Full Council - 22 February 2022
To: ALL MEMBERS OF THE THREE RIVERS DISTRICT COUNCIL
You are hereby summoned to attend a meeting of Full Council on Tuesday 22 February 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:-
1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 14 December 2021 and the Extraordinary Council meeting held on 25 January 2022.21-12-14-cl-minutes22-01-25-extra-cl-final-minutes
3. FINANCIAL PLANNING
To consider the recommendations from the Administration on the Financial Plan. (Members are referred to Procedural Rule 17 for budget setting provided below)-03-22-02-22-cl-admininistration-budget-proposal-to-council-03i-22-02-22-cl-three-rivers-fees-and-charges-schedule-2022-23-final (app2)
Rule 17 is providedrule-17
4. SPECIAL EXPENSES 2022/23-04-22-02-22-cl-i-special-expenses-report
5. COUNCIL TAX – DISTRICT ELEMENT-05-22-02-22-cl-council-tax-2022-2023-district-element-report
6. SETTING THE COUNCIL TAX-06-22-02-22-cl-council-tax-2022-2023-setting-the-council-tax-report
7. COUNCIL PAY POLICY STATEMENT 2022-07-22-02-22-cl-i-council-pay-policy-statement-2022
8. APPOINTMENT OF EXTERNAL AUDITORS-08-22-02-21-cl-i-appointment-of-external-auditors
9. ANNUAL REPORT ON AMENDMENTS TO THE COUNCIL CONSTITUTION-09-21-02-21-cl-i-table-of-amendments-to-constitution
10. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE POLICY AND RESOURCES COMMITTEE - to receive the recommendations from the Policy and Resources Committee meeting held on 24 January 2022:
Recommendation 1 - PR68/21 LOCAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME
RECOMMEND: The Local Development Scheme as set out in Appendix 1 of the report be adopted.
Recommendation 2 - PR70/21 EXTENSION OF EXISITING PUBLIC SPACES PROTECTION ORDER WITH RESTRICTIONS FOR DOGS
RECOMMEND: That approval is given to extend the existing PSPO for a further 3 years and that the current restrictions in the PSPO are maintained.
That the appointment at Paragraph 3.1 and 3.2 be agreed and apply the usual indemnity for this appointment.
Recommendation 3 - PR73/21 COUNCIL CONSTITUTION AND URGENT DECISIONS
i) Review of Rule 11 – Notices of Motions
RECOMMEND: That there be no changes to Rule 11 on motions.
ii) Rule 14 – Questions from Members to the Leader/Lead Members and Chairs of Committees
RECOMMEND: That there be no changes to Rule 14
iii) Rule 15 – Questions from the Public
- Members of the public questions to be submitted 8 working days prior to meeting;
- Written response to the public questions to be published in summons;
- A maximum of 5 questions to be allowed for each Full Council meeting (excluding Annual Council) and to be limited to one question per member of the public.
iv) Rule 15 - Petitions
- Shorten the URL for e-petitions on the Council’s e-petition portal;
- Encourage e-petitions to be created via the Council’s e-petition portal;
- Any e-petition not submitted via the portal must contain sufficient information to allow officers to verify the identity and address of the person who has signed the form;
- To continue to allow paper petitions to be submitted but to provide a pro-forma to use with details of the information that the Council requires for the paper petition;
- That the signatures needed to bring forward a petition to remain at 25
- To review the e-petition guidance and come back to the sub-committee with a revised guidance at a future meeting.
v) Rule 37 – Application to Committees and Sub-Committees
RECOMMEND: To add Rule 11 to the list of Rules under Rule 37.
vi) Member/Officer Protocol
RECOMMEND: That Member contact details be removed from all published press releases but retain the communications team contact details.
vii) Urgent Decisions and Minor Amendments to the Council Constitution
- Group leaders to be informed 24 hours prior to any minor changes being made to the Council Constitution by the Chief Executive;
- That the urgent decision form with the Group Leaders be amended to include a section asking “Why is the urgent decision not able to go through the Committee process.”
- That Part 3, Section 8 be amended accordingly to read: “Minor Changes to the Council Constitution - to be delegated to the Chief Executive to be advised to the Group Leaders 24 hours before the minor change is made.”
Recommendation 4 - PR74/21 Council/Committees/Sub-committees recordings
RECOMMEND: That recordings of the meetings of council and its committees (so far as they are open to the public) be made available on the council website for a period of 12 months from the date of the meeting, following which, recordings of the meetings of council and its committees be archived for a period of 6 years therefore being retained for a total of 7 years, after which they be destroyed, in the absence of a specific reason to retain them.
Recommendation 5 - PR76/21 - CIL SPENDING APPLICATIONS
RECOMMEND: Approve CIL funding for the following schemes detailed in Table 1 of this report and summarised in the table below for 2022/2023:
Applicant & Project Name Infrastructure CIL Amount
TRDC Leisure Team
Denham Way Play Area/ Maple Cross Playing Fields
(Appendix 1) New play area
3 floodlight tennis courts
Outdoor fitness zone
Playing pitch improvements
formal garden £347,000
TRDC Leisure Team
South Oxhey Playing Fields
(Appendix 2) Tennis Courts
HCC Breakspeare School
(Appendix 3) Expansion and relocation of SEND school £901,574
The reports received at the Policy and Resources Committee on 24 January 2022 for Item 10 - Recommendations 1 to 5 along with the Financial Planning reports (item 3) can be viewed using the link https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/meeting/policy-and-resources-committee-24-january-2022
The minutes from the Policy and Resources Committee meeting held on 24 January 2022 can be viewed using the link https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/egcl-page/policy-and-resources-committee-minutes
11. TO RECEIVE ANY PETITIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 18 - None received.
12. QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 15 - None received.
13. CHAIR OF COUNCIL ANNOUNCEMENTS
14. REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER AND LEAD MEMBERS
14a) Report from Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council
I am writing this report with our Covid situation looking more hopeful, we appear to be moving to a phase of learning to ‘live with Covid’ rather than having some of the stringent restrictions we have had in the past. I continue to work with colleagues across the county and with our Director of Public Health to plan the path for the future handling of our response and to work on Covid recovery plans and town centre recovery initiatives. I’m sure we all recognise that we do need to continue to use our good judgement to protect ourselves and others though.
I was very moved by our small but beautiful marking of Holocaust Memorial Day – particular thanks to Cllrs Martin and Morris for their thoughtful comments.
The Lord Lieutenant kindly attended the first planting of trees for our contribution to the Queens Green Canopy. There is a quote “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit”, I thought of that as we planted those oaks on Croxley Green on a beautiful sunny morning – looking forward to planting many more.
I attended a celebration at Leavesden Country Park to acknowledge the successful completion of the National Lottery Heritage Fund project there. With Councillors, officers, volunteers and partners present the importance of teamwork to achieve great things was brought in to sharp focus.
14b) Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council from Councillor Shanti Maru
How will Three Rivers District Council be inclusive and diverse in their plans for celebrating the Queen’s Jubilee?
A project team are looking at a range of events and activities across the District. We are also talking to some of key businesses to coordinate activities with them. We are setting up a ‘What’s on’ type page on our website where our own activities will be published but also other organisations such as our Parish Councils and Community organisations will be able to publicise what they are doing. I think that we are all truly looking forward to celebrating this milestone.
14c) Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council from Councillor Stephen Cox
In December of last year, two almost identical public notices were published in the same edition of the Watford Observer regarding Members’ Allowances with the only difference being the date beneath the Chief Executive’s name. How did this situation come to pass and did this authority pay for two advertisements?
I asked officers to look into this matter. They have done this and have been in contact with the Watford Observer (WO).
Two advertisements are required under the regulations regarding members allowances. A request for ads to appear in public notices was sent on 19 November 2021, to appear on 26 November and 24 December. This was acknowledged by WO the same day and a purchase order was sent for those two ads on 24th November. Not realising that two ads had already been booked, a request for a further ad on 24 December was erroneously made by a junior officer on 16 December, with a purchase order number sent subsequently to the WO. This was for a single ad in the same wording in public notices. This is the explanation for the same two ads appearing side by side on 24 December 2021 in the same edition.
However, the WO have since acknowledged that an “assumption” was made about the booking being for an entirely new, additional public notice. Furthermore, the WO were sufficiently aware of the duplication that this was not replicated in its online digital notices. Why their production processes therefore failed to prevent the duplication in the print copy when aware of the error is not clear.
The duplicated ad has not been paid for. Officers are now in contact with WO at a higher level to review the matter, as it is felt that the Council should not be asked for the fee in these circumstances. I can notify Cllr Cox when we have the final response of WO.
14cc) Urgent question under Council Procedure Rule 14(3) to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council from Councillor Stephen Cox
Can the Leader advise what if anything this Council can, will or has done following this question in respect to changes to Arriva bus services which it has been announced will come into effect on 17 April and includes severing the direct link between South Oxhey and Abbots Langley
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. A record of the question and response shall be kept with the minutes of the meeting.
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).
14d) Report from Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development
Additional COVID pressures, not least dealing with the Welcome Back Fund and recovery grants process (Additional Restrictions Grant) (ARG) and staff absences, has resulted in some re-prioritisation of workloads within my area of responsibility. Due to issues arising (i.e. with GIS) and competing work priorities it has not been possible to progress all schemes as I know we would have wished.
Notwithstanding this, officers have a significant workload, exacerbated by the demands of the pandemic (ARG funded projects, Welcome Back funded (WBF) schemes, Rickmansworth High Street closure) on top of existing work including the parking schemes, the LCWIP project, EVCP procurement and verge hardening schemes to name a few.
Rightly officers in liaison with myself have placed greater emphasis on ensuring ARG and WBF projects are all ready to commence by late March 2022 and we do not lose the available funding. There has had to be a choice between many competing priorities. There are a number of work streams where work is progressing but unfortunately it is rarely straightforward and I acknowledge progress often appears slow.
However staff have risen to the occasion and the extra work they have had to take on so I hope we can all thank them for the extra work and having to juggle so much.
Local Cycling Walking strategy has been discussed with Members and feedback has been given to the County Council on the proposals. We are awaiting the County Council to come back to us on formal public consultation plans.
The Rickmansworth West CPZ consultation has closed. The response rate was 47% but with some late replies may well be over 50%. Officers are checking the results and once a report is ready I will discuss with Ward Members.
The results of Primrose Hill consultation have now been analysed and there appears merit in formal consultation on a controlled parking consultation for some roads. I will be discussion with Ward Members but it is unlikely due to restrictions on consultations during election periods that a further consultation will be until after May.
Ward Members have requested that Sandy Lodge Way consultation be restricted to just that road. Officers are awaiting feedback from Ward Councillors on the extent of the Sandy Lodge Way parking scheme. Ward Councillors will soon be shown some minor parking scheme details to progress (such as junction protection proposals) prior to formal public consultation.
Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) Welcome Back funded (WBF)
Finalisation of allocations of the monies received from Government are being made and maybe able to update at Council. However these are being targeted at additional business grants, subsided membership of the Federation of Small Business, monies for the Herts Growth Hub and car park improvements especially in Rickmansworth and new secure cycle storage.
Rickmansworth High Street
As per the decision of the Joint Project Board with the County Council a report will be made to IHED in March to continue with the current trial for a further 6 months until the end of the summer whilst seeking feedback and improving the current works.
MLX Alternatives - now known as Watford to Croxley Link (W2CL)
Following consideration of this at Herts County Council I have discussed in detail with Council Officers, the Leader and also with County Officers to ensure that any Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) covers the commissioning of some conceptual designs to inform mobility options and that for Three Rivers this must include the clear need for connectively to Croxley Met and wider afield to benefit Three Rivers residents. County Officers have accepted this. At this stage funding streams to support this work are yet to be identified.
Delta Gain refurbishment
Finally the agent for the landlords here has finally engaged and approached the Council but we still await feedback on which proposals they are willing to agree. We are seeking a contact that ensure any public money spent is not wasted.
14e) Question to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development from Councillor Ciaran Reed
Will the administration share with all Councillors its plan of action in the event of protests, especially around Junction 18, in time for the next summer following the issues experienced in 2021?
I am aware of the issues that occurred last year and the disruption caused. This however is a matter for Highways England and Herts Police who will take the lead on this matter and as such the question should be better directed at the Police and Crime Commissioner. TRDC have no legal powers or duties as regards the motorway network.
14f) Question to Councillor Stephen Giles-Medhurst Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development from Councillor Ciaran Reed
Ward Councillors for Chorleywood North have been contacted by the Police on the issue of parking around North Hill by parents and pupils accessing St Clement Danes School. As there are already double yellow lines there, will this administration instruct Parking Enforcement Officers to go to this area and support parents and children impacted by the parking issues?
Hertsmere BC, who enforce parking restrictions on behalf of TRDC, have confirmed the double yellow lines are regularly enforced were possible however there are single yellow lines in the vicinity which form part of Herts County Council. However due to the very poor quality of the road surface, and the fact that these cannot be repainted on the broken up surface and thus to so enforce, it has led to successful appeals as they are thus unenforceable at present.
I am aware that the County Councillor for the area Cllr Phil Williams has been following this up with Herts County Council to get them to make good their road surface. I understand that they failed to do so from their normal maintenance budget. I further understand that Cllr Phil Williams is now funding this work from his local budget. He is waiting for the County Council to do this work and fully restore the single yellow lines which will enable them to be enforced. This is clearly for HCC to action and I thank Cllr Phil Williams for being proactive with this whilst expressing disappointment at the County Council failing to act when this was brought to their attention.
14g) Report from Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy
The Council’s updated Local Development Scheme (timetable for production of the Local Plan) has been recommended by P&R for approval by Council this evening. It is therefore public; and if approved by Council it will be formally published on the Council website.
Dates have now been published for meetings of the Local Plan Sub-Committee in line with the updated Local Development Scheme.
Meanwhile officers are continuing to work through the responses to the Regulation 18 Consultation. Members may be aware the Senior Planner in the team is leaving to go travelling; we are currently recruiting to replace her. The contract planner also leaves next month at the end of their contract; but we have managed to secure a 6 month contract for a planner who will be starting later this month (it will a few weeks for him to settle in and get up to speed).
The Government published its ‘Levelling Up’ white paper earlier this month. This contains indications of prospective reforms to planning, including a new Infrastructure Levy to replace CIL. We await details with interest. It also makes it clear that the changes outlined in the August 2020 Planning White Paper, which would have further reduced local residents’ input into planning, will now be superseded. We might have expected that ‘Levelling Up’ would equalise growth across the country; but to my surprise and disappointment there is no indication in the white paper that the government will be reducing its housebuilding targets for the South East.
Members have been advised about the difficulties being experienced with planning applications as a result of staff shortages at Herts County Council (Local Lead Flood Authority); we were notified last month that the situation has worsened. HCC have now confirmed that they are not able to respond to any new planning applications, except in the most exceptional of circumstances, and there will continue to be excessive delays on dealing with outstanding and on-going applications. This puts us as the Local Planning Authority in really difficult position and officers are currently exploring options to find a way forwards.
14h) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Ciaran Reed
There is a new Local Plan timetable. Will the public be informed about the sites under consideration before the local elections this May?
No. The details of new sites submitted for consideration will be subject to formal consultation in November 2022 as set out in the Local Development Scheme.
14i) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Reena Ranger
The Liberal Democrat motion from the October 19 2021 at Full Council stated that “The recent Planning Inspectorate appeal decisions (including nearby examples in recent months in Colney Heath and Codicote) which have given permission for housing development in the Green Belt, despite the acknowledged harm caused, explicitly on the grounds that the local Council could not demonstrate it had a plan to achieve its calculated Housing Need figures” With Three Rivers being in a presumption of sustainable development since 2016 and the administration’s failure to come up with a local plan, what does this mean for our Green Belt?
The presumption in favour of sustainable development does not apply where Green Belt policy provides a clear reason for refusing the development proposed (paragraph 11d, footnote 7 of NPPF) although it is recognised that in these two appeal decisions, the application sites were located in the Green Belt.
As a result of the huge increase in the housebuilding target imposed on Three Rivers by central government, the Council is currently not able to show a five-year housing supply based on the increased target. This potentially gives grounds to the Planning Inspectorate, a government quango, to allow developments in the Green Belt on appeal, as seen recently elsewhere in Hertfordshire.
14j) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Reena Ranger
Two sites were removed from the local plan consultation last year, one in Abbots Langley and another in Croxley. Please remind us what the criteria were for removal and will this same criteria be applied to all other sites?
The two sites (CFS26a and CFS21) were omitted via an amendment to the recommendations of the Local Plan Sub-Committee and Policy & Resources. The ‘Amendment to recommendation from P&R’ document which was circulated to propose this amendment stated the following in relation to CFS21 and CFS26.
- To amend the recommendations of the Local Plan Sub-Committee and Policy & Resources Committee as follows:
- Omit sites CFS21 & CFS26a which would cause particular harm to existing communities and residents’ quality of life without providing compensating benefits to the community
14k) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Reena Ranger
What correspondence have TRDC had with the Housing Minister since May 2021? If there has been any, will this be shared with all Councillors and available to residents? If there has been none, does the administration feel it should be in dialogue with the Minister?
All correspondence with the Minister with regard to any motions agreed by Council on housing matters have been shared with Members’ in the Members’ Information Bulletin.
14l) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor David Raw
Does the Lead Member feel that all Members of the Planning Committee and substitute members should be provided as a part of their planning training a guided tour of conservation areas and other sites of special interest so that members are able to execute their roles with local understanding and an understanding of potential impact or benefit.
Annual training is mandatory for all Members of the Planning Committee. Officers regularly review how this training is provided. Full details of all the Conservation Areas are available online including Conservation Area appraisals, and all Members of the Planning Committee are encouraged to be familiar with these appraisals, in addition to other local and national policies and guidance. Full details of any planning application coming to Committee are also provided in the Officer’s Committee reports.
14m) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Lisa Hudson
The Government has set a deadline for all local plans to be completed by December 2023. The administration’s new timeline shows that our new local plan won’t be adopted until late 2025. What will the consequences be?
Delaying the preparation of the Local Plan poses the following risks:
- The Council is already potentially susceptible to predatory planning applications as a result of the increase in central government housebuilding targets, leaving us without a five year supply of housing based on the increased targets. That means we could find it more difficult to defend refusals, particularly on land that is previously developed. An extended Local Plan process means this situation could continue for longer.
- Due to the Government’s stated desire for all Local Plans to be adopted by 2023, there is a risk of a Government decision to intervene and take control of plan-making. However, given the large number of councils in the same position as us, this seems unlikely.
However, there are also risks associating with proceeding too quickly to the Regulation 19 stage from the Council’s current position:
- There may be substantial changes to the sites that have so far been selected/not taken forward due to representations received to the recent Regulation 18 consultation; and any substantial changes should be subject to public consultation prior to the Regulation 19 stage.
- The current level of housing growth proposed in the recent Regulation 18 consultation is below the figure derived by the Standard Methodology and this could pose a risk to the Plan without compelling evidence to justify the departure.
- Some key pieces of evidence are not yet complete (Transport Assessment and Viability Assessment) which could impact on the final site selection.
- Government policy could change and the unreasonable housebuilding targets imposed on areas in the M25 belt could reduce, especially if the Government’s “Levelling Up” policy is intended to increase growth in the North and Midlands and relieve pressure on the South East. We should not move to allocate too many sites at this stage if there is potential for the existing unreasonable targets to be reduced in future,
14n) Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor Lisa Hudson
How much weight will neighbourhood plans have when our own local plan is delayed?
Neighbourhood Plans already form part of the development plan and this is not affected by the timetable for our new Local Plan. The development plan is made up of:
- Three Rivers Core Strategy (adopted October 2011);
- Development Management Policies (adopted July 2013);
- Site Allocations LDD (adopted November 2014);
- Croxley Green Neighbourhood Plan
- Chorleywood Neighbourhood Plan
When a new Local Plan document is adopted, this would supersede the current Local Plan documents (the Core Strategy, Development Management Policies and Site Allocations LDD) but adopted Neighbourhood Plans would still remain as part of the development plan.
There is no ranking or hierarchy between the development plan documents – each document and policy is to be taken into account as part of the determination of a planning application, with the weight to be attributed to each case dependent on the individual merits and circumstances of the particular planning application. Therefore, the two adopted neighbourhood plans (and any future neighbourhood plans that are adopted) are material considerations where planning applications within the neighbourhood area are being considered (in the same way that the local plan documents are material considerations).
14o) Report from Councillor Andrew Scarth, Lead Member for Housing
I am pleased to confirm that after a bit of a lengthy delay by the Home Office, the Housing team have now placed the second Afghan family within Three Rivers.
Secondly, the shared Community Liaison Officer post with the Community Partnership Team has been filled and after all the usual checks have been carried out, the new officer is due to start in March.
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.
14p) Report from Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure
Health and Community
- Our first virtual Health Event took place on 10 February offering top tips from guest speakers on how to improve health and wellbeing. The event also offered the chance to find out about the positive benefits of volunteering, as well as a virtual yoga session.
- Following active engagement with communities and charitable organisations across Watford and Three Rivers, Watford & Three Rivers Trust (W3RT) have developed a new digital platform to help match local people to local volunteering opportunities. For more information visit - https://www.w3rt.org/volunteer
- Household Fund, organisations are receiving their allocations following the agreement at Policy and Resources in December on the spend. So far the council has also directly supported 123 people.
- Funding for the Healthy Hubs has been secured for a further two years.
- Following the challenges caused as a result of the Omicron variant, tickets sales have picked up across the board with a recent highlight being the sell-out performance of ‘Illegal Eagles’ on 3 February. Whilst overall this year’s earned income is significantly down on pre-Covid, customer confidence and tickets sales appear to be recovering.
- The ‘Cinderella’ pantomime was forced to close early due to all except one of the cast testing positive for Covid-19. All schools performances were presented and the pantomime was seen by just under 5,000 people. All customers have been contacted offering the options to donate ticket income to the theatre, credit notes, transfers or refunds and box office are 90% through processing those. This year’s pantomime ‘Aladdin’ is on sale now.
- The accessible toilet refurbishment being funded by the Friends of Watersmeet Film Society and supported by the Friends of Watersmeet is currently out to tender, with the works planned to be completed in summer 2022.
- We welcomed our new Digital Marketing Apprentice to the team in December on an 18 month contract and is a shared role with the Customer Contact Programme.
Leisure and Landscapes:
- As part of the legacy to the National Lottery Heritage Project at Leavesden Country Park, a beautifully written and illustrated children’s book about Martha the Monkey Puzzle Tree at Leavesden Country Park has been produced. Over a 1,000 copies have been distributed to all Three Rivers libraries and primary schools.
- Activity programme over February half term at Leavesden Country Park taking place with Young Carers, Young Rangers Experience and Bird Box building.
- Almost all of the trees being planted as part of the Queen’s Green Canopy scheme are now in the ground at a number of locations across the districtLaunch of Three Rivers ACE (Accessible Childcare for Everyone) – new self-referral offering a 50% discount for families on a low income or who receive additional support within school. This was previously known as the Holiday Referral Scheme and places are offered on Three Rivers play schemes and in partnership with other providers, including Multi-Active at the Leisure Centres and Junior Playmakers.
New Arts On Prescription project commencing in Rickmansworth at the end of March, referrals are already coming in from professionals
- Thank you to the Chair for attending the 7th anniversary at South Oxhey parkrun. I was unable to go as I was isolating with Covid.
- Hayling Road play area upgrade works are now completed, with positive feedback coming in from the local community
- There will be the 5 Anniversary of Rickmansworth Parkrun at the Aquadrome on the 5 March. I look forward to seeing some of you on that day.
- I have volunteered at South Oxhey Parkrun and Leavesden Junior Parkrun since last Full Council in December.
I would like to thank all the staff for their hard work they have done within this Local Government year. I was unable to be at the Council meeting in January as I had tested positive for Covid that day.
14q) Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure from Councillor David Coltman
Following the last P&R meeting, there is a balance of £4,264,487 – why isn’t this being spent in our local areas? My residents would like to see the Greenfield Avenue play area refurbished and upgraded?
Greenfields Avenue Play Area is maintained and managed by Watford Rural Parish Council. This play area was last upgraded in 2015 by The Children’s Playground Company Ltd.
Watford Rural can apply for Community Infrastructure Levy funds to undertake the work. All applications will be considered against the CIL Regulations and relevant legislation requirements.
14r) Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead Member for Leisure from Councillor Joan King
In December, we were advised that once the Land Registry Plan for the South Oxhey Playing fields was received officers would forward it to Hertfordshire County Council and that a further update would be provided when the task was completed. Has the task been completed yet?
The Land Registry plan has been received and reviewed. At the time of writing, the submission of a definitive site plan is pending submission.
The reason for this pause is to account for the fact that the original request to nominate South Oxhey playing field as a Town & Village Green was made by Council Motion and Members were not afforded the opportunity to understand the legal and practical implications of the nomination, as would have been the case if a report had been submitted to Council. Therefore a report has been submitted to JLT, which states the similarities and key differences between the current protections of the site offered by the restrictive covenants and legislation governing the management of public open space (presently in place) and those provided by the Town & Village Green and Commons Act obligations.
14s) Report from Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability
Regular briefings and meeting with officers, partners and outside bodies have continued
The Batchworth Depot work continues. The modular buildings are now on site. Completion of the project is due at the end of the summer, early autumn.
The teams at the Depot have been working as hard as ever. There are currently no driver vacancies, however there are a number of vacancies for loaders.
Energy Saving Trust App now live. Please encourage your residents to sign up for this app which will them, not only save money but also decrease their carbon footprint.
Biodiversity audit carried out last year should be with us in early March.
Our plans to tackle climate change locally in Three Rivers have been rated as the best in Hertfordshire. Three Rivers District Council’s climate strategy and action plan scored 55% in an analysis by the not-for-profit campaigning organisation Climate Emergency UK which featured in the Guardian.
Climate Action Plan - Progress is reviewed at LEC on 16 March with the papers out soon.
Domestic Retrofit - Both our GHG LAD1 B schemes have recruited all the required homes, the principal measures installed are External Wall Insulation and Solar Panels. The scheme are closed to new applicants and all work will be completed by the end of June 2022. Of the 32 homes completed so far an average of 1.2 tonnes of CO2has been saved annually, helping to lift residents out of fuel poverty.
New applicants can apply to the LAD2 scheme which is being run by the South East Energy Homes.
We just been advised we will be awarded £1.6m for use by Thrive and WCH to retrofit 139 homes. With their contribution the total investment will be £3m.
The solar bulk buy scheme for able to pay residents has been stalled for the moment whilst the contracts are drafted.
We will be working with E.on to deliver their ECO4 obligation. This is an excellent scheme which enables a deep retrofit of qualifying households (low income, low EPC) to move properties up to 2 EPC bands. The scheme will include conservation area properties and as well as off gas. Our programme will commence in Carpenters Park and Oxhey Hall.
Route to Zero - The Baseline Carbon emissions for the Council have been established. Surveys have been completed on all Council buildings and we are awaiting the reports on how they can be decarbonised. Once all data is collected, the route to net-zero carbon will then be professionally modelled. We will report on these findings at LEC in October.
The fleet are going to be taking part in a consultancy project with other Herts LA’s to assess Future Fuel options.
Engagement - Elen Roberts has been attending various event with school and community groups – recently Rickmansworth School, Sustainable Three Rivers and groups in Croxley Green and Chorleywood.
Renewable Energy - Unfortunately, the drop on any of the waterfalls on our land is not sufficient to power large enough generators to produce enough power to make any scheme viable. Officers are looking into other possible options for generating renewable energy.
14t) Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability from Councillor Paula Hiscocks
Has this Council now started to monitor air quality in all areas of TRDC?
TRDC are legally obliged to monitor air quality in the whole of the District and to review and report the data annually to DEFRA. Annual status reports (ASRs) are undertaken by specialist officers to consider all monitored data, existing AQMAs, and any changes in the District since the last ASR such as new developments, infrastructure proposals, and polluting industry that could have an impact on air quality.
The Air Quality Objectives in England require TRDC to consider nitrogen dioxide, particulates, and sulphur dioxide. Sulphur dioxide is normally associated with heavy industry such as electricity generation, there are no known significant local sources of SO2 and therefore this is not monitored by TRDC. The main source of local pollution in TRDC is from vehicles, both nitrogen dioxide and particulates are released from vehicle sources.
TRDC currently monitor Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) by diffusion tubes. The tube locations have been historically identified and sited in areas where it is most likely that the air quality objectives could be exceeded, Officers also need to consider relevant receptors i.e. dwellings, schools, care homes. Officers would normally decide the locations based on the annual monitoring and data such as traffic counts and queuing data. There is also monitoring at a limited number of locations where there is limited pollution to provide background measurements. A link to the air quality information is provided https://www.threerivers.gov.uk/service/air-quality
14u) Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Sustainability from Councillor Paula Hiscocks
Will this Council commit that they will cut and lift new meadow areas?
At the 24 January 2022 Policy and Resources Committee, the following recommendation was agreed:
Members agree that, subject to the Biodiversity Opportunities Audit report, appropriate budget provision to be made in the forthcoming Council budget for alternative grassland management, acknowledging that there are a variety of options, and that a further report come back to this Committee in March on the options being implemented. A public consultation exercise be undertaken post implementation of the revised regime to assess the impact. (PR69/21)
At point 2.16 of that same Committee report, it stated:
Headlines coming from the initial drafts of the report (Biodiversity Opportunities Audit) indicate the potential for a variety of biodiversity enhancements in the majority of locations, including new tree and spring wildflower planting. There also appears to be potential for a substantial increase in alternative grassland management, including cut and lift, in particular at locations such as: Fortune Common, Berry Way/Mead Place, Tanners Hill, Denham Way and Rickmansworth Park.
A Committee report on the Biodiversity Opportunities Audit will be presented to Policy and Resources on the 14 March 2022 and the Leisure, Environment and Community Committee on the 16 March 2022 and will include proposals for alternative grassland management at a number of sites, including Hay Meadow Cut and Lift areas.
14v) Report from Councillor Roger Seabourne, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships
Detailed reports of work involving our Partners has been included in the regular “Partnership Bulletins” issued to all Members by Officers and I do not intend to repeat any of the information included in those bulletins here.
There has been a recent increase in residential burglary. The police believe and have evidence to support their view that this is as a direct result of the arrival of a new Travelling Community in the vicinity. The police are being proactive on this with an ongoing operation.
The police are experiencing difficulties with “holding” people with mental health issues. The police are only able to detain them for 24 hours after which they must be released or passed on to the Mental Health Professionals (MHPs). There are insufficient MHPs available to accept them. This is causing senior officers a serious problem, particularly if they feel the people concerned are a danger to themselves or others. The police are pushing to expedite a plan to have a commercial organization provide a “holding place” for these people.
The Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Group have developed their action plan.
The reporting of Hate Crime is unfortunately no longer broken down into different categories, making the targeting of resources more difficult.
RESOURCES AND SHARED SERVICES
14w) Report from Councillor Dominic Sokalski, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services
The Government finally confirmed their funding settlement for local councils on 7 February. The final settlement differed little from the provisional published in December.
Having the final settlement published so late hinders the Council’s preparations for the budget and planning for the following year. I hope future settlements are finalised sooner and cover a longer period than just one year. ''
14x) Question to Councillor Dominic Sokalski, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor David Raw
What are the 5 highest value services, provided to the Council by outside contractors, that have not changed in the last 5 years?
Comensura – Vendor Neutral Agency Service. Last tendered 2015. Will be reviewed this year.
Pearce Recycling – Waste Recycling Service. Part of Herts Waste Partnership and procured Herts wide.
Murrill Construction Ltd – Highways and Civils Works. Through Watford BC Measured Term Contract. Currently out for tender by WBC.
Plant Tec Municipal. Vehicle Servicing. Last tendered 2019 but Plant Tec won meaning that they have been delivering the service for over 10 years.
Zurich Municipal. Insurance Services. Zurich consistently win tenders. Ongoing provision for more than 5 years.
These are the highest value spends over the last year in TRDC where we have not changed Contractor regardless of whether there has been a Competitive tender. In those cases, the incumbent won.
14y) Question to Councillor Dominic Sokalski, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor Alison Wall
What is the timeframe for renovating Basing House? In particular, when will the sash windows be repaired?
A condition survey of Basing House has been completed and works are being specified, costed and programmed. As Basing House is a listed building, any elements that impact upon the fabric of the building, both internally and externally will also require Listed Building Consent and these will dictate the timings within the programme.
Given the need to repair and/or replace some of the windows, a more favourable weather window is also important, particularly as the building is occupied and in use. A formal programme will be shared with the current Tenant’s once the initial evaluation phase has been completed.
14z) Question to Councillor Dominic Sokalski, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor Stephen Cox
On 2 December, Members received an email following the publication of the Register of Electors which came into force the previous day. The email contained attachments in regard to electoral registration which were unintelligible in their nature and failed to clearly advise Members of the result of the canvass upon which they were based.
When will this Council publish the correct information in a clear and unambiguous format that Members are used to as tabulated below?
WARD No. of Properties No. of non-responding properties Response
Abbots Langley & Bedmond
Chorleywood North & Sarratt
Chorleywood South & Maple Cross
Moor Park & Eastbury
Oxhey Hall & Hayling
Penn & Mill End
Overall District Totals
Written response: Please find below the information requested in the tabulated format Members are used to receiving:
WARD No. of Properties No. of non-responding properties Response
Abbots Langley & Bedmond 2884 79
Carpenders Park 2930 98
Chorleywood North & Sarratt 2918 70
Chorleywood South & Maple Cross 3141 124
Dickinsons 2831 92
Durrants 2544 26
Gade Valley 2986 170
Leavesden 3350 106
Moor Park & Eastbury 2258 149
Oxhey Hall & Hayling 2852 141
Penn & Mill End 2969 132
Rickmansworth Town 3652 301
South Oxhey 3349 263
Overall District Totals 38664 1751 Average 95.6%
14aa) Question to Councillor Dominic Sokalski, Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor Stephen King
Further to the Lead Members’ response to my question to December’s meeting in respect of retail units in phases 1 2 and 3 of the South Oxhey Initiative:
- Please can I be advised who took the decision not to exercise this Council’s pre-emption on units at Station Approach when we had previously been led to believe this would not be so
- Can he advise if this council has done the same in respect of the other retail units, completed or otherwise, in phases 2 and 3
- In consultation with senior Members and in line with the Property Strategy in place at the time, the Lead Member for Resources and Shared Services decided that we should not proceed to acquire or invest in retail assets given the risk profile of the asset class. With the benefit of hindsight and with the subsequent impact of the pandemic, this was a well-placed decision which Councillor Matthew Bedford will recall.
- There are no other pre-emption options in relation to retail units within the remaining phases of the South Oxhey development.
15. REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIRS OF THE AUDIT, PLANNING, LICENSING AND REGULATORY SERVICES COMMITTEES (RULE 14)
15a) Report from and questions to the Chair of the Audit Committee, Cllr Margaret Hofman
There has been a further delay in signing off the statutory accounts for 2019/2020. This is primarily due to additional work required in relation to the valuation of Property, Plant and Equipment (PPE) and Investment Properties which was a key focus of the audit for 2019/20. Resolving the issues raised by the external auditors has required liaison between the external valuers, Property and Finance teams.
Audit Committee members have been closely monitoring the implementation of audit recommendations, which resulted in receiving monthly updates from the Head of Property & Major Projects.
The Audit Committee supported the recommendation to opt in to the national scheme for the appointment of auditors for the period from 2023 in order to facilitate auditor selection and maintain high standards of external audit.
15b) Report from and questions to the Chair of the Planning Committee, Cllr Steve Drury
As most people would be aware, there is quite a lot of information on planning matters, applications and outcomes, on the Members Information Bulletin.
In the months of January and February there have been a number of appeals and decisions relating to those.
With regard to major applications, again, these can be found in the same document. For those who don't read the bulletin we have a major housing application on Green Street, Chorleywood and two other warehouses as an application in Maple Cross, over and above the existing applications for two warehouses which is being appealed on grounds of non- determination on and around 24 February.
As of today, 14 February, we still await the Hydrogeologist's report, which is the reason Committee turned down the original application
15c) Question to Councillor Steve Drury, the Chair of the Planning Committee, from Councillor Paula Hiscocks
Did TRDC fail our residents in not determining the Warehouse Development at Maple Cross (planning ref: 21/0573/FUL) and not voting on the proposal to refuse?
15d) Report from and questions to the Chair of the Licensing Committee, Cllr Raj Khiroya
New premises license applications have been received for 92 High Street, Rickmansworth and 20 High Street, Abbots Langley.
15e) Report from and questions to the Chair of the Regulatory Services Committee, Cllr Raj Khiroya
Regulatory Services Committee meeting scheduled for 9 February 2022 has been postponed to Tuesday 8 March 2022. At this meeting the Committee will consider the consultation results on the Hackney Carriage, Private Hire and Operator Policy and the Street Trading policy 2022 – 2025. The consultation period on the two policies was extended for a further 6 weeks to 11 March 2022
16. MOTIONS UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 11-the two motions are provided in the attached documentmotions
Joanne Wagstaffe, Chief Executive,
14 February 2022<