Agenda and minutes

Strategic Planning & Environment Overview & Scrutiny - Wednesday, 6th September, 2023 7.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room 2 - The Forum. View directions

Contact: Corporate and Democratic Support  01442 228209

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 328 KB

To agree the minutes of the previous meeting.


Page 5, paragraph 7, Cllr Birnie noted that he did not say 430 residents out of 80,000 was a respectable sample.


Page 6, paragraph 3, Cllr Birnie noted this did not make sense, suggesting the wording should be, 'The charts and the report themselves contradict.'


Top of page 11, the person who mentioned antisocial behaviour and the need for youth facilities identified herself.


Page 4, bottom paragraph, Cllr Timmis noted the repetition on the paragraph beginning, 'The drivers for change included reduced footfall and decreasing footfall.'


The Chair advised that typos and minor errors on minutes should be sent to LFowell rather than waiting for the meeting.


Page 6, paragraph 8, Cllr Birnie wondered whether SWhelan had circulated the terms of reference regarding the Hemel Vision Board. It was confirmed they had been received today and that action points were in the process of being circulated.


There were no further comments regarding the minutes and they were formally approved as an accurate record.



Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


There were apologies from Cllr Riddick, Cllr Deacon and Cllr S Hobson



Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest,



Public Participation


There was no public participation


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




Q1 Financial Performance Report pdf icon PDF 523 KB

Additional documents:


The Q1 2023 General Financial Performance report was presented, the following was highlighted. There was a surplus across all committees of £766,000. Services that fall under strategic planning and environment had a pressure of £789,000 in the forecast, broken down from £520,000 on waste services, largely due to agency requirements. £175,000 was noted as being spent on vehicle hire due to fleet issues, the pressures were however offset with £700,000 surplus from garden waste subscriptions. Pressures on planning income were noted as around £550,000, linked mainly to current economic conditions. Capital for strategic planning was showing pressure of £100,000 reported due to the purchasing of domestic things due to high demand for replacements across the borough.


Cllr Birnie wondered whether housing and property should be under the HRA, the chamber fund. The response was that there were some services which were part of the housing and property directory and fell under the remit of this Committee which included things like allotments. It was correct that it would come before this Committee because it sits within the housing and property directorate.


Regarding the surplus on green waste, Cllr Birnie wondered whether the deficit of £545,000 was correct. The response was that the £700,000 of surplus was taken into account in the figures presented in the report. Under neighbourhood operations the overall variance was around £89,000 pressure, which included the impact of the £700,000 surplus.


The Chair felt it was important to understand the difficult economic situation, noting that she expected more questions from the Committee.


Cllr Birnie expressed that he was hoping to have the usual overall view of the budget, it was clarified that a snapshot had been presented today. Assurance was given that the full financial picture for the Council was taken to the Finance and Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee as well as to Cabinet.


Q1 Environmental Services Quarterly Reports pdf icon PDF 280 KB


The Environmental Services Performance report had been circulated.


The first quarter for the measured recycling rate had been projected at 53.2%, which was noted as favourable and a reflection on the amount of garden waste collected. Regarding the national indicator NI191, it was noted this figure was cumulative over the year, with the first quarter provisional figure being 107.17kg per household and the figure for the end of the year being 421kg per household.


Regarding missed bins per 40,000 collections, it was reported the first three months' average figure was 164. With regard to the measurement of fly-tip collections, the target of 95% had been missed, with 76.69% being collected within seven days. There had been a spate of fly-tipping and an increased resource had been allocated to that service to ensure a faster turnaround. The graffiti incidents cleaning target of 95% had been slightly missed in the first quarter, with 89.29% being cleaned within seven days of being reported. It was noted this was a standard pattern during summer months anticipating that this would decline with the shorter autumn days.


It was reported that a re-routing exercise had been done with the intention to service the same number of properties with the same frequency of collection but using fewer vehicles. The number of vehicles had been reduced by four, with an aggregated savings figure of around £180,000 (ph) per vehicle, creating an annual saving of £720,000 per annum. It was explained that the entire borough had been part of the re-routing exercise, however only 10,000 properties had experienced a change of collection day.


Regarding the garden waste subscription service introduced at the end of February, it was reported that there were now 33,851 households subscribed. The total revenue from the service was reported to be just over £1.5 million, which it was thought was due to the cost to each household being £45 where other boroughs were charging £70-80.


The opening of a new cemetery was reported, the first since 1963, at Bedmond Road. Dacorum Borough Council were in a consortium of five authorities with the crematorium, the lead authority was Three Rivers.


Regarding the re-outing exercise, Cllr Wyatt-Lowe wondered whether there had been a plan-B if residents felt the changes were not satisfactory or efficient. The response was that there were expected to be a small number of properties where issues were anticipated for the first two or three collection cycles. There had been a small issue with transfer of data onto the difficult access crews with regard to assisted collects, those had all been resolved. Rounds were working well, there was an option to rebalance work if there was an imbalance. Moving forward, it was anticipated domestic wheelie bin rounds would be brought into the estates recycling collection in order to take another vehicle off the road and make further savings. Commercial waste collections were also in line for crew saving measures.


Cllr Wyatt-Lowe wondered what would happen with the £1.5 million surplus with regard to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Q1 Environmental and Community Protection Update pdf icon PDF 373 KB


The Environmental and Community Protection Performance report had been circulated and was taken as read.


ECPO9, the KPI for environmental community protection, had increased this quarter and was now at just over 87%. The food safety recovery plan had been running to target and had now been withdrawn by the government, the expectation was to return to pre-COVID levels by the end of quarter 2. The annual air quality status report for 2023 had been submitted to DEFRA for ratification, work was continuing with partners on the installation of the new air quality analyser scheduled for Apsley, and the PM2.5 monitors scheduled for Swingate Lane, Bennetts End Road and Lawn Lane. A report had been drafted and sent to the the Committee on air quality at the beginning of the summer, the Chair apologised she had not done that, requesting that the report be re-sent to her and she would pass it to LFowell to circulate.


The Corporate Safety and Resilience Team had been working with other district and borough councils to implement a memorandum of understanding between all partners in case of an emergency plan activation, in order to finalise agreements for mutual aid. There was a continued reduction in filthy and verminous complex cases, with six in Q1. It was noted that numbers had been increasing throughout the pandemic, numbers were usually higher in the summer. Prosecutions had been brought by the Operations Team, on 5th July at St Albans Magistrates' Court Edward Meredith of Priory Orchard,Flamstead, pleaded guilty to unauthorised deposit of publicly controlled waste in Caddington Common, he was ordered to pay £2,222 consisting of a fine, costs and a victim surcharge.


A multi-departmental task force consisting of officers from environment and community safety, district improvement, police colleagues and community safety and antisocial behaviour had been working on improvements in Gadebridge Park. Work had been done to turn negative behaviours, reduce littering and improving behaviour in the vicinity. Fixed penalty notices had been served for littering and breaches of public space protection orders. There had been 21 prosecutions brought by the council for littering or public space protection order offences, all of which were successfully taken through the single justice procedure. £3,220 total of fines, almost £3,000 in total costs had been awarded, plus a victim surcharge.


It was reported that on 14th June at Hatfield Remand Court, Dacorum Borough Council had successfully prosecuted Mr Jake Putnam of Hasedines Road in Hemel Hempstead for a fly-tipping offence that occurred last year. Mr Putnam was arrested and brought before the court, he pleaded guilty to unauthorised deposit of controlled waste and ordered to pay a £480 fine and £500 costs, with a £192 victim surcharge


Regarding the prosecutions, Cllr Pringle sought clarity regarding whether fines would go into central funds. It was confirmed that fines would go into central government coffers, the Council would receive the costs element and the victim surcharge would go into central funds. It was reported that the costs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Q1 Planning, Development and Regeneration Quarterly reports

Report to follow



Apologies were extended for the report not having been circulated. A verbal update was given. Planning applications on time was running at green, in excess of target. Performance and reinforcement was low, there was recruitment in that team expected later in the year.


Luton Airport


A verbal update was provided from Cllr Timmis, noting engagement from Dacorum's engagement in the Development Consent Order process. Work was being conducted with Herts County Council and North Herts Council on common interests. The examination of the draft Development Consent Order had begun on 10th August and was legally required to be completed within six months of that date. The examining authority had allowed the three councils to submit joint documents, to date the Herts authorities had submitted relevant representations on 23rd June, principal areas of disagreement, summary statements and written representations had been submitted on 22nd August, the local impact report had been submitted on 25th August. Representation would be confirmed at the issue specific hearing and would be on environmental matters through the use of expert consultants commissioned, WSP being the main consultants working on behalf of all of the authorities.


Hearings were scheduled to take place the week commencing 25th September. Work was also being done on the preparation of a draft statement of common ground for a deadline of 12th September. Cllr Timmis outlined the commitment to expressing concerns on environmental matters including impact the proposed growth of Luton Airport would have on matters such as noise, air pollution, climate change and surface access. Cllr Timmis noted that Steve Mendham from the Strategic Planning Department had been leading on this piece of work, however he had left the authority and Ronan Leydon, Team Leader for Strategic Planning, had now taken that on. Cllr Timmis reported there would be a consistent view, she would include verbal updates as the process progressed.


The Chair wondered whether there was documentation that could be shared to understand Dacorum's position, Cllr Timmis would let her know.


There was a request to share information regarding what Dacorum was doing with regard to Luton Airport, Cllr Timmis would action that with Ronan.


It was noted that the airport had put in a planning application to increase from 18 million passengers per year to 32 million passengers, which would be a huge impact.



South West Herts Joint Strategic Plan pdf icon PDF 976 KB

Additional documents:


COuttersides had submitted the comprehensive Joint Strategic Plan, noting that this report was similar to that going through the process in each of the partner five districts, and was the first meeting in terms of the process. COuttersides outlined that the report was a summary of the Regulation 18 consultation undertaken last year and the strategic plan was looking long-term across the five districts and did not replace local plans. It was anticipated the JSP would guide the next round of local plans. COuttersides stressed the importance of thinking strategically and long-term across the geographical region, anticipating that strategic planning would become more of a focus if there were to be a change of government. The ability to look at infrastructure needed to deliver good growth was a key point to support growth across South West Hertfordshire across the next 15-20 years and beyond.


COuttersides noted the plan was Dacorum's rather than a county plan, outlining that if at any point in the process the Council didn't like anything they could object and have the veto right. COuttersides highlighted that there was a governance structure, adding that Cllr Wilkie was part of the lead member group that gave the political direction. The report had been approved by Cllr Wilkie, changes to vision and objectives having been endorsed by her as well as the wider membership across the partnership in terms of leadership and portfolio holders.


The Chair confirmed that about half of the Committee had been present at the briefing on Wednesday 31st (sic).


Regarding the section headed other sections of consultation on page 54, Cllr Birnie noted there was no reference to the need to make adequate provision for the treatment and disposal of wastewater, suggesting that in view of the reporting of poor performance of water companies that should be at the top of the agenda. COuttersides reported that an objective on page 39 had been strengthened to protecting and enhancing water resources. Cllr Birnie reiterated that this did not refer to wastewater. COuttersides responded that he would hope wastewater would be covered by one of the other objectives, which he noted were high level in terms of detail. COuttersides considered wastewater would be an issue that needed to be looked at, there was a need to look at what strategic issues meant in terms of wastewater and dealing with water resources. COuttersides thought when the detail of the next round of the plan was considered, he would look at objectives.


Cllr Birnie noted that whenever there were new areas of development the existing infrastructure for the disposal of wastewater was always deemed as inadequate. COuttersides reported that they were not sure when the end periods of the current local plan reviews were, once those were provided they could provide a definitive start point. The current view was probably around 2035-2050 as a time horizon. It was clarified that the JSP would inform the next wave of local plans for councils across South West Hertfordshire.


Cllr  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 215 KB


The Chair reported she had put a review of the infrastructure funding statement onto the agenda for next month, she would look at briefings. Cllr Birnie wondered whether the planning report should be on there, the Chair suggested planning should be a standing item on the agenda regardless of whether there was a report. The Chair requested that people contact the team if they have detailed questions about the planning report. The Chair outlined that she would like more detail on the air quality, a briefing on what was measured would be circulated, however there was a need to know what was being done in response to the measurements to improve air quality. It was suggested that it may be useful to have a short interim report regarding the trees, the Chair wondered whether they could have an update on where Ian had got to. It was noted there was a tree strategy and action plan which was reviewed every five years and was due to be updated in two years' time. There was comment that a full report was not necessary, it would be useful for the Committee to see the direction they were heading in. The Chair clarified she would ask Ian to come back in October.


There was the suggestion that water be put on the agenda, specifically the three chalk streams in Dacorum where only one was usually spoken about and wastewater. Regarding the re-routing of the Gade through Gadebridge Park, it was noted there had never been clarity on the route at the southern end of the park. It was suggested they request an update, the Chair agreed, adding that perhaps Thames Water could be invited as well. It was agreed they would invite Thames Water early next year, they would request an update from the Environment Agency. It was noted that the project was moving forward, there had been an officer meeting attended by DBC officers and the Environment Agency, it was not thought there was an agreed start on-site yet.


A question was raised as to whether the need for additional parking lay-bys was relevant to this Committee, it was suggested the query be sent to LFowell which had already been done. Regarding neighbour disputes around hedges not owned by DBC, it was noted the payment for the survey was £565, the Councillor noted the policy seemed unfair on residents. It was advised to contact Emma and to gather background on the issue. The Chair explained that a policy change would need to go through the portfolio holder, it would then come to this committee. Advice was given regarding items for the agenda of this Committee.


There being no further business, the meeting was closed.




Agreed Actions


- Breakdown analysis of fly-tipping incidents to be circulated.

- A statement from the leadership team to be requested regarding trees which posed an immediate danger, to include instructions for Sunday and out of office hours.

- The issuance of a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.