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Full Council - 19 October 2021

Penn Chamber, Three Rivers House19th October 2021

To:      ALL MEMBERS OF THE THREE RIVERS DISTRICT COUNCIL

You are hereby summoned to attend a meeting of the Council on Tuesday 19 October 2021 at 7.30pm to be held in the Penn Chamber, Three Rivers House, Rickmansworth for the purpose of transacting the under mentioned business:-

AGENDA

1.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2.  MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 13 July 2021.

 21-07-13-cl-minutes (pdf)

3.  RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE

To receive the recommendations from the Policy and Resources Committee meetings held on 19 July 2021 and 13 September 2021:

PR29/21 - CALENDAR OF MEETINGS

-05-21-09-13-pr-i-calendar-of-meetings-2023-24-report (pdf)

-05-21-09-13-pr-i-council-mtgs-calendar-2023-2024-app (pdf)

-05-21-09-13-pr-i-eia_form_a_relevance_test_2019 (pdf)

Council are asked to agree:

RECOMMEND:

1. That the attached draft Calendar of Meetings for 2023/24 be agreed with Members able to comment on the dates before ratification by Council on 19 October.

2. That the proposed changes in the scheduling of the Annual Council and Planning meeting in May as detailed in Paragraph 2.4.1 be agreed for ratification by Full Council on 19 October.

3. All Local Forum meetings be held virtually.

4. That all Sub-Committee meetings when organised, as non-decision making bodies, be held virtually.

PR30/21 - SOUTH WEST HERTS JOINT STRATEGIC PLAN (JSP) – STATEMENT OF COMMON GROUND AND STATEMENT OF COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

-06-21-09-13-pr-i-sw-herts-jsp-report

-06i-21-09-13-pr-i-appendix-1-sw-herts-jsp

-06ii-21-09-13-pr-i-appendix-2-statement-of-community-involvement (pdf)

Council are asked to agree:

1. That the Statement of Common Ground (SCG), attached as Appendix 1, be approved as a guide to the preparation of a Joint Strategic Plan (JSP) for South West Hertfordshire, and

2. That the new Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) 2021 for the South West Herts Joint Strategic Plan, be approved for targeted consultation with arrangements for this consultation and any minor amendments to the document to be agreed by the Head of Planning Policy & Projects in consultation with the Director of Community and Environmental Services and the Leader of the Council under delegated authority.

PR31/21 - ANTI SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR POLICY 2021

-07-21-09-13-pr-i-asb-policy-report-3.pdf (pdf)

updated anti-social-behaviour-policy.pdf (pdf)

Council are asked to agree:

The Three Rivers District Council Anti-Social Behaviour Policy 2021

PR35/21 - BUDGET MONITORING QUARTER 1

 -11-21-09-13-pr-i-budget-monitoring-qtr-1-june-report (pdf)

-11i-21-09-13-pr-i-budget-management-report (pdf)

Council are asked to agree:

That the revenue and capital budget variations as shown in the table at paragraph 6.1 be approved and incorporated into the three-year medium-term financial plan

The minutes from the P&R Commitee meeting on 13 September are provided below

21-09-13-pr-minutes

 

4.  TO RECEIVE THE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE EXTRA ORDINARY LICENSING COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 6 OCTOBER 2021 ON THE GAMBLING POLICY

That the Committee agree to Option 1: Authorise Officers to formally adopt the draft Statement of Policy 2022-2025 with the removal of the No Casinos resolution and request that Full Council adopt the policy on 19 October for implementation from 14 January 2022 until 13 January 2025.

Council be asked to agree:

Option 1 - Authorise Officers to formally adopt the draft Statement of Policy 2022-2025 with the removal of the No Casinos resolution and request that Full Council adopt the policy on 19 October for implementation from 14 January 2022 until 13 January 2025.

2021-10-06-li-extraordinary-licensing-committee-minutes

04-21-10-06-li-gambling-policy-committee-report_13-09-21

04-appendix-a_current-statement-of-principles-2019-2022

04-appendix-b_draft-gambling-policy_track-changes

04-appendix-c_clean-version-of-gambling-policy

04-appendix-d_2006-no-casinos-policy-resolution

04-appendix-e_statement-of-gambling-licensing-policy

5.  CHANGE OF NOMINATION ON THE SOUTH WEST HERTS STRATEGIC PLANNING MEMBERS GROUP (SPMG)

That the nomination be changed from Councillor Sarah Nelmes to Councillor Matthew Bedford.

6.  TO RECEIVE ANY PETITIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 18

None received.

7.  QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 15

None received.

8.  CHAIR OF COUNCIL ANNOUNCEMENTS

9.  REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER AND LEAD MEMBERS

9a)     Report from Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council

As life starts to get back to normal, all over 50s will be offered a flu jab and will be offered a booster Covid vaccine at 6 months after our second jab. Don’t forget to get yours. The vaccine booster and flu jab have been cleared to be delivered at the same time but if you are called for your flu shot please do not delay getting it.

Young people between the age of 12 and 15 are also getting a single Covid shot through the normal schools vaccination programme which is continuing apace.

Here in Three Rivers we know many small businesses and charities have had a pretty torrid time of it, our High Streets have suffered, as has our hospitality sector. To help businesses get back on their feet and thrive we have launched a range of initiatives that Cllr Giles Medhurst will cover in more detail. We all want our District to be the best it can be, and our businesses are at the very heart of that. We will do all we can to help businesses and residents to thrive.

In the lead up to COP26 we are redoubling our work towards a carbon neutral Three Rivers and I am sure you will all be supporting us in this.

9b) Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Paula Hiscocks

Hertfordshire County Council are leading the way in bringing back staff into their offices in a Covid-safe manner from 27 September.  What are TRDC’s plans for bringing back staff into Three Rivers House? What percentage of office space will be used and what is the plan for the unused space?

Response to question

Three Rivers House is currently open for staff and the CAB as well as the Police. Work on improving the reception area which had become tired and cluttered is ongoing. Replacement flooring and new ceiling tiles as well as more energy efficient lighting have been installed. New furniture is also being installed including self-service terminals. We are continuing to monitor the national and local coronavirus situation but currently the plan is to reopen more fully in November. All services have continued to be available and the channel shift programme to make services available online has been successful.

The empty office space in Three Rivers House is being marketed and we are close to reaching agreement with the Police for them to rent more rooms. We have not made calculations of the % of space occupied by TRDC staff but will continue to try to make the best use of the available office areas. Currently we have the CAB, Police, an occupational therapist, a TV company and the business start-up group (Rivertech) occupying what would otherwise be vacant space. This all provides an income stream for the Council.

9c) Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Ciaran Reed

Given that schools were back last month, when will the Youth Council finally meet again to give young people much needed representation in the District?

Response to question:

The Youth Council will hopefully be meeting to launch the 2021/22 year on Wednesday 17 November. We will however follow Public Health advice on this, infection rates in schools remain high and we would not wish to continue with the event if mixing young people from different schools if we might exacerbate the problem.

9d)    Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Stephen King 

What concrete plans has this Council in place to support and promote the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022 across the District and in South Oxhey in particular?

Response to question

The proposals for the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme are detailed below:

No.

Proposal

Additional Comments

1

Plant 3 standard trees (approx. 2 metres height at time of planting) in each of the main population centres in the district (21 trees in total) in the 2021/22 planting season:

Provisional locations include:

Croxley Green – The Green
Abbots Langley – Leavesden Country Park
Chorleywood – Chorleywood House Grounds
Rickmansworth - Scotsbridge
Mill End – King George V Recreation Ground
Carpenders Park – Oulton Way
Eastbury – Eastbury Recreation Ground

The Horses’ Field and Denham Way Playing Fields are not included due to the large native whip planting proposals detailed below at point 3.

There will be a commemorative plaque with each group of trees

Officers have secured additional funding for planting in South Oxhey Playing Fields

2

Plant 25 standard street trees (approx. 2 metres height at time of planting) in the following locations South Oxhey:

Hayling Road; Holmside Rise; Brampton Road

 

South Oxhey met the criteria for the Treescape fund, and funding has been secured for this street tree funding.

This will take place in the 2021/22 tree planting season.

3

500 native whips to be planted at The Horses’ Field in the 2022/23 planting season.

200 native whips to be planted at Denham Way playing fields in the 2022/23 planting season.

The trees would be planted by volunteers as part of planting events organised and led by the Tree & Landscape department.

Fenced enclosures would be installed to protect the native whips in the first 5 to10 years until well established.

9e)     Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Stephen Cox

The Leader of the Council has made many public statements in respect of the number of homes Three Rivers District Council is expected by Boris Johnson’s Conservative Government to accommodate in new Local Plan and therefore I ask this question specifically of the Leader.  Is the Leader wildly optimistic that following the departure of Robert Jenrick as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government and his replacement by Michael Gove that Three Rivers’ housing targets will be substantially reduced?”

Response to question

It is too soon to say, but although not wildly optimistic, I am hopeful that the new Secretary of State will have listened to the genuine concerns of Councils of all political persuasions, that housing numbers should be objectively assessed by local councils and their residents, not by central government.

9f)     Questions to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Joanna Clemens

  1. The Council’s Comprehensive Equality Policy appears to begin with a praiseworthy commitment to treating ‘unprotected groups’ with ‘good practice in equal opportunities towards these groups’ through the policy. On the surface that looks as though Three Rivers is trying to practise a non-discriminatory approach, even though the Equalities Act of 2010 does, of course, sanction discrimination towards them. If so I congratulate them on an approach which is wise and far-sighted as well as just. But could the Council just confirm what is meant by ‘good practice in Equal Opportunities’? Does this in fact mean treating ‘non protected groups’ equally with ‘protected groups’, or does it mean applying state-sanctioned measures of discrimination against them?

    Response to question 1:

    The Public Sector Equality Duty requires the Council to have due regard to the need to:

    • eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment, victimisation and any other conduct prohibited by the Equality Act 2010;
    • advance equality of opportunity between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it;
    • foster good relations between persons who share a relevant protected characteristic and persons who do not share it.

    The Equality Duty does not require the Council to treat everyone the same. Rather it requires the Council to think about people’s different needs and how these can be met so that people are afforded similar opportunities. Equality of opportunity could, for example, be advanced by making a Council service wheelchair accessible. Whilst that may advance equality of opportunity for a person with a protected characteristic (in this example, disability), it does not mean that persons who do not share that protected characteristic are being discriminated against. It means that persons who share that relevant characteristic and persons who do not share it are given equal opportunity to access that service.

    The Council is committed to eliminating discrimination and advancing equality of opportunity for all persons.

  2. As a City headhunter of many years’ experience, including for Diversity recruitment, I am interested in how the Council is going to guarantee to ‘have a staff complement that reflects the diversity of our community’. Firstly, does this mean that we expect our staff to be directly proportionate to TR population (assuming it is TR population we are looking at and not the nations as a whole – please confirm)? Recruiters don’t make candidates, they find them – if they are there. Secondly, what are we planning to do if they aren’t?

Response to question 2

It is our intention to recruit a workforce that reflects the diversity of our community by advertising jobs on our website and ensuring they are open to all to consider. We do not recruit staff to be directly proportionate to Three Rivers’ population. We recruit the best person for the role irrespective of sex, age, nationality, beliefs etc. and encourage applicants from all areas of the community from those that wish to apply and work for Three Rivers District Council.

3.  I am very glad to see that we intend to recruit and promote based on objective criteria, including relevant experience, potential, skills and abilities, with no conditions attached which are unrelated to the job. I would be interested to know whether criteria of religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation etc. are considered to be ‘relevant experience, potential, skills or abilities’, (except with respect to jobs which are specifically interfaces with those communities, in which they would be obviously reasonable).

Response to question 3

We do not consider religion, ethnicity sexual orientation etc. to be relevant experience, potential, skills or abilities. Recruiting managers do not see any of the equality information when recruiting, it is for HR information only.

4. I am very interested by the Council’s commitment to ‘eliminate differences demonstrated by unfair outcomes’ in service delivery. I would be interested to understand, perhaps with examples, what sort of differences in outcomes are envisaged and on what basis they would be considered unfair. The existence of a difference is not in itself proof of unfairness or discrimination but may be the outcome of legitimate diversity in choices and tastes.

Response to question 4

The phrase ‘to eliminate differences demonstrated by unfair outcomes’ is taken from a statement of policy contained within the Council’s Comprehensive Equality Policy which should be read as a whole. The policy statement is “to monitor and evaluate all relevant aspects of service delivery and employment and to eliminate differences demonstrated by unfair outcomes.”

Whether or not a difference constitutes an unfair outcome is fact specific and can only be assessed on a case by case basis. Not all differences in treatment result in an unfair outcome. For example, a women-only service may be justified in the particular circumstances – if providing a service for female victims of sexual violence, it may be desirable or, indeed, necessary in order to ensure that women have access to the services they need. That would not be considered an unfair outcome.

Conversely, an employee dress code which includes a blanket ban on the wearing of head-coverings, which appears to be the same for all, but which, when applied, has a disproportionate, adverse effect on Muslim women, may very well be considered unjustifiable as demonstrated by an unfair outcome.

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 Matthew Bedford), Lead Member for Housing (Cllr Andrew Scarth).

9g) Report from Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development

Rickmansworth High Street

The current temporary closure of Rickmansworth High Street was an HCC led exercise, supported by TRDC. The scheme was implemented as a public health measure in response to the pandemic to enable social distancing on the High Street and in doing so encourage people back to the High Street.

 A temporary HCC Traffic Regulation Order allowed the implementation of the road closure. This Order expires at the beginning of April 2022. Currently, Hertsmere BC Civil Enforcement Officers manage the opening and closure of the barrier on behalf of TRDC, with Environmental Protection (EP) assisting on Monday mornings and Bank Holidays. This is managed within the current Hertsmere BC Partnership contract. The Police are responsible for the enforcement of the road closure.

More recently, with the relocation of the bus stop to Northway, a bus shelter has been constructed on Northway near Soloman’s Hill. Following ongoing feedback regarding loss of disabled blue badge bays in proximity to the shops TRDC has also revised the Ebury Road car park to include additional blue badge parking bays. Parking on the High Street is currently available until 9.30am on Mondays to Saturdays.

In addition, planters have been placed by the barriers (December 2020). These were supplied and filled with top soil by HCC, and HCC paid for the plants, which were planted by TRDC EP. Currently TRDC EP staff are maintaining the planters (although this initially only agreed until March 2021) with costs are covered by HCC.

HCC have recently undertaken a review of a number of High Street closures in Hertfordshire around the possibility of long term or permanent schemes, including Rickmansworth High Street. This initially involved seeking feedback from stakeholders and the public during summer 2021.

The HCC survey results illustrate a general consensus some form of continued closure of the High Street. 493 responses were received with 60% in favour of continued closure. Although only 3% of responses were from businesses but HCC have confirmed all business were invited to participate in the survey and HCC did follow this invite up with face to face visits to encourage participation.

In July 2021 a High Street Recovery Project Board was set up by HCC involving TRDC Officers and Members (Myself as Lead Member, County Councillor and Ward Councillors.

Pavement licences up take has been low although TRDC continue to waive the £100 fee. Using ARG funding a High Street Survey was launched in September to assist with planning businesses support and footway monitors are now in place. It should be noted that nationally- although it varies locally that footfall remain 35% down on pre COVID times.

As part of the Welcome Back Fund (formerly the RHSS fund) Parish Councils and Residents Associations have been contacted regarding the High Streets and local shops and interest expressed for holding monthly markets, events and small-scale physical refurbishment works. This work will feed into the future of Rickmansworth High Street, specifically in terms of potential for stalls/markets.

I am of the view that a consistent approach to any continued closure is required, and consider this makes sense to retain as present, albeit there could be more flexibility in hours to allow an increased period of time for deliveries.

High Street surveys and support

Three Rivers District Council launched the High Street Survey from 7 Sept to 4 October to gather feedback toll help the council develop a range of initiatives to support retailers, hospitality and leisure businesses. The findings will also help identify potential opportunities to enhance high streets both for businesses and their customers.

The survey asked what improvements customers and businesses would like to see in high streets across the district, including Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Abbots Langley, Croxley Green and South Oxhey. It will look at issues concerning customers ranging from the variety of shops, parking, signage and accessibility, to issues for businesses themselves such as how they coped under lockdown and the challenges facing them today and in the future.

The survey forms part of the council’s Covid recovery plan, with a broader package of support to be announced this autumn for local businesses.

The survey is aimed at supporting and creating jobs and growth. In August the council partnered with Hertfordshire Growth Hub, powered by Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, to deliver a new programme of support grants worth up to £5,000 designed to be spent on business consultation services as well as business tools and equipment.

The results are now being analysed.

New mentoring programme launched to help businesses bounce back

An ambitious new mentoring scheme designed to help businesses bounce back from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and boost the local economy has been launched across Three Rivers District.

Under the Mentoring for Growth programme, TRDC is offering specialist one-to-one mentoring to local small and medium-sized enterprises and start-up businesses. The three-month scheme is designed to help local businesses thrive following the effects of multiple lockdowns and restrictions.

The council is working in partnership with business support specialist Smarter Society – which has previously worked with organisations including John Lewis and the NHS – to provide the new mentoring programme.

Public consultation on proposed parking schemes

TRDC is currently developing proposals for new parking control schemes in these areas:

Primrose Hill Area, Kings Langley – currently out to consultation until 25 October

Chorleywood Area - wide review

Rickmansworth West area - subject to a meeting and sign off with Ward Councillors a consultation should start in late October.

High Elms Lane, Garston, Proposed parking and access improvements - further discussions required with the local schools and HCC.

Ebury Road, Rickmansworth - improvements to parking places

Other minor parking schemes

Officers are progressing plans that have been requested by the public for other possible parking schemes and changes to waiting restriction including yellow lines in the following areas, Harefield Road area (Rickmansworth), Langleybury Lane and Water Lane, (Gade Valley) and Sandy Lodge Lane and the Lemonfield Estate (Garston) area.

A review of the Croxley Green controlled parking zone is due to start shortly. 

Cycling

In conjunction with the HCC there is a consultation due about Local Cycling and Walking priority routes (LCWIP) as part of the review of our Walking & Cycling Strategy that is being progressed jointly by Three Rivers, Watford and the County Council.

Delta Gain upgrade

Unfortunately, this Retail Parade Revitalisation project has not been able to be progressed as despite efforts by officers to get an agreed legal agreement over land that is not in public ownership for the works. This means we cannot progress with this planned work that had been agreed with Ward Members and Watford Rural Parish Council. It is deeply disappointing as officers and members had worked for over two years on this.

Electric Vehicle Charging Points

The tender for these in our car parks is progressing out and I have asked that its remit be explained to allow for expansion into more than just the initial pilot car parks. With the need to have (according to government experts 1.5m charge pints by 2030 to meet the zero emissions targets on the phasing out of new petrol and diesel vehicles I remain deeply disappointed that the county council are seeking to only allow in exceptional circumstances on road charging points (despite national funding being available) and that is contrary to policy from OLEC (The Office for Low Emissions Vehicles).  At the time of writing Council officers from all 10 Districts remain in discussions with HCC over this approach and are seeking , I understand, a more flexible policy·

THE HERT

Herts County Council Officers provided a virtual presentation on HERT (Hertfordshire Essex Rapid Transit) a new vision for transport transformation in Hertfordshire and Essex on 14 October.

The presentation covered a vision for transport transformation is an ambitious new passenger transport system that provides accessible, reliable and affordable journeys.

The Hertfordshire-Essex Rapid Transit (HERT) aims change the way we travel in both counties. We plan that the HERT will form an east-west transport corridor that runs from Hemel Hempstead and West Watford, joining just south of St Alban's in Hertfordshire, to Harlow in Essex and onwards to Stansted Airport, linking four major north south railway routes and unlocking new journey options for residents across the counties. This new transport spine will connect people to where they live, work and visit in a more environmentally responsible way. It will support local economies to thrive in the future.

The link to the website for further details is below:

Hertfordshire County Council - Introducing the Hertfordshire - Essex Rapid Transit (HERT)https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/news/news-archive/hertfordshire-essex-rapid-transit

9h) Question to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development from Councillor David Coltman

Would this Council be prepared in principle to implement a prohibition under a Traffic Regulation Order to prevent pavement parking on specific roads in Carpenders Park?

Response to question

A scheme could be considered (a Footway Parking Prohibition) but the implications of displacement parking would need to be carefully considered.  The County Council is the Lead Authority on prohibiting footway obstruction although the District Council can also consider requests for new Traffic Orders through its Parking Management Programme.  These requests are programmed based on specific scheme selection criteria which consider the level of public interest as well as other factors.   Any request to the District would need to go through this Programme.

9i) Questions to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development from Councillor Paula Hiscocks

What is the progress on the CPZ zone and final consultation in Rickmansworth West?

Response to question

The draft detailed design has been prepared and Officers will be contacting local Ward Councillors for a meeting imminently to check the final plans.  Consultation is expected to start later this month.

9j) Report from Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy

I would like to thank residents for their responses to our Local plan consultation.

There were well over 2,000 responses and many addressed multiple points in the consultation so there are in excess of 20,000 individual comments which officers now need to collate and respond to. Each comment and the response will be published in due course.

As a result of the volume of comments, the local plan process will now be delayed and the next round of public consultation is now likely to be towards the end of 2022.

We have a long way to go in the process and it is likely the list of potential development sites will be adjusted as a result of the information received during the consultation from residents and from landowners and other interested parties.

At the same time we are continuing to challenge the Government on the total number of homes we need to accommodate within Three Rivers. We have a motion on this topic for debate on our agenda for this Council meeting. However at this stage we have not received any indication from the government that they will relax either the calculation method or the mechanism for enforcement via the Planning Inspectorate.

9k) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor David Coltman

As the Ward Councillor, how many responses have been received, for and against, from the residents of Carpenders Park including The Residents Association, in regard to the Local Plan for proposed sites.

Response to question

There have been 520 responses logged so far to the consultation on the Part 2 Potential Sites for consultation from residents of Carpenders Park including a representation from the Residents Association. Officers are still in the process of logging the representations received so this number may change. A summary of the representations will be reported to the Local Plan Sub Committee in due course.

9l) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Paula Hiscocks

Can the Lead Member explain why the lack of enforcement is failing the residents of TRDC?  For example when gutters have not complied with planning consent and are discharging on to the public pavement.

Response to question

Since the start of the pandemic the department has received 415 reports of alleged planning breaches.  Cases have had to be prioritised in terms of their impact, however, Officers are working hard to ensure all cases are investigated thoroughly, although it should be recognised that in some instances cases can be complex and do take time to resolve.

Despite clear signposting on our website (and through reporting breaches) the department receives many complaints which cannot be investigated as they are civil matters or for other agencies/authorities to investigate. In this specific instance, gutters are not controlled by planning and the discharge of water onto a public pavement will be a civil matter unless the discharge is falling into land under the control of Hertfordshire County Council. In this case, such complaints must be directed to HCC via their online fault reporting page: https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/Highways-roads-and-pavements/Report-a-problem/Report-a-highway-fault/What-type-of-fault-are-you-reporting.aspx

9m) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Alison Wall

What themes have been identified from the responses to the public consultation to the Local Plan?

Response to question:

General themes identified in response to the Part 2 Potential Sites for Allocation so far include:

  • Green Belt release
  • Transport/congestion/air pollution relating to traffic
  • Infrastructure provision (schools, health provision)
  • Loss of open space used for recreation
  • Importance of open spaces for mental and physical health
  • Surface water flooding

Officers are still in the process of assessing the representations received. A summary of the representations will be reported to the Local Plan Sub Committee in due course.

9n) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Alex Hayward

Will the Liberal Democrat administration be supporting their party’s pledge to build 380,000 homes a year?

Response to question 

It is not appropriate or relevant for the Council or its administration to express a view on a national target for housebuilding. The administration of the Council has already made clear its strong objections to the local housebuilding target imposed by national government on Three Rivers. In particular we object to the fact that the government has calculated the current targets using out-of-date forecasts and continues to refuse to accept the use of more up-to-date forecasts which would reduce the local target and would spread planned growth more broadly around the country.

9o) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Reena Ranger

The Strategic Flood Risk Assessment (SFRA) that is part of the evidence base of the new local plan and was conducted in 2018 and was based on historic flood maps which have been updated by the Environment Agency (EA). Given that TRDC has a responsibility to update its SFRA on a regular basis and given the updating of the EA flood maps as well as recent photographic evidence of flooding events submitted by residents, should TRDC be undertaking an updated SFRA to take into account this new information in light of potential large-scale development through its local plan?

Response to question:

There are no plans to update the Level 1 SFRA (2018). The Level 2 SFRA is still in draft form and is being progressed in consultation with the Environment Agency. The Level 2 SFRA comprises of site assessments of sites which are at risk of flooding and these assessments include information on historic flood events, which is informed by the Environment Agency’s historic flood maps. The historic flood information and maps which inform the study will be sourced from the most recent available maps/data published by the Environment Agency.

9p) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor David Raw

Where can the policy on the maximum height of tall towers be found in the TRDC local plan?

Response to question:

There isn’t a policy on the maximum height of tall towers. The National Planning Policy Framework is silent on the matter. However, it does state that

‘Planning policies and decisions should support development that make efficient use of land, taking into account the desirability of maintaining an area’s prevailing character and setting, or of promoting regeneration and change’ (Paragraph 124)

‘Where there is an existing or anticipated shortage of land for meeting identified housing needs, it is especially important that planning policies and decisions avoid homes being built at low densities, and ensure that developments make optimal use of the potential of each site.’ (Paragraph 125)

There are policies relating to design of development, for example, the Residential Design & Layout draft policy states:

“All applications for residential development, including new dwellings, replacement dwellings, and extensions or alterations to existing dwellings should satisfy the preferred Design Criteria as set out in Appendix 1 to ensure that development does not lead to a gradual deterioration in the quality of the built environment, and that landscaping, the need for privacy and amenity space and the creation of identity in housing layouts are taken into account”

The draft Housing Density policy also recognises that a lower density may be appropriate with regard to a site and its context.

9q) Report from Councillor Andrew Scarth, Lead Member for Housing

I am pleased that the updated Temporary Accommodation Placement Policy was reviewed during the IHED committee meeting on 21 September, with three minor amendments:-

1.The  addition of Homelessness (Suitability of Accommodation) (England) Order.

2.Placements into B&B accommodation for families and 16/17 year olds to be authorised by the Housing Supply Manager.

3.Personal circumstances of the household will be taken into account when considering the size and condition of a property in relation to the suitability of a temporary accommodation placement.

On 15 September, I joined two team members of Watford Community Housing in Abbots Langley as part of its ‘Big Door Knock’  designed to make contact with tenants after the long period of  no face to face contact.  It allowed me to get more residents signed up to OWL

On 8 September, I joined other Councillors to see the Topping Out ceremony of Phase 3 of the South Oxhey Regeneration programme. The views at the top were amazing.  I was pleased to note that renewable energy [solar panels] were to be included, as well as more affordable housing units in this final phase.

 

LEISURE, ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNITY

Reports from the Lead Member for Leisure (Cllr Chris Lloyd), Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change & Sustainability (Cllr Phil Williams), Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships (Cllr Roger Seabourne) and questions.

9r)     Report from Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure

  1. Civic Night for Panto - Cinderella is Friday 10 December. Tickets can be bought from Watersmeet or online.
  2. Park - Since last Council meeting I have volunteered at Junior Parkrun in Leavesden and South Oxhey Parkrun. I have run at Rickmansworth and South Oxhey Parkruns. I would encourage all councillors to run, walk or volunteer at a Parkrun in the next three months. If Councillors would like more details how they can do it please let me.
  3. Black History Month - Two free films are being shown at Watersmeet and we are working with the library and Museum.
  4. Covid numbers are still high
  5. Other Health Issues - Refocus on Obesity. Mental Health is continuing issue and impact of Covid has made this worse. New Health Inequalities Officer will be looking at the increasing inequalities as a result of Covid.

9s) Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure from Councillor Paula Hiscocks

The outdoor gym equipment in the Aquadrome has been condemned. The safety measures are no longer in place. A PID has been approved for new equipment. Can the Lead Member advise us when this site will be safe and when and where the new equipment will be placed.

Response to question:

The outdoor gym equipment at Ebury Play area is regularly inspected by the grounds maintenance team and the equipment remains safe for use. The issue with the equipment is obtaining parts to repair/fix as these come from China. Equipment within Ebury Play area will be removed, once it comes to the end of life. The new equipment will be tendered during the Autumn and the location for the new gym equipment will be behind the café, in front of Bury Lake. This location was agreed in consultation with Ward Councillors and stakeholders of the site, including Café in the Park, Rickmansworth Festival and parkrun.

9t) Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure from Councillor Joan King

Three Rivers District Council passed the following motion in July of 2019: “This council supports the objective of Watford Rural Parish Council to obtain Village Green status for South Oxhey Playing Fields.  Accordingly, it instructs officers to provide the fullest possible pro-active assistance and liaise with both Hertfordshire County Council and the parish council itself to ensure this land receives much-needed added protection as a public open space as soon as possible.”  What specifically has been done by this council’s officers in over two years to bring Village Green status about?”

Response to question:

Following the motion in July 2019 TRDC Officers and the Clerk of Watford Rural Parish Council worked together to agree how the application should be made and by whom. TRDC Officers submitted an application in August 2020 and are liaising with Hertfordshire County Council to provide additional information to support the application and enable the matter to be progressed for formal determination.

Following a change to the Town & Village Green and Commons Land Registration rules, Upper Tier Councils have been inundated with applications. The impact from the volume of those applications has resulted in there being significant assessment backlog and it is highly likely that this application may not be fully determined for 3-4 years.

9u) Questions to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure from Councillor Joanna Clemens

1. I am concerned about ragwort within Three Rivers. I understand it is a vital habitat for moths, but is also poisonous for livestock. Is due regard in permitting its growth paid to any proximity or potential proximity to livestock?

2. Do we have Scilla autumnalis, dianthus armeria, wood calamint or bee orchids growing in Three Rivers and if so, are they protected?

3. How many times do we cut our verges a year, when and with what (strimmers)?

Response to question 1

There are regular Ragwort ‘pulling’ sessions carried out by volunteers from the district’s ‘Friends of’ groups, and Countryside Management Service’s Wednesday volunteer group.  These sessions take place during the summer months, and aim to control Ragwort levels on TRDC open spaces which are grazed by livestock.

Response to question 2

Bee Orchids are present at Leavesden Country Park. The Hertfordshire Natural History Society can advise as to whether Scilla autumnalis, dianthus armeria, and wood calamint are present in the district. All wild plants receive some protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Response to question 3

Verges are cut up to 12 times a year, depending on weather, between April and October. This is undertaken with ride-on mowers and trimmers, depending on size of area and what street furniture they have to go around etc.

9v)     Report from Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Service

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

The Batchworth Depot is still on course for its target completion date, the end of this financial year.

Driver training and recruitment continues.

The fuel shortage had very little impact on our services. Well done to the team for managing the resources to keep things going.

Our waste crews are still having long waits, twice a day at the HCC run Waterdale Waste Transfer Station in Garston.

A consultant from the Association of Public Service Excellence (APSE) has been procured to establish the route to zero for Council operations by 2030 and the District by 2045. To assist this process energy audits will be taking place over the next 6 months on all our buildings to determine the works and cost requirements for each building. We hope to benefit from decarbonisation grants – to assist in the work.

Green Homes Grant progress

Both grants are progressing well with over 120 homes in the district signed up or have had work completed. We have applied for two further grants to enable the work to continue through to March 2023 in both the owner occupied sector and housing associations.

Resident Engagement

Together with Watford Borough Council and Friends of the Earth we co-ordinated a wide ranging group of activities across the District for Great Big Green Week. From walks, talks, litter picks to films at Watersmeet for all age groups. The period poverty campaign was launched with supplies now available at the Healthy Hubs and Food banks

A sustainability leaflet for residents was published last week

We’ve established an e-newsletter which has already obtained 1200 readership to communicate our initiatives and actions to residents

Sustainability Grants

We have supported 5 grants this year for sustainability projects from restoring a stretch of the Gade to encourage water voles, helping businesses develop carbon neutral plans and restoring hedgerows at Woodoaks Farm.

Biodiversity

Along with the pilot 11 no mow sites we have commissioned two bio diversity audits to form the backdrop to enhancing biodiversity across the District.

COP 26; 2040 film is showing at Watersmeet on the 19 October with a Q&A session following the film.  All welcome.

9w) Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability from Councillor Reena Ranger

As the Lead Authority for air quality and pollution, have there been any studies outside schools to check whether the pollution levels are safe so that no-idling zones can either be implemented or discounted?

Response to question

As previously advised at Full Council in order to enforce and issue Notices against those who are stationary with their engines on, the area has to be ‘designated’. The Council may apply for designation under The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002.  However, specific criteria needs to be met.  The Council has an Air Quality Management Area so meets the first criteria for designation.  However, part of the application for designation would include the submission of evidence to demonstrate that there is a problem locally.  There is no current available evidence detailing there is specific problem outside schools in Three Rivers DC as such the designation has not been pursued.

Air quality monitoring equipment is located in response to specialist Officer investigations regarding air pollution levels derived from national data and local sources including road traffic sources, non-road transport sources, industrial sources, commercial and domestic sources and fugitive or uncontrolled sources. Officers consider who might be exposed, how they are exposed and how long they are exposed for.  Historic data is recorded at existing monitoring sites.  No specific studies have been carried out around schools, and would not be initiated unless there was evidence of a recognised issue.

Any measurement of exposure would be at locations where members of the public might be regularly exposed for example the building facades of residential properties, schools, hospitals, care homes etc.  It would not apply at kerbside sites (as opposed to locations at the building façade), or any other location where public exposure is expected to be short term.  At distances of more than 50m from a busy road, it is anticipated that NO2 concentrations will have been diluted to the local urban background concentration. Officers try to deploy monitoring equipment (ie diffusion tubes) at the façade of a building within 50m of an off-site road. School buildings are often more than 50m from the highway.

In addition to the above some schools will have school travel plans which may include specific traffic based commitments. The HCC website provides a list of the things that a school travel plan should aim to do.  One of these things is to aim to reduce pollution in and around school sites.

9x) Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability from Councillor Joanna Clemens

Are any badger culls being currently practised or planned within Three Rivers? If so, where and how many?

Community Services is not aware of any badger culls being currently practised or planned within Three Rivers.  Natural England is the competent authority for badger control licensing for the purpose of preventing the spread of bovine TB. 

9y)     Report from Councillor Roger Seabourne, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships

The Lead Member has no report.

9z) Question to Roger Seabourne, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships from Councillor Joanna Clemens

Does the Council run criminal records checks on the owners and managers of businesses to whom it sub-contracts work in areas including transport, security and waste disposal? Do we work with the police in any other way to ensure that TRDC money is not funding organised crime, for example by supplying them with our data from our procurement database to be cross-checked?

Response to question

UK GDPR gives extra protection to “personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences or related security measures”. This is referred to as criminal offence data. In order to process criminal offence data, at least one of the conditions set out in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 2018 must apply. Those conditions include, amongst others: (1) preventing or detecting unlawful acts; (2) protecting the public against dishonesty; (3) preventing fraud; (4) suspicion of terrorist financing or money laundering; and (5) safeguarding of children and individuals at risk.

There are two methods by which the Council may request access to criminal offence data. The first is via the Disclosure and Barring Service (‘DBS’) and the second is via a request to the police for disclosure of information held on the Police National Computer (‘PNC’). Broadly speaking, a DBS check is generally requested prior to commencing employment/contract to a sensitive post, and a PNC check is generally requested when it is suspected that something has already gone wrong and a crime has been committed.

Requests for disclosure of previous convictions are not made automatically prior to contracting out any Council service. They are made when the particular contract or service merits an enhanced level of intrusion and disclosure. So, for example, the Council may require DBS checks of contractors, or individuals employed (or sub-contracted) by contractors, if the service they are to provide involves direct contact with children or vulnerable persons. For example, our leisure management contractor carries out DBS checks on all appropriate staff working at Council-owned leisure venues and, at Watersmeet, the pantomime producer carries out DBS checks on the performers and production team. Whereas, contractors providing less sensitive services, such as, say, the supply of stationery, would not be required to provide evidence that their employees or sub-contractors have been DBS checked.

The Council does not currently hold any transport or security contracts.

Household and commercial waste collection is dealt with by Council employees and waste disposal is dealt with by employees of Hertfordshire County Council.

The Council does use a contractor to securely dispose of ‘sensitive waste’, i.e. documents disposed of in the blue bins within the Council offices. That is a ‘shred on site’ service. The bins are locked whilst in the building, wheeled to a van where they are opened, tipped, shredded on site and a certificate of destruction is provided.

The Council does not routinely share procurement information with the police. The Council does not make speculative requests for criminal offence data. That would be an unlawful processing of sensitive data. The Council does, of course, disclose any reasonable suspicion of criminal activity to the police and would request information in a specific case if one the conditions set out in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act existed.

The Council publishes a list of the contracts it has entered into annually on its website and that list may be accessed by members of the public and the police alike. The Contract Register may be found at www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/contracts-register

RESOURCES AND SHARED SERVICES

9aa) Report from Councillor Dominic Sokalski, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services

The Lead Member has no report.

9bb) Question to Councillor Dominic Sokalski, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor Reena Ranger

Does TRDC have a register of Common Land / assets it maintains in the District with a maintenance schedule? In particular residents have raised concerns about:  The car park at Ye Olde Green Manne Pub, vegetation at Batchworth Lane, pot holes at Batchworth Heath, the overgrown vegetation at entrance to the Oxhey Woods Playing Fields via Hampermill Lane and overgrown vegetation at the entrance to St Francis Close.

Response to question:

The Council does not have a register of Common Land and there is no specific maintenance schedule for such assets. None of the sites listed are included within the Council’s Grounds Maintenance Contract, nor is there any dedicated budget for such maintenance.  Where such assets are owned by, or the responsibility of TRDC they are maintained on an ‘ad hoc’ basis.

With respect to Ye Olde Greene Manne, the Property Team are aware of issues relating to the condition of the surfacing of the car park in this location and are formulating a proposal to address these issues. In relation to Batchworth Heath, it is understood that this area is not under the control or ownership of TRDC.

TRDC does undertake periodic vegetation clearance and maintenance at Hampermill Lane, Oxhey Woods Playing Fields and the other sites listed at Batchworth Lane and St Francis Close.

9cc) Question to Councillor Dominic Sokalski, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor Joanna Clemens

Can the Council confirm whether Council employees have ever been threatened over the award of public contracts in Three Rivers?

Response to question

We are not aware of any employees lodging formal complaints regarding being threatened over the award of public contracts in Three Rivers.

10.  REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIRS OF THE AUDIT, PLANNING, LICENSING AND REGULATORY SERVICES COMMITTEES (RULE 14)

AUDIT COMMITTEE

10a)   Report from and questions to the Chair of the Audit Committee, Councillor Margaret Hofman

The external audit of the draft statement of accounts for the year ended 31 march 2020 has not yet been completed by our external auditors due to resources pressures as additional audit work has been required due to pandemic.  Draft statutory accounts for TRDC have been published and are available to view on the Council’s website.

The Audit Committee has requested additional information and more frequent reporting from officers.​

There has been two meetings of the Audit Committee held in July and September since the last Full Council meeting.

PLANNING COMMITTEE

10b) Report from and questions to the Chair of the Planning Committee, Councillor Steve Drury

The Chair of the Committee has no report.

LICENSING COMMITTEE

10c)   Report from and questions to the Chair of the Licensing Committee, Councillor Raj Khiroya

The Chair of the Committee has no report.

REGULATORY SERVICES

10d)  Report from and questions to the Chair of the Regulatory Services Committee, Councillor Raj Khiroya

The Chair of the Committee has no report.

11. MOTIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 11

The Council motions for the meeting (1-5) are provided below in the attached document

motions-1-to-5

Joanne Wagstaffe

Chief Executive

11 October 2021

Enquiries to the Committee Team at committeeteam@threerivers.gov.uk