Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping
Contact: Council Secretary: Simon Hill Tel: 01992 564249 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking. The Assistant Director of Governance 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 Service Director, Governance and Members Services 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.
To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 31 July 2018 (attached).
That the minutes of the meeting held on 31 July 2018 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
To declare interests in any item on the agenda.
Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor S. Murray declared a non pecuniary interest in agenda item 12 (Overview and Scrutiny Committee) by virtue of being a newly appointed Epping Forest Trustee of the Citizen Advice.
(a) Apologies for Absence
(b) Chairman’s Announcements
(a) Chairman’s Announcements
The Chairman informed the council that he had attended many events, which included the opening of the Loughton Leisure Centre extension, a ‘Support for Sight’ event and the hosting of his civic lunch, at the Royal Gun Powder Mills. Most recently, he had attended the last Youth Council meeting, where they had been discussing issues associated with nitrous oxides canisters.
The Chairman announced that he intended to send the flowers from tonight’s meeting to the residents of Hyde Mead House, Nazeing.
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.
The council noted that there were no public questions for this meeting.
Questions By Members Under Notice
To answer questions asked after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within the Council 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 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.
Question by Councillor S. Neville to the Portfolio Holder for Housing, Councillor S. Stavrou
“Could the Housing Portfolio Holder advise;
a) For how long did the council know that Mullaley were using flammable insulation, encapsulate or not, in the properties being built in Burton Road; and
b) Could she give an assurance that no such materials have been used in other council houses built or adapted in the Council House Building programme.”
Answer to Councillor S. Neville from Councillor C. Whitbread, Leader of Council on behalf of the Housing Portfolio Holder S. Stavrou
“The contract with Mulalley is based on Design and Build where the contractor to takes on overall design responsibility beyond the planning drawings. This gives them flexibility in terms of material selection, although they must have regard to the Employers Requirements and above all, the Building Regulations, which are there to ensure fire safety, is put at the heart of the design process.
In terms of responding to the question “how long the council have known of Mulalleys intention to use ‘flammable’ insulation” is perhaps more difficult to respond to, it was certainly evidential when the insulation materials were first brought to site that they had not selected ‘Rockwool’ for example as their preferred insulation. But, as I have already said, material selection is a choice for the contractor, and they are not required to draw every detail to the council’s attention or seek permission for their selection.
However, it is not the choice of insulation itself that represents a fire risk, it is the method in which it is to be utilised i.e. fully encapsulated means that it would not be exposed directly to a source of fire once it is in situ. The insulation selected for the Burton Road development would not be a fire risk were it fully encapsulated as it was designed.
Having read the comparisons with the Grenfell disaster on the front page of the local paper recently, we are concerned that sensational headlines will cause a great deal of unnecessary anxiety for potential tenants. Links with the Grenfell Tower do a disservice to the people involved in that disaster as well as families currently waiting for a new home on our waiting list.
Burton Road is a completely different building and it is not yet finished. The fire was caused by a construction related accident, not the materials used. Unlike Grenfell, Burton Road only has four floors. The interior was practically untouched by the fire. Even if it had been possible for such a fire to start once the building was finished and occupied, all the evidence suggests people would have been able to escape unharmed. The building stood up remarkably well to the blaze.
However, I can advise that the council will, in consultation with its contractors, review the type of insulation materials it uses to continue to ensure that our new homes are built with due consideration of health and safety standards, the Building Regulations and best practice ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
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 Assets and Economic Development Portfolio Holder (attached);
(c) Report of the Environment Portfolio Holder (attached);
(d) Report of the Finance Portfolio Holder (attached);
(e) Report of the Housing Portfolio Holder (attached);
(f) Report of the Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder (attached);
(g) Report of the Planning and Governance Portfolio Holder (attached);
(i) Report of the Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder (attached); and
(j) Report of the Technology and Support Services Portfolio Holder (attached).
The council received written reports from all the portfolio holders. The Chairman invited the Leader to provide an oral report and any other member of the cabinet, to give an update on their written report, if required.
(a) The Leader of Council
The Leader advised that since the last council meeting he had been engaged in a number events relating to key strategic challenges facing the district. The West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group, where he, along with a number of the cabinet members had been briefed around the main issues concerning the health of the district, resourcing pressures and the ageing population. It had also been reassuring that the contingency plans for the winter period had been started. Furthermore, the council was engaged in the ongoing discussion to identify the best option for the redevelopment of Princess Alexander Hospital and had made provisions in the Local Plan for a site east of Harlow, which would be one of the key considerations for the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Board. He had also attended the Essex Leaders and Chief Executive meetings, where issues about education provision in West Essex were discussed.
He had also taken part in the recent members visit to the new Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre, which had progressed at a pace and would open on 17 November 2018.
Finally, it had not been possible to reach mutually agreeably position for the St John’s Site, Epping, between the District Council, Epping Town Council and Frontier Estates, which had been intended for a mixed use development comprising of retail, community facilities and housing. Therefore the District and Town Council were jointly exploring an alternative scheme, to include the feasibility of a leisure centre and swimming pool with retail and housing elements on the site. Some informal discussion had been made with the council’s leisure contractors and no decision had been made to close Epping Sports Centre. He advised that it potentially made financial sense and could meet the future needs of residents.
(b) Planning and Governance Portfolio Holder
Councillor J. Philip advised that the Council had submitted the council’s Local Plan on Friday 21 September 2018, following the dismissal of the legal challenge at the Court of Appeal, ensuring that the Council would deliver the original target of 11,400 homes. The next step would be the examination in public, which would enable any person or organisation that originally submitted a response to the Regulation 19 consultation, to address the Planning Inspector. The Council was currently unaware of when the Local Plan would be considered and who the Planning Inspector may be. He advised that any modifications put forward by the Planning Inspector would be brought back to the Council.
(c) Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder
Councillor S. Kane advised that Safeguarding training was available on Monday 1 October 2018 at 6 pm. This was mandatory for new members and existing members could also attend to update their knowledge.
Questions by Members Without Notice
The Council 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.
Council Rules provide that answers to questions without notice may take the form of:
(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 Chief Officer.
In accordance with the Council 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 10 minutes at their discretion.
(a) Criminal Casework for District
Councillor D. Sunger asked the Portfolio Holder for Safer, Greener and Transport to inform him of details concerning the criminal casework for the whole district that had taken place since the introduction of the EFDC funded police officers.
Councillor S. Kane advised that the EDFC police officers and the Community Safety Team were collaborating and a lot of work had been completed. In particular, there had been multiple charges for offences of burglaries in the south of the district.
Councillor S. Kane reminded members that the contact details for reporting issues was as follows; immediate threat to person or property, you should phone 999; anything else or if the crime has already happened 101; or search for Essex Police Report It online. There was also an Epping Forest equivalent to report issues online. He requested that members only use the shared Community Safety Team’s email, to enable the awareness across whole team and for it to be recorded correctly.
(a) Local Plan
Councillor M. Sartin asked the Planning and Governance Portfolio Holder what were the financial and other implications associated with the delayed submission of the Local Plan following the Planning Court Injunction and subsequent appeals.
Councillor J. Philip advised that a final assessment of the costs was not yet available, although it had been estimated between 10 to 20 thousand pounds. There had been court costs of £10,000 awarded from the first appeal but it had also taken a lot of officers time, which had been primarily Senior Officers including the Assistant Director of Planning Policy and the Chief Executive. Going forward, it would be difficult to determine the effects of the delay but the Local Plan had now been submitted.
(b) Epping Shopping Retail Park
Councillor L. Mead advised that the bins at the Epping Forest Retail Park were either too small or not being collected regularly and asked the Environment Portfolio Holder what could be done about this situation.
The Assets and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, Councillor A. Grigg advised that the responsibility lay with Epping Forest Retail Park. She had previously contact the Assistant Director (Technical), who had advised that that the layout of the bins were not suitable and she would ask officers to approach the Retail Park again about this issue.
(c) Step Free Access to Buckhurst Hill Tube Station
Councillor A. Patel asked the Safer, Greener and Transport Portfolio Holder for an update following a meeting with Buckhurst Hill Parish Council, TFL and officers regarding the implementation of step free access to Buckhurst Hill Tube Station and other associated issues.
Councillor S. Kane advised that the additional disabled street parking bay had been passed onto NEPP; the removal of one of the three barriers had been completed; the repainting of barriers and hand rails in contrasting colours had been completed; the redecoration of the subway had been felt to be cost inhibited at this time and installation of gate in the fence to provide access to the stairway ... view the full minutes text for item 37.
To consider any motions, notice of which has been given under Council 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 this meeting.
(Technology & Support Services) To consider the attached report.
On behalf of the Technology and Support Services Portfolio Holder, Councillor C. Whitbread submitted a report seeking permission for the Monitoring Officer to remove the reference of the Staff Appeals Panel from the constitution following the cabinet’s adoption of the Staff Appeals Procedure Policy.
That the Monitoring Officer be authorised to remove all reference of the Staff Appeals Panel from the Council’s Constitution.
To consider the attached report of the District Development Management Committee with regard to planning application EPF/0637/18 (The Lodge, Woolston Hall, Chigwell), which was referred to the Council by the Committee at its meeting on 1 August 2018.
Mover: Councillor S. Jones, Vice-Chairman of District Development Management Committee
Councillor S. Jones advised that the application had been considered at the Plans South Sub-Committee on 27 June 2018 and District Development Management Committee on 1 August 2018, resulting in the application being considered by Council by means of the minority reference procedure set out in the Council’s constitution (Rule M2).
The Service Director, Planning Services presented the report regarding a planning application for permission of a residential infill comprising 12 no. residential dwelling houses with associated off-street parking, garden space and external landscaping at The Lodge, Woolston Hall, Chigwell, subject to the completion of a legal agreement (Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990) by 31 March 2019 and associated conditions.
Amendment moved by Councillor J. Philip and Seconded by Councillor C.C. Pond
That planning application EPF/0637/18 at The Lodge, Woolston Hall, Abridge Road, Chigwell be refused planning permission for the following reasons:
(1) The proposed development constitutes inappropriate development detrimental to a fundamental aim of the Green Belt to safeguard the countryside from encroachment. The proposal would have a materially detrimental impact on the openness of the Green Belt contrary to the purposes of including the land in the Green Belt and does not meet any exception to the principle of Green Belt policy. The change of use of landscaped area to housing would be detrimental to visual amenity due to its urbanising effect and would unduly diminish the rural character and openness of the landscape. There are no very special circumstances that outweigh the harm from the development. The proposal is contrary to Policies GB2A; GB7A; CP2 (i), (ii), (iv), and (v); DBE4 (i); and LL1(i), LL2 (i) and (ii) of the adopted Local Plan and Alterations; Policies SP 6 and DM 4 of the Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version (2017); and, the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework.
(2) The proposal would fail to provide any on site Affordable Housing, contrary to Policies H5A, H6A, H7A and H8A of the adopted Local Plan and Alterations; Policies H1 D. and H2 of the Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version (2017); and, the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework, particularly at paragraph 50.
(3) The proposal is not within a sustainable location and would therefore result in a development heavily reliant on private motor vehicles. As such the proposal does not sufficiently meet the measures identified in policy regarding sustainable development, in particular with regard to policies CP1 (v), and CP6 (iii) of the Epping Forest District Local Plan and Alterations (2006); policy T 1 B. of the Epping Forest District Local Plan Submission Version (2017); and, the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework, particularly at paragraph 95.
(4) The application does not provide sufficient information to satisfy the Council, as competent authority, that the proposed development will not adversely affect the integrity of the Epping Forest Special Area for Conservation and there are no alternative solutions or imperative ... view the full minutes text for item 40.
(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.
The Council noted the written report from Councillor M. Sartin, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny. She advised that officers from the Manchester Airport Group would be attending the next meeting, to talk about Stansted Airport. Any questions that members had should be submitted to S Tautz.
(Chairman of the Audit & Governance Committee) To note the attached annual report of the Audit & Governance Committee for 2017/18.
Councillor J. Knapman, Chairman of Audit and Governance Committee.
Councillor J. Knapman presented the Audit and Governance Annual Report for 2017/18. The Finance Portfolio Holder, Councillor G. Mohindra thanked both members of the Audit and Governance Committee and officers for their work throughout the year.
Report as first moved ADOPTED:
That the Audit and Governance Annual Report 2017/18 be noted.
(a) To receive the attached report from Councillor H Kane, as the Council’s representative on the Royal Gunpowder Mills, Waltham Abbey;
(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.
(a) The Council received a written report regarding the Royal Gunpowder Mills from Councillor H. Kane, the Council’s representative. Councillors H. Kauffman and D. Wixley commented that reports from this organisation were particularly important because of the significance of this site to the district and welcomed any information coming forward.
(b) Councillor C.C. Pond requested an update from the Council representatives for the Grange Farm Trust. Councillor M. Sartin advised that she and Councillor M. McEwen would bring a report back to Council.