Agenda and minutes

Local Councils' Liaison Committee
Monday, 11th March, 2019 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

9.

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 webcasting announcement:

 

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

 

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 any member of the public wishes to avoid this they should move to the upper public gallery".

 

Minutes:

The Chairman 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.

10.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 10 September 2018 and any matters arising therefrom.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

            That the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 10 September 2018 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

11.

Epping Forest Youth Council

(Epping Forest Youth Council) To receive a presentation on the work and current projects of the Youth Council.

Minutes:

Youth councillors A Flynn and B Hodgkinson, and Assistant Community Health and Wellbeing Manager, G Gold, were in attendance.

 

A presentation was received on the work and current projects of the Youth Council. Set-up ten years ago, the Youth Council had gone from strength to strength. It had celebrated its tenth anniversary at the Houses of Parliament in the company of The Right Honourable Eleanor Laing MP for Epping Forest Constituency, Alex Burghart MP for Brentwood and Ongar Constituency, and the High Sheriff of Essex, James Burrough. There had been 128 youth councillors elected over this ten-year period, and all had undertaken a busy training programme.

 

Both Epping and Loughton town councils had received presentations from youth councillors about their work, which encompassed various activities from anti-social behaviour meetings, learning first aid, to attending civic events, Remembrance Day and carol services. As young volunteers themselves, they encouraged others to also engage with older people.

 

Their aim, to raise the profile of young people, was certainly achieved this year with the publication of the Drugs Project Report 2019. The youth councillors had consulted some 3,200 secondary school pupils that they represented, via an anonymous survey. This revealed that almost 89 per cent had not tried drugs but 11 per cent had because of curiosity or boredom. The survey also highlighted that 69 per cent of pupils thought that drugs were easily accessible, especially on the street and online. The survey had also asked pupils about the drugs they had tried with legal highs (NO2 only) being the most popular. The impact of drug taking on communities and the environment through discarded NO2 canisters was also identified as a cause for concern for people in the District.

 

The Youth Council focussed on young people’s safety. The We ‘R’ Safe project, was a joint collaboration with the Red Balloon Family, and would promote a powerful safety message when it was launched this summer. The Youth Activity Map was also being updated and would be available on the Council’s website by July 2019.

 

The Youth Council had won a mental health awareness award. It had also received a medal in March 2018 in recognition of its crime prevention project, MiLife at the National Crime Beat Awards, a crime prevention charity of the High Sheriffs’ Association in England and Wales. Some 6,000 pupils had attended roadshows and the project had exceeded all expectations.

 

Youth councillors attended individual schools within the District and they made presentations to other pupils. They usually promoted their activities via social media, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which gave young people a voice and was what the Youth Council was all about. They participated in events held by the Epping Forest District Museum, Winter Warmer community days and at the District Council Chairman civic functions. They also raised money for charities. This year’s charity was Cardiac Risk in the Young. The Youth Council was funded by the Council and also received an external grant of over £4,800 from the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Active Living Project pdf icon PDF 810 KB

(Epping Forest District Council) To receive a presentation from the Council’s Community Health and Wellbeing Team on the ‘Active Living’ Project and an update on the Epping Forest Community Champions programme.

Minutes:

Public Health Improvement Officer, F Ferrari, and Assistant Community Health and Wellbeing Manager, J Warwick, were in attendance.

 

This was a lifestyle project for adults The aim was to get inactive people active as statistics had shown that just 30 minutes of regular exercise could add a year onto people’s lives.

 

Following a similar project run by the University of Hertford but adapted for this District, Waltham Abbey was chosen as the pilot town on the research that had been completed. If successful it would be expanded to other areas. An eligible person had to be over 16, live in the Epping Forest District and do less than 30 minutes of activity a week. Participants received an explanatory booklet, were provided one to one support with a trainer and their progress tracked at three, six and nine monthly intervals. There would also be twelve weeks of active living group activities with a further three months free. Classes took place in Buckhurst Hill, Epping and Waltham Abbey. Flexibility if attendance had lapsed, support at the end of a phone or via email, and the opportunity of mixing with like minded people had all helped. Of the 202 referrals, the majority had come from doctors, and families and friends. Those completing a year on the programme had achieved a 100 per cent increased activity.

 

A members question and answer session followed.

 

Chigwell Parish Councillor, R Alvin, had recently been contacted by an old age pensioner about the costs as charges were going up to £5 per session and this might impact on referral numbers. F Ferrari replied that they worked closely with Places Leisure. However, this resident was obviously active whereas they worked at the inactive end of the spectrum. These adults would be given free passes to workout at a local leisure centre, but not everyone liked a sports centre environment so another option would be to attend a Forever Active community class. As various programmes were run every day, the aim was to build up activity to encourage people to do more activities. Councillor S Kane said that the Active Life project came under his portfolio, Community and Partnership Services, while leisure came under Councillor N Avey, Contract and Technical Services Portfolio Holder, but they would provide a response.

 

Buckhurst Hill West Ward Councillor, A Patel, asked about its sustainability and how the Council engaged with local councils to help expand the scheme in local communities, as well as staff resources – the time officers had spent on making the project work and help train local councillors. F Ferrari replied that currently one part time officer but if the project grew, then perhaps a second officer. On sustainability, one idea would be to get people trained up who had participated in the programme and then volunteer to deliver the programme themselves. Another option would be to involve local councils. Officers in the team were registered trainers with the Royal Society of Public Health who could assist in the training of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Issues Raised by Local Councils pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To discuss the following matters raised by the local councils.

 

(a)       Community Grant Aid Scheme

 

To consider the attached report.

 

(b)       Planning Applications

 

To consider how the new system for receiving representations from local councils is working in practice.

 

Although local councils have also requested information on how they can influence the progress of Section 106 Agreements, if any, on masterplanning under the new Local Plan, the Committee is advised that the Council’s Constitution Working Group will be reviewing its approach to Section 106 Agreements as part of its ongoing work programme. The Service Director (Planning Services) is of the view that it would not therefore be appropriate for consideration of this issue by the Committee at the present time.

 

(c)       Environmental Concerns

 

To report on the District Council’s current deterrent arrangements for anti-social behaviour/loitering and the use of fixed penalty notices or on-the-spot fines for incidences of fly-tipping.

 

(d)       Air Quality

 

To note the attached report in relation to local air quality and pollution from idling vehicles.

 

(e)       Essex Highways

 

To consider the role and responsibilities of Essex County Council and Epping Forest District Council and the influence that the District Council can bring to bear on Essex Highways with regard to the maintenance of signs and heritage signs, as a result of the removal of the finger post at Berwick Lane, Stanford Rivers.

 

(f)        Street Lighting

           

To consider progress on Essex County Council’s proposals for the extension of operation of local street lighting operation and the funding of all-night lighting on a selective basis.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)       Community Grant Aid Scheme

 

Assistant Community Health and Wellbeing Manager, G Gold, was in attendance.

 

The report outlined guidance for organisations providing services in the community, cultural or sport sectors within the Epping Forest District that wanted to apply for a community grant from the Council. A budget of £83,450 was annually set aside with priority given to those groups that met the Council’s key areas. Where applications submitted by various organisations already had support from local councils, this played an important part in the decision. Although a grant was provided to the Redbridge Samaritans, it did provide support to the Epping Forest District. All applications were considered by the Community and Partnerships Portfolio Holder on whether to approve, refuse or defer (pending further information) an application and decisions were made quarterly. Local councils were also provided with publicity information to help promote the scheme.

 

The Chairman acknowledged that this Council was one of the few local authorities that still provided grants. He had been at the Grant Aid Celebrations held in the Council Chamber on 12 March when over fifty people from twenty-five different organisations had attended.

 

The Vice-Chairman, C C Pond, asked if organisations making an application were also required to specify if they had applied to a local council. G Gold replied that an organisation would be asked if they had received local council support and would be looking for groups to achieve as many funding sources as possible.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the Committee noted the operation of the Council’s community grant aid application processes.

 

The Chairman advised that as the Service Director (Planning), N Richardson, was in attendance for this item, he would bring forward item 7, Planning Process Review, and item 8, Epping Forest District Local Plan – Progress.

 

(b)       Planning Applications

 

Planning delegations had been covered extensively at the Local Councils’ Liaison Committee last September, and officers were of the opinion that this seemed to be working well. Although less planning applications were coming to the Area Planning Sub-Committees, the same number of applications were being determined by officers after being assessed against the Adopted Local Plan and the emerging Local Plan. All representations, including those from local councils, were taken into consideration. While some local councils were particularly good at notifying Planning when they were going to attend and speak at a planning committee, if this was not made clear, then applications would not be going to committee, but instead dealt with under delegated powers if no other objections had been raised. Also despite a local council stating it had a strong objection to an application, if no one else had objected then it could still be determined by officers under delegated powers.

 

Local councils had also requested information on how they could influence the progress of section 106 agreements, particularly on masterplanning under the new Local Plan. N Richardson advised that this was not being considered by committees at the present time.

 

North Weald Parish Councillor, S Jackman, said that her parish  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Planning Process Review pdf icon PDF 86 KB

(Epping Forest District Council) To note the attached report.

Minutes:

The Service Director (Planning), N Richardson, was in attendance.

 

A number of revisions to the planning processes had been adopted by Council on 31 July 2018. This had been to help firstly, the delivery of the Local Plan and an anticipated increased workload at the pre-application and application stages. Secondly, this was to address the existing arrangements of planning applications at Area Plans Sub-Committees as many exceeded the national target of eight weeks for determination when an objection was received.

 

To improve processes when local councils made an objection, they were required to confirm in writing their intention to speak and present the objection at the relevant planning committee. In at least two recent instances applications were on the agenda as the local councils were the sole objectors, but they had not attended the meeting. Thus, in accordance with the current Scheme of Delegation each would have been determined by the Service Director (Planning) under delegated powers. However, the Monitoring Officer had advised that it was inappropriate to simply withdraw an application from a published agenda without some form of consideration by members, and advice was given to the relevant chairmen and vice-chairmen. Therefore, Council agreed at the meeting on 20 December 2018 the following revision to the Scheme of Delegation (CLD2 – Development Management):

 

That in the instance where a local council had not registered to speak at an Area Plans Sub-Committee, or failed to attend, having previously advised the Council of their intention to attend and speak, relevant applications be automatically referred (without any consideration of the merits of the development proposal) to the Service Director (Planning Services) for determination in accordance with the Scheme of Delegation.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee noted the revisions made to the planning processes set out within the Planning Delegation arrangements of the Council’s Constitution.

15.

Epping Forest District Local Plan - Progress

(Epping Forest District Council) To report to the Committee on the current position with regard to the progress of the new Local Plan for the Epping Forest District.

Minutes:

The Service Director (Planning), N Richardson, was in attendance.

 

The Public Hearing sessions of the Local Plan had started on 12 February 2019. The first tranche had covered legal compliance, context, vision and objectives and sustainable development, place shaping and general masterplanning approach, quantitative requirements for development, and spatial strategy. All this information was on the Council website. The hearing sessions had gone very well so far. They were very organised and the public had been attending to watch on the screens. When the Inspector had required further information or clarification, the Council had prepared and submitted this to the Inspector, all of which were available on the Examination website. The Inspector was very much in control. Counsel, M Beard, was also pleased with the progress thus far. The second tranche would start on 19 March. Site selection and viability, housing supply, Garden Town communities and Development Management policies would be discussed. The third tranche would begin on 14 May.

 

The hearing session for Matter 1, Issue 5 on Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) had been postponed until 21 May 2019 in light of the publication of this report in January 2019. The Inspector had decided to also postpone discussion of Development Management Policies DM2 (Epping Forest SAC and Lee Valley SPA) and DM22 (Air Quality) until that date so that the over-lapping matters could be considered at the same session. Developers building within 3.2 kilometres of the Epping Forest Special Area of Conservation (SAC) would have to pay a contribution towards making improvements to the Forest and on air quality on a District-wide basis. Therefore, the Local Planning Authority had not been able to issue decisions on those applications that affected the SAC. The interim strategy of impact on the Forest was still ongoing as the Council had to reach agreement with the Conservators of Epping Forest and Natural England. There was frustration on the delay to planning consents, but this also affected the neighbouring borough councils for Redbridge and Waltham Forest. Any proposed modifications would be consulted on at the conclusion of the Local Plan Hearings. The Local Plan was on course for adoption by October 2019.

 

A members question and answer session followed.

 

Councillor J Lea said that other councils were able to build by motorways, because she had seen a new development by a motorway in Torquay, Devon. N Richardson replied that this restriction was to do with the Epping Forest SAC, which was of European importance.

16.

Issues Raised By Local Councils

Minutes:

(c)        Environmental Concerns

 

Service Manager Community Resilience, R Gardiner, was in attendance.

 

A report on the Environment and Neighbourhoods Enforcement Activity 2018 had been published in the agenda. Local Councils had particularly asked to receive information on anti-social behaviour, loitering, fly-tipping and the model that was in use at Maldon District Council.

 

The Environment and Neighbourhoods (EN) team covered incidents mainly to do with fly-tipping, noise, loitering and anti-social behaviour. The EN team for 2018 had comprised seven officers but the EN manager had now been appointed the Community Resilience Service Director in the Council re-structure.

 

On loitering and anti-social behaviour, the Council targeted enforcement actions and prioritised work amongst the seven EN officers. There were also two police officers, one police sergeant and two anti-social behaviour officers. Diary sheets would be completed and statements taken to assess any problems. There were no patrols to cover littering and dog mess because the EN team worked on a reactive basis to incidents reported.

 

Epping Forest District had one of the highest number of fly-tipping incidences (2,606) in Essex, which took up 51 per cent of officers’ time. Fly-tipping could range from a resident, to a man in a van, and to organised crime. Fixed penalty notices (FPN) were used as an alternative to prosecutions for smaller offences and over £4,200 of financial penalties were imposed. The Council had a ‘crime not to care’ campaign and residential households had a duty of care to dispose of their rubbish correctly. They needed to ensure that the waste carrier they hired was registered and that they kept all the paperwork. The FPN was currently set at £200 but the maximum was £400. Someone on benefits might struggle with a £400 fine but members would be asked to review the price in due course.

 

The aim was to keep waste out of the control of rogue traders. Prosecution was used for larger offences. One such recent prosecution resulted in a fine of £25,000, some £2,000 of which would come back to the Council. The EN team had tried to launch the buy with confidence scheme but only one company had signed up and submitted to an audit.

 

Maldon District Council used Enforcement and Surveillance officers, which although similar were different. The seven officers were more patrol based and covered fly-tipping (circa 500 cases a year), security checks, anti-social behaviour, dog messing, and parking enforcement. It was also the only local authority that undertook speed checks for the Police. Two of these posts were funded by local councils and they could also purchase time for their areas. Maldon District Council did not monitor noise nuisance and had no out of hours noise service. In this district noise nuisance was the second biggest complaint with 1,529 incidents that equated to 30 per cent of officers’ workload.

 

A members question and answer session followed.

 

The Chairman asked about rubbish thrown from vehicles and added that he had given a witness statement when someone was littering out of a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Review of Polling Districts & Polling Places

(Epping Forest District Council) The Council is required by Section 18C of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as amended by Section 17 of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013), to undertake a review of the parliamentary polling districts and polling places within the Epping Forest District by 31 January 2020.  Such review commenced on 18 February 2019.

 

A polling district is a geographical area created by the sub-division of a UK Parliamentary constituency for the purposes of a UK Parliamentary election. Each parish is a separate polling district unless there are special circumstances (e.g. a small number of electors). A polling place is an area or building in which polling stations will be selected by the (Acting) Returning Officer. Polling stations should be within easy reach of all electors from across the polling district.

 

Formal notice of the review and a list of polling districts and polling places for the Parliamentary Constituency within each town/parish area, has been issued to the Clerk to each town/parish council. If any local council wishes to make comments about the existing or future arrangements for polling districts and polling places, such representations should be sent to democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk by no later than 1 April 2019.

 

At the end of the consultation period a report will be submitted to one of the Council’s select committees to enable consideration to be given to the representations received, with a view to recommendations being made in respect of future polling districts and polling places. The Council will determine future arrangements for polling districts and polling places at its meeting to be held on 30 July 2019.

Minutes:

The Council was required by Section 18C of the Representation of the People Act 1983 (as amended by Section 17 of the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013), to undertake a review of the parliamentary polling districts and polling places within the Epping Forest District by 31 January 2020. The review had commenced on 18 February 2019.

 

D Macnab advised local councils that this was just a reminder of the formal notice of this review and a list of polling districts and polling places for the Parliamentary Constituency within each town/parish area, that had been issued to every Clerk.

 

If any local council wished to make comments about the existing or future arrangements for polling districts and polling places, such representations should be sent to democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk by no later than 1 April 2019.

18.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Minutes:

The Chairman said that as members knew the Youth Council did a lot of good work in the District and as part of that he had organised the Chairman’s Charity Concert on 28 March at 19.00 at New City College. Tickets would cost £10 and all funds raised would be going to youth projects in the Epping Forest District and especially to provide respite for young carers.

19.

Dates of Future Meetings

To note that future meetings of the Committee will be held at 7.30pm on:

 

16 September 2019; and

16 March 2020.

Minutes:

I was noted that future meetings of the Committee would be held at 7.30pm on:

 

·                     16 September 2019; and

 

·                     16 March 2020.