Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Thursday, 7th March, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

Contact: A. Hendry (Democratic Services)  Tel: (01992) 564246 Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

88.

Webcasting Introduction

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

 

The Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the Internet and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing, with copies of the recording being made available for those that request it.

 

By being present at this meeting, it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in your image becoming part of the broadcast.

 

You should be aware that this may infringe your human and data protection rights. If you have any concerns then please speak to the Webcasting Officer.

 

Please could I also remind Members to activate their microphones before speaking.”

 

Minutes:

The Leader of Council 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.

89.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

Minutes:

Pursuant to the Council’s Member Code of Conduct, Councillor G Mohindra declared an interest in item 8 – Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Transport Strategy, by virtue of being a Cabinet Member of Essex County Council. The Councillor had determined that his interest was not prejudicial and that he would remain in the meeting for the consideration of the item.

90.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 7th February 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 7 February 2019 be taken as read and signed by the Leader as a correct record.

91.

Reports of Portfolio Holders

To receive oral reports from Portfolio Holders on current issues concerning their Portfolios, which are not covered elsewhere on this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no verbal reports made by Members of the Cabinet on current issues affecting their areas of responsibility.

92.

Public Questions and Requests to Address the Cabinet

To receive any questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Cabinet.

 

(a)        Public Questions

 

To answer questions asked by members of the public after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within Part 4 of the Constitution (Council Rules, Rule Q3) on any matter in relation to which the Cabinet has powers or duties or which affects the District.

 

(b)       Requests to Address the Cabinet

 

Any member of the public or a representative of another organisation may address the Cabinet on any agenda item (except those dealt with in private session as exempt or confidential business) due to be considered at the meeting, in accordance with the provisions contained within Article 7 of the Constitution (The Executive, Paragraphs 27 and 28).

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet noted that no public questions or requests to address the Cabinet had been received for consideration at the meeting.

93.

Overview and Scrutiny

To consider any matters of concern to the Cabinet arising from the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function and to identify any matters that the Cabinet would like the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to examine as part of its work programme.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee reported that their last their  meeting had been held on 26 February 2019. They had received several Youth Councillors who gave a brief update on the work that the Youth Council had been involved in since their election in 2018.

 

Their training had included Dementia Friends Awareness, Hate Crime Ambassadors, Consequences of Crime, Drug Awareness, Basic First Aid, Diversity Awareness as well as training provided by Essex Police and the British Youth Council.

 

The Youth Council had also been involved in the Youth Council’s 10th Anniversary celebrations at the Houses of Parliament, a drug report and Gateway Drugs project, MiLife, the Youth Activities Map and winning the National Crimebeat Awards 2018.

 

They ensured that the Youth Council were considering relevant topics by consulting young people through surveys, within their schools, holding youth conferences and the use of social media.

 

They had been involved in many consultations with external organisations and had successfully applied for and received £4830 of external funding in the past year. They had chosen to support CRY Cardiac Risk in the Young as their chosen charity to raise funds for.

 

Other issues considered were the conclusion of the call-in  for the Accommodation Strategy, questions to be put to South East Local Enterprise Partnership who would be attending the Committee in April and the work programmes for the O&S Committee and Select Committees.

94.

Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Transport Strategy pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To consider the attached report (C-036-2018/19).

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)    That the draft Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Transport Strategy (January 2019) be published for a six-week period of public consultation following the May elections; and

 

(2)    The Cabinet noted that, following consultation and any subsequent revisions to the document, it was intended that the final Transport Strategy would be agreed as a material planning consideration for the preparation of masterplans, the preparation of the Gilston Area Charter, pre-application advice, assessing planning applications and any other development management purposes.

 

Minutes:

The Planning Services Portfolio Holder introduced the report on the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Transport Strategy. The Cabinet noted that Harlow and Gilston had been designated as a Garden Town by the Ministry for Homes, Communities and Local Government in January 2017 and would comprise new and existing communities in and around Harlow. East Herts, Epping Forest and Harlow District Councils were working together with Hertfordshire and Essex County Councils to ensure plans for the Garden Town supported sustainable living and a healthy economy; provided a good quality of life for existing and future residents; and responded to local landscape and character.

 

AECOM were commissioned in May 2018 to prepare a transport strategy working with the Councils across the Garden Town.  Transport had a critical role to play in facilitating housing and employment growth.  The Transport Strategy was intended to be a high level document which set out the key aims, objectives and principles in relation to movement, travel and transport in and around the Garden Town.  The Draft Transport Strategy had now been agreed by the Harlow and Gilston Garden Town Member Board and the next stage was to seek agreement from this Council to publish the draft strategy for a period of consultation.

 

Once it has been through this it would come back to the Council for adoption as our own planning document.

 

Councillor Sartin said that she had been to a workshop in Harlow where they talked about transport corridors and asked if there were any circular routes under consideration. The Planning Portfolio Holder said that the corridors were to connect to the North, South, East and West of the Garden Town. If they made the routes longer they may discourage people from using them; but the document will be out for consultation and if you felt that a circular route was better, please let us know.

 

Councillor Lion wanted to know if ‘lift sharing’ would be considered. He was told they were consulting on the current transport strategy, in the current hierarchy, only the fourth item was the private vehicle. If they could improve the use of private vehicles by using lift sharing, that would be a positive thing.

 

Councillor Grigg commented that some of the targets in the report were very challenging, like balancing the need for parking spaces and at the same time helping retail businesses. She would be interested in how this would work out. The Planning Services Portfolio Holder agreed it was a challenging balancing act; providing more car parking spaces would also encourage more cars and cause congestion. We would have to wait and see what the consultation comes up with.

 

Councillor Bedford said it was fair to say that looking at this survey we were comparing today’s usage of motor vehicles to future travel modes. The Planning Services Portfolio Holder said that they were not comparing, just developing a strategy. They were also looking at rapid transit buses and trams and other options for the transport corridors. For the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 94.

95.

Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre - Option to Tax pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To consider the attached report (C-037-2018/19)

Additional documents:

Decision:

That in order to safeguard the Council’s financial position, the Cabinet agreed to “Opt-to-Tax” Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre.

 

Minutes:

 

The Business Support Services Portfolio Holder introduced the report on the Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre – option to tax.

 

The Council currently enjoyed the protection of Section 33 of the VAT Act 1994 whereby it can reclaim all the Value Added Tax (VAT) paid on expenditure relating to its exempt supplies as long as VAT on costs relating to the exempt supplies was less than 5% of the total VAT incurred by the Council in any given financial year.

 

Leisure services were, in general, subject to exempt rates of VAT and the relevant expenditure of running sports centres was predominantly standard rated, it was requested that Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre be added to the list of properties “opted-to-tax” along with all other sports complexes.

 

As Leisure Services, were predominantly exempt from VAT the Council would be unable to recover any of the VAT incurred on any of its costs of maintaining the site. To remain consistent with the other Leisure Centres, opting to tax the land the Council could reclaim all VAT without it affecting their partial exemption limits. This practice was in place at present with formalities to be put in place.

 

 

Decision:

 

That in order to safeguard the Council’s financial position, the Cabinet agreed to “Opt-to-Tax” Waltham Abbey Leisure Centre.

 

Reasons for Proposed Decision:

 

To enable the Business Support Service Director to “Opt-to-Tax” Waltham Abbey Sports Centre after gaining relevant advice from VAT advisors thus ensuring the Council can reclaim all the VAT incurred on its exempt supplies.

 

Other Options for Action:

 

(i)         Do not “Opt-to-Tax” and do not reclaim any VAT on exempt supplies;

(ii)        Do not “Opt-to-Tax” and repay over £2m of reclaimed VAT to date;

(iii)       Do not “Opt-to-Tax” and do not reclaim VAT paid on construction costs.

96.

Petition - Parking tariff at Ongar Car Parks pdf icon PDF 111 KB

To consider the attached report (C-038-2018/19).

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)        That the Petition from Ongar residents seeking to rescind the Cabinet decision of September 2018 of a free one hour followed by £1 all day charge on Sunday in the Pleasance Car Park in Ongar be noted; and

           

(2)        The Cabinet agreed that on the basis that the changes being introduced were agreed in September 2018 as part of parking tariff review it was too soon to make an amendment and that a full review of the impact of the new tariff would be carried out within a year of being implemented.

 

Minutes:

In the absence of the Contract and Technical Services Portfolio Holder, the Community and Partnership Services Portfolio Holder introduced the report on the recent petition to rescind Sunday off street car parking charges in Ongar.

 

The last tariff change was in 2015 however it did not include Ongar and Waltham Abbey. Parking charges had not changed in Ongar since 2008.

 

In September 2018 Cabinet agreed a new car parking tariff. The review sought to balance the needs of various users and was an attempt to simplify parking tariffs, accept the principle of controlling demand by price, help local businesses by keeping the lower charge bands unchanged, gradually removing subsidy from Season Ticket prices, continue the differential tariff across the District, create uniformity in charging on weekends and to enable reinvestment to improve and enhance user experience.

 

The petitioners sought for the Council to reconsider its earlier decision of an introduction of a £1 all day parking charge on a Sunday in Pleasance Car Park in Ongar, after an initial free one hour. The Petitioner’s reasons included adverse impact on: members of the Petangue club, ramblers, dog walkers, visitors and vitality of local shops and businesses. Under the Council Constitution, Cabinet was obliged to consider the Petition and take appropriate action. However, the Cabinet noted that the report had recently been agreed (in September 2018) and had only just been implemented; and that it would be reviewed within a year.

 

Councillor Bedford as an Ongar Councillor asked why we needed these variations around the District; had a survey been carried out across all the car parks; and how much revenue was expected to be generated. He understood the need to support local businesses but why was the Council imposing charges on a Sunday when car parks in Ongar on Sundays were largely used for leisure pursuits. The Community and Partnership Services Portfolio Holder replied that the Council were attempting to bring all the car parks in the district up to the same standard, partly achieved by adjusting the rates. This Ongar car park would generate about £3k p.a. to help in this district wide upgrade as well as standardising car parking charges. If we made an exception for one car park then we could be called upon to make an exception to another and so on. We need to maintain a standard so we can move forward.

 

Councillor Keska speaking for the residents noted that there had been three separate petitions submitted as well as letters in support by the Ongar Town Forum, the Ongar Town Council, the Ongar Neighbourhood Plan Community Group and the Epping Ongar Railway. He noted that each town in the district was unique and you should not equate what happens in one town to what happens elsewhere in the District. It was said that the Council was introducing charges to support local businesses but how do you support local businesses by introducing car parking charges. And as for losing £3k per annum, as you have never  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.

97.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs 6 and 24 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution requires that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

 

In accordance with Operational Standing Order 6 (non-executive bodies), any item raised by a non-member shall require the support of a member of the Committee concerned and the Chairman of that Committee.  Two weeks' notice of non-urgent items is required.

Minutes:

It was noted that there was no other urgent business for consideration by the Cabinet.