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Full Council - 18 October 2022

Penn Chamber, Three Rivers House18th October 2022

To:      ALL MEMBERS OF THE THREE RIVERS DISTRICT COUNCIL

You are hereby summoned to attend a meeting of Full Council on Tuesday 18 October 2022 at 7.30pm to be held in the Penn Chamber, Three Rivers House, Northway, Rickmansworth for the purpose of transacting the under mentioned business:-

AGENDA

Council to be asked to observe a one minute silence following the sad death of the late HM Queen Elizabeth II with the Group Leaders able to pay tribute

1.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2.  MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 12 July 2022 to be signed by the Chair.  22-07-12-cl-full-council-minutes

and to consider and agree with the following amendments to the minutes to questions 12l and 12 bbb i & ii amendments-to-minutes-to-council-july-2022

3.  CHAIR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

4.  RECEIVE ANY PETITIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 18 – none received

5.  QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 15 – none received

6.  AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE 14:03 item-6-22-10-18-cl-amendment-to-point-14-03-articles

7.  RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE FROM THE MEETING HELD ON 12 SEPTEMBER 2022

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A link to the P&R Committee agenda and reports from 12 September 2022 meeting is provided here

A link to the P&R Committee minutes from 12 September 2022 meeting is provided here

8.  QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER, LEAD MEMBERS, CHAIRS OF COMMITTEES AND WRITTEN ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS AND REPORTS FROM THE CHAIRS OF COMMITTEES

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9.  LEADER AND LEAD MEMBER REPORTS AND QUESTIONS

To receive reports from the Leader and Lead Members and ask any questions under Rule 14.

Report from Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council

We have been through a really historic time for the United Kingdom, the sad passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II, our longest reigning Sovereign. We have passed on the condolences of the Members, Officers and residents to the Royal Family. We have also celebrated the Proclamation of HM King Charles III as our new Sovereign.

While waiting for the appointment of a new Prime Minister there has been a delay in the progress of new legislation which has caused uncertainty in future planning. It is to be hoped that new relationships with the now appointed Ministers can be built rapidly so that progress can be made on matters such as waste management and planning reforms. It is earnestly hoped that the change in leadership does not lead to any diminution of the drive to net zero, the increase in renewable energy generation and the work to improve biodiversity. Any diminution of the green agenda will be to the detriment of the planet and will harm us, our children our children’s children. Future generations will not forgive us.

This summer I again worked as a steward at Herts Pride. I am proud that we were once again a sponsor of the event, it sends a powerful message that we support all of the LGBTQ+ residents of Three Rivers.

The cost of living crisis is really starting to hit our residents and we are determined that with our partners we will do all we can to support residents. With Covid rates again rising, we will be working with partners to encourage the update of autumn boosters and the Flu jabs for those eligible.

Report from Councillor Paul Rainbow, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development

Parking Scheme Updates

  • Rickmansworth West

Following the Consultation process a decision on this scheme is expected soon, after an investigation into a new option suggested by Local Ward Councillors to progress parking solutions in this challenging area.

  •  Primrose Hill (stage 2 - initial design)

Consultation on a preliminary design is currently open, with proposals for permit parking that are intended to keep the busy main road clear for drivers and cyclists – our design will also protect the pavements, and sight lines at crossings, for pedestrians.

  • Locally important schemes

Further investigation into schemes following a report in July has led to the withdrawal of proposals in Moor Park (Astons Road and Main Avenue) and Local Ward Councillors are helping with the development of proposals in South Oxhey. The intent is final plans will be published this month.

  • Chorleywood area-wide review

Our retained Design Engineers are producing plans for discussion in the next few weeks, with a further three-week consultation expected by mid-November.

  • Croxley Green supplementary scheme

Our retained Design Engineers are producing plans for minor works to improve junctions, bus stops and some short-stay parking bays in the village, to respond to local requests.

  • High Elms Lane

The expected detailed design is now due this month. Once it has been agreed by the County Council, Officers will meet Members to explain how the proposals have developed and options for delivering these solutions to some of the parking problems in this area.

  • Canal Tow Path (Kings Langley)

Monies have been allocated, for the final section northward which is in addition to the 5.5 miles completed since 2014, works include widening and levelling this traffic-free multi-user path.

  • Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan

Local Ward Councillors were consulted on the emerging routes in their ward ahead of a full presentation to IHED committee, with the view to consult Three Rivers residents towards the end of this year.

Report from Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Planning Policy and Infrastructure

In the first 6 months of the year (i.e. April to Sept) we received 523 planning applications and determined 501 applications.

In terms of appeals, TRDC had 24 appeals determined in the first six months of the year. Of those, 8 were allowed with the Inspector granting permission for developments including telecommunications pole in Bucks Hill, warehouses in Maple Cross and some residential extensions in Chorleywood.  However 16 were dismissed including new houses in Toms Lane, Bucks Hill, Chorleywood and Chipperfield Green Belt, and residential extensions in Oxhey Hall and Rickmansworth.

The Warner Bros application, which is one of more major applications has had an issues report considered but it is not likely to be considered at the earliest before November, or later, by the Planning Committee.  On the other major applications for Green Street, Chorleywood they remain under consideration following a preliminary Committee report a few months ago.  TRDC is also aware of a recent public consultation regarding a new film hub at the Langleybury Mansion/former School site and understand a planning application is likely to be submitted in the coming weeks. I also understand that a proposal for a community energy hub will shortly go out to public consultation prior to a pre-application proposal.

As some Members will be aware HS2 has a substantial piece of engineering just outside the District boundary - the Colne Valley Viaduct - across the A412.

Local Plan

The Local Plan sub-committee is still reviewing the comments, making changes and updating the policies in the draft Plan following the Regulation 18 public consultation.  I thank Members for their input.  It will then consider the new sites put forward by landowners and changes proposed to sites, including removal proposed by the landowners and other public comments.  The sites then need to be looked at in conjunction with each other, so we are able to come up with the most appropriate options for the forthcoming consultation. Work on this will clearly go into next year and the Council will update the Local Development Scheme timetable probably at Policy and Resources in November or December.

Naturally as per the motion on the Council agenda I await for the new Prime Minister and Government to deliver on the promise made  '…. to abolish the top-down, Whitehall-inspired Stalinist housing targets.’  The Leader and I have written to the new Secretary of State asking when any announcements on this will be made and again restating that the Housing targets set for Three Rivers need to be reduced or there could be substantial development in the Green Belt that this Council believes is unacceptable.

Article 4 Direction

I wrote to all Councillors on 13 September to inform you of progress on this and to thank officers for the hard work they have done having fast tracked the work on seeking a new Article 4 Direction, following changes in government policy. The Article 4 will, if approved, remove Permitted Development Rights in key employment areas.

I was also able to report that the officers managed to do work to include within the Article 4 Rickmansworth Town Centre, Abbots Langley District Centre, Chorleywood District Centre and South Oxhey District Centre to protect the vitality of these core centres.  Whilst the Article 4 does not stop re-development it gives the Council more control over what can be done.

 The Article 4 Direction was sealed on 23 September and has been sent to the Secretary of State who has to approve it.  We await their decision and or comments.

The consultation is now live but no representations have been received so far. This is not unusual, in 2016 I believe only 2 representations were received.

Report from Councillor Andrew Scarth, Lead Member for Housing

 

 

Updated

The Housing department was successful in its funding from Central Government's Rough Sleeper Initiative 2022-25 bid and was awarded £194,375.  This is broken down into the three years as follows:-

Year 1 - £60,375, Year 2 - £72,000, Year 3 - £62,000

The money is being used to finance a Housing Navigator post on a fixed term 3 year post.  The appointed officer is working with individuals threatened with homelessness to help them access training, employment or education.

The Housing department was also successful in its bid to extend its funding for ex-offenders.  The team were originally awarded £34,500 to help 6 individuals into accommodation with tenancy sustainment support. I am pleased to report that the department was awarded a further £3,672 to access this for 2 more individuals. This funding has been extended until March 2023.

Regarding Temporary Accommodation as 10 October 2022, there are 64 households in temporary accommodation, 3 households in refuge accommodation and 1 household residing in a mother and baby unit. From the 64 households, 5 are in nightly lets (Lewisham, Hounslow, Luton, Harefield and Hemel Hempstead) and 3 are in contractual lets with Hightown Housing Association in Watford. It is the team's priority to move back the households located out of the District as soon as possible, as it is aware they are some distance from our District. Unfortunately these were emergency placements and at the time there was limited access to any available accommodation.

The department is currently advertising for a Senior Housing Enforcement Officer, following the retirement of Thomas Acquah on 16 September, after many years of service.  The Council will be looking to make use of an agency employee in the interim period.

The second tranche of Rough Sleeper Accommodation Programme properties (5 x one bedroom properties in district, purchased in association with Watford Community Housing, using grant funding from Homes England and £100,000 of S106 funding from the Council) are not yet tenanted. I hope to report on this at next Full Council. Once tenanted, this will complete the programme with a total of 10 properties in the District.

Report from Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure

Watersmeet

  • Accessible toilet works have been completed and we are receiving positive feedback from customers.
  • Building Fixed wiring – works started in October and will be carried out on a rolling programme around events, shows and hires at Watersmeet over the coming months and are expected to be completed by March 2023.
  • Panto sales for Aladdin continue to be on track and civic night date is 16/12/22.
  • New box office system (TicketSolve) went live on 1 September and has been positively received by customers and box office staff.
  • Tickets sales continue to improve for live theatre although film sales remain lower then pre-pandemic levels and the hires calendar is now busy. The cost of living crisis has not yet started to impact ticket sales although this is likely to be a factor in coming months.

Leisure

  • Aquadrome Management Plan approved at October Meeting
  • Oxhey Woods Management Plan going to next LEC meeting in November
  • Leavesden Parkrun due to start soon. One of the Run Directors is Cllr M Bedford
  • Rickmansworth Junior Parkrun – Approved by Three Rivers waiting for Parkrun. No start agreed yet. There will be a test event first.
  • £75,000 grant secured from HS2 Community and Environment fund towards the Denham Way Playing Fields project. The funding will be used to support the refurbishment and installation of the play area, tennis courts, multi-use games area, outdoor gym, pathways, changing room pavilion and biodiversity improvements across the site.
  • LTA have approved grant funding for South Oxhey Tennis Courts under their parks investment programme. Final amount TBC (awaiting quotes from LTA) but the grant will fund a new court surface, nets, gate and some fencing.
  • £50,000 grant funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. This is for a retrofit of a Changing Places, Changing Room at William Penn wetside (swimming pool).

Health - Healthy Hubs

  • From Monday 17 October the Healthy Hubs have come in-house and TRDC officers will be responsible for delivery. Any Healthy Hub enquiries  from residents or local services should be sent to Healthyhub@threerivers.gov.uk
  • A new Healthy Hub Coordinator has been recruited and is due to start in November 2022. During the transition period the Healthy Hub is being staffed by Community Partnership staff (Freddy Chester- Partnerships Officer, Jemma Duffell – Community and Consultation Officer, Craig Spencer – Health Partnerships Officer)
  • There have been changes in locations and timetable of the Healthy Hub.
    • As of 6 October the Healthy Hub in South Oxhey has moved to South Oxhey Library on a Thursday and runs 9.30am -5pm.  The new venue will enable us to work with and deliver Public Health Health improvements services at the Hub including NHS Health Checks.
    • As of 5 October Healthy Hub Hours at Hillside Community Hub have been extended to Wednesdays 9am-5pm. NHS Health Checks are continuing at the Hub monthly.  
    • The Healthy Hub is still stationed at Rickmansworth Foodbank in Mill End on Tuesdays 12noon-2pm
  • Staff at the Healthy Hub are to be trained to deliver a Smoking cessation service at the Healthy Hubs.

Tackling Obesity

  • Cooking Sessions were delivered at Otley Way Family Centre to promote Healthy Eating, these were popular and well attended and TRDC officers are working with Wise About Food and Otley Way Family Centre to secure external funding to offer further sessions in the future

Health Inequalities

  • Officer continue to work with HCC to develop interventions address health inequalities in the district  - uptake of cancer screening  has been identified as a priority for the coming 18 months with supporting work planed on the wider health issues of mental health and specifically suicide prevention
  • Autumn COVID-19 booster vaccinations are being rolled out between September and December
  • A Mobile vaccination van is being explored for TRDC community event next month

Report from Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability

Regular briefings and meeting with officers, partners and outside bodies have continued.

Malcolm Clarke’s replacement, Craig Thorpe has started. Huge thanks to Malcolm for their almost 45 years of service.

The Batchworth Depot work continues. It was unfortunately held up by the discovery of more asbestos than was anticipated but is now on course for full completion before Christmas.

“Your Tree Our Future” has gone live with full details on the website and details can e viewed here

As you would’ve noticed in the Member’s information bulletin, Elen Roberts & Jo Hewitson have been busy.  The bulletin can be viewed here

Solar Bulk Buy Scheme is now up and running full details are on the website here

Nappy Natters events are happening throughout the District next month to promote the use of re-useable nappies

Great big green week was a huge success, again full details are on the website here and in the Member’s information bulletin as well Members' Information Bulletin (threerivers.gov.uk)

There’s also a link in the Member’s information bulletin for Climate Change training for Councillors Members' Information Bulletin (threerivers.gov.uk)

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Report from Councillor Roger Seabourne, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships

I have continued to have meetings and briefing with Officers, colleagues from other Districts and the Police and Crime Commissioner (P&CC).

Shivani Dave has continued to circulate the Partnership Bulletins to Members, the most recent on 30 September.  This email also included a request for Members to complete an evaluation questionnaire which we would appreciate Members completing.  It really only does take a couple of minutes that is actual minutes, not “market researchers’ minutes…..”

As there seemed to be some concern at the September P & R meeting that the Administration were not bidding for external funding sufficiently, I have detailed below the amounts the Community Safety and Partnerships Officers have secured so far this year.  This does not include the smaller pots acquired for CCTV airtime or the Hillside Hub.  It also does not include any Covid grant money which was allocated to the team but appears elsewhere in the accounts.

Health Protection Board: £153,268 per annum

No More Service: £241,000 for 2 years

Youth Action Panel: £2,400

Community Renewal Fund: £40,000

Thrive Homes: £20,000

WCH: £15,000

Household Support Fund: £132,000

Place Based Health Inequalities: £30,000 per annum

Homegroup: £2,000

A total of £670,668 for this year.

My thanks to those Members who attended the Members’ briefing on Community Safety on15 September.  Perhaps those Members who feel we should be saving money by cutting out waste should consider how much time Officers spent organising, preparing and attending that briefing for so few to attend.

I appreciate we all lead busy lives and have other commitments and that the date was rearranged, but, had those Members who did not attend responded to the invitation and let the Officers know they were not going to, they might have rescheduled it to a date when more Members could attend, or, have had the opportunity to better spend the many hours of their time it took.

I also think Inspector Stuart Moulding, who has now taken on the responsibilities of Acting Chief Inspector as well continuing in their current role, probably felt the same.

Report from Councillor Keith Martin, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services

Economic environment and budget process.

Since my last report to Full Council the external economic environment has become yet more challenging. Inflation is now at its highest rate since 1981. The interest rates at which our residents can borrow to buy a home, remortgage or invest in their businesses, have significantly increased.

TRDC is not immune from the impact and uncertainty of the economic environment. That is making the budgeting process for the next Council year difficult. A further uncertainty is the content of the Government’s 23 November statement. We do not know whether or not the content will impact us, nor the nature or extent of any such impact. TRDC is in a healthy financial position, thankfully holding a surplus of funds above its minimum solvency level. This should help in managing through a limited period of financial stress. Other councils, according to a recent Grant Thornton report are in a far less fortunate position.   The report suggests that one in six councils could run out of money from next year.

Officers continue to devote their attention to managing the risks emanating from the external environment.

In September the Joint Leadership Team (JLT), comprising senior Officers and Cabinet members spent a day assessing how these external pressures are likely to affect Council’s finances and operations. This meeting was in addition to the monthly ones held by the JLT. The financial risk register remains up to date and is regularly reviewed by the Audit Committee. Members can view this risk register as and when they wish to.

Payment of grants.

My last report to Full Council set out the work conducted by Revenues & Benefits in paying out grants. That work has continued and any Councillors who would like an update on the information in my last report can obtain this from Jane Walker.

Customer experience strategy 2023-26.

This strategy is being developed under the stewardship of Josh Sills. Three Rivers residents, businesses, Councillors and other stakeholders will be invited to participate in a survey, asking them to express their views on the strategy. Councillors will be advised in due course as to when the survey will be issued. Tis will take place in good time before the draft strategy moves through our Committee process, ready for implementation in April 2023. Josh Sills has confirmed that he will let Councillors know the date the survey will be issued.

Communications

Since July the Communications team has produced more than 30 news stories and related multi-media content covering a broad spectrum of topics, both linked to the priorities in the council’s Corporate Framework and other areas of council business. As well as extensive coverage in the local media this resulted in more than 20,000 visits to the council website and 23,000 page views. Highlights included an interview with one of the District’s dedicated Hate Crime officers ahead of Herts Pride and a video on Alternative Grassland Management to promote TRDCs Biodiversity Opportunities Audit. The Comms team also played a key role in announcing the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, and relaying information about the subsequent arrangements. 

The Council’s e-newsletters on the GovDelivery platform continue to go from strength to strength with the average engagement rate remaining very high at 79%. At the end of September there were 27,000 subscribers. Subscriptions increased by 70% in the 12-month period tom September 2022.

New website.

The Council’s new website will undergo phase 1 testing in November. A selection of residents, Officers and Councillors will be asked to participate in this testing. Details of how this will work can be obtained from Josh Sills. Phase 2 testing will commence in January, with the new website being launched in April 2023. Testing will allow for stakeholder input and ensure that the new website meets the needs of our customers.

Noticeboards

District noticeboards have been audited to assess their state. Repairs will be undertaken where required and the information contained in them will be updated. In future the information displayed on notice boards will be updated monthly.

10  MOTIONS UNDER COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 11

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                                                                                                Joanne Wagstaffe, Chief Executive

                                                                                                        10 October 2022

 General Enquiries: Committeeteam@threerivers.gov.uk