problems connecting to WiFi etc. Very few are directly related to the Surface Pro.

We have replaced 5 units –

2 have been replaced with laptops for specific health related issues

3 through physical damage or failure e.g. battery issues or where members have dropped liquid onto the machine - where another Surface Pro has been issued as a replacement.

 

What percentage of affordable housing and of what tenure is Three Rivers District Council’s target for the South Oxhey Initiative and what percentage of each tenure has been achieved thus far?Response: (given after the meeting in writing by Officers on behalf of the Lead Member)

 

Including the detailed scheme for phase 3, currently being considered by Planning Committee, there will be a total of 659 homes of which 182 are “affordable”, being some 28% overall. Of those 182, some 96 (53%) are social rent, some 32 (17%) are LHA rent and some 54 (30%) are shared ownership units.

To date a total of 140 units are complete and occupied where 69 are “affordable” being 48 social rent and 21 shared ownership units.

Further Post Meeting Note - the figures provided post the Council Meeting were inaccurate, they have been amended as follows: Including the detailed scheme for phase 3, currently being considered by Planning Committee, there will be a total of 659 homes of which 182 are “affordable”, being some 28% overall. Of those 182, some 96 (53%) are social rent, some 33 (18%) are LHA rent and some 53 (29%) are shared ownership units.

 

Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Stephen King

Why did Three Rivers District Council lock the gates to the doctor’s surgery car park in Oxhey Drive, thus preventing doctors, staff and patients using it for many months longer than necessary?

Response: (given after the meeting in writing by Officers on behalf of the Lead Member)

The Council has not locked the gates to the car park for some time, they were locked by the Council only for a few weeks at least over two years ago. This was in order to regularise the lease after the departure of the previous leaseholder (Scouts).

The car park is currently leased to NHS Property Services as they wanted to ensure its availability for the health centre on Oxhey Drive. They have had control of the car park since 1 October 2019.

 

Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Stephen Cox

Was an acknowledgement received by Watford Rural Parish Council in the first instance following its submission to this Council of two Freedom of Information requests last year?  Why was there a delay in providing a full response to the FOI requests and should everyone who makes a FOI request be expected to chase twice for a response and then submit a complaint because no reply has been forthcoming?  Further, can it be confirmed if the redacted figures supplied as part of the answer were previously supplied in un-redacted form to Members and if so when and to whom?

Response: (given after the meeting in writing by Officers on behalf of the Lead Member)

Acknowledgements are not sent when requests are initially received, as there is no requirement to do so. The delay in responding to these 2 requests was due to an administrative error but they have now been responded to with apologies for the delay. Over 95% of all FOI requests are completed within the 20 working day time limit.

Neither the original report nor the report with the redacted figures (that was sent in response to the request) was circulated to Members.

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REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER AND LEAD MEMBERS

 

Questions to Councillor Sara Bedford, Leader of the Council, from Councillor David Sansom

As the Council is still active in the Commercial Property market can the Leader tell Members:-

The percentage of Restaurants and Hotels that have failed or are expected to fail in the next year?

When the Council calculate that the hotel and restaurant business will be back to normal levels of businesses?

Are all the Councils existing commercial properties still producing rent and are they expected to continue?

Why has officer communication with members failed so badly in the face of Covid-19? (This failure is demonstrated by the fact that Communication from the Council to its Members for two months has been via The Neighbourhood Watch, an outside organisation.)

Why did it take two months of lock down before the Council decided to set up a Covid-19 Sub-Committee?

 

Question to Councillor Sara Bedford, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Alex Michaels

At 15 June P&R you stated the reason for our 2019-2020 Carbon Neutral Scheme funding, £68,500, not being spent was because of Covid-19. Can you please give further details on the timing of the Covid-19 impact as the budget year was 12 months, with only the last 4 weeks or so potentially being impacted by Covid-19?

 

Question to Councillor Sara Bedford, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Alison Wall

As I have not received confirmation from the Leader of the Council that she has written to the Secretary of State for Housing Robert Jenrick, are we to take it that she is in favour of the housing target set for Three Rivers?

 

Question to Councillor Sara Bedford, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Reena Ranger

Echoing my question to the Lead Member at Full Council on 11 December 2018. This Council has again failed to conclude its business for a number of meetings consecutively within the allocated time.  In order to ensure democracy, allow discussion, scrutiny and debate, does this Council believe that it must either add an extra Council meeting to the calendar or extending the hours of Full Council meetings?

 

Question to Councillor Sara Bedford, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Michael Revan

What has prevented this Council adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as requested by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government in October 2019?

 

Question to Councillor Sara Bedford, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Alex Hayward

Where does the Administration feel there are inadequacies in the Councils Equality Policy that are falling short in the protection of TRDC residents?

 

Question to Councillor Sara Bedford, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Stephen Cox

Is it appropriate that a Councillor should have to wait the best part of two months for a response to correspondence sent to an Officer on 17 May?

 

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?

Which grants have we applied for to date?

 

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?

 

11.  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).

 

12.  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 Council on 14 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.

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:

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,

b)  Bring the recommendations back to Council once they have been considered by Policy & Resources committee, and

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.

 

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

This Council agrees that local democracy should be truly local.

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

 

3.  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.

 

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

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.

 

5.  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 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.

 

7.  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.

 

8.  Councillor Joanna Clemens, seconded by Councillor David Raw, 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.

 

9.  Councillor Alex Michaels, seconded by Councillor Joy Mann, to move under Notice duly given as follows:

Amended Motion received 11 July 2020 to be moved and debated at Council on 14 July 2020

TRDC to amend Constitution to allow all parties/groups or non affiliated councillors a presence on Policy and Resources Committee and ensure all Councillors, regardless of party status, have access to Part I and II papers. This will not affect the Administration having a majority on the Committee.

 

 

10.  Councillor Alex Michaels, seconded by Councillor Joy Mann, to move under Notice duly given as follows:

 

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. 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. Subject to available resources, any extra arising costs are budgeted for via P&R Committee as required.

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.

That although housing needs to be procured through the private sector, housing is secured from a philanthropic landlord who can offer to rent the house at LHA rates to ensure that it is affordable and durable while the families settle in, where at all possible. 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.

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 Council on 14 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 practise 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.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                                                        Joanne Wagstaffe

Chief Executive

                                                                                                        6 July 2020

 

 

Three Rivers House

Northway

Rickmansworth

Herts WD3 1RL

General Enquiries: Committeeteam@threerivers.gov.uk