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 Mrs Griffiths Housing
Councillor Harden Residents & Corporate Services
Councillor G Sutton Planning and Regeneration
Councillor Marshall Environmental, Sustainability and Regulatory Services
Councillor Elliot Finance & Resources
By the Mayor:
There were no announcements from the Mayor.
By theChief Executive:
There were no announcements from the Chief Executive.
By the Group Leaders:
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors W Wyatt Lowe, S Hearn, Matthews, Whitman, Tindall, Conway, Adshead, Brown & Bhinder,
Council Leader and Members of the Cabinet:
Councillor Williams, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Community Leadership
The Leader did not make a report at this time but he offered to take questions.
Wish Cllr Tindall on behalf of the Council a speedy recovery.
Cllr England asked the Leader whether there is any update on PSPO? Cllr Williams confirmed it is due to go to scrutiny at their next committee meeting, who will review feedback and to give views on next steps.
There were no further questions.
Councillor Griffiths, Portfolio Holder for Housing
Tenant & Leaseholder Services
A number of tenants attended Road shows hosted by the DBC Housing service and water companies Affinity and Thames. These were very successful with tenants reassured about the changes in April and able to ask questions about payment methods and frequency.
Additionally comprehensive information was provided about the water metering programme and schemes for those on low incomes, leaving those who attended more positive about the move to pay water companies directly.
The work is nearing completion of full refurbishment to Leys Road temporary accommodation to ensure that the building is fully compliant with Health & Safety requirements.
The service has been undertaking the Star survey, with an excellent response rate being completed by over 40% of tenants online.
Full transfer of the Private Sector team has now taken place, the service is currently reviewing and revising policies/procedures. Preparation has started to resource the PRS team and consider our approach to delivering the new HMO regulations to be introduced shortly.
Kylna Court – Works are progressing well on site, concrete frame completed, windows and cladding have commenced along with forming the individual flat units.
Swing Gate Lane (Corn Mill Court) – Works are progressing well on site on the new build. A Planning application has been submitted to convert the 3 existing units into 3 houses rather than 2 houses.
Martindale School site – The Planning application has been approved and we are about to issue second stage tenders to 5 Contractors.
Northend and Westerdale garage sites – Planning applications have been approved and we are preparing tenders to find a suitable Contractor. The aim is to be on site late summer 2018.
Stationers Place – We are preparing a revised Planning application to deal with challenges around the existing culvert that is at the rear of the site. This will provide approx. 25 / 26 flats. We are carrying out a package of advanced enabling works on site to deal with a number of issues in the ground including boreholes, culverts and relocating some pipes and cables, these works have started on site.
Property & Place
Gas Contract - Sun Realm
The Q1 & Q2 audits for this financial year have been concluded and the combined savings of £218,678 are being reinvested to deliver additional new boiler installations this financial year. The compliance rates remain consistently high with January performance at 99.99%.
Management - Osborne
Overall the key performance indicators for the contract remain positive, however a process mapping review is being undertaken to determine if improvements can be made to the controls and monitoring of more complex areas of work, such as aids and adaptations and small works.
The Q2 audit has been concluded and a gain share saving of £181,000 delivered back to the Council.
The Asbestos Management Plan and Legionella Strategy have been completed and will be presented to a forthcoming Cabinet for approval. There has been ongoing work with the Fire Risk Assessor and internal compliance team, to establish an ongoing programme of surveys and remedial works for the medium and low rise blocks within the Borough.
Cllr England asked the Portfolio Holder for an update on implementation plans for the Homelessness Reduction Act which will be coming in later this year. Cllr Griffiths advised there is lots of work taking place in the background and there will be a Member Development Session taking place in April, dates were circulated recently by Members Services. More information will be provided as available.
Cllr Adeleke asked, now that tenants are to pay their water direct to utility companies, is there any interim plan in place to help any tenants who are experiencing problems during the transition? Cllr Griffiths advised that Layna Warden – Group Manager Tenants & Leaseholders, has been carrying out work on this, wardens of all the Council’s Elderly Persons Dwellings (EPDs) are fully briefed. Tenants can always come to us for advice and we can point them in right direction. Cllr Griffiths encouraged any members who have tenants contacting them with concerns to make contact with Housing, who can assist in signposting to support and advice available.
There were no further questions.
Councillor Harden, Portfolio Holder for Residents and Corporate Services
Community Grant Awards Ceremony
Following the success of the High Sherriff of Hertfordshire’s awards ceremony, the Council is keen to hold a similar event in Dacorum. To host an annual award ceremony to celebrate the projects that have received funding through the Councils community grant fund.
The event will recognise and celebrate the success of the Council’s grant funding programme as well as helping raise awareness of the community and voluntary sector. It will also help to develop new relationships and networks as well as demonstrating the Council’s commitment to local investment.
The awards ceremony will be an annual event with the first one held on Monday 26 March 2018. Nomination forms have been sent out to community organisations. We received 16 completed nomination forms and these will be assessed by the grants panel, to agree on scoring and decide the winners.
A number of different categories will be recognised:
· Dacorum Compact partnership award
· Equality and diversity
· Community capacity
· Community event
· Health and Wellbeing
The winner of each category will receive a small prize (£100) and a certificate and the runner-up will receive a certificate. A small financial reward helps encourage participation and it also helps to send out a positive message about recognition.
The winning organisations will also be able to display a Community Grants Logo, which will help to increase publicity and raise awareness of the work that they do.
Case studies of the winning projects will be publicised on our website, in the Digest and Digital Digest, on the big TV in the town centre and through social media.
Sport England Funding Bid
Currently developing our stage 2 application for the ‘Tackling Inactivity and Economic Disadvantage’ along with colleagues from Stevenage, Broxbourne, North Herts, Watford and Three Rives councils. Project will act as a 12-week intervention for ‘in need’ residents consisting of physical activity and classroom based sessions to both activate and educate.
Active Ageing Project
Receiving funding from Herts Sports Partnership to deliver seated exercise classes within our Sheltered Housing Schemes. Sheltered Housing Officers will attend a training course held by ‘Oomph!’ after which they will deliver weekly chair-based exercise classes within their scheme. Currently finalising the terms and conditions of the contract which will be followed by the funding.
Sport & Physical Activity Strategy
The Council is committed to delivering a high quality sporting environment, which enables clubs, users, and the wider community to live healthy and active lives, which is why we are developing a new Sports and Physical Activity Strategy.
Over the past several months we have consulted with a number of stakeholders, including local sports clubs, residents, and Herts Sports Partnership, to help us better understand the needs and priorities of the borough in terms of sport and physical activity. This strategy will focus on a vision for sports and activity across Dacorum and it will look at the role that clubs, the Council and its partners can play to improve provision and opportunity for our residents – from beginners to the elite. The strategy is in its final draft stages and will be shared shortly for further consultation from stakeholders.
Public Health District Offer
In April we are due to begin delivery on phase 3 of the Public Health District Offer, which will be aimed at addressing the key Public Health priorities. We will use the £30k funding to support around three or four projects which will have the best return on investment. Final submission for project proposals is Friday 23rd February, so currently working to refine these proposals.
Obtained two separate 3 month closure orders on properties in Berkhamsted due to criminal behaviour and serious anti-social behaviour (both were on the front page of the local paper).
In relation to the second closure order we also successfully prosecuted the occupant for breaching a Community Protection Order which prohibited him from carrying out further ASB.
Prepared for and organised the Grovehill Future Local Plan Referendum which took place on Thursday 15 February. This was the first of this type of referendum that the borough has organised and residents of Grovehill cast their vote on whether to adopt the Grovehill Future Neighbourhood Plan – which sets out planning policy for any potential redevelopment of the area up until 2031.
The referendum question was
'Do you want Dacorum Borough Council to use the neighbourhood plan for Grovehill Future to help it decide planning applications in the neighbourhood area?' and the result was a ‘YES’ vote:
On a 15.36% Turnout (Eligible Electorate: 5548); over 600 electors voted ‘Yes’ (657) to this promising initiative for the Grovehill area.
For more information on the Grovehill Future Local Plan, its associated documents, and how to get involved go to www.dacorum.gov.uk/neighbourhood-planning pages of DBC’s website.
The Committee Timetable for 2018/19 is set out in the agenda for tonight’s meeting and, subject to Council approval, Member Support will commence populating the website with the agreed dates and times. It is intended to produce an annotated, coloured version which will be sent to councillors in a future edition of Member News.
Cllr Douris referred to the Grovehill Referendum and remembered when a small group led by JDoe arrived at Grovehill Community Centre and kicked off what was then to become Grovehill Futures, which has since developed to the point of the referendum with a very positive outcome. Would like to give congratulations to the Chairman, Mr Devlin, who has worked on this to the Benefit of Grovehill. Cllr Harden agreed with Cllr Douris, a lot of preparation work went into this and added that the work of Mr Devlin and the Community is much welcomed by Council.
Cllr Ransley referred to the Sports Strategy and the terminology used about going from beginner to the highest elite and commented that the elite come from the beginners; grass roots is where they need to concentrate. Also highlighted that it made no mention of disabled, hoping that forms part of the policy? Cllr Harden agreed, absolutely. Also added that he terminology beginner to elite is just trying to represent us saying ‘everyone’, regardless of ability.
Cllr Guest asked, how is DBC working with HCC to promote sport & physical activity, particularly amongst young people? Cllr Harden advised that there will be a meeting next week, working with Community Action Dacorum and DBC & HCC. Added that Dacorum is a very proactive Council in engagement, working in partnerships that will encourage more people to engage, not just young people but the whole community
Cllr England referred to the Sports Strategy and commented that he is pleased to hear it is coming together. He asked, in consultation, will that include Dacorum Sports Trust and will there be any element of public consultation? Cllr Harden advised there is a list of those we currently engage with, internally and externally, including local clubs. Cllr Harden advised he would find that and forward to Members for their information.
Cllr England advised that it is good to hear about Grovehill, but whilst understanding this is the first time it has been done, that a turnout of 15%, is something we would hope to move up from as we take this on to other area? What is the Portfolio Holders ambition for that? Cllr Harden responded that he cannot refer to numbers, but I am pleased we managed to get a turnout, it is a positive that it was held, and it achieved a positive result.
Cllr Adeleke referred to officers being trained to go into sheltered accommodation to deliver physical training, is that a new role we are setting for officers to become trainers?
Cllr Harden responded that no, they are trained to deliver specific seat/sitting based training only.
There were no further questions.
Councillor G Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Regeneration
Dacorum Borough Council is launching this year’s fully sponsored Dacorum’s Den in March. It is the borough’s version of the popular TV program Dragon’s Den and is a grant giving initiative set up by the Economic Wellbeing Team at Dacorum Borough Council to help local small businesses develop and grow. It allows budding entrepreneurs in Dacorum to get a head start in business with a chance to win up to £1000 grant fund. This businesses can also be mentored by larger companies within the area. Judging takes places on 6th July with head judge Sir Mike Penning MP and the sponsors, with the awards on 20th July at Shendish Manor. Just a word about the sponsors. Over the years this has run, the value of the project has been so highly valued by the local business community that all grants are now sponsored by our local businesses, including one past winner of the Dacorum’s Den, so a big “thank you” to them all.
Dacorum’s Business Heroes Awards
In our business community, there are often unsung heroes who go above and beyond in giving back to the borough. Through the fully sponsored Dacorum’s Business Heroes Awards, we want to recognise those businesses that really make a difference and have a positive impact on the lives of others – shaping the future of economic growth in Dacorum. Nominations open at the beginning of March with judging on 15th June. The awards will be a joint celebration with Dacorum’s Den on 20th July at Shendish Manor.
The two previous items are good news but now for the “icing on the cake”.
The Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors are celebrating being awarded 6th place in Small Cities for Connectivity and 7th place in Small Cities for Business Friendliness, out of the most promising investment locations in Europe 2018/19
Data was collected for 489 locations, made up of 301 cities, 150 regions and 38 LEPs, and cities categorized for: Economic Potential, Human Capital and Lifestyle, Cost Effectiveness, Connectivity and Business Friendliness.
fDi Magazine is a specialist publication which reports on cross-border investment and is read by senior level executives at multinational corporations and others. A bi-monthly publication, fDi Magazine is part of the fDi Intelligence division of the Financial Times.
It states ”Ideally located adjacent to junction 8 of the M1 and junction 20 of the M25, providing direct access to the motorway network, Hemel Hempstead is home to over 7,000 businesses with over 83,000 people employed.”
Now if anybody had any doubts about the economic well-being of Hemel Hempstead and the Borough then I hope this report lays those doubts to rest.
Cllr England congratulated the Portfolio Holder on the results, good to see that Hemel Hempstead is being celebrated. There seems to be some consensus about some of the developments in the Two Waters area that are getting media coverage, can the Portfolio Holder give an update on how the Two Waters Development Plan is coming together?
Cllr Sutton advised that Planning Officers are looking closely at any applications coming in for this area. Cllr Sutton added that this is a very complex subject, happy to meet to go through in detail.
There were no further questions.
Councillor Marshall, Portfolio Holder for Environmental, Sustainability and Regulatory Services
A Christmas Tree Recycling day was held on 7 January with around 4,000 trees being recycled (last year just over 3,000) at sites in Hemel Hempstead, Berkhamsted and Tring. Particular thanks to the scout groups from Berkhamsted, Tring, Potten End, Kings Langley and Gossoms End who collected trees from their local areas for a donation to the scout movement and brought them to the chipping sites.
Garden waste collections start again at the end of February. Due to improvements in the service, there will be an additional round of garden waste collections during 2018 compared with 2017 and, subject to approval of the Budget later this evening, the charges for additional garden waste collection remains the same as 2017 – namely £50 for each additional garden waste bin collected and additional bins can be purchased at £25 per bin.
Work is in hand on promoting the Great British Spring Clean – the national litter picking campaign which will be taking place throughout March is to encourage volunteers – individuals and groups – to litter pick. Cupid Green will provide advice together with bags and litter pick sticks and will, by arrangement, pick up the filled bags. I should add that Cupid Green always ready and willing to help in this manner throughout the year, not just in March.
A fly tipping campaign is set to launch in March, emphasising the environmental impact and the fact that fly tipping is a crime and it is not just the waste carriers who are responsible for the proper disposal of waste, such as that thrown out bathroom suite, but also the owners who gave the stuff to the waste carriers. We need to press home the message of individual responsibility – not something that is readily appreciated. In Hemel Hempstead town centre on the 15 March, there will be a fly tipping installation and photoshoot at which I believe the Mayor will attend. Also an eye-catching, plain speaking fly tipping information leaflet will be circulated to all households in the Borough.
Cllr England asked the Portfolio Holder if they agree that the A41 in Dacorum has been in an awful mess for months; although I know there is a plan to clean it up next month, is it time for a rethink on the issue of litter being dropped and not able to be picked up because of the cost of the operation needed? Also a fly tipping issue, there are a couple of mattresses by the M25 area.
Cllr Marshall advised that in order to do the litter pick it is essential to have road closures at a cost of £1500 a day. It takes 7 days to complete the litter pick; this is a costly exercise and the council made the decision that it could only afford to do this once a year. It is not just the cost of the lane closures, but the cost of the whole process. Whether more budget should be set aside for this, would be a matter for consideration in future financial years.
Cllr Marshall asked for locations of the mattresses in order to arrange to get the matter logged.
There were no further questions.
Councillor Elliot, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources
Finance & Resources
Commercial Assets & Property Development
We are continuing with the demolition of the Civic Centre prior to the re use of the site for housing. The stripping out of asbestos is now well advanced and the physical demolition of the structure is expected to commence during March.
The sales of underutilised garages to release a capital receipt are continuing. We currently have in the region of £6m of sales moving towards exchange. This will increase the supply of homes in the Borough by approximately 60 units as well as providing funds for the Capital Programme moving forward.
We have gained planning permission for the creation of a new cemetery at Bunkers Park which will meet the requirements of the Borough for the next 75 years. We are currently undertaking detailed design work with contractors prior to moving towards a tender phase for the project.
Revenues & Benefits
was discussed at the last Audit Committee, I am happy to note that
the Revenues & Benefits teams have achieved their best ever
results from internal audits.
Both the Council Tax and Business Rates processes were audited, and both achieved the top rating available. Mazars, our Internal Auditors, confirmed that this was the first time that they have ever given the top rating to a Council Tax Service at any Local Authority.
This is a reflection of the continued hard work and dedication of these teams, as they strive to ensure that residents and businesses receive correct bills and benefit assessments promptly.
Final budget proposals were presented joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 6th February and Cabinet on 13th February. These proposals will be considered here today by Full Council.
The revenue position for the third quarter of 2017/18 indicates that the Council’s financial performance is in line with available budget. Early indications are that this position has been held going into the final quarter of 2017/18.
The service is looking ahead to the closure of accounts for 2017/18 and publication of these accounts by 31 July 2018.
Cllr Maddern referred to Bunkers Park Cemetery; raised at DMC recently about the road going into Bunkers Park, this will now be tarmacked. Would like to request that tarmac is extended into the car park as there is a similar problem with the surface there. Cllr Elliot confirmed that they are well aware of the road issues and potholes and the request will be considered.
There were no more questions.