Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet - Monday 9th October 2023 7.00 pm

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

Contact: V Messenger (Democratic Services)  Tel: (01992) 564243

Media

Items
No. Item

38.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast and the Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this hybrid meeting will be broadcast live to the internet (or filmed) and will be capable of repeated viewing (or other such use by third parties).

 

Therefore, by participating in this meeting, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings for webcasting and/or training purposes. If any public speakers on MS Teams do not wish to have their image captured, they should ensure that their video setting throughout the meeting is turned off and set to audio only.

 

Please also be aware that if technical difficulties interrupt the meeting that cannot be overcome, I may need to adjourn the meeting.

 

Members are reminded 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.

39.

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 Members’ Code of Conduct.

40.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 18 September 2023.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 18 September 2023 be taken as read and signed by the Leader as a correct record.

Minutes:

That the minutes of the Cabinet meeting held on 18 September 2023 be taken as read and signed by the Leader as a correct record.

41.

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:

(a)           Community Health and Wellbeing Portfolio

 

Councillor S Patel reported that a vigil was being held from 18.30 in Epping tonight by Rabbi Posen following the terrible events in Israel over the weekend, which Councillors L Burrows and H Whitbread were attending as representatives of the Council.

 

(b)           Customer and Corporate Support Services

 

Councillor S Kane reported that all members would soon be required to change their main log-in password following a potential security issue.

42.

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.

43.

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 Committee reported that there was nothing to report as there had been no recent meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

44.

Agenda Items Reordered

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Cabinet agreed the Landlord Compliance Policies agenda item would be dealt with later in the meeting, as Councillor H Whitbread had given her apologies for lateness since she was attending a vigil in Epping because of the terrible events in Israel over the weekend.

Minutes:

The Cabinet agreed the Landlord Compliance Policies agenda item would be dealt with later in the meeting, as Councillor H Whitbread had given her apologies for lateness since she was attending a vigil in Epping.

45.

Grounds Maintenance Update pdf icon PDF 134 KB

(Regulatory Services – Cllr K Williamson) To consider and comment on the contents of the report (C-019-2023-24).

Additional documents:

Decision:

Minutes:

The Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor K Williamson, informed the Cabinet that this update had been pre-scrutinised by Place Scrutiny Committee in September. The report detailed the challenges that had arisen and the steps Qualis Property Solutions had taken to mitigate them while continuing to strive to improve performance and customer satisfaction where it could.

 

Councillor J Philip queried if there were still seven vacancies (see paragraph 6 of agenda report), but the Regulatory Interim Service Director, M Thompson, clarified that as four FT posts had been recruited to, there were three vacancies currently.

 

The report set out the options considered, if any, and the reasons for the recommendation and the decision.

 

Decision:

 

That the Cabinet considered and agreed the report noting that, as four FT posts had been recruited to, there were three posts currently vacant.

46.

Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) - Dog Control

(Regulatory Services – Cllr K Williamson) To agree to the 28-day public consultation on the proposed PSPO (C-020-2023-24).

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)           That the Cabinet agreed to a 28-day public consultation on the proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

 

(2)           That the Cabinet agreed where greater than 60% of responses were positive that the proposed PSPO be implemented on the date specified in the public notice.

 

(3)           That the Cabinet agreed where more than 40% of objections were made, it would reconsider the proposal in light of those objections within 2 months of the date specified in the public notice.

Minutes:

The Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 introduced a variety of powers for local authorities to deal with anti-social behaviour including PSPOs to deal with a particular nuisance or problem in a certain area which, if detrimental to the local community’s quality of life, allowed conditions to be imposed on the use of that area and would apply to everyone.

 

Councillor K Williamson (Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder) advised that the Council tried to encourage responsible dog ownership, for the benefit of all residents and visitors to the District and that responsible ownership would be supported by a set of conditions outlined in the report. It was noted that there had been incidences in the District and having a PSPO in operation would streamline and improve the enforcement process carried out by the Council’s Environment & Neighbourhoods officers.

 

The Cabinet agreed to amend the wording of the second decision to read, ‘…where greater than 60% of responses…’, as below.

 

The report set out the options considered, if any, and the reasons for the recommendation and the decision.

 

            Decision:

 

(1)           That the Cabinet agreed to a 28-day public consultation on the proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

 

(2)           That the Cabinet agreed where greater than 60% of responses were positive that the proposed PSPO be implemented on the date specified in the public notice.

 

(3)           That the Cabinet agreed where more than 40% of objections were made, it would reconsider the proposal in light of those objections within 2 months of the date specified in the public notice.

47.

Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) - Debden Broadway pdf icon PDF 748 KB

(Regulatory Services – Cllr K Williamson) To agree to the 28-day public consultation on the proposed PSPO (C-021-2023-24).

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)           That the Cabinet agreed to a 28-day public consultation on the proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

 

(2)           That the Cabinet agreed where greater than 60% of responses were positive that the proposed PSPO be implemented on the date specified in the public notice.

 

(3)           That the Cabinet agreed where more than 40% of objections were made, it would reconsider the proposal in light of those objections within 2 months of the date specified in the public notice.

Minutes:

The Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder informed the Cabinet that a proposed PSPO was set up to provide a safe environment for residents, workers and the community when frequenting The Broadway. The Portfolio Holder recommended the report to Cabinet and that a decision on a 28-day consultation was being sought. The report had been pre-scrutinised by the Place Scrutiny Committee in September.

 

In reply to the Housing and Strategic Health Partnerships Portfolio Holder (Councillor H Whitbread), the Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder advised that other areas within the District could be looked at with a view to being funded by the Home Office ‘ASB hotspot patrols’ scheme as well. The Senior Crime and ASB Officer (M Faux) advised if another PSPO was set up, the exact same process based on evidence would be needed.

 

The Cabinet agreed to amend the wording of the second decision to read, ‘…where greater than 60% of responses…’, as below.

 

The report set out the options considered, if any, and the reasons for the recommendation and the decision.

 

Decision:

 

(1)           That the Cabinet agreed to a 28-day public consultation on the proposed Public Space Protection Order (PSPO).

 

(2)           That the Cabinet agreed where greater than 60% of responses were positive that the proposed PSPO be implemented on the date specified in the public notice.

 

(3)           That the Cabinet agreed where more than 40% of objections were made, it would reconsider the proposal in light of those objections within 2 months of the date specified in the public notice.

48.

Landlord Compliance Policies pdf icon PDF 132 KB

(Housing and Strategic Health Partnerships – Cllr H Whitbread) To adopt the Landlord Compliance Policies (C-018-2023-24).

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the Cabinet adopted the following Landlord Compliance Policies covering:

 

(1)           Electrical Safety Policy

 

(2)           Fire Safety Policy

 

(3)           Gas Safety Policy

 

(4)           Lift Safety Policy

 

(5)           Water Hygiene Policy

Minutes:

The Housing and Strategic Health Partnership Portfolio Holder recommended the report to Cabinet, as the Council was a provider of social housing and was required to meet the legislative standards in respect of the five safety policies detailed in the report.

 

In reply to Councillor S Kane (Customer and Corporate Support Services Portfolio Holder) about a Waltham Abbey resident not being allowed to park a mobility scooter in a communal area, Councillor H Whitbread clarified that nothing could be stored in the communal corridors of blocks but she would try and find a way forward on this.

 

The report set out the options considered, if any, and the reasons for the recommendation and the decision.

 

Decision:

 

That the Cabinet adopted the following Landlord Compliance Policies covering:

 

(1)           Electrical Safety Policy

 

(2)           Fire Safety Policy

 

(3)           Gas Safety Policy

 

(4)           Lift Safety Policy

 

(5)           Water Hygiene Policy

49.

Taxi Tariff Consultation pdf icon PDF 147 KB

(Regulatory Services – Cllr K Williamson) To agree to the 28-day public consultation on the proposed taxi tariff (C-024-2023-24).

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)           That the Cabinet agreed to a 28-day public consultation on the proposed taxi tariff.

 

(2)           That the Cabinet agreed that where no objections were made, the proposed taxi tariff be implemented on the date specified in the public notice.

 

(3)           That the Cabinet agreed that where objections were made, it would reconsider the proposal in light of those objections within 2 months of the date specified in the public notice.

Minutes:

Section 65 of the of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1976 permitted Licensing Authorities to set the fares tariff for Hackney carriages (taxis) licensed in the district. The tariff set the maximum fares that taxis could charge the public when using their vehicles. The report detailed the current taxi tariff agreed in 2014 and the proposed, increased tariffs. The Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder stated that the legislation required a public consultation and a public notice advertising the changes before the tariffs took effect. Therefore, the Cabinet’s agreement to a 28-day public consultation was being sought.

 

In reply to queries on the national and Essex councils rankings in the report, Councillor K Williamson replied that it depended on when other councils had undertaken their reviews.

 

The report set out the options considered, if any, and the reasons for the recommendation and the decision.

 

            Decision:

 

(1)           That the Cabinet agreed to a 28-day public consultation on the proposed taxi tariff.

 

(2)           That the Cabinet agreed that where no objections were made, the proposed taxi tariff be implemented on the date specified in the public notice.

 

(3)           That the Cabinet agreed that where objections were made, it would reconsider the proposal in light of those objections within 2 months of the date specified in the public notice.

50.

Any Other Business pdf icon PDF 116 KB

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:

Decision:

(a)           Updated Medium-Term Financial Plan 2024/25 to 2028/29

 

(1)           That the Cabinet noted the report, including the:

 

·         General Fund element of the updated Medium-Term Financial Plan (2024/25 to 2028/29) (Appendix A); and

 

·         Housing Revenue Account element of the updated Medium-Term Financial Plan (2024/25 to 2028/29) (Appendix B).

 

(2)           That the Cabinet considered and agreed with the assumptions contained in the MTFP and the potential options for addressing the underlying budget deficit in order to set a balanced budget for 2024/25.

 

(b)           Capital Programme Update 2024/25 to 2028/29

 

(1)           That the Cabinet noted the report, including both the updated General Fund and Housing Revenue Account Capital Programmes (2024/25 to 2028/29) at Appendix A.

 

(2)           That the Cabinet considered but did not identify any other actions (in the context of the updated Medium-Term Financial Plan) for the further refinement of the Capital Programme as part of developing integrated draft budget proposals for further consideration by Cabinet in December 2023.

Minutes:

(a)            Updated Medium-Term Financial Plan 2024/25 to 2028/29

 

The MTFP provided a tentative, forward look at the Council’s financial picture over the next five years (2024/25 through to 2028/29). Councillor J Philip (Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Holder) reported it would be a very difficult budget setting process this year because of the economic and wage situations along with inflation. There would be fewer easier opportunities going forwards. Appendix A detailed the General Fund element of the MTFP which revealed a projected deficit of £3.720 million in 2024/25. The HRA element of the MTFP (Appendix B) revealed a small surplus in 2024/25. It was noted the projected balance of the HRA in March 2024 could comfortably withstand the planned deficits in 2025/26 and 2026/27.

 

The report set out the options considered, if any, and the reasons for the recommendation and the decision.

 

Decision:

 

(1)           That the Cabinet noted the report, including the:

 

·         General Fund element of the updated Medium-Term Financial Plan (2024/25 to 2028/29) (Appendix A); and

 

·         Housing Revenue Account element of the updated Medium-Term Financial Plan (2024/25 to 2028/29) (Appendix B).

 

(2)           That the Cabinet considered and agreed with the assumptions contained in the MTFP and the potential options for addressing the underlying budget deficit in order to set a balanced budget for 2024/25.

 

(b)           Capital Programme Update 2024/25 to 2028/29

 

Introduced by the Finance and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, the Capital Programme Update was a key part of the early budget preparations for 2024/25. The updated (indicative) Capital Programme comprised a total investment of £210.258 million (General Fund £53.913 million and Housing Revenue Account £156.345 million) over the five-year period 2024/25 to 2028/29. The growth items were indicative. If the Council did not need to borrow it would not because of the high interest rates. The Leader (Councillor C Whitbread) remarked this was a bold outline.

 

The report set out the options considered, if any, and the reasons for the recommendation and the decision.

 

Decision:

 

(1)           That the Cabinet noted the report, including both the updated General Fund and Housing Revenue Account Capital Programmes (2024/25 to 2028/29) at Appendix A; and

 

(2)           That the Cabinet did not identify any other actions (in the context of the updated Medium-Term Financial Plan) for the further refinement of the Capital Programme as part of developing integrated draft budget proposals for further consideration by Cabinet in December 2023.