Agenda and minutes

Neighbourhoods Select Committee
Tuesday, 26th June, 2018 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: V. Messenger  Tel: (01992) 564243 Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Substitute Members (Council Minute 39 - 23.7.02)

(Chairman) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Minutes:

It was reported that Councillor J Jennings was substituting for Councillor A Beales.

2.

Notes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To agree the notes of the meeting of the Select Committee held on 20 March 2018.

Minutes:

            RESOLVED:

 

That the notes of the meeting of the Select Committee held on 20 March 2018 be agreed.

3.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

(Chairman) To declare interests in any items on the agenda.

 

In considering whether to declare a pecuniary or a non-pecuniary interest under the Code of Conduct, Overview & Scrutiny members are asked pay particular attention to paragraph 9 of the Code in addition to the more familiar requirements.

 

This requires the declaration of a non-pecuniary interest in any matter before an OS Committee which relates to a decision of or action by another Committee or Sub Committee of the Council, a Joint Committee or Joint Sub Committee in which the Council is involved and of which the Councillor is also a member.

 

Paragraph 9 does not refer to Cabinet decisions or attendance at an OS meeting purely for the purpose of answering questions or providing information on such a matter.

Minutes:

(a) Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor N Avey (Environment Portfolio Holder) made a declaration of interest in agenda item 9, Corporate Plan Key Action Plan 2017/18 Quarter 4 (Outturn) Performance, by virtue of him also being the Mayor of Epping Town Council.

 

·           Develop the St John’s Road site – Tri-Partite Agreement member

4.

Air Quality

(Chairman) To receive a presentation on air quality across the District from J Nolan, Assistant Director (Environment and Neighbourhoods).

Minutes:

As a joint presentation on Public Health and Air Quality was made at the meeting, please see the next item.

5.

Public Health

(Chairman) To receive a presentation regarding the work of the Council’s Public Health Team from J Nolan, Assistant Director (Environment and Neighbourhoods).

Minutes:

The Neighbourhoods Services Assistant Director, J Nolan, made a presentation on the work of the Public Health Team. The presentation also covered environmental pollution and issues around air quality.

 

Neighbourhoods Services incorporated the following services areas:

·           Public Health Team

·           Neighbourhoods Team

·           Licensing Team

·           Leisure Management

·           North Weald Airfield

·           Emergency Planning

·           Corporate Health and Safety

 

Public Health had developed during the 19th century when sanitary inspectors were employed in 1875. Public health inspectors had come in by 1955. Environmental health officers (EHOs) originated from 1972 and training took eight years to complete. EHOs inspected all food premises and inspections covered hygiene, training and management systems. The food hygiene rating went from zero up to five for the best. However, it was not compulsory for food ratings to be displayed at the establishments’ premises in England. It was likely that the law would be changed next year for this to become compulsory. There were just over 1,200 registered food businesses in the District and just over half had been routinely inspected, on a risk basis, last year. High risk food establishments were inspected every six months, while those deemed to be low risk were usually every three years. During inspections, food and swab samples would be taken and analysed. Enforcement action would be instigated if necessary. Last year 258 written warnings were issued and three Hygiene Improvement Notices. Voluntary closure was the first option, of which there was one last year, otherwise a ‘forced’ closure would be compulsory.

 

Health and safety enforcement was divided between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and local authorities. The Council was responsible for 4,469 premises and was required to carry out twelve intelligence led H&S inspections last year. It had also received 36 accident notifications via RIDDOR (Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations). Some of these could become lengthy cases. A project looking at carbon monoxide emissions from open fuel cooking appliances using charcoal had been conducted by Public Health, which had instigated changes to the way restaurants use these appliances.

 

Infectious Disease Control covered various diseases but those most likely to occur involved acute infectious hepatitis, food poisoning, haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) and Legionnaires Disease. However, not all cases of food poisoning were from food, but could be from the norovirus stomach bug.

 

Environmental pollution encompassed 42 permitted processes and could range from major industrial users to residents bonfires, or from dry cleaners’ solvents. Most complaints (37) were in relation to bonfires. Monitoring of nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels was carried out in the District. The District had one Air Quality Management Area. There were 75 NOx monitors analysed monthly at 28 locations. One such location was at Bell Common where two houses fronted onto the T-junction with Theydon Road at the traffic lights.

 

Looking forwards domestic wood burners might be covered by new legislation. The Public Health Team was also involved in health promotion and organised basic food hygiene courses for establishments in the District to publicise best practice and minimise  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Local Plan Update pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To consider the attached report that went to the Local Plan Cabinet Committee on 14 May 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Select Committee agreed to bring forward agenda item 12.

 

The Planning and Governance Portfolio Holder, Councillor J Philip, reported that he had not received any news on the judicial review of the Local Plan.

 

This Local Plan update had been reported at the Local Plan Cabinet Committee on 14 May 2018. There had been significant work achieved around the Harlow-Gilston Garden Town. Monthly meetings had helped to drive progress forwards. With the Implementation Team’s funding in place, recruitment to the team had commenced. The first meeting of the Quality Review Panel in April 2018 had considered the pre-application proposal for Quinton Hill Farm, an industrial development site in Waltham Abbey.

 

Regarding the West Essex and East Hertfordshire Housing Market Area (HMA), the impact of growth from visitors and road traffic on air quality was of particular importance to the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC), which needed to be dealt with quickly. This had led to the agreement of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the four district councils (Epping Forest, East Herts, Harlow and Uttlesford) plus Hertfordshire and Essex County Councils, Natural England and the City of London Corporation (Conservators of Epping Forest) to monitor any environmental impact on the Forest. A strategy to mitigate such impacts had also been agreed to cover the management of visitor pressure and air quality. Further transport and air quality modelling would be undertaken with and without mitigation schemes within the Epping Forest SAC to produce a revised Transport Assessment Report. To help address the pressure on air quality, consideration would also be given to the implementation of sustainable transport schemes. Furthermore, the Council had a duty under the Habitats Regulations to protect the Epping Forest SAC from the effects of development.

 

The four district councils had also commissioned a study in 2017, which had now been completed, to assess employment needs of the West Essex and East Herts Functional Economic Market Area (FEMA). A MoU to reflect the report’s findings was being progressed to achieve an agreed approach to meeting future employment demands across the FEMA through emerging Local Plans.

 

The Co-operation for Sustainable Development Board, which included the Council, continued to converse with Princess Alexandra Hospital on its options to relocate the hospital to a new site (preferred option) or redevelopment.

 

The latest Strategic Flood Risk Assessment Report had assessed the flood risk posed to each of the development sites and also identified which sites would require the Exception Test. The recommendations provided regarded the issues that would need to be addressed as part of a site specific Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) at the planning application stage.

 

Ten parish councils had started to prepare their own Neighbourhood Plans. Chigwell Parish Council had now submitted its Neighbourhood Plan to the Council for (Regulation 16) publication, which would require a consultation for a period of six weeks.

 

The Interim Assistant Director (Forward Planning) reported that a consultation on Epping Town Council’s Neighbourhood Plan was currently being undertaken. This would close on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Harlow Council - Local Plan Regulation 19 Pre-Submission Publication pdf icon PDF 175 KB

To consider the Council’s response to Harlow Council’s Local Plan Regulation 19 consultation (report attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Select Committee agreed to bring forward agenda item 13.

 

Harlow Council had published on 24 May 2018, the Harlow Local Development Plan under Regulation 19 of the Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Regulations 2012 (as amended). A six-week consultation on the Pre-Submission Plan had followed which would close on 6 July 2018. However, the Council’s response had been written before Harlow Council had withdrawn its objection to Epping Forest District Council’s Local Plan (LP) – the suggestion had been made to remove this Council’s sites from their LP.

 

Councillor J Philip made the following comments.

 

The Council had welcomed the commitment to meet the identified level of housing for Harlow in the Local Plan, as the Plan provided for 9,200 dwellings over the plan period with 30% affordable housing equating to 3,400 affordable homes. Princess Alexandra Hospital had been identified for redevelopment and the site was allocated for housing, which would make a significant contribution to the delivery of the LP’s housing target.

 

The Council had supported the provision of 18-20 hectares of additional employment floorspace as recommended in the HMA Assessment of Employment Needs (2017) evidence base document.

 

The Role of Green Wedges and Fingers (policy WE2) provided a strong commitment to the provision of high quality open spaces in Harlow, while policy PL4 permitted small-scale development on Green Wedges and Fingers, provided the roles and functions of the Green Wedges and Fingers and wider landscape setting were preserved. The Council had responded that it would be beneficial if the LP could provide further clarification on how these policy requirements would align, particularly in the context of Sustainable Transport Corridors.

 

Regarding the management of growth from development on the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC), as referenced in the MoU, the Council had replied that it would be helpful to provide further commentary to explain that this was in relation to the potential effects of recreational pressure and air pollution on the integrity of the SAC.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Neighbourhoods Select Committee agreed with the Council’s response to Harlow District Council’s regulation 19 Local Development Plan Pre-Submission Publication of May 2018.

8.

Terms of Reference and Work Programme pdf icon PDF 54 KB

(Chairman / Lead Officer) The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has agreed the Terms of Reference of this Committee. This is attached along with an ongoing Work Programme. Members are asked at each meeting to review both documents.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)          Terms of Reference

 

These were noted by members.

 

(2)          Work Programme

 

Councillor J H Whitehouse said that the presentations that the Select Committee had received so far in 2018 from the Engineering, Drainage and Water Team, Public Health, Environmental Health and Neighbourhoods Teams had been very interesting. She asked, what other areas of work could be covered by similar presentations? The Acting Chief Executive, D Macnab, replied that with regard to the work programme, he would look at the longer term going forwards.

 

Item (15) Emergency Planning (a) to consider procedures following the Grenfell Tower fire – Councillor J Jennings said that the Council had made assurances that it had no high rise buildings, but were fire doors of a sufficient standard and had they all been checked?

 

The Acting Chief Executive replied that Building Control could provide checks. The Council did undertake checks on fire safety on its own housing stock. There was a systematic approach taken on what would happen in an emergency in a similar event, and the authority had the ability to deal with such incidents.

9.

Key Performance Indicators 2017/18 - Quarter 4 (Outturn) Performance pdf icon PDF 132 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were twelve Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that fell within the Neighbourhoods Select Committee’s areas of responsibility. The overall position with regard to the achievement of target performance for these indicators at the end of the year, to 31 March 2018, was that 9 (75%) indicators had achieved target, 3 (25%) indicators had not achieved target, although 2 (15%) indicators had performed within their tolerated amber margin.

 

NE1013 What percentage of all household waste was sent to be recycled or reuse? and NE1014 What percentage of all household waste was sent to be composted or anaerobic digestion?

 

Councillor J Jennings asked about NE1014 which had missed its target in quarter 4.

 

The Acting Chief Executive replied that this used to be a combined waste figure, but the target was divided and originally set as a 30 / 30 split in 2016/17. For this year the target had been adjusted, but the result for the 2017/18 outturn performance indicated that the targets were not quite right. NE1013 at 27.09% had achieved more than the 26% target in this final quarter, but NE1014 at 30.33% had under-performed as the target was 33%

 

NE1001 How much non-recycled waste was collected in the district? versus NE1014 What percentage of all household waste was sent to be composted or anaerobic digestion?

 

Councillor S Neville asked why NE1001’s percentage had increased quarter on quarter while the percentage figure for NE1014 had decreased?

 

The Acting Chief Executive replied that the two were inter-related with NE1013, the percentage of all household waste sent to be recycled or reuse. The year-end target for NE1001 had not been achieved as the 400kg per household target had been exceeded, with 409kg per household of non-recycled waste collected. Accordingly, NE1013’s target of 26% had been surpassed, as 27.09% household waste had been recycled / sent to reuse, which was good. However, on NE1014 only 30.33% of waste was sent to be composted / anaerobic digestion and was therefore lower than the 33% target, so the performance was worse.

 

NE1009 What percentage of out of hours noise complaints were responded to within 15 minutes?

 

Councillor J H Whitehouse said that she had contacted the Environment and Neighbourhoods (EN) Manager, R Gardiner, who had confirmed that three complaints had to be received before the EN Team would respond.

 

The Acting Chief Executive replied that the EN Manager did collated the noise nuisance data to reach a cumulative figure. EN officers would therefore wait to see if multiple complaints were reported as an indication of the ‘nuisance’ of the noise level.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Select Committee reviewed and noted the KPIs for 2017/18 Quarter 4 (Outturn) Performance in relation to the key performance indicators within its area of responsibility.

10.

Corporate Plan Key Action Plan 2017/18 - Quarter 4 (Outturn) Performance pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To consider the attached report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were ten actions in the Key Action Plan 2017/18 that fell within this select committee’s areas of responsibility. At year-end, 6 (60%) of these actions had been achieved or were on target, 2 (20%) of these actions were ‘Under Control’, 2 (20%) of these actions were ‘Behind Schedule’, and therefore none of these actions was ‘Pending’.

 

Councillor J H Whitehouse remarked that on the development of the St John’s Road site (action 11), the Tripartite Agreement with Epping Town Council and Frontier Estates had not been signed despite completion by the end of May 2018 being anticipated.

 

The Acting Chief Executive replied that he had attended a meeting on 22 June 2018 with Frontier Estates, who had approved this agreement. Councillor N Avey, Environment Portfolio Holder and Epping Town Council Chairman, affirmed that Epping Town Council wasready to sign.

 

The current situation with the Pyrles Lane site in Loughton (action 7) was that it was on the market, although an auction process had been advised, and offers of over £3 million were being sought.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Select Committee reviewed and noted the progress of the Corporate Plan Key Action Plan for 2017/18 Quarter 4 (Outturn) Performance in relation to its area of responsibility.

11.

Transformation Programme - Project Closures pdf icon PDF 255 KB

To consider the attached reports.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The O&S Committee had requested that the Project Closure reports from the Transformation Programme be submitted to the relevant select committee for information, hence this report.

 

Business transformation was delivered through a range of projects and programmes. The project closure reports for the Neighbourhoods SC were:

 

·           Project P138 – Waltham Abbey Wayfinding;

·           Project P139 – Pandemic Flu Plan;

·           Project P112 – Operating Partner for North Weald Airfield; and

·           Project P113 – Epping Forest Shopping Park.

 

The Acting Chief Executive explained that the pandemic flu plan to provide assurance to the public, staff, members and partners that critical services would continue to operate if there was a flu epidemic, was also a statutory requirement under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. It had been considered by Management Board and also required Home Office approval.

 

The Epping Forest Shopping Park had three vacant units, of which two were under contract and a third currently in negotiation.

 

Councillor J H Whitehouse said that the summaries given in the project closure reports were informative. She asked if the Waltham Abbey Wayfinding project had been closed too early and was a review process built into the projects, e.g. after a year?

 

The Acting Chief Executive replied that it would depend on the project as to whether it would be reviewed. However, he would raise the points she had queried. In particular if reviews / assessment were required in the terms that the work had been completed, but had the project actually worked.

 

Councillor N Bedford agreed with the change of focus of the project to leasing out the North Weald Airfield (NWA), as finding an operating partner had not been possible. The air flight training school providing air pilot training would be a welcome addition to the facilities at the NWA.

 

The report was noted and that the National Police Air Force (NPAF) and Essex Ambulance Service were the other new leaseholders.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the Select Committee noted the Project Closures for the transformation Programme.

12.

Transformation Programme - Project Dossier pdf icon PDF 227 KB

To consider the attached report.

Minutes:

The O&S Committee had requested that the progress of projects and programmes within the Transformation Programme, known as the Project Dossier, be submitted to the relevant select committee for review, hence this report.

 

Business transformation was delivered through change projects and programmes. A project was a temporary activity to create something unique, whether it was a service or a product.

 

The project dossier reports for the Neighbourhoods SC were:

 

Workstream 2 Business Culture:

·           P107 – Estates Service Review

·            

Workstream 3 Resources, Accommodation and Technology:

·           P162 – Staff Transport Plan

·           P166 – Relocate Pyrles Lane Nursery

·           P165 Major Tree Works Procurement

 

Workstream 4:

·           P114 – St John’s Road Development

·           P115 – Local Plan Programme

·           P135 New Leisure Management Contract Programme

 

Councillor J H Whitehouse was particularly interested in the staff transport plan. She asked for more information as members received a lot of complaints on this issue.

 

The Acting Chief Executive said that the staff transport plan had been presented by the Assistant Director (Technical Services, K Durrani, at a recent staff briefing. A company had been contracted to establish where and how staff travelled to/from work. There were circa 540 staff for around 220 staff spaces. The Council was not the only employer to require parking, as there were schools and local businesses, including the shops, whose employees worked in the town and regularly sought out somewhere to park on a daily basis. He acknowledged that on street parking was a contentious issue. Options to mitigate the reliance on parking in the town would include flexible working arrangements and car sharing. Certain staff were allocated as essential users to allow them priority parking at the Civic Offices. However, other incentive schemes were being explored. He also suggested that the Neighbourhoods SC could invite Mr K Durrani to a future meeting to provide an update on the progress of the staff transport plan.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the Select Committee had reviewed and noted the Project Dossier for the transformation Programme.

13.

Corporate Green Working Party pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To consider the attached reports of the Corporate Green Working Party following its meetings on 6 March and 5 June 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Corporate Green Working Party (CGWP), which was set up in 2012 to focus on the Council’s internal functions, continued to work across departments. The reports for the meetings held on 6 March and 29 May 2018, together with their respective agreed priority commitments and actions spreadsheets, were noted.

 

There was concern that the CGWP would not meet again until December 2018 because the Environmental Coordinator’s contract finished at the end of June 2018, and a replacement would not be appointed until the Council restructure was in place.

 

Councillor S Neville was concerned that if the Environmental Coordinator, Ms E Ainslie, was leaving, who would undertake her duties until a replacement was appointed.

 

The Acting Chief Executive advised members that:

 

·           the Council restructure was likely to identify some duplication across the service areas;

 

·           the Corporate Green Working Party would continue, the members of which were intended to be champions of the environment in their respective areas of work;

 

·           the data collected would need to be assessed to see if it was useful to members;

 

·           the new Environmental Coordinator would not be a straight replacement, nor did he know yet the scope of work such a replacement would be required to cover.

 

·           he would try and reschedule the next quarterly meeting for September 2018 rather than being deferred until December 2018.

 

Councillor J H Whitehouse said that in respect of G.07 to investigate electric vehicle charging points in the District, she had attended a meeting with the Assistant Director (Technical Services), the Car Park and Street Furniture Manager and a resident who was knowledgeable in this area as grant funding was available for electric vehicle charging points. The Assistant Director was interested but did not have sufficient resources for the work. She had also spoken to the Assistant Director (Development Management) as a new planning condition had been introduced to provide electric vehicle charging points.

 

The Acting Chief Executive replied that there seemed to be a reluctance from County Highways to become involved, but rather for the district / unitary councils to do this across the County instead. The Council had some charging points, two dedicated ones at the North Weald Airfield and at the Epping Forest Shopping Park. The feasibility of the introduction into off street car parks was also being explored.

14.

Environmental Charter pdf icon PDF 118 KB

To consider the report attached which provides an update on the Council’s Environmental Charter.

Minutes:

The Acting Chief Executive said that the Environmental Charter’s commitment and action plan was scrutinised by this select committee in June 2016 and was endorsed by Cabinet in September 2016 when it was signed by the Leader and Chief Executive of the Council. Although the commitments and action plan were required to be reviewed on a six-monthly basis, in reality, the CGWP checked the upcoming actions at every quarterly meeting with an overall review of actions twice annually.

 

Since the 2017 report, the CGWP had undertaken the following:

 

      discussions had taken place with many groups to ensure that the CGWP actions were in line with corporate and other plans;

 

      EFDC had participated in ‘energy switch’ auctions, and had lobbied for a ‘green tariff’ option in future;

 

      a ‘no idle’ policy had been implemented by Environmental Health;

 

      electric vehicle charge points had been investigated for both the Civic Offices staff car park and the public car parks;

 

      LED lighting had been installed at the Council’s offices and car parks wherever possible; and

 

      the CGWP was looking at Council purchases to see if there were ‘green’ alternatives which could be used.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the Neighbourhoods Select Committee receive an update on progress of the Environmental Charter every six months.

15.

Annual Report for Off Street Parking 2017 - 2018 - Off Street Operational Report pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To review the annual report for the off-street parking service up to 31 March 2018 (report attached).

Minutes:

This operational report provided members with an annual update on the progress NSL Ltd had made since being awarded a five-year contract on 1 April 2017 to carry out the enforcement of the eighteen off street car parks owned by the Council. The North Essex Parking Partnership (NEPP) continued to enforce on street parking and was also responsible for implementing new restrictions across the District in conjunction with the Council.

 

The Acting Chief Executive said that members were concerned about parking enforcement generally. However, the more prosperous off street parking had been transferred back to the Council. NSL Ltd was also required to provide the Council with monitoring information.

 

Early problems had occurred when NEPP continued to invoice the Council incorrectly, but this had been resolved. An annual contract with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) had been organised for the purpose of obtaining ‘Keeper Details’. Although there was a slight delay in sending out the statutory documents, the DVLA had carried out and approved its first audit of the Council. NSL had increased parking enforcement as its staff worked a shift basis to facilitate seven-day coverage. Thus enforcement had increased in the car parks. This was not a money making exercise but rather ‘good’ enforcement. Surfacing, increased cleanliness and new ticketing machines to enable chip and pin payments had been installed in the Council’s car parks, which had driven up income to £1.3 million.

 

Members were pleased that improvement works had been undertaken in the car parks for the benefit of the shoppers and commuters using them.

 

Councillor J Jennings reported a problem with the ticket rolls in the machines at the Loughton car parks. The Acting Chief Executive replied that as the ticket machines could remotely alert the Council of any faults, he assumed these had been rectified.

16.

Reports to be made to the next meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee

To consider which reports are ready to be submitted to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its next meeting.

Minutes:

There were no reports to be made to the next meeting of the O&S Committee on 24 July 2018.

17.

Future Meeting

(Chairman) To note the next meeting date of this Committee will be held on 20 September 2018 at 7.30pm.

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Neighbourhoods Select Committee would be held on 20 September 2018 at 7.30pm.