Agenda and minutes

Local Councils' Liaison Committee
Thursday, 21st July, 2011 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Adrian Hendry (The Office of the Chief Executive)  Tel: 01992 564246 Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman and Vice Chairman

Decision Required:

 

(1)        To confirm the appointment of District Councillor K Angold-Stephens as the Chairman of the Committee for the Civic year;

 

(2)        To appoint a Vice Chairman of the Committee for the Civic Year.

 

 

Minutes:

The Acting Chief Executive requested that the appointment of the new District Council Chairman be confirmed as the Chairman of the Committee for the municipal year. The appointment of a Vice-Chairman from amongst the Local Council representatives was also requested; Councillor S Jackman was nominated and seconded.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)        That Councillor K Angold-Stephens be confirmed as the Chairman of the Local Councils Liaison Committee for 2011/12; and

 

(2)        That Councillor S Jackman be appointed as the Vice-Chairman of the Local Councils Liaison Committee for 2011/12.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 9 March 2011 and any matters arising.

Minutes:

Minutes of the Last meeting:

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the Committee meeting held on 9 March 2011 be agreed.

 

 

Matters Arising:

 

Under matters arising Councillor Chris Pond asked for an update of minute item 35(b) ‘parking responsibilities’. He wanted to know to whom local councils should go to if they had parking problems, as they were perplexed as to the lines of responsibilities of the North Essex Partnership. The District Council Portfolio Holder for Safer, Greener and Highways, Councillor P Smith, said that she had not as yet got all the background information to this new partnership, but would respond at a later date when more detailed information had emerged.

 

The Director for Environment and Street Scene, John Gilbert noted that there were new arrangements for Signing and Lining, in effect the county budget had been divided up and passed to the new partnerships. There were still some parking reviews outstanding. The Epping review was to be carried out by the County. The Buckhurst Hill and the Loughton reviews had been put on the Partnerships forward plan, however, EFDC would be paying for them and would want some input into how it was carried out.

 

Any future requests for work should find its way through to the North Essex Parking Partnership. Once officers were aware of how this would operate in practice and what protocols were in place, they would come back to this committee with an explanation.

 

The meeting agreed that the new County Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transportation, Councillor Tracy Chapman, should be invited to their next meeting to speak to this issue.

 

AGREED: County Councillor Tracy Chapman be invited to the November 2011 meeting of the Local Councils’ Liaison Committee meeting to speak about Highway issues and especially the new operation at North Essex Parking Partnership.

 

3.

Demise of Area Forums

Minutes:

The Vice Chairman, Councillor Sheila Jackman, was concerned by the cessation of the Local Area Forums. There would be no formal face to face opportunity to discuss problems with County Councillors. She wondered if in future this Local Councils’ Liaison Committee could act as the partnership meeting; including Town and Parish Councils, the District Council and the County Council. This would be mutually beneficial for the three partners and would act as a precursor for the proposed locality boards. To this end she hoped that County Councillor John Jowers, Cabinet Member for Communities and Planning could attend the November meeting of this Committee.

 

The Acting Chief Executive noted that in effect this was already a tripartite meeting although it may need a specific slot for the county to raise items. The County was presently consulting on new partnership arrangements to see what could replace the area forums and we should wait and see what comes out of this.

 

The meeting agreed that losing the West Essex Forums was a great loss and that this committee was a good model to follow, but, it could only work if there was better attendance from the current members. Councillor Jackman said she would write to all the Parish and Town Councils to point out the benefits in participating in this forum.

 

The Chairman, Councillor Angold-Stephens said that the District Council would send a note to the County Council on behalf of the Local Council’s Liaison Committee expressing concerns about the loss of the forum and suggesting that this Committee may have a role going forward that they may wish to consider.

 

4.

EFDC Community Services Presentation on their work with young people and future opportunities for partnership working. pdf icon PDF 199 KB

A presentation will be given by Felicity Hall, Arts Officer and James Warwick, Sports Development Officer and will identify ways in which EFDC Community Services can deliver projects aimed at young people in partnership with local parish and town councils.

 

 

Minutes:

Felicity Hall, District Council’s Arts Officer and James Warwick, Sports Development Manager, were in attendance to talk about ways in which EFDC Community Services could deliver projects aimed at young people in partnership with local Parish and Town Councils; and in response to a Parish Clerk expressing a desire to learn about what Community Services offered.

 

The Community Services section of EFDC was made up of 4 departments: Arts; Community Development (which includes Young people and EF Youth Council); Sports and Health Development; and the District Museum. The key aim of these services being to improve health and well being of local residents of all ages and abilities and enhance community cohesion and respect.

 

Delivery programmes were designed to address specific needs identified by officers and partner organisations and focus particularly on areas of deprivation and disadvantage in the district. A wide range of regular projects, activities and events are provided during term time, such as sports mentoring and coaching in conjunction with Tottenham Hotspur Community Foundation, street dance, music and media. Excellent outcomes have been realised in Limes Farm, Chigwell with several young people being trained to become football coaches, resulting in them now being paid coaches with Tottenham and coaching voluntarily on the Estate where they live.

 

Felicity Hall spoke about the ‘Bang out of Order’ campaign in Waltham Abbey last year, which was created specifically to reassure residents and to reduce criminal damage and anti-social behaviour over the Halloween and Bonfire Night periods. Halloween and firework safety information was provided at all the local junior schools in Waltham Abbey. The outcome was to reduce dangerous incidents by young people considerably. Another example of work undertaken included the ‘Make do and Mend’ project in partnership with the London College of Fashion and Essex Youth Services. This was inspired by the 1940s war time ethos and involved the Loughton Youth Club and local residents. Young people at the club wanted to reach out to local residents as there had been some local tensions and they wanted to break down the barriers between the age groups. Community Services had also developed a Healthy Living Festival, with fun dance and fitness sessions and healthy eating/cooking classes, which proved very popular. Arts were also working on ‘Make a Move’, a large scale dance project, working with local groups, from youth clubs to residential care homes. Dance teachers are travelling through the district, teaching a series of dance moves to form part of the largest outdoor dance performance ever seen in the district in 2012 as part of Essex’s ‘Sparks will fly’ journey.

 

A regular overview of the activities and events provided across the district was produced each quarter for District Councillors (attached) and officers offered to circulate this to Parish and Town Councils. They also indicated a desire to build stronger partnership working with the Town and Parish Councils. 

 

Councillor Surtees, Ongar Parish Council, commented that officers also need to target the more rural areas, whose populations may be smaller, but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Safeguarding Training for Town and Parish Council Staff and Councillors

Child Protection & Safeguarding

 

Background

 

Epping Forest District Council understands and is committed to its’ responsibilities in regard to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of its children and young people and has underpinned this commitment through the inclusion of a Key Objective (2011 – 2012) in the Council Plan 2011-2015.

 

The Key Objective undertakes to:

 

“To work in partnership with Essex County Council and other statutory and voluntary agencies, to ensure the effectiveness of local arrangements and services to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young People”

 

The actions identified to address this objective are to:

 

(a) Review corporate procedures for safeguarding children and young people;

 

(b) Provide training for appropriate members and officers, to ensure that they are confident in dealing with safeguarding concerns;

 

(c) Review recruitment and selection processes for officers that work directly with children and young people, in line with the ‘Safer Recruitment’ guidelines developed by the Essex Safeguarding Children Board;

 

(d) Develop a Safe Recruitment Policy, to ensure that applicants are suitable to work with children, young people and vulnerable adults;

 

In implementing action (b) as above, the Council has provided Child Protection training for all staff that have contact with children, young people and families and all Council Members. To date, around 150 staff and 25% of Members have been trained and a further programme of training is shortly due to commence

 

Child Protection and District Partners

 

The Council sees Parish and Town Councils as key partners in the drive to reduce Child Abuse across Epping Forest District and is keen to develop collaborative working in this respect.

 

As a starting point to this collaborative working, all Parish and Town Councils are invited to access the training opportunities provided by the District Council, which operate on 2 hr condensed course basis at £20 per person (which includes a delegate pack) and are based at the Council’s Civic Offices in Epping. Courses are available during the daytime and on an early evening basis and the next round of training is due to commence in August.

 

The training is equivalent to Level 2 Foundation Training in Child Protection (which is usually provided over half or full day course) and is endorsed by Essex Safeguarding Children Board.

 

Any Local Councils interested in booking places for Councillors or staff should contact Community Services on 01992 564302 for a list of the course dates and times.

 

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Community Services and Customer Relations), Julie Chandler, extended an invitation to the meeting for Parish and Town council staff and councillors to attend Child Protection and Safeguarding training provided by the Council and offered support of policies and procedures to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

 

It was noted that Epping Forest District Council was committed to its responsibilities in regard to Child protection and safeguarding and had made it one of their Key Objectives in 2011/12. It was planned to train all staff and members in contact with children, young people and families and to support local partners in improving Child Protection practice. It was suggested that Members would find awareness training useful, especially when meeting their constituents. District Councillors had found that when they came across these types of issues, they were not sure how to deal with them effectively; they needed training and an awareness of their options. Mrs Chandler re-iterated that Child Protection was everyone’s business and that there was a need for vigilance.

 

This was emphasised by Councillors Smith and Surtees who said Councillors needed to know what they could do sensitively and appropriately. Town and Parish Councillors needed to be the eyes and ears of their community; also there should be focus on the vulnerable people in the community and not just the children.

 

The Chairman also emphasised that Town and Parish Councils, staff and Councillors, should take up this offer.

 

6.

Queens Diamond Jubilee - Beacon Proposal pdf icon PDF 3 MB

The Chairman of EFDC has had a request from the Chairman of the County Council that we erect 5 beacons in the District on the 4th June 2012.  One in or near each of our main towns would seem appropriate if we could find suitable locations.

 

The name of local individual ‘Beacon Coordinator’ will have to be submitted along with locations and other information by the 30th April 2012. 

 

Beacons can be on open land or gas fired ones can be on Church towers or other high buildings that are suitable.  The gas ones (if they do not already exist) cost £299 plus VAT and this does not include the gas cylinder.  The ground beacons have to be erected in a certain way and in a safe manner of course and they will be quite labour intensive.

 

The meeting is invited to discuss this invitation from the Pageant Master for Her Majesty The Queen.  Several pages of paperwork explaining it in some detail are attached.  

 

 

Minutes:

The Chairman noted that a request had come in from the Chairman of the County Council that 5 beacons be erected in the district for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations. However, he noted that there would be cost, manpower and health and safety implications for any Town or Parish Councils that took this on. 

 

The meeting noted that all Parish and Town Councils had been written to separately on this matter and agreed that in general terms the initiative should be supported but that Town and Parish councils would respond directly. The acting Chief Executive said that if any of the Councils wished to have a beacon, they could let the District Council know and it could promoted on the website and via the Forrester magazine.

 

7.

Issues Raised by Local Councils

To discuss the following matters raised by Local Councils:

 

(1)        Highways Panel – Local Councils were concerned that this panel has been disbanded and that this is likely to lead to a more centralised and ‘out of touch’ highways service. 

 

(2)      Article Four Directions and Protection of Conservation Areas -

With the recent expansion of Permitted Development Rights, the district’s conservation areas were perceived by local Councils to be poorly protected by the planning authority.  There was now an urgent need for the District Council to use Article Four Directions (which adjoining planning authorities already use) to give added control over development in conservation areas.

 

(3)       Consultation on Applications  for Tree Work on Trees in Conservation Areas Local Councils agreed that all applications for tree work including TPX applications should be subject to consultations with parishes and it was noted that TPX applications are not currently subject to consultation.

 

(4)        ECC Salt Bins – agreements between EFDC and ECC on Winter Services Local Councils agreed that the above matters caused considerable concern last year and a promised update had not so far been received. They agreed that the matter should be raised with ECC and EFDC.

 

(5)       ECC Liaison - With the recent reorganisation of ECC and the dissolution of the Highway’s Panel and the West Area Forum, it was felt to be increasingly difficult for parishes to raise and discuss matters of general concern with Essex County Council.  It was felt that the role of LCLC could be developed further (at present individual local Members of Essex County Council are invited to attend) to provide a better liaison point with ECC similar to that currently enjoyed with EFDC. To facilitate this discussion Councillor John Jowers, Cabinet Member for Communities and Planning, Essex County Council, has been invited to attend this meeting.

 

Minutes:

(1)        Highways Panel – this had already been covered under matters arising for the minutes of the last meeting (minute item 2).

 

(2)        Article Four Directions and Protection of Conservation Areas – Kassandra Polyzoides, the Assistant Director of Planning (Policy and Conservation) said it would be useful to know what exact concerns the meeting had in regard to permitted development rights.

 

This had originally been asked for by Bob Whittome, Epping Town Council. One of the reasons was that some bungalows were being turned into two storey houses and they were looking at a ways to safeguard these areas. The Assistant Director commented that a double storey increase would require planning permission.

 

It was noted that officers did not have an issue with Article Four. It tended to be applied to conservation areas as a whole and not to individual buildings. They would like to have a review of all District conservation areas. The meeting noted that EFDC’s conservation officer was leaving in September. It would be useful to hold a focus group with Parish and Town Councils and relevant planning officers to review areas of concern.

 

Councillor Pond thought the offer of a forum was a good one. He noted that Redbridge was designating a new conservation area right by Buckhurst Hill, but nothing had been done on EFDC’s proposed conservation areas, and he hoped the proposed forum would enable progress to be made on this. He knew that resources were scarce but hoped that EFDC would put some resources into this.

 

The Chairman noted that Ms Polyzoides was willing to chair this forum.

 

ACTION: To establish a forum between Planning Officers and Town and Parish Councils on Conservation areas.

 

(3)        Consultation on Applications for Tree Works in Conservation Areas –Local councils were questioning the use of TPX applications. Ms Polyzoides noted that whereas a TPO was an application, a TPX was a notification. Officers had six weeks to respond to a TPX, in which time they could TPO a tree if they thought it was necessary. A list of TPX notifications could be provided, but they could not consult about it.

 

Councillor Pond said that a list of notifications had been promised some time ago but had never been done. Local Council’s wanted to be told of notifications so that they could consider if a TPO should be made.

 

Councillor Surtees added that he had been looking at the list of TPO trees and thought it was not accurate. He noted that the Town and Parish Councils would be happy to work with officers to bring their records up to date.

 

ACTION: That a list of TPX notifications be provided to Town and Parish Councils on a regular basis.

 

(4)        ECC Salt Bins – Agreements between EFDC and ECC on winter services – Local councils wanted an update on this. The Director of Environment and Street Scene, John Gilbert said that as he understood it, there had been no agreement between EFDC and ECC on Highway issues. This  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Minutes:

The meeting noted that High Ongar wished to discuss the closure of the Mill Lane Recycling Centre. The meeting noted that a lot of negative comments had been made about the closure and there were concerns that it would increases flytipping in the area. The tip was well used and it was unnecessary to take it away as it was an important part of the community. ECC had not taken into account the growth in the population in Ongar. They had lost the school, the railway and the HSBC Bank and now they were losing the recycling site. If they went to the Brentwood site they would have to prove that they lived in Essex. If residents had to travel further to recycle then that would increase their carbon footprint. It was suggested that the County Council could consider reduced opening hours, if this would help keep the site open.

 

Councillor McEwen said that that this was still only a proposal. Only two recycling sites were down to be closed in the whole of the county. He may be able to arrange for the relevant Portfolio Holder to meet the Town and Parish clerks.

 

9.

Dates of Future Meetings

Meetings of the Committee are scheduled for the following dates:

 

03 November 2011

22 March 2012

Minutes:

Members noted the forthcoming meeting dates for the coming year.

 

It was also noted that County Councillor Tracy Chapman would be invited to the November 2011 meeting of the Local Councils’ Liaison Committee meeting to speak about Highway issues and especially the new North Essex Parking Partnership.