Agenda and minutes

Strategic Planning & Environment Overview & Scrutiny - Wednesday, 21st September, 2022 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 149 KB

To agree the minutes of the previous meeting.


Cllr Harden noted minutes from meetings held on 14th June and 6th July.


Cllr England confirmed his concerns regarding minutes from the meeting held on 14th June were now resolved.


The minutes for the meetings held on 14th June and 6th July 2022 were formally approved


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were noted from Cllr Wilkie and Cllr Wyatt- Lowe.



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


No new declarations of interest were declared


Public Participation


Cllr Harden confirmed there was no public participation, though they did have members of the public viewing the meeting virtually


Consideration of any matter referred to the Committee in relation to Call-In


Cllr Harden confirmed that no matters had been referred to the Committee


Environmental Services performance report Q1 pdf icon PDF 296 KB


RLeBrun took the report as read, first noting that the Covid report was incorrectly listed as an appendix, and confirmed that the missing KPIs would be circulated once they had been correctly taken from the system.


RLeBrun provided an overview of services, advising that a full service has been maintained despite driver shortages. Agency member induction training has been conducted and it has been agreed that agency staff will be brought in early at weekends for training to ensure they can begin work immediately. Scheduled collections took place on Good Friday, the Great Compost Giveaway was successful, and the service caught up well after the spring bank holiday. It was also noted that special village collections and electrical compliance testing and fire risk assessments have also been carried out, and an asbestos audit was also carried out at Tring depot. Training has been carried out for Clean Safe Green with 4 staff members now trained for the grab lorry, and a new grab lorry will be arriving to help address fly-tipping. Work has been ongoing with the splash park as well as ensuring that football fields are ready for the football season, and grass cutting has taken place.


The service has had a number of vacancies though work is ongoing to fill these, including working with summer temps and helping move them to permanent positions, and exploring other options to fill vacancies to ensure more sustainable succession planning.


On open spaces, trees and woodlands, work is being carried out to assess viability at Bunkers Park for future projects, including the Chilterns Beechwood project. The tree planting for the Queen's Jubilee was a success, and there has been good attendance at the Herts Tree Officer Forum for discussions around procurement around the tree maintenance service. Work is ongoing to expand the Wild Flower Map. On educational awareness, 10 tons of compost were given away for free to residents. 320 volunteers took part in the Great British Spring Clean, taking 219 bags of rubbish and 167 bags of recycling, and work is ongoing with Street Champions and friends groups. 4,000 packets of wildflower seeds have been given to residents as part of Biodiversity Day. 96 new Street Champions have registered and numbers continue to increase. 2 primary school talks have also been given to help encourage participation. On resourcing and administration, there have been 8,993 service requests, Clean Safe and Green has had 1,202, and there were 1,237 requests for sharp box collections.


Cllr Timmis congratulated RLeBrun on the positive report. On planning for the Chilterns Beechwood project, Cllr Timmis asked for clarification on this. ARobinson advised that there would be a report further on the agenda.


Cllr Timmis noted that they have seen a substantial increase in fly-tipping in recent weeks in her area, of which 2-3 have had official-looking plastic square bags and asked if this could be followed up further. RLeBrun agreed to follow this up with Cllr Timmis and asked that the councillor forward on the photographs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Planning, Development and Regeneration Performance report Q1 pdf icon PDF 303 KB

Additional documents:


ARobinson took the report as read and presented the following highlights. It was noted that Q1 planning income has increased, largely as a result of 2 specific planning applications, though planning applications are down overall due to restrictions currently in place. Whilst performance has improved since the last quarter, the service is still under considerable resourcing pressure. The Committee's attention was also drawn to section 2 of the report on the Q1 service highlights, including article directions to protect office space, ongoing work to support planning resilience work streams, work with the government to pilot a number of digital system reforms, and money collected as part of the Community Structure Levy.


Cllr Beauchamp referred to item 2.8 of the report, noting the commissioning and feasibility study on e-scooters, and asked if considerations also be given to pedestrians. Cllr Beauchamp noted an incident where a resident couldn't hear an e-scooter coming up behind them, and asked if they should be encouraging people to break the law by driving them on pavements. ARobinson agreed the user conflict is a key issue to address. On the legality point, ARobinson stated that the government are looking at if this can be decriminalised in the future, and the study will help them see if the scooter system can be run should it be made legal. ARobinson also noted that this is a small part of a larger transportation strategy.


Cllr Beauchamp asked if the responses to the consultation would be within the public domain. ARobinson advised that the results would feed into the wider transport strategy and could update members of the Committee on the findings of the report if this was requested.


Cllr England commented on a visit to Cambridge, an area with high bike usage, and that Dacorum is not a space for human-powered cycling, which has resulted in it becoming a pedestrianised town. Cllr England stated that if they would need sensible provision for people as well as learn as a community to coexist as an increased use of bikes, e-bikes and scooters would help solve parking challenges that residents currently face.


Cllr England queried if there is a strategy for the use of CIL and Section 106. ARobinson advised that the position of the council is that it would not spend any CIL until the infrastructure delivery plan was in place. There has been a delay to the plan, and while the current decision is not to bring forward any spending of the core CIL funds, members have access to a portion of CIL that can be spent freely. ARobinson noted the ongoing conversation regarding the release of core funding and stated that the infrastructure commitments will be significant so CIL money needs to be spent correctly to maximise the impact it can have on the borough. A comment was raised, stating that they are yet to spend the core CIL money because they know they will not receive what is required and prioritisation will be required once the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Chilterns Beechwood Mitigation Strategy pdf icon PDF 312 KB

Additional documents:


RLeydon introduced himself to the Committee as the Strategic Planning and Regeneration Team Leader, noting that his main role is focused on the delivery of the local plan, resulting in the mitigation strategy that would be presented.


ARobinson began by noting that he would be presenting a draft document and asked the Committee to note the progress made on the development of the strategy.


ARobinson noted the restrictions introduced 6 months ago around granting planning consent as a result of the recreation impact on the Beechwoods, and that the team have developed the mitigation strategy for the area to allow restrictions to be lifted. The report provides an update on the 3 strands of the mitigation strategy being developed, (1) progress on the SAM tariff, (2) the identification of the SANG sites and preparation of these are compensation sites, and (3) the update on the Gateway Projects. ARobinson reiterated that this is an ongoing process and there are a number of unresolved issues still being worked on, though the mitigation strategy is at a position to be discussed with members.


Cllr Timmis stated that the purpose of the mitigation is to attract people away from Beechwoods and put alternatives in place, noting that the issue is SANGs can't replace the Chilterns Beechwood. ARobinson explained that the basis of the mitigation strategy is to take pressure away from the area somehow and the SAM tariff will help put mitigation measures in place. This will include a number of interventions, such as protection zones, though a lot will also be around education and having people on site to educate residents and visitors to use the site responsibly. ARobinson acknowledged that they could not replace Ashridge and that SANGs would help provide alternative spaces that people can use for dog-walking or running to help take pressure off Ashridge.


Cllr Timmis commented on the additional pressure that would be put on the area if they intend to proceed with housing plans and asked what measures are being put in place to address this. ARobinson advised that the focus of the report is on how to lift the moratorium. On the wider issue of the local plan, ARobinson noted the number of reforms to the planning system and housing numbers, and that the local plan will have to look at this. Cllr Timmis responded that the main challenge is the number of people and that the mitigation should include how to reduce the number of people, such as addressing the number of houses being built in the area. It was noted that that it had already been stated that they could not compete with Ashridge and instead the focus is to work with the National Trust to make Ashridge less attractive, which DBC can help with through the local plan. Cllr Timmis acknowledged the aim to encourage people elsewhere and that she felt they should look at housing as part of the mitigating actions to reduce the number of people visiting the area.


ARobinson agreed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 391 KB


Cllr Harden noted the work programme.


Cllr Timmis stated that there is little on climate change and asked that this be included, given the recent drought and concerns around flooding. Cllr Harden confirmed that this could be checked with officers. Cllr Harden queried if departments should come to the SPAE for the Committee to scrutinise their roles.


Cllr Timmis referred to the recent application passed by Luton Borough Council for Luton Airport as well as the larger planning expansion, and that she would report back on this.


There being no further business, Cllr Harden formally closed the meeting.