Agenda and minutes

Council
Wednesday 24th July, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Wallfields, Hertford. View directions

Contact: Rebecca Dobson  Tel: (01279) 502082 Email:  rebecca.dobson@eastherts.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

81.

Presentation by Citizens Advice East Herts

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A presentation was given by Laura Hyde, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice East Herts (CAEH), on the work of this independent local charity.  Laura Hyde said CAEH often worked with clients who were in most need, with complex problems. She gave an example case study to illustrate the ways in which CAEH could assist people.  She invited Members to drop in to any of the charity’s branches to learn more, and to visit the website to view more detailed information, including a short film. 

 

The Chairman thanked Laura Hyde on behalf of the Council, for what had been a very interesting presentation.  

 

82.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed all those present to the meeting.

 

The Chairman said amongst those present were some whom he was delighted to have the opportunity to congratulate regarding their professional achievements.  These were Claire Carter (Service Manager – Community Wellbeing and Partnerships), Simon Barfoot (Healthy Lifestyles Programmes Officer), Mekhola Ray (Community Wellbeing Programme Officer) and Kathrine Foy (Social Prescribing Officer). 

 

The Chairman said Kathrine Foy and the social prescribing team had recently received the Dr Joan Crawley award for Public Health Excellence, and that Mekhola Ray was one of the six county winners.  He congratulated them all, and presented Kathrine Foy with her trophy. 

 

The Chairman gave an account of his recent civic activities.  Amongst other events, he had attended a civic service hosted by Hertford Town Council; he had met the High Sheriff of Hertfordshire, and had attended with her a “mini Police” presentation at St Michael’s primary school in Bishop’s Stortford, which had involved the children learning about the risks of drugs.

 

The Chairman said he had earlier attended Parliament Square in Hertford which had been “yarn bombed” by the Secret Society of Hertford Crafters.  The Chairman encouraged Members to visit the amazing display, which would raise funds for one of his charities, CHIPS (Children’s Integrated Play Schemes).  He had also been on a tour of the Isabel Hospice, his other charity, which had been very interesting.

 

The Chairman referred to visits he had made to various other organisations recently, including the University of Hertford and the Simon Balle School.  He asked Members to make a note of forthcoming events, including a celebration of diverse communities drop-in event at the Rhodes Centre on the afternoon of 15 September, and a civic dinner to which he would be inviting all Members, on Saturday 23 November. 

 

83.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any Members’ apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors B Crystall, A Curtis, D Hollebon and C Rowley.

 

84.

Minutes – 15 May 2019 pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 15 May 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Councillor T Beckett and seconded by Councillor L Haysey that the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 May 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.  After being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 May 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

The Chairman said he would take a further matter relating to the consideration of the Council Minutes as business arising from the Minutes. 

 

The Democratic Services Manager submitted a report on a change of political groups which had been notified to the Council.  In accordance with legislation, a review of political balance was now required and allocations of committee seats in light of this change must be agreed by the Council.  By taking this report as a late item, confirmation of the number of seats each Group would be allocated on the Council’s Committees could be decided in a timely way, as otherwise the matter would not be dealt with until the October meeting.   

 

The allocation of seats on Committees reflecting the formation of the Green and Labour groups had been calculated in the report, for approval.  The item later in the agenda regarding establishing a new Committee, the Financial Sustainability Committee, would be taken into account provided Members accepted the recommendation for that item and set up the new committee (Minute X refers).

 

It was moved by Councillor L Haysey and seconded by Councillor T Beckett that the recommendations, as detailed, be approved.  After being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED  - that (A) the review of political balance of the Council be noted; and

 

(B) the allocation of seats on the Council’s committees be confirmed as set out below:

 

Number

of Members:    Con            LD              G                Lab

                           40               6                 2                 2

Proportion of

Council:             80%            12%            4%              4%

 

Seats on each

Committee:

 

Overview and

Scrutiny            10               2                 1                 1

 

Performance,

Audit and

Governance

Oversight                   6                 1                 0                 0

 

Development

Management   9                 1                 1                 1

 

Licensing          9                 2                 1                 0

 

Human

Resources        6                 1                 0                 0

 

Chief Officer

Recruitment     4                 1                 0                 0

 

Revenues & Benefits

Joint        

                           3                 0                 0                 0

 

CCTV Joint         3                 0                 0                 0

 

If the later item on the

Agenda is carried:

 

Financial

Sustainability

                           8                 1                 0                 1

 

Total no of seats allocated across

Each Group:

                           58               9                 3                 3

 

85.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To receive any public questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Shane Manning asked the Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability “what steps are being taken to ensure air pollution at the Hockerill Junction Air Quality Management Area continues to improve?”. 

 

Councillor G McAndrew thanked Shane Manning for advance warning of his question.  He said the Council had an air quality action plan, which covered Hockerill junction and it was working towards improvements.  Recent measures included provision of an electric vehicle car club in Bishop’s Stortford, for public use, along with the installation of further public electric charging provision.  The Council was also working with taxi drivers to trial electric vehicles, and would be hosting an electric vehicle event later this year in Bishop’s Stortford.

 

Councillor McAndrew said the Council continued to work with developers to ensure new developments were more sustainable.  New developments were being encouraged to adopt the “LTP4” modal shift, away from car use to walking and cycling.

 

Councillor McAndrew said through the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee the Council was working with Manchester Airports Group (M.A.G.) on sustainable modes of travel.

 

East Herts were currently exploring the potential of Bishop’s Stortford becoming a sustainable travel town, as well as many other initiatives, including “Shaping Stortford” and joint working with HCC Road Safety Team on walking to school initiatives.

 

Councillor McAndrew said Hertford County Council intended to conduct an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) Survey at Hockerill junction, to obtain robust data on typical vehicle movements through the junction.  Running this data through a model would enable understanding of the impact of different scenarios on traffic queues. 

 

Councillor McAndrew added that soon the access through the goods yard would be open, which would allow assessment of the impact that this measure would have on the congestion around the area junction.  The future M11 Junction 7A would also affect the traffic at the junction, but the opening of the new motorway junction was some way off. 

 

Finally, Councillor McAndrew said he was investigating the possibility of an ambitious cycle route from Stansted Airport to Bishop’s Stortford, Sawbridgeworth, Harlow Mill, Harlow and Roydon towards Rye House as a first leg of a far bigger scheme.  Far more was being worked on, but he hoped the response gave a flavour of what the Council was doing. 

 

Mr Manning thanked Councillor McAndrew for his response.  

 

86.

Petitions pdf icon PDF 23 KB

To receive any petitions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman said that since publication of the agenda two petitions had been received, from the Aston and Surrounding Villages Climate Change Group, and from the Bishop’s Stortford Climate Change Group.  As the organisers for one of the petitions were present, he invited them to speak. 

 

Anne Forbes, MBE and Jill Goldsmith presented the petition on behalf of Bishop’s Stortford Climate Group.  The petition supported the motion on notice submitted by Councillor Bell and called on the Council to: “declare a climate emergency and  

 

  • Commits to ensuring all new developments achieve net zero carbon with immediate effect.
  • Improves air quality by investing in infrastructure that will radically reduce car usage in town centres and air pollution hot-spots and improves access to electric vehicle charging across the district.
  • Increases residents’ access to renewables, for example by helping people to purchase solar PV through a group-buy initiative such as Solartogether.

The Chairman thanked Anne Forbes and Jill Goldsmith.  He said their petition, and that submitted by the Aston Climate Change group, would be received by Councillor G McAndrew.  He invited Councillor McAndrew to reply. 

Councillor McAndrew declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he was a county councillor and had in that capacity given money from his HCC Locality Fund to the Bishop’s Stortford Climate Change group, which was a non-political group, to support them in national and local community awareness activities and in running their website. 

He received the petitions and said it was refreshing to see a large number of young people present to observe the Council’s proceedings.

87.

Motion on Notice pdf icon PDF 33 KB

To receive a Motion on Notice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor S Bell submitted the following motion on notice:

 

Man-made climate change is the biggest threat that humanity faces. In 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report stated that we have just 12 years to act on climate change if global temperatures rises are to be kept within the recommended 1.5 degrees celsius.

 All governments whether national, regional or local have a duty to limit the negative impacts of climate change and need to commit to aggressive reduction targets and carbon neutrality as quickly as possible.

 East Herts District Council has a pivotal role to play in tackling climate change and enabling sustainable living. 

 

 We recognise the importance of tackling climate change both in the terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to minimise future global climate change and planning for the unavoidable local impacts of climate change.

 

 Therefore, East Herts District Council will :-

 

1)  Join with other Councils in recognising and declaring a Climate Emergency,   

2)  Pledge to do everything within the Council’s power to support the whole of East Herts District to become carbon neutral by 2030,

3)   Develop an ambitious sustainability strategy for reducing the Council’s own emissions, with an objective that the Council becomes carbon neutral by 2030,

4) Include in all planning regulations and the Local Plan measures to cut carbon emissions and reduce the impact on the environment,

5)  Call on National Government for more powers and resources to make this pledge possible, and ask the Council’s Leader to write to the Secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to this effect,

6)  Continue to work with partners across the District, County and Region to deliver this new goal, through all relevant strategies and plans,

7)  Take account of climate impacts within existing decision-making processes,

8)  Set up an Environmental and Climate Emergency Forum, in line with the recommendation D16 from the Task and Finish Group which was approved by this Council on 5th March, 2019,

9)  Reconvene the Climate Change task and finish Group, and require it to monitor progress on delivering the pledge, and to report back to the Council every 6 months,

10)  Dedicate enough staff and budget to achieve these aims, including the most appropriate training for members and officers to promote carbon neutral policies and to achieve these aims.”

 

Councillor Bell spoke in support of the motion.  Regarding the amendment proposed by Councillor G McAndrew, she questioned why the amendment omitted the word “emergency”, when numerous other councils including the government and Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) had declared a climate emergency.  She said her proposals gave a framework for practical measures to be taken by the Council in view of the global imperative to stop emissions of greenhouse gases.  She urged the Council to support the motion. 

 

Councillor J Frecknall seconded the motion.  He said Government had declared a climate emergency, and all levels of government should take action.  Using Cllr McAndrew’s work from the task and finish group  ...  view the full minutes text for item 87.

88.

Members' questions pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To receive any Members' questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor L Corpe asked the Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability the following question:

 

“Noting the recent successes of ‘Wildflower Verges’ in increasing biodiversity in roadside verges, while reducing maintenance costs, and noting the motion on this topic considered by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) on 16 July 2019, how will the Portfolio Holder work with HCC to identify suitable locations in East Herts and implement the scheme here?”

 

Councillor G McAndrew thanked Councillor Corpe for advance notice of the question.  He said he shared his wish that 'Wildflower Verges' be planted to increase biodiversity in roadside verges, while reducing maintenance costs across the District.

 

Councillor McAndrew described in detail the scheme considered by HCC.  The verges were a mix of annuals, with a long flowering season achieved by using a successional approach.

 

He said HCC had referred the question of wildflower verges to the appropriate Cabinet panel, and he would be happy to speak with Councillor Corpe further on the work being progressed. 

 

Councillor McAndrew described the maintenance of meadowland and parks managed by East Herts.  Meadowland, such as the chalk banks in Southern Country Park, Bishop’s Stortford, was managed with “cut and collect” maintenance. Extensive areas of parkland were grazed, such as in Pishiobury Park in Sawbridgeworth; the Red, White and Blue area in Bishop’s Stortford and at Hartham Common in Hertford.  Councillor McAndrew said he hoped the Council could implement grazing at an area of land in Kecksys, Sawbridgeworth but it had not yet been possible to secure this arrangement.  In the meantime, the Council would arrange a cut and collect there later in the year.

 

Councillor McAndrew said the Council was holding back grass cutting on some of its verges where it found significant wildflowers and was working with the County Council through its connection with Countryside Management Services to find opportunities in all its parks to manage them sensitively.  The Council ensured that wide areas of grassland around the circumference of many of its parks and open spaces were cut less frequently than the main grass areas.  It was necessary to cut many of the parks more frequently to facilitate participation in leisure activities such as ballgames.

 

In conclusion, Councillor McAndrew said the Council was working in partnership with Countryside Management Services and Highways on their verges but that as East Herts did not own any Highway verges, questions regarding those verges needed to be directed to Highways. 

 

Councillor Corpe confirmed he did not intend to ask a further question, and thanked Councillor McAndrew for his reply.

 

Councillor H Drake asked the Executive Member for Planning and Growth the following question:

 

“What steps are being taken to ensure the continued provision of the successful Launchpad scheme, which has so far helped over 134 businesses in Bishop’s Stortford, once Charringtons House is demolished as part of the Old River Lane redevelopment?”

 

Councillor J Goodeve thanked Councillor Drake for the advance notice of her question.  She confirmed that as at the end of June, the total number of users  ...  view the full minutes text for item 88.

89.

Executive Report pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader, Councillor L Haysey, submitted a report from the Executive, and made the following comments on behalf of the Executive.

 

She welcomed members of the public present.  She commented on the earlier presentation given by Citizens Advice East Herts, as this charity carried out excellent work in the District, and it was important that Members were aware of its services.  In addition to the congratulations given by the Chairman to officers of the Housing and Health team, she drew to Members’ attention the fact that Su Tarran, the Head of Revenues and Benefits Shared Service, had completed 35 years at this Council.  She asked that the Council’s congratulations be recorded for the extraordinary service Su Tarran had given, and continued to give, to the District’s residents. 

 

Councillor Haysey welcomed Richard Cassidy to his first Council meeting as the Chief Executive. 

 

Councillor Haysey summarised main points of the report and explained the reasons for the recommendations in the report of the Executive’s meeting of 4 June 2019, regarding the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Guidance Infrastructure Delivery Plan Strategic Viability Assessment and “How To” Guide.

 

It was moved by Councillor L Haysey and seconded by Councillor G Williamson that the recommendations, as detailed, be approved. 

 

Councillor C Wilson asked a question regarding the proportion of affordable housing tenure mix, described at page 257 of the document pack, and regarding a reference at page 33 of improved ability of the sites to bear developer contributions arising from reduced levels of affordable housing.  He said it was disappointing that the levels were so low, and expressed his concern that not enough emphasis was being given the aim to help the areas North of Gilston to have sustainable travel.  The plan would impose an additional drain on the London-Stansted corridor.  Furthermore, it seemed there was no mention of sustainable transport to the Hospital, but only to the motorway. 

 

Councillor J Dumont said as a new Member he had been made aware of the facts of the National Planning Policy Framework and Local Plan, but it was nevertheless important that Members be aware of the concerns of residents in relation to the Gilston plans. 

 

Councillor Haysey responded that paragraph 10.53 on page 333 of the report related to viability of developments, which tended to be flexible, so that a balance was achieved across different areas.  In respect of proportions of affordable dwellings, the policies tended to change rapidly, and would be kept under review.  Regarding sustainable transport to the Hospital, this aspect was being considered as a whole.  The first bridge into Harlow would become a sustainable travel bridge.  Currently discussions were taking place to site the Hospital on the new M11 7A junction, but it was not yet known where it would ultimately be sited.  She recognised concerns of residents, but as Councillor Wilson had acknowledged, the development was in the Local Plan.  She encouraged Members to talk to their Ward residents where they had concerns. 

 

After being put to the meeting and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 89.

89a

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Guidance Infrastructure Delivery Plan Strategic Viability Assessment and "How to" guide pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Please refer to Minute X above for the proposal, seconding and debate of this resolution. 

 

RESOLVED - that: (A) the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Infrastructure Delivery Plan, Strategic Viability Assessment and “How To” Guide for Planning Obligations, Land Value Capture and Development Viability be agreed as material considerations for Development Management purposes; and

 

(B)        the Leader be delegated authority to make minor consequential changes necessitated by the publication of the National Planning

Guidance.

 

90.

Housing Delivery Test Action Plan pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor J Goodeve submitted a report on the publication of an action plan setting out how the Council intended to improve housing delivery.  She said currently the measures proposed were small scale, so consequently it would take time to improve the numbers.  She moved and Councillor L Haysey seconded, a motion that the recommendations as detailed in the report submitted, be approved.

 

Councillor M Goldspink said she supported the recommendation.  The report highlighted how difficult it was for the Council to provide social housing across the District.  It was distressing that there were 2,000 families on the waiting list. 

 

After being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED. 

 

RESOLVED - that the Housing Delivery Test Action Plan, as set out in the report at Essential Reference Paper B, be agreed and published on the Council’s website.

 

91.

Establishment of Financial Sustainability Committee pdf icon PDF 58 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor G Williamson submitted a report proposing the membership and terms of reference for a new Financial Sustainability Committee.  He said the Council had set up a Financial Sustainability Group, which at its March meeting, was established as a Board, and that the Council had agreed a capital sum of £3m to invest in commercial income-generating activity. As the Board was effectively a Committee of the Council, the approval of the Council was now sought to constitute this Board as a politically balanced Committee and to provide for the capital sum to be allocated to it.  He referred to the earlier approval of a change in political groups, and noted the membership of the new Committee would include a Member of either the Labour or the Green Groups. 

 

Councillor G Williamson moved, and Councillor D Andrews seconded, a motion that the recommendations as detailed in the report submitted be approved. 

 

After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that (A) a Financial Sustainability Committee be established as a committee of the Council with ten Members to reflect the Council’s political proportionality according to the political balance regulations;

 

(B) the proposed terms of reference for the Committee as set out in the report at Essential Reference Paper C be approved;

 

(C) the Head of Legal and Democratic Services be authorised to amend the Constitution to incorporate the Financial Sustainability Committee; and

 

(D) that authority to allocate resources for financial sustainability from the budget approved for this purpose by Council at its meeting of 5 March 2019 be delegated to the Financial Sustainability Committee.

 

92.

Leisure Centre Capital Developments pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor E Buckmaster submitted a report seeking approval for additional funding for the completion of the leisure centre projects.  He explained the reasons for the request were that inflation had risen more than the forecast; additional works had been identified following more detailed surveys and there was an opportunity to enhance sustainable energy features.  Without additional funding some elements would need to be omitted.  The project would in time generate money, and this was a “once in a lifetime” opportunity to provide first-class leisure facilities for the community to a high standard. 

 

Councillor Buckmaster moved, and Councillor G Williamson seconded a motion that the recommendations as detailed in the report submitted be approved. Councillor Williamson said as a fellow member of the Leisure Project Board and as the Executive Member for Financial Sustainability he was keen to support the additional investment.

 

Councillor T Beckett commended the project, and said that it was right to agree the additional spend.  However, if at the outset a concept design had been encouraged, these additional costs could have been minimised.  He acknowledged that future projects would be taking that aspect into account.  He said it should also be noted the Bishop’s Stortford Climate Group felt there had been a missed opportunity at the Grange Paddocks site to supply the District with energy.  

 

Councillor K Crofton said this was a fantastic scheme.  He asked how scrutiny of the finances would ensure that no further unforeseen increases in budget would be required.  Would such scrutiny be carried out by the Financial Sustainability Committee? 

 

Councillor M Brady asked whether the cycle hub could be incorporated into the project and questioned from which budget the proposed pavilion would be funded. 

 

Councillor J Jones said the Task and Finish Group had taken a stringent approach to the costings, so it was of concern to see an increase in funding being sought.  He questioned whether the temporary gym facilities were needed; whether this was the final figure and whether the figure covered three rather than two swimming pools. 

 

Councillor S Bell said she thought it was important to provide temporary gym facilities for Hartham as without such provision there was a risk that for a three month closure, some customers would not return. 


Councillor Buckmaster responded to Members’ queries.  He agreed with Councillor Bell that mitigation of potential loss of customers was important via provision of temporary facilities as it cost more to win new customers than to retain existing ones.  Responding to Councillor Beckett, he agreed, the Task and Finish Group had looked at options, but there were lessons that could be learned from any projects.  Responding to Councillor Jones, he considered there would be no further unforeseen costs, but in any event there was still a 5% margin available if necessary.  The largest element of the funding related to the construction sector  being more vibrant than expected.  In terms of the cycle hub, he felt the needs of Mudlarks were different, and their needs would not be met  ...  view the full minutes text for item 92.

93.

Development Management Committee: Minutes - 22 May 2019 and 19 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Chairman: Councillor T Page

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meetings of the Development Management Committee, held on 22 May and 19 June 2019, be received.