Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday, 17th December, 2019 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Democratic Services Manager Tel: (01992) 564243  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

61.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking. The Democratic Services Manager will read the following announcement:

 

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

 

If you are seated in the lower public seating area it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in the possibility that your image will become part of the broadcast.

 

This may infringe your human and data protection rights and if you wish to avoid this you should move to the upper public gallery.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Officer reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the Internet, and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.

62.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 722 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 5 November 2019 (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the Council meeting held on 5 November 2019 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

63.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)          Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor S Murray and J H Whitehouse declared a non pecuniary interest in agenda item 10 (Motion) by virtue of being a volunteer for the Foodbank. The Councillors advised that they would remain and vote on this item.

 

(b)          Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor C McCredie declared a non pecuniary interest in agenda item 10 (Motion) by virtue of her husband managing the Foodbank in Loughton. Councillor C McCredie advised that she would remain and vote on this item.

 

(c)           Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor S Murray declared a non pecuniary interest in agenda item 10 (Motion) by virtue of him being a Citizen’s Advice Bureau Trustee. Councillor S Murray advised that he would remain and vote on this item.  

64.

Announcements

(a)        Apologies for Absence

 

(b)        Chairman’s Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)          Debden Park High School

 

The Chairman asked members to stand for a minutes silence in regards to the recent tragic incident at Debden Park High School, where a 12 year old student had sadly lost his life along with other people who had been involved and effected by the incident.

 

(b)          The Chairman’s Announcements

 

The Chairman advised that he had attended numerous events and festive services around the District, including the Council’s Civic Carol Service which he hosted at The Abbey Church, in Waltham Abbey.

 

The Chairman also notified members that he would be holding a fundraising ‘Prosecco, Port and Pudding’ event on Monday 27 January 2020 in aide of Young Carers.

 

(c)           Flowers

 

The Chairman announced that he intended to send the flowers from the meeting to Residential Home Cunningham House, North Weald.

65.

Members' Allowances Scheme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 307 KB

To consider the attached report of the Remuneration Panel, to be presented by Mr. S. Lye.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Remuneration Panel, S Lye presented a report following the annual review of the Epping Forest District Members’ Allowances Scheme, which set out the Panels conclusions and recommendations with regard to the application of members’ allowances for the 2020/21 municipal year.

 

Report as first moved ADOPTED

 

            RESOLVED:

 

Basic Allowance

 

(1)    That no change be made to the level of Basic Allowance of £4,300.00 per member per annum, currently included in the Council’s Members’ Allowances Scheme for the 2020/21 municipal year;

 

Special Responsibility Allowance

 

(2)    That no changes be made to the application or implementation of the Special Responsibility Allowances currently included in the Members’ Allowances Scheme for the 2020/21 municipal year;

 

(3)    That no change be made to increasing the implementation level of Special Responsibility Allowance applied to the responsibilities identified in the Members’ Allowances Scheme;

 

Revised Scheme and Guidance

 

(4)    That the addition of the chairman of the appropriate committee be included  as an additional level of approval for the determination of approved duties for the reimbursement of subsistence expenses in relation to member attendance at conferences etc be agreed;

 

(5)    That, subject to the above recommendations and other administrative matters set out in the report, the Members’ Allowances Scheme and Guidance for 2020/21 attached as Appendix 1 be adopted and implemented with effect from 25 May 2020;

 

(6)    That the Statement of Implementation of the Special Responsibility Allowances set out in the Members’ Allowances Scheme for 2020/21, attached as Appendix 2 be agreed; and

 

(7)    That the Panel continue be kept appraised of the Council’s intentions with regard to any future restructure proposals that directly affect the application of Special Responsibility Allowance for the specific member roles and responsibilities currently reflected in the Members’ Allowances Scheme.

66.

Public Questions (If Any)

To answer questions asked after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within Part 4 of the Council Rules of the Constitution on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties or which affects the District:

 

(a)        to the Leader of the Council;

 

(b)        to any Portfolio Holder; or

 

(c)        to the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

Questions, if any, will follow if not received in time to be incorporated into the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council noted that there were no public questions that had been submitted for consideration at this meeting.

67.

Questions By Members Under Notice

To answer questions asked after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within the Council’s rules in Part 4 of the Constitution on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties or which affects the District:

 

(a)                  to the Chairman of the Council;

 

(b)                  to the Leader of the Council;

 

(c)                  to any Member of the Cabinet; or

 

(d)                  the Chairman of any Committee or Sub-Committee.

 

The Council’s rules provide that answers to questions under notice may take the form of:

 

(a)             direct oral answer;

 

(b)             where the desired information is in a publication of the Council or other published work, a reference to that publication; or

 

(c)             where the reply cannot conveniently be given orally, a written answer circulated later to the questioner.

 

Answers to questions falling within (a) and (b) above will be made available to the member asking the question one hour before the meeting. Answers to questions falling within (c) above will be circulated to all councillors.

 

Questions, if any, will follow if not received in time to be incorporated into the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council noted that there were no members questions given under notice that had been submitted for consideration at this meeting.

68.

Reports from the Leader & Members of the Cabinet pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To receive reports and any announcements from the Leader and members of the Cabinet on matters falling within their area of responsibility:

 

(a)        Report of the Leader;

 

(b)        Report of the Business Support Services Portfolio Holder (attached);

 

(c)        Report of the Contract and Technical Services Portfolio Holder (attached);

 

(d)        Report of the Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder (attached);

 

(e)        Report of the Community and Partnership Services Portfolio Holder (attached);

 

(f)        Report of the Customer Services Portfolio Holder (attached);

 

(g)        Report of the Housing and Property Services Portfolio Holder (attached);

 

(i)         Report of the Planning Services Portfolio Holder (attached); and

 

(j)         Report of the Strategic Projects Portfolio Holder (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received written reports from Portfolio Holders. The Chairman invited the Leader of Council to provide an oral report and the opportunity for other members of the Cabinet to give updates on matters concerning their relevant service areas.

 

(a)          The Leader of the Council

 

Councillor C Whitbread congratulated Councillor G Mohindra on his recent successful election, as a Member of Parliament for South West Hertfordshire and to all the other members that had contributed to the General Election on 12 December 2019.

 

In regards to Council business, he had attended the Essex’s Leaders and Chief Executive meeting. which had provided updates on Brexit planning and the proposals for young people leaving care. This included consideration for exemption on council tax up to the age of 21, other concessions and work experience opportunities.

 

Furthermore, the Cabinet continued to work on the budget for 2020/21, which included investment in frontline services and bring back other provisions. The Accommodation Strategy was moving forward and provided a vision for the future of the Council including discussions taking place with Essex County Council with regards to the library services and a planning application for St John’s Road Development. This  would be submitted shortly, following the report to Cabinet on 6 January 2020 which included a wider look at the area, to consider future provisions required including parking.      

 

(b)          Contracts and Technical Services Portfolio Holder

 

Councillor N Avey advised that he had met with Transport for London (TfL) regarding the changes to the Central Line timetable in January 2020. TfL had advised that the proposed reduction in service would be to resolve engine problems, which were causing regular delays to the service, which would continue until 2023.

 

During the maintenance programme, trains would be given increased wheelchair spaces, visual graphic announcements and CCTV. TfL advised that a new fleet would be operational 2030/33 and, in the meantime, the maintenance programme would improve reliability of the Central Line, although there would be a reduction of trains from Epping in the peak periods but additional trains from Loughton.

 

He had requested that TfL keep both the Council and residents informed throughout this programme of work and TfL had been requested to attend a future Overview and Scrutiny Committee to explain the work programme.

 

(c)           Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder

 

Councillor A Patel advised that the Council had purchased the Loughton Centric Parade, which included 40 car parking spaces to the rear, 9 flats above and 18 commercial and offices units. Subject to planning approval, there were further opportunities  for residential development.  The purchase had complied with many of the key corporate policies, plans and strategies of the Council.

 

(d)          Housing and Property Portfolio Holder

 

Councillor H Whitbread advised that opening ceremony for Davis Court had been postponed due to purdah and this had been arranged for the New Year.

69.

Questions by Members Without Notice

The Council’s rules provide for questions by any member of the Council to the Leader or any Portfolio Holder, without notice on:

 

(i)            reports under the previous item; or

 

(ii)           any other matter of a non operational character in relation to the powers and  duties of the Council or which affects all or part of the District or some or all of  its inhabitants.

 

The Council’s rules provide that answers to questions without notice may take the form of:

 

(a)            a direct oral answer from the Leader or, at the request of the Leader, from another member of the Cabinet;

 

(b)            where the desired information is in a publication of the Council or other published work, a reference to that publication;

 

(c)            where the reply cannot conveniently be given orally, a written answer circulated later to the questioner; or

 

(d)            where the question relates to an operational matter, the Leader or a member of the Cabinet will request that a response be given direct to the questioner by the relevant Service Director.

 

In accordance with the Council’s rules, a time limit of thirty minutes is set for questions. Any question not dealt with within the time available will receive a written reply. The Chairman may extend this period by up to a further ten minutes at their discretion.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)          Lowewood Museum

 

Councillor M Sartin asked the Community and Partnership Services Portfolio Holder for an update on the recent decision by Broxbourne Borough Council concerning  Lowewood Museum.

 

Councillor N Bedford advised the Council had managed Broxbourne Borough Council’s Lowewood Museum under a Service Level Agreement (SLA) since 2012.  Unfortunately they had informed the Council that they could no longer justify a proposed investment and were considering the future viability of the service. Therefore the Council believed that it was the right time to give notice and terminate the SLA which would revert the management back to Broxbourne Borough Council in June 2020.

 

(b)          Private Sector Employment

 

Councillor R Baldwin asked the Leader whether the Council had a policy to assist  private sector industries based in the District?

 

Councillor C Whitbread advised the Council was there to support all local high streets and employers in the District.

 

(c)           Free Car Parking

 

Councillor L Burrows asked the Contract and Technical Services Portfolio Holder whether all the Council owned carparks within the District were free over the weekends during the festive period.

 

Councillor N Avey advised that yes, all the Council carparks were free in December on the weekends and bank holidays, to assist the local high streets during the festive season.

 

(d)          Car Parking Policy

 

Councillor C C Pond asked for further details on Car Parking Policy for the District, which had been mentioned in the Strategic Projects Portfolio Holder’s report.

 

Councillor N Avey advised that a car parking tariff review was underway with details due back for consideration by March 2020. Furthermore, the Council was also considering new technology for parking and other associated issues in the District including Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).

 

Councillor S Murray remarked the Council’s appreciation to the emergency services, professional support services and clergy within Loughton, in regards to the provisions received following the tragic events at Debden Park High School on 2 December 2019.

 

(e)          Foodbank

 

Councillor S Murray asked the Leader of Council whether he was aware that Epping Forest Foodbank had distributed 4870 meals within the last 3 months, of which 2020 had been for children and represented 61% increase on the same period since 2018.

 

Councillor C Whitbread advised that he had been aware of the increased usage of foodbanks, which had partly been why a motion had been brought forward this evening to increase funding. Unfortunately, he believed that there would always be a need for this type of assistance for families left in difficult financial circumstances.

 

(f)            Crime Figures for the District

 

Councillor D Sunger asked the Community and Partnership Services Portfolio Holder for an update on crime figures for the District.

 

Councillor N Bedford advised that over a twelve month period the following types of crime had reduced; All Theft by 7.9%: Residential Associated Burglary by 34.35%;  Business Associated Burglary by 26.3%; All Vehicles Offences by 6%; and Anti-Social Behaviour by 13.3%. There had been a slight increase in Robbery on Persons which had increased by 8.8%.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.

70.

Motions pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To consider any motions, notice of which has been given under the Council’s rules.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

(a)          Voluntary and Charitable Organisations

 

Moved by Councillor S. Murray and seconded by Councillor S. Neville

 

“Epping Forest District Council:

 

(1) Notes the important role played by voluntary and charitable organisations within our local communities throughout the district in providing a very wide range of local opportunities and support services.

 

(2) Celebrates the efforts and commitments of the many hundreds of volunteers who help in the delivery of these important projects; and

 

(3) Resolves to continue to give as much support as possible to these groups and organisations.”

 

Carried

 

Motion as first proposed ADOPTED

           

            RESOLVED:

 

That Epping Forest District Council:

 

(1) Notes the important role played by voluntary and charitable organisations within our local communities throughout the district in providing a very wide range of local opportunities and support services.

 

(2) Celebrates the efforts and commitments of the many hundreds of volunteers who help in the delivery of these important projects; and

 

(3) Resolves to continue to give as much support as possible to these groups and organisations.

 

(b)          Foodbank

 

Moved by Councillor H. Whitbread and seconded by Councillor S. Kane

 

“1.        That the Council recognises the valuable work and support that the Epping Forest Foodbank provides to our residents in need and the wider community.

 

2.         That the Council recognises that the activities of the Epping Forest Foodbank supports the aims of the Council notably Corporate Plan Objective 4 – safeguarding and supporting people in vulnerable situations.

 

3.         That the Council provides immediate assistance to the Epping Forest Foodbank, recognising the existing commitment of £5,000 already agreed, by agreeing to a further sum of £1,500 to help those in need through the festive period.

 

4.         That the Council provides premises for the Epping Forest Foodbank in Waltham Abbey to support their work in that area; and

 

5.         That the Council works with the Epping Forest Foodbank to produce a Service Level Agreement that sets out the Council's commitment for support to the Epping Forest Foodbank and defines the support work that the Foodbank provides in relation to that support.”

 

Carried

 

Motion as first moved ADOPTED

 

            RESOLVED:

 

1.         That the Council recognises the valuable work and support that the Epping Forest Foodbank provides to our residents in need and the wider community.

 

2.         That the Council recognises that the activities of the Epping Forest Foodbank supports the aims of the Council notably Corporate Plan Objective 4 – safeguarding and supporting people in vulnerable situations.

 

3.         That the Council provides immediate assistance to the Epping Forest Foodbank, recognising the existing commitment of £5,000 already agreed, by agreeing to a further sum of £1,500 to help those in need through the festive period.

 

4.         That the Council provides premises for the Epping Forest Foodbank in Waltham Abbey to support their work in that area; and

 

5.         That the Council works with the Epping Forest Foodbank to produce a Service Level Agreement that sets out the Council's commitment for support to the Epping Forest Foodbank and defines the support work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 70.

71.

Local Council Tax Support Scheme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 109 KB

(Customer Services Portfolio Holder) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mover: Councillor S Kane, Customer Services Portfolio Holder

 

Councillor S. Kane presented a report regarding the Local Council Tax Support Scheme for 2020/21, which had remained unchanged from 2019/20.

 

Report as first moved ADOPTED

 

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the revised Local Council Tax Support Scheme for 2020/21 be approved.

           

72.

Audit and Governance Committee Annual Report 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

(Chairman of Audit and Governance Committee) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor J Knapman, the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee

 

Councillor J Knapman presented the Audit and Governance Annual Report 2018/19.

 

The Leader thanked the officers and members of the Audit and Governance Committee for their work throughout the year.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Annual Report of the Audit & Governance Committee for 2018/19 be noted.

73.

Anti-Fraud & Corruption Strategy pdf icon PDF 98 KB

(Chairman of Audit and Governance Committee) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee, Councillor J Knapman reported that the Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy had been reviewed and considered by the  Audit and Governance Committee on 25 November 2019. The Strategy has been revised in light of the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 (MLR 2017).

 

Report as first moved ADOPTED

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Council’s revised Anti-Fraud and Corruption Strategy, as attached at Appendix 3 to these minutes be approved.

74.

Statutory Statement of Accounts - 2018/19

To consider the attached report and the Statutory Statement of Accounts 2018/19 (to follow).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of the Council advised that the External Auditors were still carrying out the final closure of the accounts. Therefore the Statutory Statement of Accounts for 2019/20 would be presented at the Council meeting on 25 February 2020. There had been no major issues reported and measures had been taken  to ensure future annual accounts would be reviewed and approved more rapidly.

75.

Appointment of Co-Opted Member - Progress Report pdf icon PDF 199 KB

(Chairman of Audit and Governance Committee) To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor J Knapman, the Chairman of the Audit and Governance Committee

 

Councillor J Knapman reported that a recruitment process for two Independent Members of the Audit and Governance Committee was required, as both positions were now vacant. The vacancies did not affect the quorum of the Audit and Governance Committee, although they provided a degree of independence and complied with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy’s guidelines and best practice for local authority Audit Committees.

 

In order to ensure that the Interview and Selection Panel could progress for the vacant positions, Group Leaders were requested to nominate substitute members in addition to the appointed Panel agreed at the Council meeting 19 September 2019.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

(1) That the progress with the appointment for the vacant Co-Opted Member position on the Audit & Governance Committee be noted;

 

(2) That the need to repeat the recruitment process for the vacant Co-Opted Member positions on the Audit & Governance Committee be noted;

 

(3) That, the Group Leaders of the Conservative, Loughton Residents Association, Green Party and Liberal Democrats nominated a substitute member for the Interview and Selection Panel and advise Democratic Services; and

 

(4) That the resignation of Ms. N Nanayakkara, the other co-opted member on the Audit & Governance Committee, be noted.

76.

Appointment of Member Champion for Armed Forces

Recommending:

 

That the Council appoint an Armed Forces Member Champion for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.

 

1.            The Armed Forces Community Covenant is a voluntary statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local Armed Forces Community. The purpose of the Community Covenant is to encourage support for the Armed Forces Community who are working and residing in Essex, and to recognise and remember the sacrifices made.

 

2.            The Council became signatories to the Essex Community Covenant on 6November 2012 and has given increased priority to Armed Forces personnel through the Housing Allocations Scheme and Local Council Tax and Housing Benefits Schemes, and supports many events for serving and former personnel.

 

3.            For the Council to successfully implement the Covenant, a core infrastructure is required which includes the appointment of a Member Champion. The purpose of the Champion is to promote and advocate the interests of the Armed Forces Community within the local authority area; to act as single point of contact; and to engage with the Armed Forces Community locally to identify key issues of concern.

 

4.            As required by the protocol for the appointment of Member Champions agreed by the Council on 30 July 2019, all members have been consulted and given the opportunity to register their interest. Councillors J Lea, S Murray and B Rolfe have advised their interest in this role.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In order for the Council to successfully implement the Armed Forces Community Covenant, an appointment for a Member Champion was required. Three members had indicated their interest in this role and as the members had demonstrated variety experience and knowledge, the Council decided to appoint all of the members to this role.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That Councillors J Lea, S Murray and B Rolfe be appointed as the Armed Forces Member Champions for the remainder of the 2019/20 municipal year.

 

77.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 230 KB

(a)          To receive the report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and to answer any questions without notice asked in accordance with Council Rules.

 

(b)          Reports of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (if any);

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council received a written report from Councillor M Sartin, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. She advised that following the Contract and Technical Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor N Avey recent meeting with Transport for London (TfL), the Overview and Scrutiny Committee would be adding TfL to their work programme.

 

Furthermore, following the last meeting the Chief Officer, J Foile from Voluntary Action Epping Forest (VAEF) had extended an invitation to all members to meet with her on a one-to-one basis, if they wished to find out more about VAEF.

 

Councillor S Murray asked that the Committee could take the next opportunity to scrutinise  the recent decision of the Council’s Group Company, which Councillor M Sartin noted. 

78.

Joint Arrangements & External Organisations pdf icon PDF 176 KB

(a)               To receive a report from Councillor H Kane, as the Council’s representative for the Royal Gunpowder Mills;

 

(b)               To receive from Council representatives any other reports on the business of joint arrangements and external organisations and to receive answers to any questions on those bodies which may be put without notice; and

 

(c)                To request written reports from representatives on joint arrangements and external organisations for future meetings.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)          The Council received a written report regarding the Royal Gunpowder from Councillor H Kane.

 

(b)          There were no requests made for written reports by representatives on joint arrangements and external organisations for the next meeting.