Venue: Council Chamber, Wallfields, Hertford. View directions
Contact: Katie Mogan Tel: (01279) 502174 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Election of a Chairman
To elect the Chairman of the Council for the remainder of 2023/24 following which the Chairman will make the statutory declaration of acceptance of office.
It was proposed by Councillor Goldspink and seconded by Councillor Crystall that Councillor Horner be elected as Chairman of the Council for the remainder of the 2023/24 Civic Year. After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – That Councillor Horner be elected as Chairman of the Council for the remainder of the 2023/24 Civic Year.
Councillor Horner made the statutory declaration of acceptance of office and took the chair.
Election of a Vice-Chairman
To elect the Vice-Chairman of the Council for the remainder of 2023/24 following which the Vice-Chairman will make the statutory declaration of acceptance of office.
It was proposed by Councillor Smith and seconded by Councillor Goldspink that Councillor Connolly be elected as Vice-Chairman of the Council for the remainder of the 2023/24 Civic Year. After being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – That Councillor Connolly be elected as Vice-Chairman of the Council for the remainder of the 2023/24 Civic Year.
Councillor Connolly made the statutory declaration of acceptance of office.
To receive any announcements from the Chairman.
The Chairman thanked Members for electing him as the Chairman of the Council for the remainder of the Civic Year. He said that he took on the role in times of great upheaval in the world and particularly, in the Middle East. He said that the violence in Israel and Gaza had deeply affected many residents in the district, especially those who had family and friends in the region. He said he recognised the impact that the terrible events had and the real threat that could lead to division and conflict within East Herts. He said he acknowledged the suffering of all communities and stood alongside those who worked for peace.
A minute’s silence was held for all the victims of the attacks in Israel and Gaza.
To receive any announcements from the Leader of the Council.
The Leader of the Council gave a statement regarding the events in Israel and Gaza.
The Leader said that his heart went out to everyone who had been
caught up in the dreadful events in Israel and Gaza and to those
residents in East Herts with loved ones impacted by the appalling
violence. He said he appreciated their fear for family and friends
in the region and said he had relatives in Israel, no doubt like
other people in the Chamber.
The Leader said that it was vitally important to remind
councillors of their responsibilities as elected members. He said
they were elected and at all times their responsibility was to
their community. He said that as a Council, it would do everything
it could to support residents whose families and friends had been
caught up in the awful conflict. It was vital that councillors
worked hard locally to reduce tension, and in a time of crisis that
was more important than ever. He said that the Israel-Palestine
conflict can spark intense emotions and the UK had already seen
demonstrations and a rise in racism and prejudice. He hoped that
the Council could agree to do its absolute best to prevent that
from happening here.
The Leader said that the Council’s role as leaders across East Herts ... view the full minutes text for item 180.
Apologies for Absence
To receive any Members’ apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted by Councillors Andrews, Boylan, Butcher, Hoskin, McAndrew and Willcocks.
To approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 26 July 2023.
Councillor Copley asked for an amendment to the minutes. She asked to insert the words “if that were true” on page 54 of the minutes.
Councillor Goldspink proposed, and Councillor Hopewell seconded a motion that the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2023 with the amendment suggested by Councillor Copley be approved as a correct record and be signed by the Chairman.On being put to the meeting and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2023 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any Members' declarations of interest.
Councillor Copley declared an interest in Item 13a. She worked in Bishop’s Stortford town centre and was a member of the BID. She said she would be leaving the Chamber for the discussion and voting of the item.
To receive any petitions.
There were no petitions.
To receive any public questions.
Charlotte Lipscomb to ask Cllr Vicky Glover-Ward, the Executive Member for Member for Planning and Growth
The AMA festival took place at The Silver Leys Polo Club in Bury Green on Saturday 2nd September, having been granted a licence by East Herts Council at a hearing on 14th August. The festival left a trail of disruption in its wake, affecting all our local roads through Bury Green and our neighbouring hamlets and blocked the designated route for emergency vehicles. Local residents experienced not only gridlocked traffic which left us trapped in our homes but also indiscriminate parking on roads and verges, along with issues related to noise, litter, and anti-social behaviour.
Residents endured a weekend of mayhem. Examples include an eighty four year old resident directing traffic in order to try and mitigate the gridlock, a 93 year old man terrified in his house and surrounded by festival goers trying to retrieve abandoned vehicles, an elderly and confused lady in her last weeks of life who was moved to residential care for 2 weeks in anticipation of the event and children aged 10 and 12 too terrified to pick blackberries on the green, even with adult supervision. Young and old were profoundly and adversely affected.
Can the Executive Member responsible for licensing please explain how the decision was made to allow the festival to take place, despite the strong objections from residents, the parish Council, our local councillor, the County Council Highways Dept and the police, all of whom were all able to accurately foresee the havoc the festival would create.
from Councillor Glover-Ward
would like to thank Charlotte Lipscomb for raising this important
question about the recent AMA Fest event.
First, I’d like to assure everyone that the council has
followed the right process when considering the AMA Fest
application. While I have responsibility for licensing policies,
the national legislation and guidance does not allow me, as an
Executive member, to be involved in decisions on individual
applications. So, because there were representations against
the application, a hearing led by a sub-committee of the
council’s Licensing Committee was convened. Please do not
think I am trying to distance myself from the sub-committee’s
decision to grant the licence; I am simply pointing out that if the
council had failed to follow the processes set out in law, we could
have been taken to court for incorrectly dealing with the
That said, I have spoken with my colleague, the Chair of the Licensing Committee, and I am very happy to explain the council’s position.
The Licensing Act 2003 dictates the broad range of issues the
council must take into account when deciding whether to issue a
licence for an event. When looking at the AMA Fest application,
just like the five local residents, the local parish council, the
police and others who raised objections, East Herts Council had
considerable concerns about the traffic and parking arrangements
The organisers gave assurances both in writing and ... view the full minutes text for item 185.
To receive any Members' questions.
Cllr George Williams to ask Cllr Vicky Glover-Ward, the Executive Member for Planning and Growth
Given the protections for nesting birds under the wildlife and countryside act, do the council and its providers have a responsibility and the powers to postpone or decline planning applications for non-urgent roofing works in known swift nesting sites?
Response from Councillor Glover-Ward
Thank you for the question as I am keen to protect swifts and have four swift boxes on my property. As such I am aware of the issues around swift nesting areas in roofs and I know that swifts tend to nest in the same place for life. As such I share the concerns raised by Cllr Williams.
Unfortunately, the planning system allows a great deal of building work to take place without the need for planning permission. This is referred to as ‘Permitted Development’ and there are currently no exemptions included in the General Permitted Development Order 2015 which relate to the presence of swifts.
Of course, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act disturbing nesting birds is an offence and so if there is evidence of nests in use when work is about to take place then no works should be undertaken.
I have already been approached by the Hertford Swift Group who have volunteered to draft a suggested swift policy for the Council’s consideration. I understand that this will cover both existing nesting sites and to provide additional sites in new builds and refurbishments of properties. This will then be presented for inclusion in due course in the update of the District Plan, should this be approved in our motion later on this evening.
In the meantime, the Council will continue to encourage the inclusion of nest boxes in accordance with the Council’s Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document. Consideration will also be given to the production of a Swift Best Practice Advice Note.
welcome the input from community organisations such as Hertford
Swift Group, Herts North East Herts Swift Group and Ware Swift
Group who are doing such incredibly important work to save this red
listed species whose numbers have declined by over 50% in the last
20 years (RSPB figures) due to, amongst other things, habitat loss.
The groups have been steadily increasing the number of installed
swift boxes in existing properties and I hope this invaluable work
will result in an increase in swift numbers as they start to
There was no supplementary question.
Cllr Diane Hollebon to ask Cllr Vicky Glover-Ward, the Executive Member for Planning and Growth
Can the Executive Member for Planning and Growth confirm to me that she is aware that the proposed community centre in the St James’s Park development, Bishop’s Stortford South, is being offered on a 100-year lease hold basis when it’s being funded by Section 106 funds and should therefore be a community asset in perpetuity. Who allowed this and why?
Response from Councillor Glover-Ward
I would like to thank Councillor Hollebon for her ... view the full minutes text for item 186.
To receive a report from the Leader of the Council and to consider recommendations on the matters below:
The Leader of the Council presented a report setting out recommendations to the Council made by the Executive at its meetings on 5 September and 3 October 2023.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth presented the Birchall Garden Suburb Masterplan and said the report sought approval to adopt the masterplan as a material planning consideration. She said that the East Herts District Plan was adopted in 2018 and it allocated a number of strategic sites for growth. Policy EWEL1 in the District Plan set out the strategy for co-ordinated development of Birchall Green through a joint masterplan with Welwyn Hatfield Council.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said that the masterplan was developed by East Herts and Welwyn Hatfield working with the landowner and other key stakeholders. She said that the landowner had submitted an outline application in June 2022, so the councils decided to lead on the plan process and jointly appointed an external partner. A steering group was established with representatives from both councils and met on four occasions and three engagement events were held for local members and residents.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said that if it was adopted, it would become a material planning consideration for both councils and be a reference guide for Herts County Council with regards to transport, highways and education provision.
Councillor Glover-Ward proposed that the recommendation in the report be supported. Councillor Copley seconded the proposal.
Councillor Cox said that he appreciated that the document was a masterplan and not a planning application but said that if approved, it would be an out of town housing estate serving a town that had huge amounts of brown belt land. He said that he felt the council should oppose the application.
Councillor Estop said that masterplans were an excellent policy and was pleased to hear that a steering group had helped officers work through the process. She said she felt that the masterplan process and document needed to be easier to understand so that the public felt they had joint ownership. She also said that the document started with aspirations for sustainable, high quality design which she said was an easy cliché and highly specific about high quality. She said that her overriding concern was that the landowner and developers were absent from the document yet they were the ones that needed to be ticking the box. She felt that a masterplan needed a statement from the landowner to demonstrate that they were committed to the process of the masterplan and its principles and there was not any information in the document about implementation.
Councillor Daar said she went to the resident engagement event with Councillor Glover-Ward and said she was impressed at the efforts being made on active travel within the development. She hoped that as the development came forward, active travels links would continue to Hertingfordbury and Sele and be promoted.
Councillor Hart said that the allocation for affordable housing within the document was on the low end. She said it was 40% for East Herts but said this was always normally watered down when development started. She said it was not financially or ... view the full minutes text for item 188.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth presented the Review of the East Herts District Plan recommendations. She said that the current District Plan was adopted in October 2018 and it was a requirement that it should be reviewed within five years of adoption. The planning department had carried out an assessment and concluded that it did need updating.
The Executive Member for Planning and Growth said the assessment looked at the consistency of the current plan with the National Planning Policy Framework and its engagement with the duty to co-operate. She said that a review was normally straightforward but that was currently not the case with significant uncertainty on proposed government reform of the planning systems, consultations on a new plan making system continuing and changes being implemented as part of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill going through Parliament. She said that whilst the department waited for clarity from the government and based on the assumption that a strong evidence base would still be required, the team would use the 12 months to update its evidence base and other preparatory work including a call for sites.
Councillor E Buckmaster said that the call for sites process would be crucial as previous mistakes had been made which had angered residents. He said that some urban expansions had caused issues in areas where residents warned it would happen and were now complaining that were not listened too. He said the review would be an opportunity for Members to ensure that the right developments were built in the right place because as the process continued, the options for Members narrowed considerably after statutory and legal requirements were met. He said that the Council owed it to residents that they were listening to them and not just following a process and could avoid problems in the future if the sites were chosen carefully.
Councillor Stowe noted that there would be a call for sites in 2024 to achieve a 33% increase in housing numbers. However, he said that there were sites that were put forward in 2018 that had been put on hold. He asked if assurances could be given to residents that current adopted sites would be progressed before other land was handed over. He requested that strategic sites were monitored in the future to pre-empt any issues.
Councillor Goldspink said she shared other Members concerns about an increased need for more houses and agreed that it was important to select sites carefully.
Councillor Glover-Ward said the 33% increase in housing numbers were calculated under different methodologies. The council’s housing need was greater than 839 houses and referred to page 30 in the District Plan which showed that its housing need was almost the same as the housing requirement under the standard methodology.
Councillor E Buckmaster said that would put into question the call for sites and questioned whether residents would understand the methodology.
Councillor ... view the full minutes text for item 189.
The Executive Member for Communities presented the Community Grants Policy and Priorities 2023/24 report and recommendations. She thanked Officers for their hard work on the report and for ensuring that the application process would allow the same forms used for other grants such as the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. She said that the amount of grant money available had been reduced compared to last year but another £40,000 was available from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. She said that if the policy was agreed, it would be launched on 1 November 2023.
Councillor Daar proposed that the recommendation in the report be supported. Councillor Wilson seconded the proposal.
Councillor Goldspink said she supported the recommendation and was pleased to see the change that would allow small community groups apply for the grants if supported by their local councillor.
Councillor Clements thanked Councillor Daar and Officers for listening to the comments from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and including in the policy.
Councillor Deering said that the Conservative group supported the recommendation.
Councillor Wilson echoed the comments from Councillor Clements and said that it showed the Overview and Scrutiny Committee process worked well.
The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, was declared CARRIED.
That the revised Community Grants Policy including
the priorities for 2023/24 be approved.
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services presented the Independent Remuneration Panel’s report on the Panel’s behalf. He said that Council agreed, at its meeting on 1 March 2023, to extend the 2022/23 Members’ Allowance Scheme until the scheduled Council meeting in October 2023. He said that this was done to allow new Members elected in May 2023 to input into the process and provide the Independent Remuneration Panel with their views on member allowances for the year ahead.
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services said that the Panel met three times on 6, 13 and 19 September 2023, meeting with Members from each of the political groups on the Council as set out at paragraph 2.4, and also conducted an online survey which all Members were encouraged to complete, with thirty-five Members doing so, representing 70% of the Council.
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services said that the Panel conducted its review of Members’ allowances pursuant to the Local Authorities (Members’ Allowances)(England) Regulations 2003. The rationale applied by the Panel in formulating their recommendations can found at paragraphs 2.8 to 3.3 of the report, and the results of the Member survey are at Appendix C.
Councillor Brittain proposed that the recommendations in the report be supported. Councillor Adams seconded the proposal.
Councillor Brittain thanked the panel for their report and said that the overall increase in allowances worked out at 3% which he felt was fair.
Councillor Glover-Ward said she was pleased to see that the Dependents Carer Allowances had been increased so that no future candidates were put off from being a councillor.
Councillor Goldspink thanked the Panel for their work and supported their recommendations. She felt that there should be an allowance attached to the role of councillor to reflect the expenses that are incurred when fulfilling their duties. She said it was interesting to note that East Herts Council pay a lower allowance than six other councils within Hertfordshire.
Councillor Deering said the Conservative supported the work of the independent Panel and supported their recommendations.
The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – That
the recommendations of the Independent Remuneration Panel be
approved as follows:
i) To increase the Basic Allowance by £250
from £5,428.79 to £5,678.79 for 2023/24;
ii) To increase the Dependants’ Carers
Allowance from £25.00 per hour to up to £30.00 per
iii) To increase the Childcare Allowance from £12.50
per hour to up to £15.00 per hour;
iv) To increase the electric car mileage from 4p per
mile to 45p per mile in line with HMRC guidance;
v) To make no changes to the Members’ current
Allowance Scheme other than those listed in the recommendations above.
Councillor Wyllie presented his motion on notice about reduced parking charges for town centre workers in Bishop’s Stortford.
Councillor Devonshire seconded the motion and reserved his right to speak.
Councillor Crystall responded to the motion and said he understood why Councillor Wyllie had submitted the motion. However, he felt it was ill judged. He said that town centre workers were vitally important but the administration thought that it could be done better. He said that the proposal had the potential to set a dangerous precedent to subsidise car parking in Bishop’s Stortford and that other towns may push for the same treatment. He said that the proposal had unwelcome implications and Councillor Hoskin, the Executive Member, thought there was a better way of addressing the issue but to benefit a larger group of people. He said that car parking needed to be dealt with as a whole and to provide a similar service across the district. A new proposal could address traffic congestion and pollution by encouraging car parking use outside the town to encourage active travel.
Councillor Hill said that the Council should not be promoting car travel but investigate alternative ways to travel into town such as free bus passes. He said that town centre workers parking in the town’s car parks all day restricted the spaces available for those shopping.
Councillor Wilson said that this was not a straightforward issue and could see the arguments on both sides. He said he wanted to see the town centre flourish and the work of the BID was invaluable. He said that there was far too much traffic in Bishop’s Stortford and was a failure of the District Plan for allowing development in and around the town. He said that the previous proposal promoted car travel and did not look at the bigger picture. He also added that the scheme was not means tested and the Council should look out for those on low wages in the most sustainable ways necessary with a considered decision on parking policy.
Councillor Goldspink said she understood the frustration of the opposition members but pleaded with them to listen to arguments for pausing and taking the opportunity for devising a better scheme that was fairer to a greater number of people. She said she would be voting against the motion.
Councillor E Buckmaster said that he had not heard a time frame for the process for the new scheme that the administration kept referring to. He asked for reassurance that if there was to be a pause, what the next steps were.
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services clarified that the Council were to discuss the motion presented.
Councillor Jacobs said that the administration were talking about a holistic approach to parking to improve the service for everyone. He asked what that scheme would look like and said the suggested scheme had been brought forward by the BID, not the previous administration. He said that he would be supporting the motion.
Councillor Deering ... view the full minutes text for item 192.
Councillor Thomas presented his motion on notice. He said it was important to protect the local chalk streams from raw sewage and said that the Environment Agency had recently called the actions of Thames Water unacceptable. He said many had been shocked at the level of sewage being dumped in rivers and said that in 2022, there were 169 cases reported.
Councillor Thomas said that the Chief Executive of Thames Water had been awarded a £1.5 million pay package and said that this was not the right way to incentivise companies to not dump sewage. He said that the government were not setting a long term goal for sewage dumping but residents did not want to see it reduced, they wanted to see it stopped. He urged Members to vote for the motion to be one step closer to cleaner waters.
Councillor Swainston seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.
Councillor Cox thanked Councillor Thomas for the presentation of his motion.
Councillor Daar said she was taking part in the Local Nature Recovery Strategy led by Hertfordshire County Council and said that chalk streams were quintessential to the area and said the Council should be doing all they could to make sure their quality was preserved. She thanked Councillor Thomas for bringing the motion forward.
Councillor Smith said the Council needed to protect the public who use the district’s rivers for recreational activities. She said it was a sad situation that she had to remind her children not to open their mouths if they were in the river due to the water quality. She said that it was important to take action to protect natural facilities and thanked Councillor Thomas for bringing it forward.
Councillor Devonshire said he was happy to support the motion and had a chalk stream in his ward. He said another issue was over extraction of water causing the beds to dry up.
Councillor E Buckmaster said he was happy to support the motion and said that in his role as a County Councillor, he was involved in starting up the Local Nature Recovery Partnership which had Members on different steering groups and representatives from the Environment Agency and from each Council. He said he also chaired the Hertfordshire Climate Change Sustainability Partnership and said there was a lot of work ongoing in this area.
Councillor Burt thanked Councillor Thomas for his motion and asked for the reasoning behind the stated 50% reduction by 2030.
Councillor Woollcombe said he supported the motion and said there should be an accountability mechanism for fining guilty parties. He said fines were built into companies’ business models and suggested a strengthening of language to include incarceration.
Councillor Deering said that the Conservative group supported the motion and said the district’s chalk streams were precious.
Councillor Crystall said he was delighted to support the motion and said he would raise it with the MP so she could lend her support to the cause.
Councillor Swainston said she supported the ... view the full minutes text for item 193.
Councillor Jacobs presented his motion on notice and said he was removing item 3c from the motion.
Councillor Jacobs said that he knew there were huge funding pressures on local government which could not be met alone through making savings or raising council tax. He said that the motion called for adequate funding for councils in line with inflation and there needed to be a long-term plan for local government funding from the government as inflation would not come down overnight, reserves could only be spent once and services could not be cut twice. He hoped that by joining the Local Government Association’s campaign, the collective voice of councils would be greater, and he wanted to raise the issue on behalf of residents.
Councillor Clements seconded the motion and reserved his right to speak.
Councillor E Buckmaster said he was happy to support the motion. He gave some context around a review of capital projects and identifying any savings. He said that the projects currently being delivered were conceived in 2014 and an ageing leisure service meant it would have been more expensive to maintain and they were investments intended to pay their way.
Councillor Goldspink said she was happy to support the motion and said she had found it very frustrating as a councillor to want to do good but not have enough money.
Councillor Dumont said that according to the National Audit Office since 2010, Council Tax revenue has had a 20% increase, grant funding had reduced by 60% and spending power had reduced by 30%. He said this had to change and it was depressing as councillors to want to do good but instead were being asked what we could stop doing.
Councillor Brittain thanked Councillor Jacobs for his motion and said he agreed wholeheartedly. He said his only concern was that he was not convinced the government would listen.
Councillor Hart said there could be a point where the Council could not discharge its statutory duties and said the Council could not function if the funding was not sufficient.
Councillor Deering said the Conservative group were completely aware of the pressures faced having set four budgets in the previous administration. He said it was very challenging to run a local authority at the moment and he supported the motion.
Councillor Williams queried the title of the motion which stated ‘Labour motion’. He said other motions did not have party headings.
The Head of Legal and Democratic Services said that it was just to indicate who had brought the motion. He said if the motion was passed then it would be a motion of the Council, not the Labour Group.
Councillor Crystall said he was happy to support the motion and said this had been raised at the LGA Independent Group and had been supported there.
Councillor Clements said it was no secret that the Council faced tough financial decisions but a large part of the decisions were made by the government. He said Councils of all ... view the full minutes text for item 194.