Agenda item


To receive announcements and business brought forward by the Mayor, Leader, and Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive.


4.1       By the Mayor:


4.2       By the Chief Executive:


4.3       By the Group Leaders:  Any apologies for absence


4.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:


Cllr Williams

Leader of the Council

Cllr Banks

Cllr Williams

Community and Regulatory Services

Corporate and Contracted Services

Cllr G Sutton

Cllr Elliot

Cllr Mrs Griffiths

Cllr Anderson                    

Planning & Infrastructure

Finance & Resources


Environmental Services



4.1       By the Mayor:

In the lead up to Christmas I attended a number of carol services. On Christmas Day morning I attended two elderly persons care homes, Fire Stations and the Salvation Army.


Last week we had an excellent quiz night. Thank you to everyone that attended to support Sunnyside Rural Trust.


On Monday 27th January at 6pm in the market place there is a Holocaust Memorial to remember all those who have been affected by genocide. Everyone is welcome. 


Tring Park presents KIPPS, the new half a sixpence musical in February. It is an exceptional performance and tickets are selling fast.


Finally, the civic dinner will be held on 27 March at Pendley Manor. Please support if you can.”

4.2       By the Chief Executive:




4.3       By the Group Leaders:

Councillor Williams confirmed that apologies had been received from Councillors Bhinder, Imarni, Oguchi, and Independent Member Councillor Maddern.


Councillor Tindall confirmed that apologies had been received from Councillor Bowden.


4.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:


(Full details are in the minutes under Announcements of the Leader and Cabinet).



4.1       By the Mayor:

In the lead up to Christmas I attended a number of carol services. On Christmas Day morning I attended two elderly persons care homes, Fire Stations and the Salvation Army.


Last week we had an excellent quiz night. Thank you to everyone that attended to support Sunnyside Rural Trust.


On Monday 27th January at 6pm in the market place there is a Holocaust Memorial to remember all those who have been affected by genocide. Everyone is welcome. 


Tring Park presents KIPPS, the new half a sixpence musical in February. It is an exceptional performance and tickets are selling fast.


Finally, the civic dinner will be held on 27 March at Pendley Manor. Please support if you can.”

4.2       By the Chief Executive:




4.3       By the Group Leaders:

Councillor Williams confirmed that apologies had been received from Councillors Bhinder, Imarni, Oguchi, and Independent Member Councillor Maddern.


Councillor Tindall confirmed that apologies had been received from Councillor Bowden.


4.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:


Councillor Williams, Leader of the Council


Councillor Williams had nothing to report but welcomed questions.




Councillor Tindall said he understood that South West Herts group of local authorities had made some decisions on the Governments housing targets and were making representations to the Secretary of State. He asked for an update if this rumour is true. Councillor Williams believed it was a rumour as he hadn’t heard that South West Herts had come to a conclusion. He felt Dacorum’s position had always been very clear and we would know more information after the joint meeting on 12 February.


Councillor Stevens said the saga of the multi storey car park in Berkhamsted continues and he read out an email from a resident who was also a member of the parking forum concerning the lack of lighting. He asked for the Leader to investigate the issue. Councillor Williams said he carried out a visit to the site last Wednesday evening at approximately 7pm and confirmed it was dark but there was no electricity to the car park to provide lighting. He agreed he would carry out enquiries and come back to him as soon as possible on the matter. 


There were no further questions.



Councillor Banks, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services


The Portfolio Holder presented her update as follows:


Environmental Community Protection- Operations


As we are all aware fly tipping is a problem for many of our communities. The good news is that the waste enforcement team have purchased 10 new cameras to help fight fly tipping across the borough. These cameras will be used covertly.

These cameras should provide better evidence to aid future prosecutions. In the last month 10 fixed penalty notices have been issued and 5 PACE interviews have been undertaken for littering and fly tipping offences.

Air Quality Management

There is some early indication of improving air quality across our three monitored areas - Northchurch, London Road and Lawn Lane.


We have completed monitoring for 2019, but we cannot produce a full and final dataset until mid-2020. This is because data is subject to validation and ratification. Once this completed, if it demonstrates we are below the objective levels again, we can start to consider revoking some AQMA.


There is no clear reason for this improvement as there has been no change to the local circumstances or evidence of any clear actions. It may be the result of improvements in vehicle technology or individual’s behaviours or both. I look forward to reporting back to Council once the 2019 data has been validated.


Food and Health & Safety - Enforcement Activity Update


Following Voluntary Closure of (Dragon Garden) a premises in the Marlowes at the end of November for Food Hygiene Offences. The place re-opened after 2 days with significant improvements to cleanliness. 10 legal notices were served. For food hygiene improvements in training, documented procedures, gas safety, electrical safety etc.). The business has been invited to attend an interview under caution later in January.


Unfortunately officers were obstructed at another premises in the Marlowes (Shirella’s Eatery) to check compliance with notices. Officers may now seek a warrant to exercise their powers of entry accompanied by a Police Officer.


A premises in (The Red Lion) Nash Mills have withdrawn their appeal against a noise abatement notice served against them for outside events. The notice is now live. The premise has been a source of complaints over many years despite informal interventions from both Environmental Health and Licensing, the complaints continued. On a positive note, since the service of the legal notice, no new complaints have been received by the Council.


Turning to People and Communities Group Service


Community Safety and Children Services, the adventure playgrounds, I am pleased to inform members -


Grovehill will be replacing all wooden play structures, funded by approved s106 money and 3G Sports Pitches for Adeyfield and Grovehill have seen their Tenders released to Market, looking to award contract in February.


May I remind members - Annual Staff Recognition Scheme – has now opened for all staff and Members to nominate staff under various categories such as apprentice of the year, employee of the year, Health and Safety champion? 


Community partnerships and Leisure


Mr Mayor I would like to draw the attention of members to Hertfordshire Year of culture 2020


Dacorum raised the HYOC2020 flag outside the Forum to see in Herts Year of Culture in January. The year launched with The January challenge online – 31 days of short creative challenges.


I am pleased to advise DBC, Watford and Three Rivers have been successful in getting £50k of funding for a cross-district intergenerational dance project. To get this level of funding on first application is unusual, so we are really pleased. The strong partnership is likely to have influenced the outcome and I would like to record my thanks to Officers involved in this bid.


We have held the first meeting of the Forum Choir, open (free of charge) to all people working in the Forum (not just DBC). This is being run in partnership with the library and Hertfordshire Music Service; initiated by DBC.


The Old Town Hall


Café – Reviewing options to provide this service in the New Year.  We will work alongside new Arts Operation Lead Officer to help shape the future.


Ticket sales and Hires – On target and will surpass last year’s numbers.


Customer Services


Fully staffed and all KPIs on achieved in December.


The Portfolio Holder invited questions.




Councillor Beauchamp asked if the Portfolio Holder would agree that the PSPO’s were working towards making the Marlowes a safer place for visitors and shoppers and asked for a progress update. Councillor Banks said she was pleased to report that those on patrol had been engaging with individuals and making improvements, however they had also issued 5 warnings, 4 fixed penalties and 1 community protection warning notice.


Councillor Tindall asked if there were any plans to do anything with the rake in the auditorium at the Old Town Hall as it was quite steep and it could prevent people attending. Councillor Banks said she would keep him informed of any progress.


Councillor Guest asked if the Portfolio Holder agreed that the Christmas light switch on events help build community spirit and asked how the business community can be further engaged in such events. Councillor Banks said the events had been a huge success and particularly in her Ward of Grovehill they had involved the local businesses, Church family, Rotary Club and residents to make it a big public event. She felt confident that this was happening in other Wards.


Councillor Hollinghurst asked if it would be possible to have marked cycle routes so that we can encourage a sustainable mode of transport. Councillor Banks replied works were still in progress on this matter but cycling would always be encouraged and supported by the Council.


Councillor Birnie said they had problems with cyclists in Queens Square in Adeyfield and asked if the Portfolio Holder would look to extend the PSPO’s for other areas. Councillor Banks said she had sight of some emails about the issue in Queens Square and had asked officers to look at what steps can be taken for that area.



Councillor Williams, Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Contracted Services


Councillor Williams said he was going to mention Berkhamsted Sports Centre but it was subject to a separate Cabinet report this evening. He then expressed his appreciation to the Elections Team for the success of the three Elections held in 2019, one being in December which was a surprise. He said everyone coped really well and the count went very smoothly. 


The Portfolio Holder invited questions.




Councillor Stevens asked when the Town Council would be able to have a joint meeting with the Borough Council regarding the consultation for Berkhamsted Sports Centre. Councillor Williams said the consultation and the next stage of the project was approved at Cabinet last week and meeting dates will be agreed mutually. He added that public consultation will commence in the spring.



Councillor G Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Planning & Infrastructure


The Portfolio Holder presented his update as follows:




·         Christmas, the Christmas lights switch on was- changed to Saturday (from Sunday in the previous years) and ran until 7pm. All who fed back were positive about these changes – There was an increase in footfall of 2000 people from last year (Marlowes Data)

·         Now that the Hemel Hempstead Town Centre BID is in place, the event benefited from its input with DBC, the BID, the Market Operator, Marlowes and The Riverside shopping centres working together to deliver what was a very successful event. It provides a great platform to help us all work together to improve the event year on year.




·         As Members may be aware, this is a joint initiative between Dacorum, St Albans, Hertsmere, Watford and Three Rivers and Hertfordshire County Council to look at the future shape and extent of development that may be needed in South West Herts, and how we can work together to secure the best locations for development and address wider infrastructure needs in the long term, to around 2050.

·         Just a reminder that there will be a briefing for all Members on 12 February 2020 in the Council Chamber, starting at 7.30 pm and I would encourage you all to attend.




·         Last month, on the 5th December, the Go Smart project, a two year project to promote sustainable travel choices and solutions, was launched at The Maylands Building.

·         A partnership initiative between DBC, HCC, SADC and Hertfordshire LEP/Herts IQ, the project is developing solutions to give people choices about their travel as an alternative to single-occupancy car and other vehicle use.

·         The project has started looking at improving sustainable transport links between Hemel Hempstead station, the Town Centre and Maylands. It will pilot some innovative solutions working with businesses at Maylands.




·         Finally, I would like to draw to Members’ attention a success story which has brought new life back to Frog Island in Leverstock Green, a grade II listed building which dates from the 17th century.

·         The building appears to have been originally a single bay timber framed cottage later extended in the 18th century.

·         Used as a summer house in the early 20th century, by 2010 it was in such a poor condition it had to be restored as part of a redevelopment on the site.

·         Working closely with the new owner’s builder, the Council’s Officers agreed a comprehensive scheme of repair. The building turned out to have been in a worse condition than initially thought.  The roof had to be completely stripped, cement ceilings, which were causing the roof to sag, removed and replaced with lightweight breathable materials. Walls cleaned and re-plastered, timber repair works, repointing and most of the windows replaced. Working closely with the builder much of the original historic fabric was preserved, the cottage successfully restored and brought back into an ancillary use. 

·         The photos show the building before, during and after the works and I hope you will agree with me that this is a success story of collaborative working between the site owner and the Council to restore this small but significant part of the rich building heritage we have in the Borough.

·         Please don’t ask me how the building got the name “Frog Island” but after some extensive research I found reference to it on a website called “Local Drove Roads” the item picks up from a description of a drover’s road from Cupid Green Lane.:-

·         So, disappointment…?  No, far from it.  CGL would have led, in its drunken fashion, south to Frogs Island in Leverstock Green at the bottom RH corner of Hemel - and there, in the back garden of a modern house, for Heaven’s sake, is the most perfect little drovers’ annexe. (#4,5)  It is C17/18, says Historic England, & was originally the property of the Red Lion, a field away, which used it, according to Barbara Chapman, as “accommodation for ostlers”.  Well, maybe the odd ostler slept there, but WE know who it was for, don’t we?  
And I bet the owners of the houses on that field separating the Red Lion from the annexe have gardens with rich soil...

·         I think that there may be some reference to “Wild Oats” associated with this quaint little cottage!





Councillor Claughton asked what system was in place to monitor and enforce compliance in relation to the requirement to plant more trees. Councillor Sutton advised that they were currently reviewing the trees and woodlands policy and the requirement for new developments to have more trees planted than removed. Councillor Claughton asked what the point of the policy was if it wasn’t being monitored and enforced. Councillor Sutton advised it wasn’t policy yet but it was part of the Local Plan.


Councillor Ransley asked why objections weren’t made by DBC in relation to the Luton Airport planning site. Councillor Sutton advised that strong objections were made by DBC and he would try and make them available for Councillor Ransley to view. 



Councillor Elliot, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources


The Portfolio Holder presented his update as follows:


Financial Services


The Council Tax base for 2020/21 was approved by Cabinet in December, completing the first stage of the process for the setting of Council Tax for 2020/21.

Growth in the Council tax base has exceeded expectation over the last 12 months, and the latest projections suggest that this trend of accelerated growth will continue into next year. Growth in the tax base leads to growth in council tax revenues for the council, providing additional resources to support front line services.

The second stage of this process is the formal approval of budgets and proposed Council Tax levels for 2020/21

Draft budget proposals were presented to Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee in early December for comment and feedback. These draft proposals detailed a balanced budget position for 20/21, delivering on the savings target of £780k whilst continuing to protect front line services. 

The draft budget papers in December were produced before Central Government released any details on council funding for next financial year, and so were necessarily predicated on assumptions.

On 20 December 2019, the Secretary of State announced the Provisional Local Government Finance Settlement for 2020/21. The announcement confirmed the funding assumptions within the DBC draft budget were accurate, and that no change would be required to the draft budget proposals.

The most significant assumptions that were in the December draft and that can now progress are:

  • The council tax referendum threshold for districts is at the higher of £5 or 2% - £5 for DBC
  • That negative RSG would continue to be funded by Central Government in 2021 – one-off funding that enables DBC to proceed with the £1.6m contribution to reserves outlined at the Joint OSC in December

The finance team is now in the process of preparing the final budget proposals for consideration in February.

As the Council enters the final quarter of the financial year, the Finance Team is now beginning to focus on the closure of the Council’s accounts for 2019/20.

Commercial Assets and Property Development.


Commercial Assets Service.


The service continues to work hard with tenants to strike the challenging balance between the commercial and social implications of its commercial assets.


The very real contribution the Estates team makes to supporting our local communities and shopping parades through a difficult retail environment is demonstrated by its maintaining an occupancy rate in excess of 95% for the council’s commercial units, whilst at the same time exceeding a challenging income target of £5m – the Council’s largest income stream.


This service is involved in 2 key strategic projects that have continued to progress during December;


  1. Bunkers Park Cemetery

Although the wet weather has continued through December the construction programme of the new cemetery at Bunkers Park has continued and is on schedule and progressing well for completion shortly. Final planting will be undertaken in early spring 2020 to benefit from milder drier weather conditions, and then the new cemetery, to be called Poppy Fields, will open in late summer.


  1. Garage Disposals

As part of the next phase of the Garage Disposal Strategy, 18 sites were reviewed by Housing Associations to assess viability.  


Further to that initial appraisal and subject to contract, Heads of Terms have been agreed with Thrive Homes for the purchase of 7 sites to develop much needed affordable homes for the Borough.  Solicitors have been instructed on behalf of the respective parties and are working through pre-contract due diligence and enquiries.



Revenues and Benefits service.


The revenues & benefits teams are continuing to work effectively, and are starting preparations for the 2020/21 annual billing and benefit uprating processes.


In the Queens speech prior to Christmas the Government announced a desire to increase in the business rates discount available for retailers from one third to one half of the bill. The exact details of this change have not yet been provided, but the team are hopeful that it will be received in time to be able to include the increased discount on the first bills sent for 2020/21.


We also continue to wait for information about the next phase of the universal credit rollout, which will move people onto UC even if they do not have a change in their circumstances. This is currently scheduled to take place between November 2020 and December 2023, but no information about when this will impact Dacorum residents has been announced.


The Portfolio Holder invited questions.




Councillor Birnie asked how many dwellings were responsible for the growth in the Band D tax base. Councillor Elliot advised there had been growth over 700 Band D’s and projected growth in 20/21 of 1% which equates to 600 properties.


Councillor Adeleke asked how the name Poppy Fields was selected for the new cemetery. Councillor Sutton said there was a request to come up with a name for the cemetery and Councillor Rosie Sutton researched the site; it was covered with Poppies in season so it seemed the most appropriate name for it.


Councillor Griffiths, Portfolio Holder for Housing


The Portfolio Holder presented her update as follows;



·         Following formal consultation the Anti-social Behaviour team has moved from Environmental and Community Protection to Housing. This will improve the service residents receive and prevent duplication between the teams when dealing with cases involving council tenants. A more detailed briefing will be prepared and circulated to members to clarify the roles and responsibilities of this and the other teams involved in nuisance behaviour across the council.

·         Following the rent free weeks the housing income team have continued to perform well under increased pressure from Universal Credit. Over 1100 tenants are now receiving their housing costs directly and while arrears for this group are higher than those on Housing Benefit, the levels have reduced on the last quarter due to persistence from income Officers and the Universal Credit Officer. Former tenant arrears as a percentage of annual debit are also down to 0.73% from 1.35% showing a reduction in the amount owed from tenants who are no longer living in a council property.

·         Following analysis of rent arrears, further research has been carried out into what support may be needed by tenants who are 18-25 to sustain their tenancies. A number of tenants were involved in this process and have led to outcomes such as reviewing the advice given prior to being allocated a home and more support to set up utilities, apply for any benefits and adjust in the first few months of a new tenancy. We expect these changes to increase young tenants confidence and ability to maintain independence and sustain their first council home.



·         An additional £69,017 grant has been secured from MHCLG to enable delivery of a PRS Housing stock model report and associated project work

·         In the six months since the introduction of the RSI funding to help us tackle rough sleeping, there has been a 50% reduction in rough sleeper numbers across the borough

·         We have successfully assessed the first two clients against the Housing First model, properties have been identified in December 2019, with furnishing and move in complete early 2020

·         Successful partnership work with Hightown Housing Association has seen 98% occupancy of the latest new build development at Peregrine Court following focussed allocations by the service




Kylna Court

Mobilising 12 month defects inspections


Corn Mill Court

Final Account in draft agreement.

Car Park open.

Final Party Wall works progressing.



Progressing well on site.  Completion July 2020.


Northend & Westerdale

Progressing well on site.  Completion April 2020.


Magenta Court

Progressing well on site.  Completion April/May 2020.


Paradise Fields

Close to completing land purchase, design team commenced Stage 2


Gaddesden Row

Contractor approved, Looking to start on site Feb 20


Eastwick Row

Out to tender for Principal Contractor


Coniston Road

Submitted for Planning – Goes to Committee on 30th Jan



Reuel Thomspon starting as Lead Officer on 3rd Feb



Planning 300 new homes delivered event for the Summer



·         Consultant in place and garages management from both customer perspective and DBC management process.

·         Garage lets per month are starting to increase up from  16 in July & August to 30 in November






























·         Programmed works progressing well with Year to date element completions

­   Kitchens 240

­   Bathrooms 212

­   Windows 26

­   Doors 297

·         Additional fire upgrade projects and external wall insulation projects  on site

­   Electrical testing EICR programme 2017-2019 - Total properties requiring an EICR 10115 properties

­   An EICR has been completed 93% of Total properties and the remainder are in the access process.

­   Remainder are being worked through for both any remedial works and/or EICR

·         Over 600 properties have received upgraded smoke alarm installations (LD2 standard)


The Portfolio Holder invited questions.




Councillor England shared details of a 97 year old individual with mobility problems living on the first floor in Evelyn Sharp House sheltered scheme. He said the lift had been out of service for 14 days now and he asked how this was allowed to happen. Councillor Griffiths apologised to the tenants at Evelyn Sharp House for the inconvenience and gave reassurance that staff at Dacorum were doing all they could to resolve the issue. She said staff had arranged for GP’s to go to the scheme and HCC were also aware. She explained that some of the schemes do not have lifts in them as they are not required to, and they will always do what they can to help tenants. She added that lessons will be learnt from this.


Councillor England asked if the Portfolio Holder agreed that a review of the housing risk register was urgently needed. Councillor Griffiths advised that we had a closed system at present but we couldn’t change everything immediately and the lift in question was closed protocol. She added that lessons are always learnt and issues will be rectified as soon as possible.



Councillor Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services


The Portfolio Holder presented his update as follows:

Thank you Mr Mayor for the enjoyable quiz night and Councillor G Sutton for the questions.




The Christmas bank holidays arrangement worked well.


Pleased to report that the Love Food, Hate Waste 2019 challenge worked extremely well and over 90% of participants saying they were more food savvy and changed their behaviours.


Commercial Waste – those on the SPAE OSC in previous years will know we have been losing income in competition with the private sector. We have commissioned experts to help us and officers were currently benchmarking the service prior to drawing up options for improvement which will be presented to the OSC. He has asked officers to include recycling, and food recycling from restaurants.


Vehicle Fleet


The new refuse trucks have arrived and have started doing the refuse rounds. 

When works have been completed on the VRS later this year, tours of Cupid Green will be organised for members.




More A41 litter signs to be arranged.


In talks with officers about the Grafitti clearance policy.


The pathways to Grovehill playing field refurbished with hardcore wild flowers.


Good news in regards to trees - 70 new trees planted/will be planted in January and February.


Most council house works involving roofs will now automatically include implementation of swift boxes.


In relation to Chalk Streams, a letter has been sent to the Environment Agency.


The Portfolio Holder invited questions.




Councillor Tindall asked if the commercial waste experts could consider the provision for a full service for businesses at Jarman Park and the rest of the Borough. Councillor Anderson explained that the advice received from the experts was based on our existing service but he was hoping we could consider implementing recycling and particularly food recycling for restaurants around the Borough.


Councillor Tindall asked if it was possible to look at an action plan to charge the telephone companies for the cleaning of their telephone boxes. Councillor Anderson said he was keen to adopt a policy on the matter.


Councillor Uttley referred to the 42 containers of plastic waste that was smuggled into Malaysia and sent back to the UK. She asked if the Herts Waste Partnership had taken steps to uncover whether any of the companies responsible were directly or indirectly part of the supply chain. Councillor Anderson explained that the Herts Waste Partnership compiled a briefing on the HCC website which details what proportion of plastic waste in Hertfordshire is exported. He said he had personally raised the issue at the meetings of the Herts Waste Partnership and it is something he feels very strongly about. He advised that the Chief Executive, the Leader and himself had been invited to the Herts Waste Partnership annual conference at the end of this month and one of the speakers is the person responsible for recycling so that will be a good opportunity to quiz him.


Councillor Stevens referred to the expansion at Luton Airport and asked if the council had responded to the consultation. Councillor Anderson said it wasn’t his portfolio but advised that the council have done or will be sending a detailed submission. He felt we were in a difficult position as we want to support growth but we have to consider the impact on residents.