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To agree the minutes of the previous meeting.
The Minutes of the last meeting were agreed and signed.
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest.
There was no public participation.
Consideration of any matter referred to the Committee in relation to Call-In
Fiona Jump presented the report.
F Jump explained that :
Appendix A provides a summary of the revenue position for the Council.
The forecast is a budget pressure of £121k against budgets for the entire Council.
Appendix B contains more detail around capital programmes.
The forecast shows an underspend of £79k against those capital schemes.
Cllr Hobson asked a question regarding garages, explaining that she would like to understand what is behind that as she knows that some are being sold off.
F Jump explained that the level of voids was what was driving the figures on garages, when the figures are set they are based on a particular level of occupancy but the level of voids have been higher than expected, and that the department concerned was organising a stock condition survey which will enable them to take decisions regarding the future of the garage stock.
Cllr Birnie said that 3.3 Commercial Waste Review was mentioned again and asked for a timescale for this to be completed.
C Thorpe answered that the review from consultants had now been completed and said that he would be meeting with them the next day to discuss the outcome. He confirmed that there would be more information available for the next committee meeting.
Cllr Anderson added that officers are looking at various aspects of the commercial waste service and it may be that commercial recycling could be used as an opportunity to try and get the commercial waste back that we have been losing. Cllr Anderson added that price structures etc are being looked at to get to the bottom of the immediate problem.
Cllr Birnie explained for the benefit of the new councillors that this is an ongoing problem and that we have been losing commercial waste contracts to private contractors.
The report was noted.
Craig Thorpe presented the report.
Cllr Beauchamp offered congratulations on the performance of the Splash Park staff, saying that he had received several comments from people saying how successful it had been and how good the staff were.
Cllr Wyatt Lowe said that she was delighted with our collaboration with the Friends of the Nicky Line and added that she hoped that anything we are doing is cross referenced with the various agencies that are involved with the Nicky Line to make sure that we are not duplicating efforts and what we do there is what the residents actually want.
Cllr Wyatt Lowe also mentioned new collection bins installed in Aragon Close in the flats, she said that they look like they are going to be a vast improvement and she asked if they had impacted on the way that the tenants were disposing of their rubbish. Cllr also asked if Ward Councillors could be informed when something like the Nicky Line project or the new bins occurs so that, if there are any problems, they can communicate with the appropriate people.
C Thorpe replied that Housing actually put these bins in, but they do seem to be working. He agreed communication with the councillors would be good.
Cllr Timmis said that she was pleased to see the number of bedding plants added but would like to know how many trees were planted as with climate change we should be looking at this.
C Thorpe said that he had numbers for both trees that have been taken out and trees that have been planted and indeed the number planted is set to increase as a project has just started as a result of the climate emergency and as a direct wish of Cllr Williams to plant more trees as well as identifying areas of land where we can plant both quickly and sustainably over the next few years.
Cllr Anderson said it is important to remember that we cannot just plant trees anywhere and everywhere. It is down to individual landowners and the County Council and Highways are cautious of trees with roots which can damage tarmac etc, It takes a lot of work to find suitable planting for a thousand trees and that is what is happening at the moment.
Cllr Ransley asked if individual Ward Councillors can suggest where trees could be planted.
C Thorpe said he would be happy to look at any suggestions.
Cllr Birnie said that it has to be borne in mind that not only tarmac but also services run under the verges so it is not always easy to use those sites.
Cllr Timmis said that she noticed a number of fly tips had been cleared and she wondered what the cost of that was and also what we are doing to discourage them – she added that she had seen a Herts CC leaflet that goes out to every household urging people to ensure that, if they go to someone to ... view the full minutes text for item 36.
The report was presented by Emma Walker.
Cllr Woolmer asked a question regarding training in preparation for EU exit, and whether there was any indication of the number of staff needed to deal with that.
E Walker replied that we do not know the details as yet but there may be some issues with imported food so everybody’s training has been updated to ensure that they are up to date and know the process required, but there was no indication of the number of staff that would be needed.
Cllr Ransley asked for an explanation of what a Remedial Notice entailed.
E Walker explained that for example if there are two neighbours with a boundary, the piece of legislation may apply which may involve a notice being sent to one of the parties to cut the hedge to a lower level as it may be affecting light etc.,
Cllr Birnie asked if in relation to paragraph 6.2 and 6.3 referring to this matter, could it become practise to advice the Ward Councillor when this is about to happen
E Walker replied that they could advise but the problem at this stage is that it is unknown whether it is going to be complied with or not, so no detail could be given in case legal proceedings follow.
Cllr Banks said that outside of the report she would like to record her personal thanks to the team for the clean-up day in Grovehill and she asked how many councillors attended the event in Highfield.
E Walker confirmed that Councillors were invited but she was not sure who attended.
Cllr Birnie said he noticed that there was no mention of invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed which would affect the environment.
E Walker replied there have been no complaints and so have not dealt with this so far but if they receive one they will look into it.
The report was presented by James Doe
Cllr Birnie asked a question regarding targets – he wanted clarification on why there appears to be 2 targets of 70% and 10% regarding the intervention level.
J Doe explained that there are two different measures – the headline figure that is monitored every month and every quarter is about the number of appeals that go in and the number that we win. Of all the appeals that went in we won on 66%. But the Government’s intervention level is measured on a different basis. This is about 10% of appeals against the total number of applications submitted to the Council over a two year period. These are measured over two periods between 2016 and 2018, 2017 and 2019. On the first two year period we are running at 0.6 of 1%, so we are doing well. J Doe added that he has provided a link for the Government Document in the report which explains this in full detail.
J Doe said that there is red indicator in Building Control around the number of cases dealt with within two months and asked that the Committee note that this will be the last regular report that they will get on Building Control as Dacorum Building Control Services are due to transfer to Hertfordshire Building Control on October 1st. J Doe has advised the other HBC (Hertfordshire Building Control) members that this Committee will be expecting at least an annual report from them on their performance within the Dacorum area.
Cllr Timmis asked if there was anything in place at the moment with regards to Building Control as she has spoken to a planning officer who said that they needed more advice from Building Control and did not know where to go for that advice now.
J Doe said that if Cllr Timmis gave him the address of the property after the meeting he would look into that, and confirmed that there are arrangements in place. We are in a transition period and agency workers have now left but their places are taken by officers from HBC, so the service should be running seamlessly.
Cllr Riddick said that appeals are always an emotive subject and on the Development Control Committee sometimes see things put forward with a recommendation for approval and wonder why they have come to them. He said that with one in particular the applicant is disgruntled and thinking of appealing and having looked at his design and access statement which was on the website and which had a reply from our planning officer against various paragraphs, it was clear that it should never have gone forward for approval, so expectation was raised. Cllr Riddick added that if that could be moderated rather than chasing numbers it would be beneficial.
Cllr Birnie said that this question was difficult to deal with in this committee meeting because it sounds like a matter of training of officers, he asked that the committee be ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
The Work Programme was discussed – Cllr Birnie said that some items were already on the list and went through those. He then invited suggestions for items for future meetings.
Cllr Timmis suggested climate change and Cllr Birnie agreed it was an important subject but pointed out that it is rather a ‘catch all’ heading and it would be difficult to decide which of the portfolio holders would be responsible and he would rather have more specific subjects.
Cllr Anderson said that garages which was on that list did not come under this committee. He suggested that in terms of environmental sustainability the committee could review the Council’s private emergency plan and also the Council’s environmental management system, which gives an analysis the Council’s use of gas, electric, water etc., this is something which comes into Nigel Howcutt’s area and is something he could present.
Cllr Hobson said that an enquiry on recycling of plastics would be valuable and for instance asking the company that does our recycling to attend a meeting and give us some evidence and also ask some businesses to come. Not just about what happens to the waste but also what the Council can do to encourage people to use less plastic. Cllr Hobson added an enquiry would show that the Council was being pro-active in understanding the issue and what it could do.
Cllr Anderson said it is important that members who request reports lay out what information they require and what it is they hope to achieve, he added that he felt Cllr Hobson had brought together two different subjects, one being dry recyclables and the other waste reduction.
Cllr Birnie suggested that Cllr Hobson come up with the bones of the enquiry – what topics you want to cover and how you want to cover them.
Cllr Wyatt-Lowe said that we do have within Cupid Green a team who go out educating particularly in the schools with regard to environmental matters and it might be quite useful as a precursor to anything else to have an in depth look at what they do.
Cllr Birnie asked if the committee would like him to approach Craig and see if a visit could be arranged to Cupid Green and members of the committee concurred.
Cllr Wyatt-Lowe suggested that it would be helpful to have the meeting held at Cupid Green.
Cllr Sutton added that it could be taken a stage further and a visit to the recycling centre and also to the food waste unit could be made as Cupid Green is only the first stop on the journey.
Cllr Birnie agreed that would be particularly useful for new councillors.
Cllr Beauchamp said it would be useful to have a report based on the number of offences and penalties that have been issued with regard to the recent by laws that have been introduced.
Cllr Banks said that at the moment it is all about education, but indeed the first of the figures should become ... view the full minutes text for item 39.