Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping
Contact: Gary Woodhall / J Leither Tel: (01992) 564243 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking. The Democratic and Electoral Services Team 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.”
The Democratic and Electoral Services Manager 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.
Declarations of Interest
To declare interests in any item on the agenda.
There were no declarations of interest made pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct.
To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting of Annual Council held on 26 May 2022, as attached.
That the minutes of the Annual Council meeting held on 26 May 2022 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
(a) Chairman’s Announcements
(a) Announcements by the Chairman of Council
(i) Supplementary Reports
The Chairman brought to the attention of Members that as an addition to the agenda there were a further four supplementary reports:
· Report of the Housing and Community Portfolio Holder;
· Updated report of the Technical Services Portfolio Holder (pages 59-64);
· Updated Report of the Contracts & Commissioning Portfolio Holder (pages 57-58); and
· Appointment Panel: Vacant Position on the Licensing Sub-Committee; and
Joint Arrangements & External Organisations: Appointments to the Epping Forest Culture and Community Trust (Items 11a and 12 on the agenda)
(ii) Councillor P Bhanot, MBE
The Chairman congratulated Councillor P Bhanot for receiving an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022, for his services to the Community of Chigwell.
(iii) Derek Whitbread, BEM
The Chairman congratulated Derek Whitbread, an on-call firefighter at Epping who has served the town of Epping for 47 years and was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2022. In the past he had also received an award at the Council’s Civic Awards in recognition of the work and service he had given locally.
(iv) Lord Lieutenants Platinum Jubilee Service
The Chairman advised that she had attended the Lord Lieutenants Platinum Jubilee Service at Chelmsford Cathedral and also services to rededicate the War Memorial in St Andrew’s Church Yard at North Weald. and the rededication of the Norwegian Stone which sat outside of the airfield near to the airfield museum.
(v) Annual Petanque Match
The Chairman reported that the annual petanque match, which took place between Epping Town Council and the District Council early in July, where she and the Vice-Chairman Councillor D Sunger had come up against worthy Epping Town Council opponents in the annual petanque match, District and Town Councillor J H Whitehouse and Town Councillor M Wright but unfortunately, they proved to be no match for the Town Council and sadly lost she therefore went on to congratulate the winning team.
(vi) Jack Petchey Achievement Awards
The Chairman stated that she would like to congratulate all of the young people across the district who received Jack Petchey Achievements Awards this year. She advised that she felt privileged to be able to present the awards to many of the young who attended local schools and clubs and also recipients from the Youth Council.
(vii) Community Culture & Wellbeing
The Chairman advised that she was looking forward to watching some of the activities that the Community Culture & Wellbeing Team would be putting on for young people during the summer school holidays.
(viii) Member/Officer Coffee Morning
The Chairman reminded members that next member/officer coffee morning will be on the 14 September. She advised that she attended the first coffee morning and found it to be a particularly worthwhile exercise as it gave members the opportunity to meet with a variety of officers across the council.
(xv) Floral Display
The Chairman announced that she intended that the flowers from this evening’s meeting to go to the Community Hub in the Civic Offices to be enjoyed ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
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.
Question by Mrs Mary Dadd, Chairman of Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group to Councillor N Bedford, Place Portfolio Holder.
EFDC has identified some 11400 new homes to be built in the district between 2011-2033, with some 4,000+ to be delivered as allocated in the Local Plan Policy SP2 Spatial Development Strategy. by 2033 for individual civil parishes, towns etc. This is supported in the SHMA and OAHN household predictions, which indicate the number of bedrooms and flats or houses and in The Housing Mix (Planning) Guidance Note May 2021 (draft 4), which also indicates the type/topology of housing (house/flat/number of storeys/gardens) and housing mix of number of bedrooms expected for each band of density.
Clearly, and as indicated in the Local Plan Housing Policies, it is crucial to ensure that ‘mixed and balanced communities’ are retained/achieved and that supporting educational and health services can be planned ahead.
The overall approximate mix is stated as 70% 3+ bed, 20% 2 bed and 10 % 1 bed, although affordable & Mixed are slightly different from Market housing need, the former with more 1 & 2 bed homes and the latter with more 3+bed homes. This is also the same mix for Ongar’s housing stock (ONS 2011) Ongar Neighbourhood plan 2020-2033 endorses and supports EFDC Local Plan housing mix as specific to Ongar civil parish.
Allocated sites have been designated indicative density and therefore approx. capacity depending on whether they are edge of settlement, urban etc. NPPF expects efficient use of land, which (para 124) also states “the desirability of maintaining an area’s prevailing character”.
Our concern is that it is more profitable for developers to ‘offer’ the required number of affordable homes on a major development site as a mix, but with predominantly smaller houses or flats with 1-2 bedrooms and also smaller dimensions of room sizes and outdoor space, including in locations where density favours larger units. This is already evident in at least two developments recently applying for planning approval. This will not fulfil the mix of housing need over the Plan period.
Communities/towns are likely to fulfil the numbers allocations but without monitoring at the outset, the mix will be with inappropriate, and in particular, with too few family homes in low density edge of settlement locations. This imbalance is unlikely to be able to be reset in remaining allocated sites coming forward later in the Local Plan lifetime. In turn this will adversely affect educational facilities forecasting and health services predictions. in turn this will lead to more transient population.
1. How is the housing mix for new developments being monitored generally in EFDC and specifically in civil parishes or wards as allocated sites and windfall sites are coming forward, including the mix of affordable housing?
2. The Guidance Note for developers would ensure Local Plan Policies are fulfilled and the housing mix suit the housing needs. How is the Guidance Note being used in the Housing and Planning departments? including the recommendations for planning application approval or refusal ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
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.
The Council noted that there were no questions by members under notice that had been submitted for consideration at this meeting.
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 of Council (verbal);
(b) Report of the Place Portfolio Holder (attached);
(c) Report of the Finance Portfolio Holder (attached);
(d) Report of the Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Portfolio Holder (attached);
(e) Report of the Customer Portfolio Holder (attached);
(f) Report of the Contracts & Commissioning Portfolio Holder (attached);
(g) Report of the Technical Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(h) Report of the Internal Resources Portfolio Holder (attached);
The Council received written reports from Portfolio Holders. The Chairman invited the Leader of Council to provide a verbal report and the opportunity for other members of the Cabinet to give verbal updates on matters concerning their relevant portfolios.
(a) The Leader of Council
Councillor C Whitbread advised that he had been meeting with members of the Cabinet to discuss the work programme for the year ahead and what the Cabinet were seeking to achieve. He stated that he had also had a number of meetings to discuss the initial work on the Council’s Corporate Plan which was emerging and will be going before the select committees before being presented at Cabinet.
He advised that he was still meeting with different Council Leaders, recently Harlow and Uttlesford to discuss how they could work together in the future.
He had also attended the rededication of the Norwegian Stone and had the opportunity to show members of the Norwegian Airforce around North Weald Airfield.
He advised that he had been around the district visiting local schools and hoped to visit more in the near future to meet the youth of the district and to see the work that was being done in our schools.
In the weeks ahead he advised that he and some of the Cabinet had meetings with BIFFA to discuss some of the issues around the waste collections and how these issues were going to be addressed in the future.
(b) Housing and Community Portfolio Holder
Councillor H Whitbread advised that the Council had received £338,000 Safer Streets funding from the Government which the Council have contributed to in the sum of £169,000. This was part of a government initiative to keep streets safer.
The Council would be using some of the money to invest in the Ninefields Estate in Waltham Abbey, installing CCTV, making sure the communal spaces were more open and safer and also around signage and the bin spaces. Historically in this area there have been issues with anti-social behaviour, drugs and fly-tipping. It was hoped that an improvement would be seen at Ninefields and this Council welcomes its close collaboration with the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, Roger Hirst.
(c) Finance Portfolio Holder
Councillor J Philip stated that he would like to thank a resident of the district for spotting that the Qualis Community Interest Company did not file its reports on time. He added that the Qualis Community Interest Company was now dormant but that it still should have filed accounts. He stated that he had spoken to the managing director of Qualis and she has assured Councillor Philip that the accounts will be filed within the next week. He had been advised that due to staffing levels and for the fact this company was now dormant the details did not go for audit with the auditors, this will be added to the process going forward so that it would not happen again.
Councillor Philip stated that he would like to inform Council of ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
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.
(a) Energy Grant
Councillor R Balcombe asked the Finance Portfolio Holder how much progress had been made in distributing the £150 energy grant, especially to those who do not pay by direct debit. Further to that was there any news of the discretionary scheme and could he remind Council on how much money had been allocated to this scheme.
Councillor J Philip advised that the main Government scheme had been completed by the Council’s Revenues and Benefits team which had been achieved more than 10 weeks ahead of schedule. In terms of the direct debit payers almost 21,200 of those had been paid, regarding the non-direct debit payers almost 3,300 have been paid via BACS payments. All residents that the Council did not hold bank details for and were eligible for the scheme were contacted by letter to advise them of the scheme and how they would like the money to be paid. For those that did not reply the £150 was credited to their Council Tax account. The total amount of money paid was £4,773,000 for almost 32,000 Council taxpayers who had qualified for this scheme.
He advised that the Council had now moved onto the discretionary funding scheme for those in receipt of Council Tax Support and the deadline for that was at the end of November 2022 which was expected to complete ahead of time.
(b) Planning Application – Russell Road, Buckhurst Hill
Councillor S Heap stated that his question was to the Place Portfolio Holder and stated that at Full Council in April 2022 he had asked a question, to which could not be answered because it was under investigation. Therefore, he would like an update to that investigation and stated that as far as he was aware there was no investigation. He would therefore put the question to the Place Portfolio Holder again, do you think that clandestine meetings between Senior EFDC Officers and Conservative District Councillors to discuss an ongoing planning matter from a Conservative Parish Councillor sends out the right signals of fairness and openness.
Councillor N Bedford asked if Councillor Heap would like to declare an interest on the planning matter.
Councillor S Heap stated that he was unaware of any interests he may have apart from being interested in an answer to his question.
Councillor N Bedford advised that he had sourced his response through legal and stated that the circumstances surrounding the meeting, to which Councillor Heap had already been advised about. The meeting took place with Ward Councillors and Officers prior to the Russell Road planning application, it had been investigated and the Monitoring Officer was satisfied that nothing untoward took place and no further action would need to be taken.
(c) Recent Heatwaves and Wildfires
Councillor J McIvor stated his question was to the Leader of Council and asked if he would join him in thanking the Fire Service who have done an amazing job supporting the district, in particular the rural communities during the recent heatwaves and ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
To consider any motions, notice of which has been given under the Council’s rules.
Motions, if any, will follow if not received in time to be incorporated into the agenda.
The Chairman reported that there were no motions to be considered at the meeting.
(a) To receive the Annual Overview and Scrutiny Committee Report 2021-22 (attached);
(b) To note the progress report of the Chairman, Councillor H Kane of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee – 16 June 2022 (attached); and
(c) To answer any questions without notice asked in accordance with Council Rules.
Councillor H Kane, Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee reported that the reports in the agenda had been transposed and the report on page 95 should start on page 71 as this was the annual report to go with the attachment and the report on page 71 should start on page 95, which was the report from the last meeting held on the 16 June 2022.
(a) Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report
The Council received the seventeenth Annual Report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, its Select Committees and Task and Finish Panels for 2021/22, to be approved, by the Chairman of the Committee Councillor H Kane.
Councillor S Murray referred to page 83 of the agenda, ‘Call-in – tree planting, Jessel Green’ and stated that this was a really good example of scrutiny working well, the Portfolio Holder made a decision, it was called-in by local members because they felt the decision could be improved and then it was settled by an informal discussion rather than having to follow a formal process. The outcome of the trees and where they were going to be planted has produced a better solution. He went on to say that it had only been a couple of years ago that the Council were planning to build on Jessel Green.
He went on to congratulate the ‘Save Jessel Green Group’ for their excellent grassroots campaign to save Jessel Green, he also went on to congratulate Councillor H Kane on the scrutiny report and also paid tribute to the Leadership of the Council who did the right thing by Jessel Green.
(b) Report of the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee
The Council received a written report from Councillor H Kane, the Chairman of Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the meeting held on the 16 June 2022.
There had also been a further meeting of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee on the 26 July to which Councillor H Kane gave a verbal update.
She informed members that at this meeting, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee went through Cabinet reports and KPI’s where there was a good debate. All questions were answered by the number of officers that attended the meeting and represented the Portfolio Holders.
The Overview & Scrutiny Committee would continue to scrutinise the Council’s business in a positive and constructive way this coming year. Councillor H Kane encouraged other members to attend the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, especially the newly elected members giving them a chance to enhance their knowledge of how the Council works.
(a) That Council approved the annual report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee; and
(b) That the report of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 16 June 2022 be noted.
That the vacant position of the Licensing Sub-Committee and nominations be considered, and an appointment be made to the vacancy on the Licensing Sub-Committee for the remainder of the 2022-23 municipal year.
The Leader of Council advised that following on from Annual Council in May of this year there was one vacancy remaining on the Licensing Sub-Committee which I understand should be the entitlement of the Green Party, however if this vacancy were not to be taken up by the Green Party I have a Member who has already had training and served on this committee last year.
Therefore, if the Green Party does not have a candidate for this position the Conservative Party would like to put forward Councillor D Sunger.
Councillor S Heap, Leader of the Green Party advised that they did not have anyone to fill that position.
The Chairman asked for any other nominations to which there were none and asked Members if they were happy to support the nomination of Councillor D Sunger to fill that vacancy.
That Councillor D Sunger would fill the remaining vacancy on the Licensing Sub-Committee.
(a) To receive from Council representatives the reports (attached - if any) 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
(b) To request written reports from representatives on joint arrangements and external organisations for future meetings.
Report of the Cabinet – Appointment to Outside Body
Mover: Councillor C Whitbread, Leader of the Council
Councillor C Whitbread presented a report regarding appointments to be made to the Epping Forest Culture & Community Trust and recommended:
(1) That the invitation from the Epping Forest Culture & Community Trust to appoint two Members of the Council as Trustees be accepted;
(2) That future appointments to this Outside Body should be considered a Council appointment, rather than a Leader appointment, be agreed;
(3) That suitable nominations to this new Outside Body be considered and appointments made for the terms beginning with the 2022-23 municipal year; and
(4) That the appointments be made for a four-year term, in line with the term of office for the other Trustees, starting from the 2022-23 municipal year and ending with the 2025-26 municipal year.
He therefore recommended that Councillor H Kane and Councillor C Nweke be the members appointed to the Epping Forest Culture & Community Trust.
Report as first moved ADOPTED
That Councillor H Kane and Councillor C Nweke be appointed to the Epping Forest Community & Culture Trust which was agreed.