Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Monday, 12th July, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Conference Suite - Civic Offices. View directions

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

Media

Items
No. Item

15.

Webcasting Introduction

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

 

(b)          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.

 

 

16.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Pursuant to the Council’s Member Code of Conduct, Councillor A Lion declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 8 – ‘Essex and Herts Digital Innovation Zone – Annual Report’, by virtue of being the Chairman of the Essex and Hertfordshire Digital Innovation Zone. The Councillor had determined that his interest was non-pecuniary and that he would stay in the meeting for the consideration of the item.

 

 

17.

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.

 

 

18.

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.

 

 

19.

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 it was reported that at their last meeting the Committee had considered the Qualis 4 year business plan, which was on this meetings’ agenda, where they had a full and frank debate on Qualis and thoroughly discussed the report.

 

The Committee agreed that the Overview and Scrutiny 2020/21 Annual Report of the work undertaken during the past municipal year be submitted to Council for approval on 29 July 2021 and they also went on to consider their and the Select Committees’ work programmes.

 

 

20.

Implementation of the Local Plan: Update on Progress pdf icon PDF 542 KB

Planning and Sustainability (C-007-2021-22) - to provide members with regular updates on the progress of Masterplans and Concept Frameworks within Epping Forest District to ensure that members are kept fully up to date.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

 

(1)        The progress of Masterplans and Concept Frameworks, including the use of Planning Performance Agreements and the progress of other proposals at pre-application and application stage was noted together with the positive progress being made on the Local Plan as its reaches the next stage of Main Modification Consultations; and

 

(2)        The Cabinet approved the Housing Action Plan and its publication.

 

 

Minutes:

The Planning and Sustainability Portfolio Holder introduced the update on progress of the implementation of the Local Plan.

 

This report was prepared by the Policy & Implementation Team to provide members with an update on the progress of Strategic Masterplans, Concept Frameworks and Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs) within the District, including major projects and planning applications dealt with by the team.  Scheduled meetings and workshops continue to take place with site promoters and developers in accordance with project plans agreed within PPAs.  Consideration was being given to whether some workshops/meeting could take place in person later this year, subject to COVID restrictions. The majority of community engagement were still taking place virtually and this would be reviewed periodically. 

 

The District’s emerging Local Plan was progressing well and was at an advanced stage.  As such, the Local Plan was being given substantial weight in the assessment of planning applications. The Local Plan Inspector was close to finalising the Main Modifications Schedule which will be published for consultation.  Preparation includes a member briefing session, presentation of all consultation materials and guidance on the Council’s website, communication via the consultee database, press releases, information at libraries and on social media.  Following the consideration of the representations, the Inspector would determine if the Local Plan was ‘sound’ and if so, was likely to be adopted by the District Council in later 2021.

 

The consultation will commence on 15 July and end on 23 September. The statutory 6 week period will be extended to 10 weeks to allow for consultation over the holiday period.   The consultation is on the Schedule of Main Modifications and supporting documents associated with the Main Modifications only. 

 

It was worth remembering that this was now the Inspectors Plan and no longer the Council’s plan; it was just the major modifications that were being consulted on.

 

Decision:

 

(1)        The progress of Masterplans and Concept Frameworks, including the use of Planning Performance Agreements and the progress of other proposals at pre-application and application stage was noted together with the positive progress being made on the Local Plan as it reaches the next stage of Main Modification Consultations; and

 

(2)        The Cabinet approved the Housing Action Plan and its publication.

 

 

 

Reasons for Proposed Decision

 

To ensure that members were kept fully up to date on the progress of Masterplans and Concept Frameworks and other major proposals being promoted within the District.

 

To comply with the Council’s general obligations as a local planning authority and the requirements set out in national planning guidance.

 

Other Options for Action:

 

Not to update members on the progress on the above issues would be contrary to the commitment made by the Implementation Team as noted in the 18 October 2018 Cabinet Report.

 

To not prepare or to delay the publication of the Housing Action Plan would be contrary to advice contained within NPPF and NPPG.

 

 

21.

Essex and Herts Digital Innovation Zone - Annual Report pdf icon PDF 310 KB

Finance, Qualis Client and Economic Development (C-008-2021-22) - The DIZ Annual Progress Report sets out the partnership’s work programme over the last twelve months, highlighting key achievements and challenges, as well as initiating a discussion on future priorities.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

 

(1)        The Cabinet received and commented on the Annual Progress report of the Essex & Herts Digital Innovation Zone; and

 

(2)        Provided guidance on the district’s longer-term digital ambition around place-making.

 

 

Minutes:

The Finance, Qualis Client and Economic Development Portfolio Holder introduced the Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) annual report.

 

It was noted that the award-winning Essex & Herts Digital Innovation Zone (DIZ) was established by Epping Forest DC and was supported and led by EFDC officers and members. The key roles of the DIZ was to make this area the best connected place of its type in the UK, attract and deploy investment in digital infrastructure from the public and private sectors and to encourage that the greatest value was derived from this investment through using it to allow: more flexible business activity, increased community engagement and skills and knowledge sharing, and specific purposes such as the GP practices and Hospitals being better connected.

 

The DIZ Annual Progress Report set out the partnership’s work programme over the twelve months, April 2020 to March 2021, highlighting key achievements and challenges, as well as initiating a discussion on future priorities.

 

Councillor Lion noted that the DIZ had been set up following the delivery of the  Broadband Rural Challenge Programme. The intention was to make Epping Forest the best connected District in the UK. There were now 5 District Councils and 2 County Councils involved in the DIZ, attending monthly meetings to receive updates and get involved. He went on to thank Mike Warr and John Houston for their hard work and the tremendous amount of background work carried out in setting this up. When we started, we were told by the big operators that we were too small as a District Council, so we eventually established 5 districts, 3 in Essex and 2 in Hertfordshire. And since, we have been very successful in getting a number of projects off the ground, including providing full broadband services to GPs. It’s been a real innovation and made a substantial difference to Epping Forest.

 

Councillor C Whitbread echoed the thanks to the officers concerned.

 

Councillor Bedford commented that he had attended a meeting at Whipps Cross and noted that following the Covid situation, Whipps Cross Hospital were looking to move to virtual outpatients appointments and hopefully we could mirror that with our new hospital; also they made a statement that they hoped to be the most digitally advance hospital in the country and he hoped we could match that and if possible improve on it. Councillor Philip added that clearly Health was an important part of this scheme and he noted that we had over 80% of our premises covered by gigabit broadband. That made us a leader in Essex.

 

Councillor Patel welcomed the support we were giving our partners, especially the GPs. He went on to ask at what point were we going to commercialise this and make money for the council. Councillor Lion noted that the DIZ was set up to reflect the Princess Alexandra Hospital footprint to manage and improve the digital services from a digital NHS point of view. We were now the first in the country to do so and were being studied  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Qualis 4 Year Business Plan - 2021/22 to 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 462 KB

Finance, Qualis Client and Economic Development (C009-2021-22) - It is a requirement of the Shareholder agreement that each year Qualis produce and present to the Council a one year and a 4 year Business Plan for the Council to consider and sign-off.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

 

(1)        The Cabinet considered the views expressed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and made any amendments considered necessary to recommend to Council; and

 

(2)        The Cabinet approved the 4 Year Qualis Business Plan, including the specific permission set out within the covering report.

 

 

Minutes:

The Finance, Qualis Client and Economic Development Portfolio Holder introduced the 4 year Qualis Business Plan. He noted that this had also been keenly debated at the previous Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting. No amendments were considered necessary. He emphasised that the Council was not putting its Council Housing stock to Qualis.

 

This report presented the 4 Year Qualis Business Plan and sought the Council’s permission to adopt this as its direction and focus.  As a four years business plan it would inevitably change every year according to circumstances but a there will be a one year interim plan submitted each year.

 

Councillor Patel asked when Qualis proposed to raise its own capital and what was the longevity of the loan finance, and how would it be used. He was told that Qualis were hoping to call down finance from the marketplace in the coming year. They would be reinvesting profits back into Qualis. As for the council loan, this was tied into particular projects which will have to have their own business cases.

 

Councillor H Whitbread was pleased to see that Council Housing was protected and asked what was Qualis’ plan for affordable housing. She was told that Qualis was looking for a mixture of housing, including affordable housing according to the needs identified.

 

Councillor C Whitbread commented that it was important to the Council that Qualis was a success as it underlined much of what we did. He was pleased that it was made clear that we had no intention to transfer our Council Housing stock to Qualis and that although there were two members of the District Council on their Board, there were no members of the Cabinet that sat on the Qualis Board.

 

Decision:

 

(1)        The Cabinet considered the views expressed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and made any amendments considered necessary to recommend to Council; and

 

(2)        The Cabinet approved the 4 Year Qualis Business Plan, including the specific permission set out within the covering report.

 

 

Other Options for Action:

 

None, it was a requirement of the Shareholder agreement that each year Qualis produce and present to the Council a one year and a 4 year Business Plan for the Council to consider and sign-off.

 

 

23.

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.