Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping
Contact: Democratic Services Manager 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 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.”
The Democratic 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.
To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 21 February 2019 (attached).
That the minutes of the meeting on 21 February 2019 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.
(a) Pursuant to the Council’s Staff Code of Conduct, G Blakemore (Chief Executive) declared a personal interest in agenda item 11.1 (Appointment of Returning Officer & Electoral Registration Officer). G Blakemore had determined that her interest was pecuniary and would leave the meeting for the consideration and voting on this matter.
(b) Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor G Mohindra declared a non-pecuniary interest in agenda item 14a (Joint Arrangements and External Organisations) by virtue of being a substitute representative for Essex County Council. Councillor G Mohindra had determined that he would remain in the meeting for consideration of this item.
(a) Apologies for Absence
(b) Chairman’s Announcements
(i) Members not seeking re-election
To acknowledge that this would be Councillors L. Hughes, A. Grigg and K Chana last official Council meeting as Members of Epping District Council, since they were not seeking re-election at the District Election on 2 Thursday 2019.
Ceremonial recognition of length of service would be presented at the Annual Council.
(a) The Chairman’s Announcement
The Chairman informed the Council that he met the HRH, the Duchess of Cambridge who had recently attended Gilwell Park, to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Scout’s UK headquarters. The Duchess had taken part in a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities. He had also attended a Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! at Roding Valley High School, where 25 young people took part in a speak out challenge to develop their skills and confidence to speak in public.
Furthermore, the Chairman’s had organised a charity concert, which had raised £1600 for the Young Carers drop-in centre in Loughton.
(b) Members not seeking re-election
The Chairman acknowledged and thanked Councillors K Chana, L Hughes and A Grigg for their service to the Council, as they were not standing for re-election on 2 May 2019.
The Leader of Council paid tribute to these Councillors and the service they had provided for the Grange Hill; Broadley Common, Epping Upland and Nazeing; and North Weald Bassett. In particular to Councillor A Grigg for her service on the Cabinet.
The Chairman announced that he intended to send the flowers to Tracey Hartley who ran the Young Carers drop in site in Loughton.
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 that there were no public questions submitted for consideration at this meeting.
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 members questions under notice 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;
(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;
(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;
(i) Report of the Planning Services Portfolio Holder (attached); and
(j) Report of the Strategic Projects Portfolio Holder (attached).
The Council received written reports from the 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.
(a) The Leader of Council
The Leader advised the Council that he had attended several meetings across the District and wider area. There had been discussions regarding the Essex Highway Rangers and the valuable work they do around the District with considerations into bringing them back in house.
He had also attended a celebration day for volunteer groups in the District; moved forward with discussions and potential partnership arrangements with the Epping Town Council at the St John’s Site, Epping and attended meetings with the Local MP, Dame Eleanor Laing.
Finally, he thanked the members of his Cabinet for their service and work over the past year.
(b) Housing and Property Services Portfolio Holder
Councillor S Stavrou updated members on the Council House Building programme which was discussed at the Cabinet meeting on 11 April 2019. There had been a total of 45 new homes for affordable rent completed and a further 63 were expected and another 73 homes over the next three years. An audit of the council’s house building programmed had been undertaken in February 2019, which had identified some lessons to be learnt from phases 1,2 and 3 and actions had been put in place to improve the future programme delivery.
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) Council Officers
Councillor R Morgan enquired whether the Leader had any concerns over the recent loss of several officers at the Council.
Councillor C Whitbread advised that although a number of long term officers had left the Council, the authority was moving forward with a new Leadership Team which had a number of experienced officers. The Council was currently being transformed for the future and was working towards the Council’s corporate aims and objectives to invest in local services.
(b) Essential Living Fund
Councillor S Murray asked the Leader whether he was concerned by the 87% reduction of Essential Living Fund, which provided crisis grants from Essex County Council to help people in extreme hardship; and the yearly increase of 22% of residents in the District using the foodbank and the effects on families and children.
Councillor C Whitbread advised that foodbanks were an important service in the community and provided a safety net for residents in the District. The Council supplied grants to community services and would welcome the foodbank to contact them to discuss options.
Regarding the ECC Essential Living Fund, the Council would investigate how it effected the Districts residents and the Portfolio Holder responsible for grants would consider options, if required.
(c) Class of Planning Applications
Councillor C C Pond asked the Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder whether as a landlord, the Council would consider encouraging diversity in the class of planning applications, particularly within the Landmark building.
Councillor A Grigg advised that the Council had received interest in the Landmark building and positive talks were continuing with diverse uses being considered.
(d) Policing and Street Lighting in the District
Councillor A Patel asked the Leader whether the increase in Police officers within the District had been down to the Police, Fire Crime Commissioner (PFCC), Roger Hirst and who had negotiated with Essex County Council for the return of Street Lighting for Parish and Town Councils in the District.
Councillor C Whitbread confirmed that the PFCC was responsible for the budgeting of the Police. Furthermore, the Council had discussed options for the return of street lighting within the District, if the Town or Parish Councils wished to fund this option.
(e) Business Parking Permits in Epping
Councillor J H Whitehouse asked the Contract and Technical Portfolio Holder whether any consideration had been given to businesses in Epping following the parking review due to the commuters now filling the car parks.
The Leader answered on behalf of the Contract and Technical Portfolio Holder. He advised that the Contract and Technical Portfolio Holder had received several concerns about the parking scheme and commuters parking. There were a few issues that needed to be considered and balanced, which included the residents of the area, traders, shoppers and other people that wished to park in the area. The parking schemes would be reviewed each year to consider any issues raised.
(f) St John’s Site Epping - Leisure Centre
Councillor L Burrows asked the Leader who was delivering the ... view the full minutes text for item 105.
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 this meeting.
Councillor R. Morgan
To note that, in accordance with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the Local Government (Committee and Political Groups) Regulations 1990, Councillor R Morgan has given notice that he has joined the Conservative Group.
(Chief Executive) The Council has received the required notice under the Local Government (Committee and Political Groups) Regulations 1990, that Councillor R. Morgan joined the Conservative Group on 26 February 2019.
The Conservative Group has not requested a review of pro rata memberships of Committee and Sub-Committee places pending the forthcoming local elections.
Background Papers: Notice signed by Leader of the Conservative Group dated 26 February 2019.
The Chairman advised that in accordance with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the Local Government (Committee and Political Groups) Regulations 1990, Councillor R Morgan had given notice that he had joined the Conservative Group.
(1) That in accordance with the Local Government and Housing Act 1989 and the Local Government (Committee and Political Groups) Regulations 1990, Councillor R Morgan had given notice that he had joined the Conservative Group; and
(2) The Council also noted that following this notification there had been no request for a review of pro rata membership of Committee and Sub-Committee places pending the forthcoming elections.
(Monitoring Officer) To consider the attached report.
The Monitoring Officer submitted a report regarding the statutory requirement for the appointment of a Section 151 Officer, which was an appointment reserved for Council in accordance with Article 4 (The Full Council).
(1) That, with immediate effect, Tina Stankley be designated as the Council’s Chief Finance Officer, being the officer having responsibility under Section 151 of the Local Government Act 1972, Section 73 of the Local Government Act 1985 and Section 114 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988; and
(2) That pursuant to the above recommendation (1), the Monitoring Officer made changes to the Scheme of Delegation contained within the Council’s Constitution, as required to give effect the appointment of Tina Stankley as the Chief Finance Officer.
(Monitoring Officer) To consider the report attached.
The Monitoring Officer presented a report to the Council regarding the appointment of the Returning Officer, Electoral Registration Officer and other Officer Delegations.
(1) That, in accordance with the Representation of the People Act 1983 and all related legislation, Georgina Blakemore be confirmed as the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) for the Council with effect from 3 May 2019, with authority to appoint a deputy or deputies as may be required;
(2) That, in terms of Section 41 of the Local Government Act 1972 and all related legislation and with effect from 3 May 2019, Georgina Blakemore be appointed as Returning Officer for the Council, with authority to act in that capacity for elections to the District Council and all or any parish and town councils within the Epping Forest District;
(3) That the Council’s Returning Officer/Electoral Registration Officer be also appointed or authorised to act in respect of all related electoral, poll or referendum duties, including those in relation to County Council elections, elections to the European Parliament (if required), and for national and regional or local polls and referendums;
(4) That, in relation to the duties of Returning Officer or any other electoral, referendum or polling duties arising from such appointment, the Returning Officer shall be entitled to be remunerated in accordance with scale of fees approved by the Council for local elections, or the relevant scale of fees prescribed by a Fees Order in respect of national, regional or European Parliament elections, polls or referendums;
(5) That in all cases where it is a legal requirement or normal practice to do so, fees paid to the Returning Officer shall be superannuable, and the Council shall pay the appropriate employer’s contribution to the superannuation fund, recovering such employer’s contributions from central government or other local authorities or agencies where this can be done;
(6) That, in relation to the conduct of local authority elections and polls, and elections to the United Kingdom Parliament, and all other electoral duties where the Council is entitled by law to do so, the Council shall take out and maintain in force insurance indemnifying the Council and the Returning Officer against legal expenses reasonably incurred in connection with the defence of any proceedings brought against the Council or the Returning Officer and/or the cost of holding another election in the event of the original election being declared invalid (provided that such proceedings or invalidation are the result of the accidental contravention of the Representation of the People Acts or other legislation governing the electoral process, or accidental breach of any ministerial or other duty by the Returning Officer or any other person employed by or officially acting for him in connection with the election or poll); and
(7) That any such insurance carrying an ‘excess’ clause by which an initial portion of risk is not insured, the Council, through its internal insurance fund or otherwise, will indemnify the Returning Officer up to the value of such excess.
(Councillor M. McEwen) To consider the attached report of the Working Group, arising from its meeting held on 28 March 2019.
Mover: Councillor M McEwen, Chairman of the Constitution Working Group
Councillor M McEwen presented a report to formalise the trial arrangements for a site visit request at Area Plans Sub-Committees and District Development Management Committee. Furthermore, the consideration of formal site visits and public speaking arrangements for planning applications referred to Council would be added to the ongoing work programme of the Constitution Working Group.
(1) That the agreement for formal site visits with regard to planning applications listed in agenda for meetings of the Area Plans Sub-Committees, be implemented on a permanent basis with effect from the commencement of the 2019/20 municipal year;
(2) That, where an application that had been subject to a formal site visit by members of one of the Area Plans Sub-Committees and subsequently referred to the District Development Management Committee for determination, a further site visit be arranged for members of the District Development Management Committee prior to the consideration of the application;
(3) That, in addition to being agreed at a meeting of the District Development Management Committee in respect of any planning application listed in an agenda for a meeting of the Committee, the holding of formal site visits by members of the District Development Management Committee be approved by the Chairman of the Committee on the recommendation of the Service Director (Planning Services);
(4) That, the Monitoring Officer be authorised to revise Article 10 (District Development Management Committee and Area Plans Sub-Committees)) of the Constitution accordingly; and
(5) That the following matters be added to the ongoing work programme of the Constitution Working Group:
(a) the consideration of possible arrangements for formal site visits to be held with regard to planning applications referred to the Council for determination; and
(b) the review of existing arrangements within the Constitution whereby planning applications referred to the Council for determination are not generally subject to arrangements for public speaking.
(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 of Councillor M Sartin, the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor M Sartin advised that South East Local Enterprise Partnership had attended the last meeting and the Committee had agreed to the new Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee Framework which consisted of three Select Committees; Stronger Place; Stronger Council and Stronger Communities for the 2019/20 municipal year.
Councillor S Murray asked the Overview and Scrutiny Chairman whether the Committee could undertake an enquiry on the planning application EPF/0139/19 – Land adjoining 22 & 28 Oakwood Hill Industrial Estate , Loughton following the decision not to proceed with the application; that Ward Members concerns were not listened to; and the procedures for referring an application to Council.
Councillor M Sartin advised that the Committee had come to the end of it’s work programme and it would be for the new Committee members to consider suggestion to be placed on the work programme. She advised that the Housing and Property Services Portfolio Holder had taken the decision to remove the planning application.
(a) To receive a report from Councillor M. Sartin and Councillor S. Stavrou, as the Council’s representatives on the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority (to follow);
(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) Reports from External Organisations
(i) Lee Valley Regional Park Authority
The Council received a written report regarding the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority from Councillor M Sartin and S Stavrou. Councillor M Sartin advised that the Lee Valley Regional Park covered an area from the rivers Thames up to Ware, and the Council had a good representation from the Council, as the Council only paid into the Park through Essex County Council.
(ii) Roding Valley Nature Meadow Reserve
Councillor S Murray advised that the Warden Michael Poole had moved on, so Essex Wildlife Trust who manage the area were looking for a new warden. He wanted to thank Michael for his service. There had also been some fire vandalism to some of the trees on this site, but both the Council officers and Essex Wildlife were managing the issue.
(iii) Royal Gun Powder Mill
Councillor H Kane advised that the last meeting had been closed to the public and at this moment there was nothing further to report.
(iv) Corporation of London
Councillor S Heap requested a report from the Corporation of London regarding the maintenance and the changing landscape within the Forest. The Chairman advised that the Council did not have a Council representative, although this could be requested at a future Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
(v) Stansted Community Trust
Councillor R Morgan advised that the trust had been due to closed in March 2019, following the planning application of the new airport terminal, although this had been delayed due to a judicial review. Therefore, the trust would meet again in June 2019 and once the judicial review had been completed a new trust would be set up.
(b) Request for a Joint Arrangement or External Organisation Report
Councillor S Murray asked for the New City College representative, Councillor R Bassett , that once he had attended a meeting, that he update the Council on the use of Capital receipts from the sale of land and whether the money would come back into the District. Councillor R Bassett advised that he was still proceeding through the formal appointments process, but he noted the concerns.
Councillor D Wixley asked Councillor R Bassett under his new role to investigate the commitment the college provided to replace the demolished sports centre once funds were available, potential from the sale of the land.