Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Monday, 11th April, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping

Contact: A. Hendry (Democratic Services)  Tel: (01992) 564246 Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

123.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast and Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking.

 

The Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the Internet and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing, with copies of the recording being made available for those that request it.

 

By being present at this meeting, it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in your image becoming part of the broadcast.

 

You should be aware that this may infringe your human and data protection rights. If you have any concerns then please speak to the Webcasting Officer.

 

Please could I also remind Members to activate their microphones before speaking.”

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of Council made a short address to remind everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the internet, and would be capable of repeated viewing, which could infringe their human and data protection rights.

 

 

124.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)          Pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor S Murray declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda items 8, Climate Change Action Plan and item 10, Partnership Agreement for the delivery of site access management and monitoring measures for the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation; by virtue of being a member of  Friends of Epping Forest, ambassador for the Epping Forest Heritage Trust and a member  of Loughton Town Council.

 

 

(b)          Pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct, Councillor Jon Whitehouse declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 10, Partnership Agreement for the delivery of site access management and monitoring measures for the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation; by virtue of being a committee member of a sports club that uses the recreation ground.

 

 

125.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 249 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 7th March 2022.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

That the minutes of the Cabinet meetings held on 7 March 2022 be taken as read and would be signed by the Leader as a correct record.

 

 

Minutes:

Decision:

 

That the minutes of the Cabinet meetings held on 7 March 2022 be taken as read and would be signed by the Leader as a correct record.

 

 

126.

Reports of Portfolio Holders

To receive oral reports from Portfolio Holders on current issues concerning their Portfolios, which are not covered elsewhere on this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no verbal reports made by Members of the Cabinet on current issues affecting their areas of responsibility.

 

 

127.

Public Questions and Requests to Address the Cabinet

To receive any questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Cabinet.

 

(a)        Public Questions

 

To answer questions asked by members of the public after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within Part 4 of the Constitution (Council Rules, Rule Q3) on any matter in relation to which the Cabinet has powers or duties or which affects the District.

 

(b)       Requests to Address the Cabinet

 

Any member of the public or a representative of another organisation may address the Cabinet on any agenda item (except those dealt with in private session as exempt or confidential business) due to be considered at the meeting, in accordance with the provisions contained within Article 7 of the Constitution (The Executive, Paragraphs 27 and 28).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet noted that no public questions or requests to address the Cabinet had been received for consideration at the meeting.

 

 

128.

Overview and Scrutiny

To consider any matters of concern to the Cabinet arising from the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function and to identify any matters that the Cabinet would like the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to examine as part of its work programme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee reported that at their last meeting they had received a presentation from the Youth Council; they also reviewed the Partnership Agreement for the delivery of site access management and monitoring measures for the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation which they supported; and considered the Climate Change Action Plan consultation.  They also reviewed their draft annual report and the various work programmes of the select committees.

 

 

129.

Climate Change Action Plan pdf icon PDF 570 KB

Planning & Sustainability – (C-050-2021-22) - This report provides members with a summary of the objectives and purpose of the Climate Change Action Plan and a summary of the changes made following the public consultation period.

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

The Cabinet endorsed the adoption of the Climate Change Action Plan.

 

 

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Sustainability, Councillor Bedford, introduced the report. He noted that the Climate Change Action Plan stated the steps to be taken to deliver on the Climate Emergency that was declared on 19 September 2019 with the motion to do everything within the Council's power to make Epping Forest District Council area carbon neutral by 2030. The plan aligned with the corporate objectives of keeping the district moving sustainably and enabling residents to access new opportunities for employment, and to reduce the carbon footprint across the district and within our council. There were also links to the environmental and sustainable travel Policies T1, DM 2 and DM15-22 in the Emerging Local Plan.

 

The Climate Change Action plan also had direct and indirect links with further policy and projects throughout the Council, for example, the Roding Valley and North Weald Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace projects that would be brought forward in Summer/Autumn 2022 and also a further review of the Waste contract.

 

This report provided members with a summary of the objectives and purpose of the Climate Change Action Plan and a summary of the changes made following the public consultation period.

 

For context, in August 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published the ‘Climate Change 2021 Report: The Physical Science Basis’. The report gave evidence to show the ‘widespread and rapid’ changes to our climate that have occurred as a result of human influence. It then gave further evidence on the wide-ranging and severe impacts of global warming where temperatures reach 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. In November 2021 the Glasgow Climate Pact was agreed at the COP26 Climate Change Conference. The aim of the pact was to keep alive the hope of limiting the rise in global temperature to 1.5C, as previously agreed in the 2015 Paris Agreement, and increase climate ambition and action from countries.

 

The Climate Change Action Plan examined the main sources of carbon emissions both within the Councils own operations and across the District. It outlined direct action the Council were taking to reduce emissions of its own activities. As well as steps that could be taken to facilitate and influence emissions reductions in the wider District, enabling the area to become carbon neutral by 2030.

 

Reaching this target would be a considerable task involving collaboration and engagement from staff, residents, businesses, suppliers, and partners, along with policy support from the UK Government. The plan will be regularly updated to account for further developments in national legislation, regulation, technology, and policy. Where activities and monitoring were to be confirmed these will be updated following consultation feedback.

 

Councillor Philip said it was a good comprehensive report. He noted the action plan and that a vast majority of emissions come from transport and that a lot of these came from the M25 and M11, which we had no control over. The actions called for in the report to reduce travel within the district would not have any effect on the motorways. We  ...  view the full minutes text for item 129.

130.

Direct Award of the Print Contract pdf icon PDF 432 KB

Corporate Services - (C-051-2021-22) - decision to award a contract with a total value of over £1m when totalled over the life of the contract.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

This report was withdrawn for further advice from officers.

 

 

 

Minutes:

 

This report was withdrawn for further advice from officers.

 

 

131.

Partnership Agreement for the delivery of Site Access Management and Monitoring measures for the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation pdf icon PDF 575 KB

Planning and Sustainability – (C-052-2021-22) - This report specifically concerns the potential impact of development on the SAC in relation to visitor pressure primarily from residential development creating additional visitors using the Forest for recreational purposes.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

(1)        The Cabinet agreed that the Partnership Agreement for the delivery of the Strategic Access Management and Monitoring measures for the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation set out in Appendix 1of the report, be adopted as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications and prior approval consents under permitted development rights proposals for residential development which would result in a net increase in new dwellings within the Epping Forest District Council administrative area.

 

(2)        The Cabinet agreed that the Service Director for Planning (or any another Service Director in their absence or officer duly authorised by the Service Director for Planning) be given delegated authority to implement minor amendments to the Partnership Agreement which may arise during the process of final sign-off of the Agreement by the Council and partners to the Agreement, in consultation with the Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder.

 

(3)        The Cabinet agreed that the tiered level of financial contribution to be sought from net increases in new dwellings within 0-3km and 3-6.2km radius of the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation arising from the granting of planning permissions and prior approval consents under permitted development rights shall be as set out in paragraph 20 of the report.

 

(4)        The Cabinet agreed that the contributions as outlined in paragraph 19 of the report in relation to the implementation of the Roding Valley Recreation Ground/Pubic Rights of Way infrastructure enhancement projects be reviewed by the relevant Portfolio Holder and the Leader, once the Masterplanning work for these projects had been carried out.

 

 

Minutes:

The Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder, Councillor Bedford, introduced the report.

 

Epping Forest contains land which was subject to international protection for its biodiversity value by way of its designation as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The Council has a legal duty as a ‘competent authority’ under the Habitats Regulations to protect internationally important sites, such as the Epping Forest SAC, from the effects of development. This can be best achieved using measures put in place at the Local Plan level.

 

This report specifically concerns the potential impact of residential development on the Epping Forest SAC in relation to additional visitors using the Forest for recreational purposes.

 

The Partnership Agreement presented replaces the ‘Interim Approach to Managing Recreational Pressure on the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation’ adopted by the Council in October 2018. The Agreement has been jointly developed by the Council with other competent authorities, Natural England, and the Corporation of London as Delivery Body. The document outlines the updated Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) Strategy for the Epping Forest and the Governance Arrangements to ensure that financial contributions that have been/will be collected from development were spent in accordance with the purposes for which they have been secured and that proper monitoring of spending was put in place. Further, it outlines the robust approach to apportioning the SAMM Strategy costs to individual local authorities, based upon the likely increase in visitor pressure from each local authority as a result of development through respective Local Plans.

 

Finally, the report sets out the proposed approach for how Epping Forest District Council would secure funding from development in its administrative area in order to meet the SAMM Strategy costs apportioned to the local authority area. 

 

The Partnership Agreement was considered by the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on 31 March 2022. As the report outlines, the Conservators of Epping Forest and the London Borough of Redbridge have approved the Partnership Agreement via their respective Committees and other neighbouring competent authorities are similarly progressing reports through their Committee processes.

 

Councillor Philip noted that recommendation 3 referred to paragraph 25, it should be paragraph 20 and changed accordingly. He then asked if the costs in paragraph 19 of the report were in addition to the “per dwelling” costs in paragraph 20. He also had a concern on the £716 per dwelling for the Roding Valley Recreational Ground work and noticed that Theydon Bois Parish Council was missing from the list. He noted that the SANG of the south Epping Masterplan area was significantly closer to Theydon Bois than Roding Valley Recreational Ground and as such it would be more sensible to tie those together, otherwise it may be that development in Theydon would be paying for work going on Roding Valley Recreation Ground. Can this be looked at again. Nicky Linihan the consultant for this work replied that Theydon Bois was included because the footpaths and other infrastructure enhancement projects was looking at doing improvements to the footpath network linking Debden to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 131.

132.

Quarter 3 Budget Monitoring Report 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 823 KB

Finance, Qualis Client & Economic Development – (C053-2021-22) - This report sets out the 2021/22 General Fund and Housing Revenue Account positions, for both revenue and capital, as at 31st December 2021 (“Quarter 3”).

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

1.         The Cabinet noted the General Fund revenue position at the end of Quarter 3 (31st December 2021) for 2021/22, including actions being or proposed to improve the position, where significant variances have been identified;

 

2.         The Cabinet noted the General Fund capital position at the end of Quarter 3 (31st December 2021) for 2021/22;

 

3.         The Cabinet noted the Housing Revenue Account revenue position at the end of Quarter 3 (31st December 2021) for 2021/22, including actions proposed to ameliorate the position, where significant variances have been identified; and

 

4.         The Cabinet noted the Housing Revenue Account capital position at the end of Quarter 3 (31st December 2021) for 2021/22.

 

 

Minutes:

The Finance, Qualis Client and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, Councillor Philip, introduced the report. It was noted that this report set out the 2021/22 General Fund and Housing Revenue Account positions, for both revenue and capital, as of 31st December 2021 (“Quarter 3”).

 

In terms of General Fund revenue expenditure – at the Quarter 3 stage – a budget over spend of £0.396 million, with projected net expenditure of £17.265 million against an overall budget provision of £16.869 million was forecast.

 

As reported in previous quarters this year, the financial pressure due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic had generally stabilised, with the Leisure Facilities budget especially now back on track (albeit based on lower income expectations) as leisure centre usage recovers more sharply than expected. Similarly, Car Park usage was now back to around 80% of pre-pandemic levels, although the budget is off track. Members should note however that, at the time of preparing this report, December 2021 data for both Leisure and Car Parking was still awaited, although there was some positive anecdotal evidence that suggests that the impact of the Omicron variant was not as great as initially feared.

 

However, there was a substantial overspend forecast (of £849,104) on the Commercial & Technical directorate, due to significant variable cost pressures on both the General Waste Collection and Recycling contracts, which were the most significant areas of concern.     

 

Decision:

 

1.         The Cabinet noted the General Fund revenue position at the end of Quarter 3 (31st December 2021) for 2021/22, including actions being or proposed to improve the position, where significant variances have been identified;

 

2.         The Cabinet noted the General Fund capital position at the end of Quarter 3 (31st December 2021) for 2021/22;

 

3.         The Cabinet noted the Housing Revenue Account revenue position at the end of Quarter 3 (31st December 2021) for 2021/22, including actions proposed to ameliorate the position, where significant variances have been identified; and

 

4.         The Cabinet noted the Housing Revenue Account capital position at the end of Quarter 3 (31st December 2021) for 2021/22.

 

Reason for Decision:

 

This report facilitates the scrutiny of the Council’s financial position for 2021/22.

 

In terms of General Fund revenue, overall it has been a stabilising picture following the turbulence experienced in 2020/21 (and during Quarter 1 this year) due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, as reported in previous quarters this year, there are still some remaining spending pressures, with the forecast overspend in the Commercial & Technical directorate being particularly pronounced at the Quarter 3 stage. The funding position appears more positive, especially on Council Tax. The net impact on the Council’s General Fund Reserve is especially important given the relatively limited contingency balance currently held.

 

There are some significant spending pressures on the HRA revenue budget, including ongoing issues with Housing Repairs, which has been challenging budget area in recent years.

 

Capital spending has been relatively limited in both the General Fund and HRA in the first half of the year.

 

The comments made at this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 132.

133.

Renewal of Council funding for the employment of a dedicated policing team within Epping Forest District. pdf icon PDF 318 KB

Housing Services – (C-054-2021-22)  - To agree to renew the existing Service Level Agreement (SLA) of the Council funded dedicated policing team within Epping Forest District.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

The Cabinet agreed to renew the existing Service Level Agreement (SLA) of the Council funded dedicated policing team within Epping Forest District.

 

 

Minutes:

The Housing Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor H Whitbread introduced the report. It was noted that an annual budget of £180,000 had been agreed for 3 years, to fund the provision of the employment of three full-time Police Officers by Essex Police, that comprises a sergeant and two police constables from June 2022 to June 2025, to be jointly tasked and directed by the Council and Essex Police.

 

This would provide a dedicated Police resource for the district across the district’s communities with full powers of arrest and enforcement and would support Council officers in specific work as identified in the report.

 

Councillor Philips noted that the resources had been agreed by full Council and was already in the budget.

 

Decision:

 

The Cabinet agreed to renew the existing Service Level Agreement (SLA) of the Council funded dedicated policing team within Epping Forest District.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

The impact of not renewing the SLA would be that EFDC will lose the ‘added value’ provided by the team and would rely on the District Community Policing Team that have competing demands placed upon them and will lose the ability to directly task the dedicated team.

 

Options Considered and Rejected:

 

EFDC to terminate the contract at the end of the 4-year period in June 2022.

 

 

134.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs 6 and 24 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution requires that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

 

In accordance with Operational Standing Order 6 (non-executive bodies), any item raised by a non-member shall require the support of a member of the Committee concerned and the Chairman of that Committee.  Two weeks' notice of non-urgent items is required.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that there was no other urgent business for consideration by the Cabinet.