Full Council - 13 December 2022

13 December 2022
Full Council - agenda and reports


You are hereby summoned to attend a meeting of Full Council on Tuesday 13 December 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:-




2.  MINUTES To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 18 October 2022 to be signed by the Chair.









To receive the recommendations from the Independent Remuneration Panel.





as set out in the report under Paragraph 2.1

a) Minute - PR65/22 - BUDGET MONITORING REPORT                       b) Local Development Scheme

c) Request to Change the name of the Pensioner Forum                    d) Business Rates Pooling

e) CIL Spending Applications                                                           f) Discretionary Fees and Charges 2023/24

Links to P&R Committee papers - 5 December 2022  https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/meeting/policy-and-resources-committee-5-december-2022  and 7 November 2022  https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/meeting/policy-and-resources-committee-7-november-2022  Link to the P&R Committee minutes  https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/policy-and-resources-committee-minutes




To receive a verbal amendment to one of the appointments to the South Oxhey Board with Councillor David Coltman to be replaced by Councillor Rue Grewal


Questions to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Sara Bedford

11a) What was the purpose of the ‘wreath laying protocol’ published a few weeks before Remembrance Day this year?

Written response:

A wreath laying protocol has always been in place and has been updated continually to ensure its relevance the last review being in 2019.  In circulating the protocol to Councillors, along with the list of Remembrance Services where wreaths were to be laid, the aim was to be transparent and open on the guidelines for wreath-laying on Remembrance Sunday, and the precedence there of to allow for the lying of official wreaths at dedicated memorials.  It is, of course, always open to all Members to put forward amendments or changes to the protocol and these will always be considered.

11b) How many wreaths were laid on behalf of the Council and where were they laid?

Written response:

These details were sent to all Councillors by email on 27 October 2022 from the Committee Team.  17 wreaths were laid on behalf of the Council at dedicated memorials.

11c) How many requests for wreaths were refused?

Written response:

One which was outside of the protocol and not for a dedicated memorial.

11d) At the full Council meeting on 12 July, I was assured that the Council’s standard response time was 10 working days. What should be a Councillor’s actions when no response is received from senior management, despite chasing emails, after 65 days?

Written response:

At the Council meeting in July I asked that any problems should be escalated to me in the first instance.   This did not happen in this case.

Since being made aware of this issue, through these questions, I have looked into the case and I can report that the issue arose due to an officer oversight, following officer leave arrangements.

The delay in the response should not have happened and officers did apologise for this when responding to the request.  I have stressed to the senior officer that replies must be sent within the standard response time or an explanation on why this cannot be done is sent.

11e) How does the Council prevent the misuse of the full version of the electoral register?

Written response:

Any inspection to view the register takes place under supervision at Three Rivers House. There is provision for inspection at Three Rivers House by appointment. The legislation does not prescribe the level and nature of supervision of those who inspect the register.

In addition, the Electoral Commission details those who have immediate access to the full register on publication and those that can make a written request to receive it. The detail of those persons can be found here .

11f) When the Council is made aware that a third party has misused the Council’s data, what action should the Council take?

Written response:

When an allegation is received the Council will follow the existing procedure for reporting a personal data breach and consideration is then given as to whether this constitutes a breach by the Council and is reportable to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

In accordance with Data Protection Act 2018, the Council is responsible for data in which it is the data controller and/or data processor. It is not responsible for a third party committing a data breach.

11g) What steps should the Council take to prevent the data it holds being misused?

Written response:

The Council has mandatory training for all staff which is updated regularly and compliance with the mandatory training is also monitored.

We also have a procedure which sets out how we deal with a potential data breach.

11h) Why did the press release on Islamophobia Awareness Month not state that the Council was a signatory in support of the Muslim Council of Britain’s supported APPG definition of Islamophobia? Surely as one of a minority of Councils to do so, that would have that would have added strength to our position?

Written response:

This was an oversight and should not have occurred and for which on behalf of the Council I apologise however the information about the APPG definition has since been added to the live web story and shared further across the Council’s social media channels.

Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Andrea Fraser

11i) What will Three Rivers District Council do to better promote Local Area Forums? They are poorly attended and are not being promoted on the District’s noticeboards.  They are only listed on the website as a meeting to attend rather than encouraging community attendance and involvement.

Written response:

The agendas for the Local Area Forums are posted on the Council’s social media channels, and on the website.  In addition, the agendas are circulated to the respective Parish Council’s and Local County Councillor(s) when published to all District Councillors and we ask the Parish Councils to promote the meetings locally.  Details are provided with the agenda on attendance and if the meeting is being held remotely details are included on how the public can register to attend virtually along with details to contact the Committee Team with any enquiries.  In addition, if the meeting is being held virtually all the relevant Councillors are provided with the virtual meeting details as a meeting appointment and are free to forward the virtual meeting details to anyone who wishes to attend.  Further work will be taking place to develop content to help encourage community attendance and it would be helpful if Ward Councillors could suggest items for inclusion and use their own network to encourage attendance. District notice boards are updated once per month and notices about these Forums are included.

Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Rue Grewal

11j) What is a reasonable time for a Lead Member to come back when they promised a written response to a question from a Member at Full Council?

Written response:

The Committee Team apologise for missing the action from the action sheet circulated on 25 October 2022 to all Councillors.  The action sheet is prepared using our notes as there is a 5 working day turnaround to get the information out to Councillors with any agreed supplementary written responses.  The action was only picked up when the minutes were being drafted.    I would ask that when the action sheet is circulated to all Councillors that you check to see if any actions you feel are missing are reported to the Committee Team so that a response can be organised straightaway and the action sheet updated accordingly.

Urgent questions accepted under Rule 14(3) to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council, from Councillor Sara Bedford

11j(i) To ask the Leader of the Council for details of any information or briefings they have received regarding the Secretary of State for Levelling Up's statement on Local Government Finance.

Written response:

Any urgent question accepted under Rule 14(3) shall be answered within 5 working days or as soon as practicable thereafter and the response circulated to all members.

11(j(ii) To ask the Leader of the Council for any specific comments on the effect of the measures in the Statement above on lower tier authorities and specifically Three Rivers.

Written response:

Any urgent question accepted under Rule 14(3) shall be answered within 5 working days or as soon as practicable thereafter and the response circulated to all members.

Questions to Councillor Paul Rainbow, the Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development, from Councillor Sara Bedford

11k) The local police recently circulated an email via Neighbourhood Watch giving erroneous information about the method of enforcement against obstructive pavement parking. Have Three Rivers had any conversations with Neighbourhood Teams regarding this?

Written response:

Officers and I are not aware of the email mentioned here and have not seen it.  The roles and responsibility of the TRDC are clear.  The only parking enforcement that the civil penalty officers can undertake is where there are legally enforced parking restrictions such as double and single yellow lines and residents parking zones as well as in car parks.

In the absence of such restrictions backed by a Traffic Regulation Order it would fall to the Police to deal with obstructive parking and pavement parking.

The Police have not recently contacted Regulatory Services (which oversees Parking Policy and Projects through the Transport and Parking Projects team) to discuss any aspect of enforcement of parking on footways.

Officers are happy to discuss issues with the Police and ensure the right information is made public.

11l) Does the Lead Member agree with HCC’s Head of Integrated Transport that ‘Abbots Langley has fared reasonably well’ after changes to bus services earlier this year? These changes have left residents with gaps between buses of up to and occasionally over two hours, buses terminating at Watford Junction rather than continuing north, dangerous levels of overcrowding and buses shown on the ‘real-time’ signs disappearing on route.

Written response:

No.  Lead Members believe that many towns and villages in the District, including Abbots Langley, are currently not well-served by public bus routes. Some settlements have been hit harder than others as a result of commercial decisions by bus operators following the huge effect of the Pandemic on passenger numbers and now with fuel price increases.

The recent changes in bus services have clearly hit Abbots Langley and I know from colleagues the removal of the direct services from Abbots Langley to the Dome has particularly hit residents hard depriving them of direct access to the supermarkets and medical facilities.  It is to say the least disappointing that neither the bus operators or the County Council has accepted the loss of service and tried to restore it.

Reductions in public funding for bus services particularly by the County Council and the continuing problems caused by bus de-regulation and short notice changes or termination of routes by operators remains a big concern.   I am pleased that despite budget constraints TRDC is one of the few District Councils, whilst not required to do so, provides support for some bus services and is supporting new service models such as our new Shopper Service which provides a demand-responsive, door-to-shop bus one of which serves Abbots Langley

Question to Councillor Paul Rainbow, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development, from Councillor David Raw

11m) Parking enforcement is vital for public confidence, safe parking and passage. Noting that parking is subcontracted out to another council, does this administration believe it needs more enforcement officers to achieve these aims?

Written response:

As advised at the previous Full Council Hertsmere BC (HBC) currently provide the parking enforcement service on behalf of TRDC and they use their knowledge and expertise on parking enforcement to prepare relevant deployment plans for their Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) to ensure parking controls and restrictions across the District are covered.  They have not suggested additional enforcement officers are required.  You are at liberty of course to propose that the Council employs additional staff but this will come as an increased cost.

Question for Cllr Paul Rainbow, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development from Cllr Andrea Fraser

11n) As Rickmansworth car parks are still way below pre-pandemic capacity, does this allow us to introduce two hours free parking?

Written response:

It is acknowledged the use of the Council car parks remain below pre pandemic levels but the use is continuing to increase and is up on last year and 2020.  The purpose of charging as previously explained on many occasions over several years and supported by consultant’s reports to this Council is to encourage a churn of visitors to Rickmansworth and clearly prior to the Pandemic this was clearly very effective with few complaints. Also there is also a requirement for parking services  charges to enable the District Council to balance its parking account, to ensure it is not funded by all taxpayers, i.e. by users. Unlike most other Councils this Council is determined to continue provide the first 1 hour free to shoppers to ensure that the short-stay car parks are well-used for their proper purpose.

Question for Cllr Paul Rainbow, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development from Cllr Reena Ranger

11o) When will the revised report on the possible introduction of parking restrictions along Sandy Lodge Way, Northwood be made available to ward councillors and then, to residents

Updated Written response:

The updated report, which Ward Councillors will initially be sent, is expected in early December following an extended consultation period which ended on 31 October 2022.  A good response rate was received which has required mapping and investigation which has taken longer than anticipated given other team work commitments and priorities.

Question for Cllr Paul Rainbow, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development from Cllr Andrea Fraser

11p) With the seemingly never-ending spread of CPZ’s across our area, is the Lead Member not worried that this is placing a stealth tax on our residents when many are already struggling?

Written response:

Parking Permit fees are not a tax – there is a fee for the service provided by the District Council to prioritise parking in favour of people in the CPZ who have purchased the permits. This helps to support the costs of introducing Zones and their enforcement and ensures those that have permits can park near to their address.

The reasons why Local Authorities are required by law to charge parking fees are explained in detail on our website, as parking services must be paid for by the people who benefit from them, not by general taxpayers. More information can be found on the website ( www.threerivers.gov.uk/permitparkinginfo .)

The website explains that: “People with addresses within Permit Zones are charged a small annual fee for permits. Residents do not "pay to park in their street" - the permit they pay for gives priority parking to residents, by stopping non-residents from parking near their homes.”

Finally CPZ’s are widely consulted upon before they are introduced and residents are made aware if the costs in advance so nothing is hidden.

Questions to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Planning Policy and Infrastructure, from Councillor Ciaran Reed

11q) Having had years to think about it, what is the housing number this administration believe is right for our District?

Written response:

The Council has followed national legislation and policy in its approach to calculating housing need. Prior to the Standard Method for calculating housing need the Council undertook a piece of evidence base work for the Local Plan, the Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA, 2016), which included a calculation of objectively assessed housing need. This resulted in a housing target of 514 dwellings per annum. From the introduction of the Standard Method in 2018 the Council has followed the approach set out in the National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance as required by national policy and legislation.

It has been agreed by Full Council that the Council will consider an alternative version of the Local Plan with lower housing numbers than the standard method. Further work needs to be undertaken before a figure can be proposed and agreed as this will need to be supported by robust evidence. Officers will commence the detailed work on this once the Additional Sites for Potential Allocation consultation is underway. However it clear the evidence gathered from the Regulation 18 and the sites considered and rejected following detailed analysis work will provide useful background evidence when and if we are required to submit a final figure to a government inspector who will as you know have the final say under the current rules laid down by Parliament and this government. Naturally I wish that were not the case.

My reports to Council details other aspects of the Local Plan and the work we are undertaking on this.

11r) Does this Council treat everyone equally when it comes to planning enforcement and will it ensure that it does not shy away from taking the necessary action to ensure that planning law is obeyed?

Written response:

The quick and simple answer is Yes and Yes.

In 2021 the Council adopted a new Planning Enforcement Plan which sets out in some detail as to how officers will treat all planning enforcement cases across the District. The Plan emphasises the importance that officers are ‘to react to breaches of planning control in a confident, professional and proportionate manner’. The same plan also details a number of key principles which must be considered when making decisions. These principles include proportionality, expediency, consistency, transparency and equality. In respect of the latter, under the Human Rights Act 1998 it is unlawful for any public authority to act in a way which is incompatible with any convention right. As such, any formal action taken by the department must consider the circumstances of the individual(s) affected. As per the assessment of planning applications, every site is different and therefore each enforcement case must be considered on its individual merits, having regard to its location, nature of the breach and importantly, its harm when assessed against national and local planning policies and any relevant material considerations.

As advised at the previous Full Council, the National Planning Policy Framework states that Council’s should act proportionally and proactively to enforcement matters and this is reflected in the Council’s own Enforcement Plan (2021).  The Council must only take the appropriate enforcement action where it is expedient to do so.  It is important to note that enforcement cases can be complex and before notices can be issued officers need to be satisfied that they have all the available facts to ensure that any notice issued is likely to have a good chance of success if appealed against.  In a large majority of cases it is simply not expedient to pursue enforcement action as the works may not be harmful and would accord with the Council’s development plan. Additionally, the planning system allows the submission of retrospective planning applications and such applications must be determined by the Local Planning Authority.

Nevertheless, the department has and will continue to take enforcement action where it is expedient to do so. This year the department has issued a range of notices such as enforcement notices, section 215 notices (untidy land), breach of condition notice and sought an injunction concerning a possible unauthorised use in the Green Belt. There are a number of on-going prosecution cases whereby the Council has identified non-compliance with notices to ensure any identified breach of planning control is remedied/removed.

11s) What is Three Rivers doing to assess whether any other areas could become Conversation Areas?

Written response:

Work on assessing existing or any potential new Conservation Areas is currently on hold as the Local Plan is currently the priority. The Planning Policy and Conservation team lacks the resources, and successive recruitments have failed to secure an officer to undertake this work.  The Conservation Officer post is currently outsourced to Place Services which gives us more capacity to deal with any Conservation Area issues. However the budget is limited to just existing areas.

Question to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Planning Policy and Infrastructure, from Councillor Abbas Merali

11t) The Conservation Area Appraisal for Moor Park was last updated in 2006? Why does this administration not update their Conservation Area Appraisals?

Written response:

I refer to my previous answer: Work on assessing existing or any potential new conservation areas is currently on hold as the Local Plan is currently the priority. The Planning Policy and Conservation team lacks the resources, and successive recruitments have failed to secure an officer to undertake this work. The Conservation Officer post is currently outsourced to Place Services which gives us more capacity. The Moor Park area will be assessed as soon as is practical along with other workloads.

Urgent questions accepted under Rule 14(3) to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Sara Bedford

11t (i) What official communications has the Lead Member received regarding the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ letter announcing likely changes to the Levelling Up Bill in respect of planning policy and housing numbers?

Written response:

At the time of writing this reply no official communication to us as the local planning authority has been received however as the member is aware, as I have circulated it,  I have the letter dated 5 December to MPs and seen the House of Commons Statement.

11t (ii) What effect on the Local Plan process and housing numbers does he expect this to make?

Written response:

There will, it appears, be no immediate impact as the announcements from the Secretary of State (SoS) for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have limited weight until such time as the changes to legislation progress through the formal stages to become an Act with related regulations. The SoS has in their letter said they will consult on the changes so clearly they are not yet in play. Whilst the announcements are welcome, in especially removing nationally imposed housing targets - if that is indeed the intention, until the Act is passed the current requirements for 5 years housing land supply remain.  We will keep a close eye on the Planning Inspectorate decisions in the meantime given the SoS said they would instruct the Planning Inspector to 'no longer override sensible local decision making'.   We will continue to progress our own locally determined plan, rather than one based on the government imposed standard methodology , as the SoS has now said it will no longer be 'mandatory’. I have outlined this in my reports to Council and I will again outline this at Council on Tuesday.  Naturally I hope, and expect, the words of the letter of 5 December will be fully reflected in changes in the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill when it is passed.

Questions for Councillor Andrew Scarth, Lead Member for Housing, from Councillor Sara Bedford

11u) Many of us are fortunate to have much-loved pets as part of our families. Bearing in mind the positive effect of pets on the mental health of companions, why do none of the temporary social housing buildings used by this Council allow well-controlled pets?

Written response:

The Councillor was made aware by Officers in October 2022 that the Council currently has a no pets rule in our occupancy agreement for temporary accommodation. Allowing pets would potentially increase the costs to the Council and cause additional delays in void turnovers.  Effective use of our temporary accommodation in our District is vital to ensure households are able to access it as soon as possible.  Additional delays could mean households are placed out of District in emergency accommodation.

11v) The reasons I have been given for not allowing pets in social housing include noise, dirt, smell, damage, and the possible allergies of other residents. All of these apart from allergies could be caused by humans and can be controlled by tenancy conditions. Allergies should not be an issue in self-contained accommodation

and can be caused by the behaviour of humans. What can be done to enable pets on a reasonable basis in temporary accommodation, rather than using a blanket ban? What can be done to support the keeping of pets in permanent accommodation?

Written response:

The Councillor has been made aware of the numerous reasons why pets are not allowed in temporary accommodation. The approach we take has to be fair and consistent to all our customers.  People consider various animals as pets, such as cats, dogs, birds and snakes, and each pose different possibilities.  Whilst animals are companions for some, they are a phobia for others.

Consideration is also given as to the risk of infestation, flea’s, noise, allergies, damage, parasites that can be transferred to humans and the vulnerabilities of some residents and Officers feel that these cannot be managed by tenancy conditions as the list is endless.  Officers believe the potential issues caused by pets is not comparable to those caused by people.

As a non-stock holding Authority, the decision to accept or refuse pets in permanent accommodation rests solely with those Registered Provider landlords.

Question for Councillor Andrew Scarth, Lead Member for Housing, from Councillor Ciaran Reed

11w) Following the tragic death of Awaab Ishak from a severe respiratory condition after prolonged exposure to mould in his home, what steps are this Council taking to ensure that all accommodation – temporary and permanent – in which the homeless are placed is fit for human habitation and how will it respond to the letter from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing dated the 19 November 2022?

Written response:

The Council have a duty to ensure that any offer of accommodation made to a homeless household, either permanent or temporary, is a suitable offer of accommodation for that household. Part of this suitability is to ensure that the property offered to the household is of a reasonable condition. Section 17.25 of the Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities states that when determining the suitability of accommodation secured under homelessness legislation, we should, as a minimum ensure that all accommodation is free of any Category 1 Hazards under the Housing Health and Safety Rating system (HHSRS).

The suitability of an offer of temporary accommodation made to a homeless household, specifically with regards to the condition of the property, is covered by Section 5.1.2 of the Council’s Temporary Accommodation Placement Policy. The suitability of an offer of permanent accommodation in the private rented sector that is made to a homeless household, specifically regarding the condition of the property, is covered by Section 5.1 of the Council’s Private Rented Sector Offer Policy.

For any offer of permanent accommodation made through the Council’s Housing Register to a homeless household, the responsibility that this property is fit for habitation for the nominated household rests with landlord of that property (the Registered Provider).

The Council have received the letter from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities dated the 19 November 2022 and intend to provide the information and data requested within the required timescales.

Questions to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure, from Councillor Sara Bedford

11x) What is being done to find the vandal frequently damaging the HIVE building in Leavesden Country Park and to repair the damage?

Written response:

The damaged sign has been reported to the Police, but there has been no outcome from this. Officers delayed replacing the sign to allow the repeated ASB to stop over the summer/lighter evenings. A new sign is currently being developed and will be positioned higher up on the building. It is anticipated this sign will be installed in mid-December.

11y) Why has the defibrillator installed on the wall of the cafe at Leavesden Country Park (for which I obtained the funding) STILL not been commissioned by the YMCA?

Written response:

This project is being managed by the YMCA. However, Officers understand that the defibrillator was installed on the 23 November 2022.

Question for Cllr Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability form Cllr Reena Ranger

11z) Many Three Rivers District Council streets are swept once a month, with main roads swept on a weekly basis. In the autumn some roads can become liable to flooding due to leaves blocking drains and some pavements can become slippery due to being covered in wet leaves. Will this administration consider adjusting the street sweeping schedule in autumn to increase the focus on those areas affected by fallen leaves?”

Written response:

We are fortunate in Three Rivers to have an abundance of green and open spaces and well established trees lining the streets. The difficulty with dealing with leaf fall, as I am sure you will be aware, is that it happens quickly and all within a short period of time. This makes the clearing the leaves extremely difficult.

There is specialist equipment out there that can be purchased to clear leaves however this is a costly option to consider for only 6 weeks or so period a year consequently we try and utilise the existing mechanical sweeper’s suctions hoses to clear accumulations of leaf fall. This will mean that general sweeper’s activities are delayed however in “normal” circumstance we do try and get round our schedules every 6 weeks.

The service targets known problem areas before working through their leafing schedules. Drains are often blocked by grit and general detritus before the leafing season begins and therefore leaf fall will over exacerbate the situation and lead to excess surface water and flooding.

Should any Councillors or members of the public know of any road or pavement that needs particular attention; please can they report it on our website along with a photo if possible?

Question for Cllr Phil Williams. Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability form Cllr Chris Mitchell

11aa) After your answer at our previous Council meeting, I attended the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership’s (HCCSP) annual event on 9 November which emphasised the need for better preparation for adaptation and resilience. I see that our “climate emergency and sustainability action plan” has been updated. I consider that there is lot more that could be done on adaptation and resilience.  I want to mention some particular risks and offer my help on this important subject.  Following a storm on 23 October, when 30mm of rain fell on Three Rivers, we can see that road drains struggle to cope with heavy rainfall which is forecast to become more intense and more frequent.  There is no mention of fire risk or disease in plants and trees in the plan.  New buildings are included, but there is very little about adaptation and resilience of existing housing. This topic has been discussed at the LEC committee but much more needs to be done, with greater urgency.

Councillor Phil Williams, as you are leading on this, will you commit to making this a priority and work up a consultation, firstly with members and then the public to identify key issues and areas of concern?

We would then need to implement any measures identified and keep Hertfordshire County Council and Thames Water on their toes for maintenance and improvement of drainage infrastructure.  Do you agree that more needs to be done on resilience and adaptation and what budget do you propose for this issue in the next year?

Written response:

Climate change, adaption, mitigation and resilience is very much priority for this Council. As it was discussed at the recent LEC Committee you will be aware that we are currently updating the Council’s Climate Emergency and Sustainability Strategy with the revised strategy having greater emphasis placed on adaptation and resilience and we will be consulting on this in the coming spring. This leads on from a renewed focus on Net Zero and Climate Resilience within the draft Corporate Framework for 2023-26 which was considered at the same Committee and is currently out to consultation.  Also within our recent Tree Strategy and the emerging Nature recovery strategy consideration is being given to disease in our plants and trees and how we can best manage and where possible prevent this. The Climate Strategy Emergency and Sustainability Strategy is just one avenue through which the council is addressing these issues, it is work that is embedded across services and a range of strategies and action plans. You are also aware that officers are compiling an adaptation risk register for the Council and would welcome any contribution from Councillors regarding specific issues in their ward.

As you know the budget setting process for next year is underway but this is a complex process not least because we are will not get our settlement from Government until just before Christmas. Climate Change and Sustainability is a priority work stream for this Council and as such is at the heart of new Corporate Framework, however, what exact budget we will be able to assign to this work is something that will have to evolve over the coming weeks and months as we work towards Budget Council in February.

Maintenance of surface water drains is the responsibility of Highways and out of the control of this Authority. However to encourage residents not to build over driveways our Greening Your Home leaflets given out at pre-apps and advertised through social media helps to discourage this activity, thus helping to raise awareness of the consequence of impermeable driveways and their contribution to surface water flooding.

It is worth understanding that we do not have direct influence with either Thames Water or Affinity but working with them and the Lead Local Flood Authority through the Water Partnership to ensure that critical issues in the District are not overlooked. For example our recent robust response to Thames’s DWMP will be followed through at the Water Partnership requiring Thames to explain their plans (or lack of them) for this District. We have set up an engagement event for Affinity Water’s Water Resources Management Plan on December 6 in order to ensure that all stakeholders are fully aware of the proposals, and we hope this will make it simpler for them to feed in to these critical plans which are going to crucial for our water and chalk stream resilience over the coming decades.

Following several small grass fires this summer, officers have been reviewing areas of meadow grass on TRDC open space and will be proposing amendments, which incorporate fire breaks to reduce fire risk to neighbouring property during periods of particularly hot, dry weather.  This will be added to the adaptation section in the next update to make it more clear on the actions we have already taken.  With regard to plant and tree disease this is referenced in the biodiversity section of the action plan and with more detail in the Tree Strategy.   https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/media/project_tr/document/tree-strategy-2022.pdf

You suggested that the plan has little to help prepare existing dwellings for adaptation. As you are know there is no funding available for the able to pay sector, but we are working as hard as possible to insulate the homes of our more vulnerable residents by making the most of every grant opportunity as they are released namely: LAD1b completed with 87 homes receiving measures, LAD2 completed with monitoring figures expected imminently and LAD3 has just commenced,. In addition the ECO4 targeted programme saw works at 137 homes in the district and ECO4 has recently been made accessible to all residents.  The Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund Wave 1 saw retrofitting implemented at 83 Thrive Homes and we have just applied for Wave 2 for a further 155 homes. Insulation is of course critical in keeping homes warm in winter and cool in summer.  The Councils Greener Living leaflet encourages able to pay residents to think about improving their insulation, and by targeting information at them when they apply for planning permission we hope this increased the chance of people taking action higher. The leaflet provides information on renewable energy, driveways, saving water, and planting trees to provide shade. Through our engagement work with residents association, parishes, local areas forums and various social media campaigns we work hard to spread these messages.

Question for Cllr Phil Williams. Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability form Cllr Stephen King

11bb) Is the Lead Member content that that all mixed recycling bins serving blocks of flats in South Oxhey are being emptied on a weekly basis and what evidence does he have to support his answer?

Written response:

I am aware that are still a few issues with some of the new blocks of flats in South Oxhey not receiving a regular collection. There has been a consistent problem with not being able to access contaminated bins however most of the problems have been resolved now apart from Pugh Court which even the residents are finding difficulty accessing. Contamination issues are also ongoing and Management Companies are being contacted by the Environmental Enforcement Officers when reported by the collection crews.

Questions to Councillor Roger Seabourne, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships, from Councillor Reena Ranger

11cc) “What has the Council done following the passing of the following Motion in October 2021 which was proposed by myself and seconded by Cllr Hayward:

This Council believes that every woman, and in fact every person, in Three Rivers has the right to walk in our District with freedom and confidence knowing that they are safe. The District Council is responsible for many car parks, green spaces and high streets. This Council resolves to undertake a review on any measures that may be needed to ensure we are doing all that we can to ensure the safety of all.”

Written response:

Following the passing of the October 2021 Motion, the Council in collaboration with members of the Community Safety Partnership have formed a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) task group.

This group currently has representation from TRDC officers, Herts Fire and Rescue, Herts Police, Refuge, HCC & Services for Young People.

To date the task group has:

  • Reviewed concerns highlighted through the Countywide survey published last year. Each location of concern that could be identified was attended by police and actions progressed to improve safety, e.g. provision of increased patrols.
  • Created a local action plan
  • Developed “feelings of safety” surveys on Echo & promoted theses in local areas, on social media and through the partnership bulletin. These are open ended surveys and findings are reviewed regularly. Concerns have been raised about information not being specific, e.g., alleyway, but not which alleyway. Police and Echo team and working improve the information shared.
  • The Councils newly appointed community engagement officer will be running engagement events with the police in areas where few/no survey responses have been received.
  • Run 6 free self defence sessions for residents in Abbots Langley. This initial pilot was very well received and Herts Constabulary will be rolling this initiative out countywide.
  • Increase awareness of the Hollieguard App – disseminating information amongst partnership staff to appropriately advise the public.
  • Services for Young People have been discussing VAWG openly within their youth groups, and looking at appropriate behaviours & healthy relationships.

Questions to Councillor Roger Seabourne, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships, from Councillor Joan King

11dd) How many Hackney Carriage licences have been applied for between 1 December 2021 and 1 December 2022 and how many of those applications were granted/renewed and is it number applied for will increase/or decrease in the next 12 months?

Written response:

There are currently 12 licensed Hackney Carriage Drivers in TRDC.

Between 1 December 2021 and 1 December 2022 there was 1 new Hackney Carriage Driver (HCDL) licence issued and 7 renewals.

Licences are generally issued on a 3 year term.

Officers anticipate this number may decrease as some drivers have intimated they will be retiring and not renewing.  There is also the impact of the pandemic on the trade to consider which has more generally resulted in reduced numbers of taxi drivers and vehicles in the District, and also previously the impact of Uber.

Question to Councillor Keith Martin, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Sara Bedford

11ee) Why have the minutes of the last Council meeting held 35 days before the deadline for submission of questions not been published before the deadline? This of course makes it far more difficult to compose follow-up questions and also prevents members of the public checking what happened at the meeting. What is the delay in approval? Does the Lead Member agree that for transparency and openness with the public that these minutes should be available within ten days of the meeting?

Written response:

There was a delay in the drafting of the minutes due to holiday taken in the Committee Team after the Council meeting in October.  The team has also had reduced resources since the beginning of July and have not been able to fill one of the Committee Manager roles having advertised it twice.  A third advertisement is currently live and it is hoped an appointment can be made in the New Year.  An action sheet from Council is circulated to all Councillors 5 working days after the meeting and we will ensure this is published on the Council minute’s page on the website while the full minutes are being drafted.  The drafting of the minutes requires officers to listen to the recording of the meeting to ensure that we have captured all the details correctly particularly around where questions can be asked, as Members are meticulous about how these details are recorded.  Once the full minutes are drafted they go through a reviewing and checking process, as do other minutes we produce.  As the minutes are often quite a lengthy document (30-50) pages this can sometimes take a little time.  Following the December meeting officers will endeavour to get the December Council minutes published by 23 December 2023 but by no later than Friday 6  January 2023.  Going forward, and once we have full resources in the team, we will look to introduce a 10 working day deadline.

Question to Councillor Keith Martin, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Chris Mitchell

11ff) I thank Josh Sills for the Sept and Oct statistics for the wait time on answering phone calls to TRDC.  I am still getting complaints from residents who have waited for over 30 minutes and even 40 minutes for an answer.

Do you consider that an average of 8 Minutes wait time with over 45 minutes recorded for the longest is good customer service? If not, and I hope you agree, will you support the proposed motion(s) that have been put forward in the 13 December Full council meeting. If you consider the wait times are acceptable, please can you justify this in a written answer?

Written response:

An average wait time of around 8 minutes is reasonable. During November 2022, 76.9% of calls answered in under 10 minutes, 97.6% of calls were answered in under 30 minutes and 99.8% of calls in under 40 minutes. The percentage of customers waiting over 30 minutes is small and the council is continuing to try to find ways to reduce the longest wait times, within available resources.

The council’s current Customer Experience Strategy was agreed at 23 January 2020 Policy & Resources Committee and includes priorities to encourage channel shift to online and customer self-serve contact methods. The council has therefore been focused on encouraging customers who have access to and the ability to use online services to do so, by promoting the signup on the customer portal for customers to make service requests and to subscribe to email notifications. This will allow the call centre to be able to spend time dealing with those customers who are unable to access or use online services. The more complicated issues that may require a phone call are likely to take longer to resolve and so the call time may be longer causing other callers to wait in a queue. The council is focused on resolving these issues which can often be from our most vulnerable residents.

Customers previously were not informed where they were in the call queue and when it became busy the system would not allow new callers to join the queue, and just advised that the lines were busy and to try again later. Having a call queue that tells customers where they are in the queue now gives them more choice to choose whether to wait, try again later or use online services if able to do so, which has improved the customer experience.

Question to Councillor Keith Martin, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services, from Councillor Stephen Cox

11gg) If the up-to-date electoral registration statistics again have not been published prior to this meeting in the tabulated manner below, please will the Lead Member do so now and advise of this year’s lame excuse for not having done so already?

WARD  No. of Properties No. of non-responding properties Response


Abbots Langley & Bedmond

Carpenders Park

Chorleywood North & Sarratt

Chorleywood South & Maple Cross



Gade Valley


Moor Park & Eastbury

Oxhey Hall & Hayling

Penn & Mill End

Rickmansworth Town

South Oxhey

Overall District Totals

Written response:

WARD  No. of Properties No. of non-responding properties Response

Rate %

Abbots Langley & Bedmond      2884       90       96.88

Carpenders Park      2930       74       97.47

Chorleywood North & Sarratt      2924       64       97.81

Chorleywood South & Maple Cross      3145       87       97.23

Dickinsons      2832       122       95.69

Durrants      2544       33       98.70

Gade Valley      3031       224       92.61

Leavesden      3352       84       97.49

Moor Park & Eastbury      2268       172       92.42

Oxhey Hall & Hayling      2853       135       95.27

Penn & Mill End      2969       143       95.18

Rickmansworth Town      3664       336       90.83

South Oxhey      3440       340       90.12

Overall District Totals      38836      1904      95.1

Urgent questions accepted under Rule 14(3) to Councillor Keith Martin, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor Sara Bedford

11hh) After parliamentary work from Daisy Cooper MP, those households who do not have a domestic energy supply and have not received support through the main Energy Bills Support Scheme will now be able to access the same £400 Energy Bills Support Scheme available to the overwhelming majority of households.These households living in park homes and supported living are some of the most vulnerable in our community. What information has the Council received from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy about how eligible households should be identified?

Written response:

The Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding scheme was included in the updated policy paper from BEIS on 21 October. The scheme will give £400  of support for households across the UK that would otherwise miss out on the Energy Bills Support Scheme was included in the announcement. The Bill will provide powers to deliver the funding through designated bodies which we understand to be local authorities.  BEIS have yet to publish detailed guidance on the scheme.

11ii) What processes will the Council use to ensure residents can claim and receive payment within a few days once the scheme commences?

Written response:

The Energy Bill Support Scheme Alternative Funding scheme was included in the updated policy paper from BEIS on 21 October. The scheme will give £400  of support for households across the UK that would otherwise miss out on the Energy Bills Support Scheme was included in the announcement. The Bill will provide powers to deliver the funding through designated bodies which we understand to be local authorities.  BEIS have yet to publish detailed guidance on the scheme.

Urgent questions accepted under Rule 14(3) to Councillor Steve Drury, Chair of the Planning Committee from Councillor Sara Bedford

11jj) What effect on development control recommendations and decisions does the Chair believe will result from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities’ letter announcing likely changes to the Levelling Up Bill in respect of planning policy and housing numbers?

Written response:

There is unlikely to be any immediate impact as the announcements from the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities have limited weight until such time as the changes to legislation progress through the formal stages to become an Act with related regulations. This will take some time and whilst the announcements are welcome, in removing nationally imposed housing targets, until the Act is passed the current requirements for 5 years housing land supply remain. We will keep a close eye on the Planning Inspectorate decisions in the meantime and continue to progress our own Plan.



To receive reports from the Leader and Lead Members - see attached document

13.  MOTIONS UNDER COUNCIL PROCEDURE RULE 11 - see attached document


14.  EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC - If the Council wishes to consider the remaining item in private, it will be appropriate for a resolution to be passed in the following terms:-

“that under Section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item(s) of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined under Paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act. It has been decided by the Council that in all the circumstances, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.”

(Note:  If other confidential business is approved, it will also be necessary to specify the class of exempt or confidential information in the additional items.)


Joanne Wagstaffe, Chief Executive

5 December 2022