Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Wednesday 28th July, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: PLEASE NOTE LOCATION CHANGE - Council Chamber, County Hall, Pegs Lane, Hertford, SG13 8DQ

Contact: Katie Mogan  Tel: (01279) 502174 Email:  katie.mogan@eastherts.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

109.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting and said that the meeting was being recorded.

 

The Chairman welcomed Councillor R Townsend to the Council following his successful election in May 2021. The Chairman also thanked Councillor Jones for assisting him at the meeting as the Vice-Chairman had given his apologies.

 

He outlined the civic events he had recently attended, including the Armed Forces flag raising ceremony in Hertford, the Herts Scouts Annual General Meeting, a fete in Ardeley and the presentation awards for recipients of British Empire Medals at Hatfield House.

 

The Chairman announced the sad passing of Councillor Rutland-Barsby’s husband Paul. The Leader of the Council paid tribute to Paul who was an enormous support to Councillor Rutland-Barsby in her role as Chairman of the Council and in life as her husband. Councillor Haysey said she counted Paul as a friend and always had a story to tell and his friendship would be sorely missed.

 

The Chairman announced that five East Herts residents had been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2021 and he read out a list of their achievements for each recipient:

 

·               Richard Beazley – awarded an MBE for services to the community in Hertfordshire

·               Ben Davies-Levinson – awarded an OBE for services to education

·               Elizabeth Franklin-Jones – awarded an MBE for services to Nursing and Mental Health Services in Hertfordshire

·               Elizabeth Anne Finlay Gardiner – awarded a DCB for services to the Government and the Legislative Process

·               Darryl Keen – awarded the Queen’s Fire Services Medal for Distinguished Service.

 

Ben Davies-Levinson, Elizabeth Franklin-Jones and Darryl Keen were in attendance and thanked the Council for recognising their achievements.

 

110.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any Members’ apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Andrews, Crystall, Devonshire, Dumont, Frecknall, Hall, Hollebon, Huggins, Kaye, McMullen, Rutland-Barsby, Snowdon and Ward-Booth.

 

111.

Minutes - 29 April 2021 pdf icon PDF 233 KB

To approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 29 April 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Fernando proposed, and Councillor Wyllie seconded, a motion that the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 April 2021 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 

 

The motion to approve the Minutes having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting, and upon a vote taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 29 April 2021 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

112.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any Members' declarations of interest.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

113.

Petitions

To receive any petitions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no petitions to consider.

 

114.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To receive any public questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jill Goldsmith was unable to attend the meeting so the Chairman read out her question on her behalf.

 

Jill Goldsmith asked the Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability the following question:

 

“The Council has been holding Environmental and Climate Forum meetings in line with its commitment in its June 2019 Climate Motion. These are an important opportunity for the Council and interested members of the Community to hear from independent experts and to discuss progress and ideas for changes to planned actions or additional actions.

“How well does the Council consider these meetings are going? In particular:

 

·               what attendance has there been at the meetings?

·               are the meetings providing useful feedback to the Council?

·               which of the ideas generated has the Council actioned?

·               what plans are there for future meetings?”

 

Councillor McAndrew responded as follows:

 

“I would like to thank Jill Goldsmith for her question.

 

“After a short break last year due to Covid, since September 2020 the Forum has been meeting every two months. It is making such a significant contribution to climate change planning in the district that I can only touch on the highlights, so please visit the environmental sustainability pages on the council’s website for the full details.

 

“At each meeting, there are typically around 40 attendees, with broadly 75% of these being representatives of local community groups, stakeholder organisations, town and parish councils and individual residents. The rest are East Herts Officers and Members of all political parties on East Herts Council.

“We have had a wide range of experts present to the Forum, going far beyond the ‘usual suspects’, including the Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, the Heal Rewilding charity, a local resident talking through how to encourage walking instead of short car trips, Affinity Water covering how to reduce water demand and the Garden Organic group discussing food waste. This is resulting in network between groups, for example, at our most recent meeting a community group asked one of speakers to present to their members; he willingly agreed.

 

“The council has a ‘live’ action plan, with over 100 individual actions, which is monitored and updated on a monthly basis. This is available on our website as are details of the actions already completed. The action plan includes a number of actions and projects suggested by the Forum, including:

 

·               looking into the possibility of digital signage in towns or other technology-based alerts to promote behaviour change such as reducing engine idling and lower water use. Officers are currently exploring a range of options

·               making more pro-active use of social media. We followed this up for Clean Air Day and I’m very pleased to say that our messaging reached 11,700 people with over six times more reactions than any other recent social media posts by the council

·               working more closely with farmers and land owners. We have established a ‘rural roundtable’ group with local farmers and land owners, the Soil Association and the National Farmers Union.

 

“With regard to future plans, the dates and topics  ...  view the full minutes text for item 114.

115.

Members' questions pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To receive any Members' questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Alexander Curtis asked the Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability the following question:

 

“Can the Executive Member for Environmental Sustainability confirm what is being done to prevent fly-tipping in our District, and hold perpetrators of fly tipping responsible for their actions?”

 

Councillor Graham McAndrew responded as follows:

 

“Thank you Councillor Curtis for your question about this important issue. Please let me explain the council’s preventative and enforcement approaches.

“Our preventative approach includes conducting anti-fly tipping campaigns and providing advice, all backed up with the use of mobile CCTV cameras and signage at fly-tipping hotspots. This approach can work. In 2018, a combined campaign across the county led to the second lowest annual total of fly tips in Hertfordshire since 2012. Unfortunately during 2020/21 and the pandemic levels have risen again and so our work continues.

“The council cannot, of course, deal with fly tipping alone. We are a member of the Hertfordshire Fly Tipping Group, a multi-agency taskforce with other councils, the police, the Environment Agency and the National Farmers Union among others. This has had tangible results including securing funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner to work with the National Farmers Union to clear fly-tips on farmers’ land and increase target hardening.

“At the same time, we will take enforcement action when needed. This includes issuing community protection warnings and notices and, for more serious or persistent offences, fixed penalty notices and prosecutions. Indeed, the council has a strong track record in prosecuting offenders. In the five years to 2020/21, the council secured 17 court prosecutions and issued 79 fixed penalty notices.

“So far in 2021/22, the council has successfully prosecuted four individuals. Three cases were heard at Stevenage Magistrates Court; the offenders were fined and ordered to pay costs. In the fourth case, a man from Hoddesdon was fined by the council after he deposited a sizable boat in a layby near to Pearce’s Farm Shop causing obstruction in late 2020. 

“The council gained good publicity in the local press about these actions. That said, we and other authorities see a case for strengthening sanctions nationally. We are joining others to ask the Sentencing Council to review the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline 2014 so as to address inconsistencies in court judgements.

“The FTG is also leading national lobbying efforts to address what it sees as significant deficiencies in the current legislative framework relevant to fly tipping and is about launch a major new lobbying effort targeting the Sentencing Council with a view to securing a review of the Environmental Offences Definitive Guideline 2014 to address what the FTG believes are serious inconsistencies in typical court judgements rendered in response to successful prosecutions and the alternative fixed penalty regime implemented in 2016. This latest effort, which is about launch, is being supported by 124 local authorities across the UK and 10 professional bodies.

“Finally, all Members have a role to play. It is hoped that our enforcement actions, along with our continued campaigns and joint working, will  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115.

116.

Executive Report - 6 July 2021 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council and to consider recommendations on the matters below:

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council thanked Hertfordshire County Council for allowing the Council to use their Council Chamber as a number of councillors felt uncomfortable meeting at Wallfields. She also thanked the Democratic Services team for organising the meeting at the new venue at short notice.

 

Councillor Haysey said there were a number of Members having to self-isolate after being ‘pinged’ by Track and Trace or had contracted Covid-19 so she wished those Members a speedy recovery.

 

Councillor Haysey congratulated the residents who had received honours from the Queen which demonstrated the extraordinary range of talented residents in the district.

 

The Leader then presented a report setting out recommendations to the Council made by the Executive at its meeting on 6 July 2021.

 

116a

Refreshed Corporate Plan for 2021/22

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader presented the recommendation, which was referred to in the Executive report of 6 July 2021, regarding the Refreshed Corporate Plan for 2021/22. She asked Members to note that the text at 2.1 in the report was incorrect and said it should read “the Executive were asked to review and comment on the refreshed priorities for 2021/22 onwards”. She said that the Corporate Plan guided the Council in all its interactions and its ambitions for the future. The refreshed plan followed the SEED principles but had been refreshed due to the impact of Covid-19.

 

Councillor Haysey proposed that the recommendations in the Executive report be supported. Councillor Pope seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor Goldspink confirmed that the Liberal Democrat group were supportive of this recommendation.

 

Councillor Wilson noted that the funding for two of the initiatives, the Launch Pad and ‘Welcome Back’, were funded by the EU. He asked where the funding would come from in the next few years.

 

Councillor Goodeve said the Launch Pad funding had been guaranteed for two years.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the refreshed Corporate Plan be adopted.

 

116b

Draft Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy for East Herts

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Drake proposed that the recommendations in the Executive report be supported. Councillor Curtis seconded the recommendations.

 

Councillor Curtis said that a lot of work had gone into the strategy and Members had had the opportunity to feed into it through a Members briefing session and a report was presented to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Councillor Goldspink confirmed that the Liberal Democrat group were in support of the recommendation. She said that the group were delighted to see the strategy as it was important that all residents were treated equally and was pleased to see clear recommendations for action.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the Equalities, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy be adopted.

 

116c

Approval of the Statement of Licensing Policy 2021 - 26 under the Licensing Act 2003

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods presented the recommendation, which was referred to in the Executive report of 6 July 2021, regarding the approval of the Statement of Licensing Policy 2021-26. He explained that, as a Licensing Authority, the Council must adopt and publish a Statement of Licensing Policy every five years which sets out the principles when carrying out its licensing functions. The consultation engaged with a wide range of stakeholders including the police and elected Members. Councillor Boylan said that the policy included a focus on health and wellbeing when applications were determined and the introduction of a sensitive licensing area. The policy had been endorsed by the Licensing Committee and the Executive with no further amendments.

 

Councillor Boylan proposed that the recommendation in the Executive report be supported. Councillor Bolton seconded the recommendation.

 

Councillor Goldspink confirmed that the Liberal Democrat group were happy to support the recommendation.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED - That the Statement of Licensing Policy 2021-26 be approved with affect from 29th July 2021.

 

116d

Adoption of Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Plan following Referendum

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth presented the recommendation, which was referred to in the Executive report of 6 July 2021. Councillor Goodeve proposed that the recommendations in the Executive report be supported. Councillor Ruffles seconded the recommendation.

 

Councillor Goldspink confirmed that the Liberal Democrat group were happy to support the recommendation.

 

Councillor Newton spoke as the local ward member and said she was delighted with the plan and was a true representation of the community coming together.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED - That the Bengeo Neighbourhood Area Development Plan 2019-2033 be formally ‘made’.

 

116e

Adoption of Sele Neighbourhood Area Plan following Referendum

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth presented the recommendation, which was referred to in the Executive report of 6 July 2021. Councillor Goodeve proposed that the recommendations in the Executive report be supported. Councillor Deering seconded the recommendation.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED –That the Sele Neighbourhood Area Development Plan 2018-2033 be formally ‘made’.

 

116f

Adoption of Thundridge Neighbourhood Plan following Referendum

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth presented the recommendation, which was referred to in the Executive report of 6 July 2021. Councillor Goodeve proposed that the recommendations in the Executive report be supported. Councillor Boylan seconded the recommendation.

 

The Chairman read out a statement from Councillor Andrews, the local ward member, who had given his apologies for the meeting:

 

Councillor Andrews felt it was an excellent Neighbourhood Plan and demonstrated the hard work that had gone into it over many years. He acknowledged the support from officers at East Herts, especially George Pavey. The plan was a wonderful exercise in community engagement and it was a good foundation and marker for the future of the community in Thundridge Parish. 

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED - That the Thundridge Neighbourhood Development Plan 2018-2033 be formally ‘made’.

 

116g

Adoption of Gilston Area Neighbourhood Plan following Referendum

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth presented the recommendation, which was referred to in the Executive report of 6 July 2021. Councillor Goodeve proposed that the recommendations in the Executive report be supported. Councillor E Buckmaster seconded the recommendation.

 

Councillor E Buckmaster wanted to show his appreciation for the local community group that assisted in the development of the plan. He said that this was the largest development area in the District, the plan went through a tough public examination and received 97% support in the referendum. He gave thanks to George Pavey who had worked on the plan.

 

Councillor Haysey said that East Herts had a good reputation for producing fantastic Neighbourhood Plans which had brought communities together. The Gilston area would be subject to major planning applications for development and this plan would help developers understand what was expected and what the local area was about.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the Gilston Area Neighbourhood Development Plan 2020-2033, as detailed at Appendix A to this report, be formally ‘made’.

 

117.

Committee Membership update pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council presented the report which set out a number of changes to the Council’s Committees since the Annual Council meeting in April 2021. Councillor Haysey said that some of the changes had been a result of a change in the Executive where Councillor Kaye had replaced Councillor Rutland-Barsby as Executive Member for Communities. She gave her thanks to Councillor Rutland-Barsby for her work in community engagement. Councillor Haysey announced that Councillor Goodeve would be responsible for Licensing, moving from the Neighbourhoods remit into Planning and Growth as licensing had a strong relationship with planning.

 

Councillor Haysey proposed that the recommendations in the report be noted. Councillor Alder seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor Goldspink noted the changes and asked the Leader to pass on her and her Group’s sincere condolences to Councillor Rutland-Barsby.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – That the membership of the Council’s Executive and Committees as set out in Appendix A and B of the report, be noted.

 

118.

Local Government Boundary Commission Council Size Submission pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council submitted a report relating to the Local Government Boundary Commission Council Size Submission. She said that East Herts last had a boundary review in 1998 and the report was the first step in the current boundary review process. The review was necessary as the population had increased and some wards were out of step with the Commission’s requirements. Councillor Haysey said that Councillor Snowdon had worked with the opposition groups to get an agreement to keep the 50 seats on the Council.

 

Councillor Haysey proposed that the recommendations in the report be supported. The recommendations were seconded by Councillor Bolton.

 

Councillor Goldspink proposed an amendment to the recommendations and was seconded by Councillor Redfern. The amendment was as follows:

 

“Delete Recommendation (B) completely, and then replace it with a new (B) which states “However, if the Head of Legal and Democratic Services considers that changes should be made to the Council’s Submission, he must refer the matter back to the Full Council and ask for a further vote.”

 

Councillor Haysey said that she could not accept the proposed amendment. She said that the timeline for the review was laid out in the report on page 554 and Council would not be meeting again until October 2021. The dates were set by the Local Government Boundary Commission and the approval of the report was an important part of the process.

 

Councillor Goldspink explained her reasons for the amendment and highlighted that Council could hold an extraordinary meeting if necessary to approve any amendments to the submission. She felt that recommendation (B) in the report was undemocratic and any alterations should be agreed by Council, not delegated to two people.

 

Councillor Redfern supported the points raised by Councillor Goldspink. She said there was consultation with all political groups when the submission was in development and had reached an agreement on 50 seats on the Council. She said that by delegating to the Leader and Head of Legal and Democratic Services, it would ignore the democracy of the Council.

 

The motion to amend recommendation (B) in the report, having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting, and upon a vote being taken, it was declared LOST.

 

Councillor Bell proposed and Councillor Redfern seconded another amendment to recommendation (B). The amendment was as follows:

 

“That Council agree cross party delegation to the Leader and Head of Legal and Democratic Services”

 

Councillor Haysey thanked Councillor Bell for her suggestion but said that decisions like in the report were often delegated if any minor amendments needed to be made. She said she was more than happy to stick with the recommendations as written in the report.

 

Councillor Townsend said it was a minor amendment and would only go to support, encourage and convince residents that most things are considered.

 

The motion to amend recommendation (B) in the report, having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting, and upon a vote being taken, it was declared LOST.

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 118.

119.

Acquisition of Ware property for conversion to temporary accommodation - 34 Queens Road, Ware pdf icon PDF 174 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Neighbourhoods submitted a report in respect of the acquisition of a property for conversion to temporary accommodation. He informed Members that the accommodation would be suitable for families with children and would provide more settled and secure accommodation. Councillor Boylan explained that homelessness was on the increase and the council had 31 temporary housing units and in the first quarter in 2020, there were 178 homeless households and by the last quarter, this had risen to 235. The council used bed and breakfast accommodation when the temporary units are full which was far from ideal and represented a huge cost to the council. The unit that the council had acquired had planning permission in place and had been stripped back ready for work to begin. The Executive Member said the benefits were clear and the extra units proposed would save the council £26,000 a year.

 

Councillor Boylan proposed that the recommendations in the report be supported. Councillor Kemp seconded the proposal.

 

Councillor Wilson said he supported the recommendation and felt it was a sensible move. He regretted that homelessness was on the rise and felt this was due to the Council’s previous decision to sell off their housing to housing associations.

 

Councillor Bell said she was happy to see the proposal and welcomed the shift into other parts of the district.

 

Councillor Symonds said she was thrilled to see the proposal. She said that putting people into bed and breakfast was not good for their mental health and was pleased to see that the council would be changing lives.

 

Councillor Goldspink welcomed this report and wished more could be done. She was pleased that a way had been found to finance the project without adding any financial pressure.

 

Councillor Curtis thanked the Executive Member for Neighbourhoods and the officers involved. He said it was important for homeless families to remain in the local community.

 

Councillor Beckett asked if Councillor Boylan could confirm whether these units would be provided at social rent.

 

Councillor Boylan said the temporary accommodation came from homelessness grants.

 

Councillor Kemp said some of the bed and breakfast units were situated in Harlow so was pleased to see further provision in the east of the district. He praised the choice of building as it would allow for a mix of units.

 

The motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED - That the residential property known as 34 Queens Road, Ware be acquired by the council and converted to two self-contained units for use by East Herts Council as temporary accommodation for homeless households by means of an addition the council’s capital programme and utilisation of commuted sums held by the council for affordable housing as detailed in the EXEMPT Appendix A.

 

120.

Motions on Notice pdf icon PDF 42 KB

To receive Motions on Notice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Deering proposed a motion on the planning reforms set out by the Government in the 2020 White Paper “Planning for the Future”. Councillor Goodeve seconded the motion and reserved her right to speak.

 

Councillor Goldspink supported the motion. She said that the government consulted on their plans last year and the Council had worked hard on sending a response. She trusted the government to listen to the responses of the consultation but they had ignored them. She said that if further lobbying was needed to get the government to listen, she would be supportive.

 

Councillor Deering said he was satisfied that the government was in the right place but had just pitched their proposals wrong. He said that in 2010, the government inherited the lowest house building levels since the 1920s and the Labour led Croydon Council established a group “Brick by Brick” to focus on house building but did not build a single house. The government was investing in housing market and built 243,000 homes last year and 1.8 million since 2010.

 

Councillor Haysey felt the wrong language was being used, she said that the government was listening and she had had many conversations with Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government but local authorities just needed to be heard. She said that there needed to be a ‘carrot and stick’ approach so developers produce what they promise.

 

Councillor Wilson said the government had promised 200,000 starter homes in 2010 and none had been built.

 

Councillor Goodeve highlighted that the district was currently overachieving in its housing targets. The district had a District Plan in place and felt the Planning Inspectorate should have more respect for it. She said the Council would be lobbying the MP to be listened too.

 

Councillor Bell said that there was more than one MP in East Herts and asked if all three MPs could be lobbied.

 

The substantive motion being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, it was declared CARRIED. 

 

RESOLVED - The Council notes the announcement in the recent Queen’s Speech that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is to proceed with the reforms to the planning system set out in the 2020 White Paper “Planning for the Future”.

 

The Council responded to the Government’s consultation in October 2020, and regrets that the Government is pushing ahead with some reforms with which the Council previously expressed concerns, including:

 

-    the proposal to grant automatic outline permission in certain circumstances;

-    more centralised decision making, which would reduce local democratic input to planning decisions; and

-    failure to acknowledge important local contexts.

 

The Council is concerned that the White Paper as published last year would lead to less local control and less accountability about planning decisions which fundamentally affect the lives of local residents and hopes that the Government will listen to the responses of this Council and others to the White Paper when forming its new legislation.

 

The Council urges the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 120.