Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Monday, 26th July, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

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

Media

Items
No. Item

24.

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.

 

 

25.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct.

 

 

26.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 21 June 2021.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

That the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 21 June 2021 be taken as read and would be signed by the Leader as a correct record.

 

 

Minutes:

Decision:

 

That the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 21 June 2021 be taken as read and would be signed by the Leader as a correct record.

 

 

27.

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:

The Environmental and Technical Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor Avey, advised the meeting that at a recent meeting with the Council’s waste contractor, ‘Biffa’, he was advised that they may experience a shortage of drivers over the coming months, due to the lack or drivers being recruited and the ongoing effects of the Pandemic. This may result in reduced services.

 

Councillor Murray asked that all members be kept appraised of this situation over the coming months. Councillor Avey assured him that he would do so.

 

Councillor C Whitbread reminded the meeting that pandemic issues were still ongoing and that if possible, meetings should be kept virtual at present.

 

 

28.

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.

 

 

29.

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:

In the absence of the Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee; the Leader reported that they had not had a meeting since the last Cabinet and therefore had nothing to report.

 

 

30.

Progress with the Portfolio Advisory Group on Air pollution Mitigation Strategy pdf icon PDF 388 KB

Planning and Sustainability (C-010-2021-22) – to note the progress made on the delivery of the environmental and air pollution strategies supporting the Local Plan.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

1)    The Cabinet noted the considerable progress made by the group since its inception and the number of additional ideas and suggestions made by the group that are currently being investigated prior to possible implementation; and

 

2)    The Cabinet noted that the group’s success was heavily dependent on the ideas generated by the group, the evaluation of these ideas and advice given on their implementation. All members of the group were thanked for their contributions to date but it was considered that they would need to remain active in this regard over the following months.

 

 

Minutes:

The Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder, Councillor Bedford, introduced the report on the progress made by the Portfolio Advisory Group on the Air Pollution Mitigation Strategy. It was noted that the Council was already making significant progress with many of the environmental initiatives contained within the Local Plan, including bringing forward the first three of the green infra-structure projects and also significant developments in terms of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging, demand responsive transport and safer cycling routes. Specifically, in respect of air quality, the Council had implemented a published procedure where all new planning applications were scrutinised to determine whether they would deviate from the assumptions in the Local Plan air quality modelling, and to ensure that the necessary mitigation was built into their applications. Specifically, even with the release of small-scale developments, the environmental impacts of these were being re-evaluated, including held approvals, using the AECOM modelling approach. Councillor Bedford added that the detailed work continued as well as the promised establishment  of an officer technical group to inform the development and implementation of IAPMS actions and measures and tap into technical knowledge to keep abreast of emerging air pollution mitigation initiatives .

 

He added that according to the latest government figures EFDC was now the second highest district in terms of ultra-low emissions vehicles on the roads in Essex. Initial surveys of council car parks to ascertain their electrical capability for charging points were taking place. It was anticipated that the first site would be at Oakwood Hill. We were working with Essex County Council to try and establish charging points in lamp-posts focusing on areas where off street parking was lower. We were establishing working arrangements with parish and town councils on addressing climate change and air pollution. The Council would also be developing new proposals for council owned car parks and looking into the electrification of the council’s refuse fleet. They were also urging TfL to roll out further charging points at underground station car parks.

 

Councillor Philip welcomed this report and encouraged the portfolio holder to bring regular updating reports going forward. He would like to know about the amount of work that the City of London was putting in to improving the air quality in the forest.  Councillor Bedford said he had raised the issue of car parking charges and one of the issues he was looking at was to maybe bring a zero charge for electric vehicles. As for the Corporation of London they would be discussing the possibility of making their car parks free for electric vehicles.

 

Councillor Avey noted that some good ideas had come from the aborted “Next” application around Woodridden Hill and the junction with the M25; would these be brought forward and explored? Councillor Bedford conceded that was a sensible approach and was something to explore.

 

Councillor H Whitbread asked how the Council was engaging with local businesses to be more carbon neutral. She was told that they were being contacted with advice and education they needed to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Exclusion

To consider whether, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press should be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on grounds that they will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended) or are confidential under Section 100(A)(2):

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Exempt Information Paragraph Number

10

Proposed Letting of 2nd Floor, Civic Offices, Epping

3

 

The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, which came into effect on 1 March 2006, requires the Council to consider whether maintaining the exemption listed above outweighs the potential public interest in disclosing the information. Any member who considers that this test should be applied to any currently exempted matter on this agenda should contact the proper officer at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

 

Background Papers

Article 17 of the Constitution (Access to Information) define background papers as being documents relating to the subject matter of the report which in the Proper Officer's opinion:

 

(a)        disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based;  and

 

(b)        have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report and does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

The Council will make available for public inspection one copy of each of the documents on the list of background papers for four years after the date of the meeting. Inspection of background papers can be arranged by contacting either the Responsible Officer or the Democratic Services Officer for the particular item.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That, in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below as they would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of the Act indicated, and the exemption was considered to outweigh the potential public interest in disclosing the information:

 

Agenda Item

Subject

Paragraph Number

 

10

 

            Proposed letting of 2nd Floor, Civic     Offices, Epping.

 

 

3

 

Minutes:

That, in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below as they would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of the Act indicated, and the exemption was considered to outweigh the potential public interest in disclosing the information:

 

Agenda Item

Subject

Paragraph Number

 

10

 

            Proposed letting of 2nd Floor, Civic     Offices, Epping.

 

 

3

 

32.

Proposed Letting of 2nd Floor, Civic Offices, High Street Epping

Finance, Qualis Client and Economic Development (C-011-2021-22) - To consider an opportunity for EFDC to lease the 2nd floor of the Civic Offices (excluding the auditorium) for use as a Serviced Office.

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

The Cabinet agreed to lease the 2nd floor Civic Offices, High Street Epping CM16 4BZ to Seed Space 1 Limited for a Serviced Office and trading as a franchise of Regus.

 

 

Minutes:

The Finance, Qualis Client and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, Councillor Philip introduced the report. He noted that the Pandemic had accelerated alternative working practices and with this they could now think of letting the 2nd floor. This was an opportunity for EFDC to lease the 2nd floor of the Civic Offices (excluding the auditorium) for use as a Serviced Office to Seed Space 1 Limited who was the IWG approved and exclusive multi-unit franchise partner for this region and who would be trading as Regus. This had a number of benefits to EFDC such as:

 

1.         Income generation of an area of the Civic Offices that has never before been commercialised. This also includes payment of Business Rates and Service Charge for the same part of the building EFDC have always historically paid themselves and represents further savings.

2.         A benefit to the local community by offering professional, contemporary and flexible workspace to both new start up and existing businesses.

3.         Regus was an Internationally known brand which helps to cement the image of the Council.

4.         Suitable commercial lease terms have been agreed, subject to EFDC consent and other commercial stipulations set out in the Heads of Terms.

 

Councillor Patel asked what outcomes we were first looking for, and what was the beak option. He was told that at first, we did not expect to rent out the second floor and it had a no-break clause.

 

Councillor Bedford asked if we would get additional funding from business rates and was there a service charge. He was told that yes there was a service charge (per square foot) covering all services except electricity.

 

Councillor Murray asked if the income was better than we anticipated and were we getting near the market rates. He was told that the definition of market rates was the maximum we could get for a space. This had been marketed extensively and this was the best offer. Councillor Murray commented that this was an excellent report and he was very supportive.

 

Councillor Patel asked what would be the impact on the day to day functioning of the Civic offices. He was told that the second floor would operate as a separate autonomous unit.

 

In response to Councillor Heap’s query Councillor Philip said that due diligence had been undertaken on the company by officers and outside agencies.

 

Councillor Brookes expressed concern about the amount of parking spaces allocated to the second floor. She was assured that EFDC had sufficient space allocated. And as we did not have staff on the second floor, we had a reduced need for car parking spaces.

 

Councillor C Whitbread said that this would bring back life to our high street and for small businesses this was a way forward.

 

Decision:

 

The Cabinet agreed to lease the 2nd floor Civic Offices, High Street Epping CM16 4BZ to Seed Space 1 Limited for a Serviced Office and trading as a franchise of Regus.

 

 

Reasons for Proposed Decision:

 

Recommend that the Cabinet approve a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

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.