Agenda and minutes

Stronger Place Select Committee - Thursday, 13th January, 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Media

Items
No. Item

27.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast. Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking. The Chairman 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.”

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman made a short address to remind everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the internet, and would be capable of repeated viewing, which could infringe their human and data protection rights.

 

 

28.

Substitute Members

To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no substitute Members at the meeting.

 

29.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Members’ Code of Conduct.

 

30.

Notes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 147 KB

To agree the notes of the meeting of the Select Committee held on 4 November 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 November 2021 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

31.

Terms of Reference & Work Programme pdf icon PDF 271 KB

(Chairman/Lead Officer) The Overview and Scrutiny Committee has agreed the Terms of Reference and work programme for this select committee. Members are invited at each meeting to review both documents.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Select Committee noted their terms of reference and work programme.

 

32.

Town Centre Report pdf icon PDF 127 KB

(J Houston/P Messenger) To consider the attached Town Centre report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Town Centre report was introduced by John Houston, Specialist Partnerships & Economic Development, who highlighted that the district was performing strongly. Paul Messenger, Town Centre Programme Manager gave a detailed presentation to the Committee, which provided context around changing high streets, how EFDC high streets were performing, the town centre action plan, completed works, current initiatives and the importance of, and approach to, partnerships for the future of town centres and high streets.

 

The Committee:

·         Queried the outcomes of the initiative and what success would look like. They were advised that the programme had been mainly linked to promoting the high streets at Christmas, through matched funding for Christmas lights and events, and supporting businesses through the pandemic. The outcomes of the initiatives had not been measured but the outputs included the administration of over £450,000 of Essex business adaption grants which allowed business to trade safely through the Covid Pandemic, and £232000 welcome back government funding to keep high streets safe, vibrant and active. The sign up to loyal free had 90 businesses, click it local had 230 business. Success could be measured through: vacancy rates, which were well below national average in EFDC; churn, which was high  for start-ups; footfall, which would be measured in the near future; and attractiveness of the high street.

·         Suggested that smaller rural parades of shops should not be forgotten especially in rural areas and stressed the importance and value of independent local shops. 

·         Suggested that short term lets for start-up or pop ups to nurture innovation and new businesses could be beneficial.

 

 Clarification was provided on the following points:

·         The parklet in Waltham Abbey was part of a government funded programme for a temporary space with planting and benches for use in the Market Square.

·         A market policy was being developed for high streets and town centres as this was required for licensing purposes.

·         That funds allocated from Covid grants had specific criteria for spend.

·         Many banks and national chains were rationalising their presence on the high streets. Cllr H Whitbread advised the Committee that Chief Executive of Next had informed her that Epping Next had closed in line with the business model and move towards larger stores, she had raised the community aspects of smaller stores which could act as an anchor on the high street.

·         There was a need to work in partnership and ensure communication with Town and Parish Councils, town partnerships and businesses.

·         The Town Centre programme had been reactive through the pandemic and services had been delivered by a wide range of services across the council.

·         The next steps would involve a longer term plan for the district based around several strategic aims.

 

Resolved:

           

That the Committee considered and commented on the Town Centre Report.

33.

Enforcement Review pdf icon PDF 30 KB

(Cllr L Burrows) To consider and comment on the Enforcement Review (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Burrows introduced the Enforcement Review, thanked officers for their input, highlighted the potential costs of £250,000 for the implementation of a system for environmental health and technical enforcement, and developing enforcement of parking at key junctions, footpaths and areas outsides school in partnership with NEPP and ECC.  Nick Dawe (Chief Operating Officer)  advised the Committee that planning enforcement was outside the remit of this review. The focus was on actions that were, in the main, immediate and low cost,  and included outline plans for improved technology which could be brought forward in two stage. He reminded the Committee covered that there were many aspect to enforcement activity and recourse to legal action was the last resort.

 

The Committee:

·         Sought clarity on the quantification of costs associated with the development of the IT system and were advised that the interim stage had been fully costed and was included in the budget, the wider system which would integrate with planning and the HRA was unknown, and the business case for this could be brought to this Select Committee

 

·         Queried the provision of legal resources and the technical ability of officers in compiling suitable evidence for prosecution.  All officers were aware of PACE and operated to the relevant regulations, some work was required in relation to legal service provision.

 

·         Suggested that the lack of feedback to the complainant, who then engaged members and the feedback loop to members was a key issue. Members needed to be given access to information and progress on specific cases, and were cognisant of the confidentiality aspects of enforcement case which could be critical to a successful outcome. The Committee were advised that the key aspect of the proposal was that enforcement activity was coordinated and fed back to members.

 

·         Questioned the increase in ‘rat runs’ through the enforcement at junction, parking obstructing footpaths and schools.  A comprehensive approach was needed to be taken, to avoid increasing the speed and amount of traffic through the cleared areas, and to ensure that air quality was considered.

 

·         Queried the system for ensuring planning conditions were met, Andrew Marx confirmed, it was not practical for them to be actively monitored, due to the large numbers and advised that there was a 10 year period when breaches could be dealt with and there was a clear link on the website to report alleged breaches. Consultees were advised that the decision notice and conditions would be available on the website, and the service received regular allegations of breaches of conditions. In additional solicitors often wanted confirmation that conditions had been adhered to. He reminded members to contact him directly if they had any specific queries.

 

·         Asked about costs incurred and recovered. They were advised that the same costs would be incurred for some actions, but the process should become more efficient. In general terms the enforcement costs would be sought from those at fault, for planning when direct action was taken, the costs could be charged back to the transgressor and this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.

34.

Additional Waste Container Costs pdf icon PDF 322 KB

(J Warwick) To consider and provide comment on the attached additional waste container costs report ( attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

James Warwick (Acting Service Director) advised the Committee that this proposal had been referred to this Committee by the Waste Management Partnership Board, and further to the recommendations of this Committee would be submitted to Cabinet for approval. The paper outlined the proposal that residents were charged for: the assessment, issuing and delivery of additional garden waste bins; the assessment, issuing and delivery of larger waste bins; replacement bin cost when the bin had been lost; and noted that repairs to bins would be the preferential option and remain free of charge. These proposals would reduce costs and increase efficiencies, as there was a constant demand for additional waste containers. The paper also addressed a misnomer and suggested that the additional food and garden bins (AF&GB) were renamed ‘garden waste bin’.

 

The Committee received confirmation that the charges for residents were in relation to additional bins only, and requested clarity on a number of aspects of the report.

  • Only bins embossed with the Council logo would be collected by the contractor. Alternative bins sourced by individuals were often substandard and could easily fracture, they could also impact and damage the lifting mechanisms on refuse vehicles.
  • Costs detailed were based on the recharge of bin costs, the charge of delivery and time for the officer assessment.
  • There was no charge for additional bins required for medical waste, incontinence pads were classified as non-hazardous medical waste, and this was covered under the current medical waste policy.
  • Nappies were not classified as medical waste and were included in the household refuse collection, an assessment was made after a request for a larger bins in an attempt to drive recyclable materials in to the appropriate waste stream.
  • Broken bins would be stripped for parts and the broken element would be recycled.
  • Number stickers could be provided or numbers painted onto bins for ease of identification.
  • Operatives should ensure bins were return to where they were taken from avoid bins going missing.

 

The Committee

  • Raised concerns raised about charges for larger bins for families and discussed if there should be some discretion in the policy.
  • Suggested that a move to real nappies, could reduce the total amount of waste and detailed that Love Essex had a real nappy initiative.
  • Requested that replacement bins should be cleaned before being reissued.
  • Acknowledged the good service from Biffa.
  • Requested a tour of the Biffa facility for members and discussed the potential of a virtual recoded tour, but agreed that an in person tour would be more beneficial to members.
  • Suggested additional clarity on financial aspects associated with proposal, including proportion of new bins to replacement bins, costs of administration and management of the repair service.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Committee considered and commented on the proposal for the introduction of charging for additional and replacement waste containers to be presented to a future Cabinet meeting.

 

35.

Dates of Future Meetings

To note that future meetings of the Select Committee will be held at 7.00pm on 15 March 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting was noted as 15 March 2022 at 7:00pm