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:


Councillor Williams                       Leader of the Council

Councillor Elliot                             Finance and Resources

Councillor Griffiths                        Housing

Councillor Williams                       Corporate and Contracted Services

Councillor Barrett                          Environmental Services

Councillor Banks                           Community and Regulatory Services

Councillor Anderson                     Planning and Infrastructure



4.1       By the Mayor:


The Mayor announced the sad passing of Hon. Freeman, Bob Parsons OBE. One minutes silence was held in remembrance.


4.2       By the Chief Executive:




4.3       By the Group Leaders:


Councillor Williams gave apologies on behalf of Councillors Adeleke, Arslan, Douris, Griffiths, Hearn, Rogers, Timmis, Wyatt-Lowe, and Independent Member Councillor Maddern.


Councillor Tindall gave apologies on behalf of Councillors Allen, Barry-Mears, Dhyani, Foster, Hollinghurst, Pringle and Ransley.


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:


The Mayor announced the sad passing of Hon. Freeman, Bob Parsons OBE. One minutes silence was held in remembrance.


4.2       By the Chief Executive:




4.3       By the Group Leaders:


Councillor Williams gave apologies on behalf of Councillors Adeleke, Arslan, Douris, Griffiths, Hearn, Rogers, Timmis, Wyatt-Lowe, and Independent Member Councillor Maddern.


Councillor Tindall gave apologies on behalf of Councillors Allen, Barry-Mears, Dhyani, Foster, Hollinghurst, Pringle and Ransley.


4.4       Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:


Councillor Williams, Leader of the Council

The Leader presented his update as follows:

Not directly related to the motion agreed at the last Council meeting regarding the concerns about potential expansion at Luton Airport but he was pleased to see the direction of travel that the previous application which was under consideration has been called in by the Secretary of State and pencilled in for a public inquiry in September. He hoped this was a sign that the Secretary of State would take great interest in the future expansion plans and call them in for scrutiny. 

He was pleased to see that in the latest notice from the West Herts Hospital Trust (WHHT) they’ve indicated their board meeting for 20th June and want to take a fresh look at what circumstances may have changed since the last consideration at the option of a new build site as opposed to the redevelopment of Watford. He said this wasn’t something to celebrate as yet but it was a positive that they are prepared to reconsider the option of a Greenfield site which members felt was a far greater option for future healthcare provision.

Happy to take questions.


Councillor Tindall was pleased to hear the update about the hospital. He questioned if there had been any mention regarding the potential urgent care centre and the NHS site just off the Marlowes which could be very useful to the Council.

The Leader said discussions were ongoing with the NHS regarding all options. He suggested that decisions about Hemel Hempstead and St Albans would fall into place once the decisions around Watford and the Greenfield site were made. Under the current plans a massive proportion of investment would go to Watford and Hemel and St Albans would pick up what was left. He wanted to be clear that whilst there are discussions around the alternative uses at the Hemel site the maximum benefit we can get is to use as much of the site for healthcare services as possible. This was the priority for our residents.

There were no further questions.


Councillor Elliot, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources

The Portfolio Holder presented his update as follows:


Financial Services


The Finance service has been extremely busy during January and February following the release of the final local government finance settlement.


This has required a further assessment and review of the draft 22/23 budget proposals, followed by the final budget scrutiny and the production and presentation of the proposed 22/23 budget on this evening’s agenda.


The finance service is also working closely with our external Commercial experts to develop the basis of the Council’s future commercial strategy and commercial business case appraisals.


Commercial Assets and Property Development


Estates Team


The Estates Team have continued to work with Public Health England, the NHS, Herts County Council and other partners on the assessment and delivery of vaccine delivery sites, pop up testing/vaccination sites, and booster jab locations. The work in this area is expected to reduce significantly going forward, the experience of this joint working and the relationships created should assist the council going forward. The focus moving forward will be to make the best use of our operational assets as part of the wider Covid recovery plan.


Commercial Property Team


The performance of the commercial assets has remained strong, and income levels exceed budgeted expectations by circa 15%, and occupancy remains above 95%. This is a good indicator of how the local small independent businesses have progressed over the course of the pandemic. The Government’s Moratorium on debt collection is due to come to an end in March 2022 and it is unknown at this point in time what impact that will have upon the local business community and void levels.


Going forward the customer/business response to Covid Recovery will be key to income performance. The Government’s business rates relief support will continue in 2022 for the leisure and hospitality sectors.  


Revenues and Benefits service


The Revenues service has been hard at work implementing several new government Covid Support policies for 21/22 and 22/23. These include; the implementation of the Omicron and Hospitality relief scheme 21/22, providing circa £800k of business rates relief to local businesses, the planning for the Council Tax based £150 Energy Rebate for 22/23, and the delivery of the final Covid Additional Relief Fund scheduled for March.


The revenues service have also supported the Economic development team to roll out the next phase of the Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG), with this phase focusing on supporting those businesses that won’t receive the Omicron Relief grant but are involved in the hospitality and leisure supply chain sectors.


This team continues to play an important role in providing financial support to local residents and numbers of test and trace support applications increased exponentially during December and January to levels not seen before.


The Revenues service is working with the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities and software partners to ensure the issuing of the 2022/23 business Rates bills are on time and include the new reliefs for 2022/23.



Councillor Birnie highlighted that despite support from the Government during the pandemic, many businesses appear to still be in difficulty. He asked if the Portfolio Holder had a view of the extent to which staff shortages and the increase in inflation had impacted businesses.

The Portfolio Holder explained that staff shortages particularly in the hospitality sector had been a result of individuals having to find jobs elsewhere during the lockdown periods and then not returning due to low wages and unsociable hours. He advised there had also been issues with supply chains, HGV drivers and food from abroad; all contributing factors to the increase in inflation. He said the Council were sympathetic to businesses and had payment plans available to those that may be struggling.

Councillor Birnie asked if the mix of businesses in Dacorum gave him any cause for concern in relation to staff shortages and the rate of inflation.

The Portfolio Holder replied that although we had a mix of businesses in Dacorum it was a countrywide problem with many contributing factors rather than just the two mentioned.

Councillor England asked if the Portfolio Holder still thought Chancellor Rishi Sunak had more important things to think about than inflation.

The Portfolio Holder referred to the last Council meeting when Councillor England asked him that question and highlighted that just a matter of hours later, Russia invaded Ukraine. He said we were in unprecedented times and the situation in Ukraine has exacerbated the situation further.

There were no further questions.


Councillor Griffiths, Portfolio Holder for Housing

Councillor Williams presented an update on behalf of Councillor Griffiths:




·         Supported Housing staff reported they have had 7,661 contacts with tenants (inc referrals).

·         Promotion of block champions has led to increased resident volunteers

·         Completed the alarm upgrade @ Elizabeth House.




·           Proactively participating and supporting HCC to plan for Ukraine Sponsorship and Connection scheme.  Including preparation for undertaking of accommodation checks.

·           Fourth Afghan (ACRS) Household resettled in line with government resettlement scheme.

·           Engagement with Legal Services to obtain Warrant for entry due to PRS regulatory breach.

·           Development of new Domestic Abuse residents and staff policy, in line with requirements outlined by Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) accreditation framework.




·         Continuation of high levels of gas servicing for the period.

·         Continued pressures on the Osborne contract in terms of labour shortages following the pandemic and BREXIT, hence delays in work activity.




St Margaret’s Way

Tenders issued for Principal Contractor. Cabinet Report prepared to appropriate general fund land.

Mountbatten View

Mobilising a start on site.

Eastwick Row

Started on site 21st February 2022.

Coniston Road

On site progressing well. Completion due April 2022.


Mobilising a start on site.


Approval to purchase land approved at Sept Cabinet. Awaiting feedback on Heads of Terms from TTC. Project ready to submit for planning approval subject to agreeing sale.


Stage 2 design progressing. Planning application to be submitted early April.

Cherry Bounce

Project on hold (being considered for the Housing Company) with the exception of submitting to the Community Review Panel.

Paradise Depot

Planning application submitted.

Garage Sites

Dione Rd, Beechwood, Sempill, Housewood End & Sledale - Contracts signed, mobilising start on site.

Randall’s Ride

Mobilising start on site. Homes England funding request has been successful - £1.9m.

Stoneycroft & Varney Rd

Stage 2 design.

Aragon Close RSAP

Started on site.



Councillor Symington said she was pleased to hear of a fourth property being allocated to Afghan refugees. She asked if consideration could be given to a fifth property and to ensure the property would go to one of the families living in temporary accommodation in the Borough, and for the process to be expedited as soon as possible.


Councillor Williams didn’t feel it was appropriate for him to respond as he was aware of ongoing communication between Councillor Symington and Councillor Griffiths and he didn’t want to commit as it wasn’t straightforward.


Councillor Freedman referred to the Afghan resettlement scheme. He questioned if the four families housed by DBC were families that were in temporary accommodation within the Borough of if they were from elsewhere in the country.


Councillor Williams replied that the placement of families was coordinated by the Home Office but he was happy to investigate and provide a written response. Action.


Councillor Williams, Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Contracted Services

The Portfolio Holder presented his update as follows:


The Highbarns remedial work is almost complete. The filling of the void has been successful.


Members will be aware we have recently closed the consultation for Berkhamsted Leisure Centre. He was pleased to say we have received over 700 responses and they are currently being assessed. The results will hopefully be reported to members over the summer.


He welcomed questions.



Councillor Symington asked for an update on the progress of the electric vehicle charging point strategy.


The Portfolio Holder advised they were working with a number of organisations to discuss the options for Dacorum. His understanding was they have narrowed it down to one potential supplier and will work with them over the next few weeks identifying the sites and the range of charging options that will be provided. He was confident we could reach an agreement with them and start a programme for charging facilities over 2022-2023.


There were no further questions.


Councillor Barrett, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services

The Portfolio Holder presented his update as follows:





·         Tree planting 2021-2022, Housing, Highways, leisure 96 trees to be planted, now almost completed.

·         Storm Eunice-230 reports of tree damage, backlog still being cleared, inspections almost complete.

·         Whips at Gadebridge park Arboretum completed, quantity unknown

·         HCC agreement for Rights of Ways (ROW) has been agreed and signed.

·         River Gade Project has been pushed forwards a year starting May 2023 and finishing June 2023.

·         Old Town – We are supplying 60 new planted troughs as part of improvement to the Old Town.

·         Canal Field Play Area due to start works on site soon

·         New Wild Flower area has been created in Gadebridge Park at the Queensway entrance.

·         The service is working in partnership with a local business in Kings Langley to creating wild areas which they will sponsor.

·         Bunkers Park, hedge/screen planting done to screen off the cemetery site from the rest of the park.

·         Friends working day help at Bunkers park and Chipper field common all of which were well supported by residents.


Clothes Swaps

·         Big success! 79 attendees over the 3 events. 676 items brought, 556 items taken. Remaining items saved for next clothes swap or distributed to local charities.


Great British Spring Clean

·         We have already supported 22 litter picks for the Great British Spring Clean by providing equipment. At least another 9 in the diary.


Street Champions

·         628 registered volunteers (29 new registrations in March)


Waste Services

·         Still suffering from shortage of drivers but managing to provide all services



·         Ford now closed order book for the foreseeable future. Looking at other options to replace ageing fleet




Councillor England asked how many of our registered ‘Street Champions’ had not collected their equipment.


The Portfolio Holder said he would provide a written response. Action.


Councillor Guests queried if DBC were accessing funding through Hertfordshire County Council for the Queen’s Green Canopy Scheme.


The Portfolio Holder confirmed we would be taking advantage of the Grant and would be planting a tulip tree in the Queens Square during the week commencing 30th May, ahead of the Jubilee celebrations. The tree will be erected with a tree guard around it and a plaque.


Councillor Symington asked for confirmation that the works at Canal Fields play area will commence at the end of April. She asked if the Berkhamsted Town Council Clerk could also be made aware.


The Portfolio Holder confirmed that was correct and he would make sure the Clerk was aware.


Councillor Claughton queried when the work at Canal Fields play area would be finished.


The Portfolio Holder said he would provide a written response. Action.


There were no further questions.



Councillor Banks, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services

The Portfolio Holder presented her update as follows:


Regulatory Services


A Covid-19 update


Case numbers remain a concern in Dacorum. This is mainly due to the Omicron variant which became the dominant variant since December throughout the UK. The government has now released its Living with COVID plan in February 2022. Though pressure still remains for our Environmental Health teams.


Public Space Protection Order and Littering Enforcement Pilot Contract


So far 1488 tickets have been issued. 73% of these tickets are for littering offences. The remainder are for breeches of either the Dog Control PSPO or the Town Centre PSPO. 


Officers have been working with District Partners to ensure that all wards if the borough are visited frequently, at least monthly for areas of low littering and PSPO complaints.


Members will be further updated on the progress of the pilot, as and when data is available from the service as part of the updates to Overview and Scrutiny Committee (SPAE).


Whilst Officers have focussed their attention on keeping Dacorum COVID secure we have fallen behind with our regular Food Service inspections. Consequently a Food Service Recovery Plan has been adopted to catch up on eatery inspections.


I am pleased to update members that Rebecca Connolly’s team have completed the first milestone in the Food Service Recovery Plan ahead of schedule. With the high risk premises being inspected prior to the June deadline in the plan.


Turning to community,


As we move cautiously towards face to face contact, a number of face-to-face community events are coming forward not least the Queens Platinum Jubilee and our Armed Forces Day celebrations – check out the Council website and social media platforms for further information.


Additionally we have:


  • Ping Pong Parlour, Marlowes has opened to the public on 12th April. There is the intention to have a formal opening.
  • Healthy Hub partnership and contract with HCC public health has been extended for a further 2 years. Back to face-to-face Healthy Hub drop ins at the South Hill Centre, with more in the planning stage for across the Borough
  • Northridge Way Basketball court – My sincere thanks to Councillor Elliot, Coach Ken and the young basketball players who first brought to my attention the poor state of the court. This has been refurbished and is now open to the public. Once the line painting has been done (delayed as this cannot be done during or just before cold weather) there will be an official launch.
  • Community grants are now open until 5pm on 31st May. Mr Mayor and members please promote this with your groups and contacts.




  • Dacorum’s award under the Household Support Fund is being administered by Dacorum Community Trust (DCT).As part of the nationwide efforts to recover following the pandemic, Hertfordshire have been provided with some funding from the government’s Household Support Fund (HSF). This funding will be used to help people this winter with things like the cost of food and energy.

We’re working with a range of partners, who will work with and contact those eligible for support directly, to make sure we can get the right help to those who need it, at the right time.


Councillor Birnie was pleased to hear about the Government fund to be administered by Dacorum Community Trust (DCT). He asked if the Portfolio Holder could give some information on how much is available under this fund to those in need in the Borough and to share details on how the fund will be administered.

The Portfolio Holder advised that The Household Support Fund comes from Central Government and HCC (Hertfordshire County Council) decided to allocate an amount per district/borough for them to administer to residents locally, using their local knowledge. Due to time and resource pressures it was agreed that DCT were best placed to administer this in Dacorum. DCT have received £44,000. DCT’s client group are the most vulnerable and they will be looking at circumstances around receipt of Universal Credit, evidence of not being able to pay bills or buy food, using their usual checks to support this group. Other partners such as CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau), foodbanks and housing etc. are aware of DCT administering this on our behalf and are signposting residents to them.


Councillor Freedman asked the Portfolio Holder to provide a breakdown of the penalty notices that had been issued, for example, how many had been rejected, resolved or were outstanding.


The Portfolio Holder replied she would provide a written response. Action.


Councillor Symington asked for an update on whether the artificial grass pitches are going to be relocated in Berkhamsted and if so, where.


The Portfolio Holder advised that matter didn’t fall within her remit. Councillor Williams advised he would provide a response to Councillor Symington.


Councillor England questioned the proportion of penalty notices for littering that related to cigarette waste.


The Portfolio Holder provided some figures from March; 127 cigarette butts and 55 for cigarettes.


Councillor Harden sought clarification on whether District Enforcement had jurisdiction to prosecute for litter on private land.


The Portfolio Holder advised they did not.


Councillor Guest advised that in her Ward today signs were being put around the bins at Stoneycroft shops instructing smokers to put their cigarettes and cigarette butts in the built-in ashtrays on the bins. She asked if the Portfolio Holder agreed her department and Environmental Services needed to work together to ensure there are more of these signs in the Borough so that cigarettes are put somewhere safe instead of being littered, causing fire and health and safety hazards.


The Portfolio Holder felt Councillor Guest made a good point and added her concerns about the impact on wildlife. She agreed there should be more signage to encourage smokers to use their common sense.


Councillor England questioned, if there is no KPI data on litter for some time, how will the litter Enforcement Pilot be capable of objective evaluation.


The Portfolio Holder explained the whole purpose of the Pilot is to establish these parameters. She hoped that would come through the scrutiny process to update members.


Councillor Freedman asked if there had been any more reports of criminals masquerading as Enforcement Officers.

The Portfolio advised she had not had any more reports of this nature. She believed it was probably a spate of opportunistic criminal activity. 

There were no further questions.


Councillor Anderson, Portfolio Holder for Planning & Infrastructure

The Portfolio Holder presented his update as follows:


Since the last meeting members will have received briefings on the Habitat Resource Assessment and will be aware that all residential planning permissions are now suspended pending National Trust as land owner putting in a mitigation strategy in place. Details are available on the website. We hope the strategy can be put in place in the next 3-6 months.


This Council has received Government funding to pilot three key areas with the planning portfolio. One is starting this week with a survey of residents in Apsley which will run to the end of May to ask residents about what they like and dislike about Apsley, and what they would like to see changed. This is part of the Two Waters opportunity area. A second pilot is to do with the software we’re running to improve our administration for planning applications. The third is to pilot geospatial software, and we are one of only three authorities in the Country to have received funding for this.


Under development management, the planning application for 1400 homes at East Tring, Marshcroft Farm, has been received. It hasn’t appeared on any lists yet because it will take some time to validate. He couldn’t express a corporate opinion as the Council would have to determine the application with an open mind. He left it to members to work out his personal view on it.

There has been a large increase in applications and workload and recruitment continues to be a problem in enforcement. He urged members to be patient with the staff.

Hemel Gardens Community Project: The initial framework plan has undergone an independent quality review by a panel of independent experts. The team behind the project are digesting the comments received. The local journeys transport survey received 500 responses and those are being assessed.

An independent chair, Bob Lane, has now been appointed. Bob is very experienced in regeneration projects and will work with the two authorities involved.

Hemel Place: Branding work on Hemel Hempstead has taken place and Hemel Hempstead will be showcased at the Annual UK Real Estate Investment and Infrastructure Forum (REIIF) next month in Leeds. Berkhamsted, Tring and other parts of the Borough will also be involved.

This weekend is the last chance to follow the OWLs trail through the middle of Hemel before they disappear on 19th April. Please take the time to do it if you haven’t already as it is fabulous.

Next month the Council will be publishing a map with walking routes that link all important sites in the middle of Hemel Hempstead.

South West Herts Joint Strategic Plan: The vision and contents of the Regulation 18 Consultation has been agreed for the six authorities to consider in the next few months. He hoped members would support it when it comes to scrutiny as the infrastructure in future is vital. The joint strategic plan doesn’t supersede the local plans which will continue to control numbers. The consultation is due to start in the summer.

Economic Development: The Economic Recovery Plan continues to be delivered as the effects of the pandemic are not over. He is proud of the effort and partnership working the Council has done to try to help the Borough recover.

Happy to take questions.


Councillor Freedman expressed his disappointment with the Council and National Trust that he couldn’t find out ways that he or other members of the community that make regular use of those areas could contribute to management, whether that was small projects or spreading the word. Despite efforts to contact people to find out what he could do to assist he hadn’t had any success or responses.


The Portfolio Holder explained the Council were already working in partnership with the National Trust to help with the mitigation strategy but he can ask if there is anything members of the public can do to help.


Councillor Symington referred to the announcement of the suspension of planning applications in Dacorum and shared an observation that the majority of public were unaware of this news. She then referred to a radio interview with Councillor Birnie that had been shared with her by a resident and asked if the Portfolio Holder could reflect on the comments made.


The Portfolio Holder advised he hadn’t listened the interview so it was difficult to comment, however it was all evidence to argue for a lower house building target; It is part of the administrations target to try and achieve that. He then said whilst the general public may not be aware of the announcement the developers certainly are, and he wrote a complex seven page press release on the matter.


Councillor Wilkie asked if the Portfolio Holder would accept it was wrong of the Council to resist the Liberal Democrat’s calls for a delay in the Regulation 18. She then sought clarification on whether it was just new-build planning applications that had been suspended or all applications.


The Portfolio Holder clarified it was only residential applications that had been suspended, such as new-builds or conversions, it didn’t relate to commercial or extension applications. In terms of the first question he said he hoped it was based on a misapprehension and wasn’t deliberate, about what Regulation consultations involve and what they’re for. Regulation 18 consultations do not require things like Habitat Resource Assessments, you only have to get things such as the HRA, infrastructure delivery plan, etc. in place when you go to Regulation 19. He advised the Council went to Regulation 18 when we did to get the feedback of the public as ammunition to argue DBC’s corner for a lower housing provision, we didn’t go to consultation with documents incomplete or missing to argue something we was going to set in stone. He said we got the publics opinion from that consultation so we could use it and we’re grateful of the public for giving DBC a powerful tool to use.


There were no further questions.