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 Harden                   Community & Regulatory Services

Councillor G Sutton                Planning & Infrastructure

Councillor Marshall                 Environmental Services

Councillor Elliot                       Finance & Resources

Councillor Mrs Griffiths           Housing
Councillor D Collins                Corporate & Contracted Services



1.      By the Mayor:


There were no announcements from the Mayor.


2.      By the Chief Executive:


There were no announcements from the Chief Executive.


3.      By the Group Leaders:


Councillor Williams confirmed that apologies had been received from Councillors Chapman, Clark, Mills, Matthews and Bateman (Councillor Imarni joined the meeting at 7.48pm)


Councillor Tindall had no apologies.


4.    By the Leader and Members of the Cabinet:


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



1.      By the Mayor:


There were no announcements from the Mayor.


2.      By the Chief Executive:


There were no announcements from the Chief Executive.


3.      By the Group Leaders:


Councillor Williams confirmed that apologies had been received from Councillors Chapman, Clark, Mills, Matthews and Bateman (Councillor Imarni joined the meeting at 7.48pm)


Councillor Tindall had no apologies.


4.    By the Leader and Members of the Cabinet:


Councillor Williams, Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Community Leadership


Cllr Williams referred to the minutes of previous meeting; specifically the motion Council approved.  Cllr Williams updated that the Police & Crime Commissioners bid to take control of Hertfordshire Fire Service has now been suspended pending a more collaborative arrangement between Hertfordshire Police & Hertfordshire Fire Service.


Councillor Williams invited questions, there were none.



Councillor Harden, Portfolio Holder for Community and Regulatory Services


Communications and Consultation


Corporate projects and campaigns - examples include the Armed Forces Day celebrations, Dacorum Business Heroes, Dacorum’s Den, Splash Park launch and service specific consultations such as the Grovehill Athletics Track.


Staff Recognition Scheme - attracted 60 nominations from staff and managers, supported the hosting of the event.


Community Safety and Children Services


APGs – commenced commercialisation project: looking at single provider for food & drink, re-branding, party options and marketing.  Operational changes now in place. Finalising the new staffing structure.


Safeguarding –refresher course being delivered to leadership team, policies being updated and reviewing referral process.  Preparing for the children’s safeguarding audit which will be later this year.


Community Safety – bids are now open for Police Commissioner grants, the team are reviewing the criteria and drafting bids relating to our high priority projects.

Next DCSP meeting Wed 24 Oct 2018


Community partnerships and Leisure


Athletics Track – consultation completed.  Reporting to Cabinet and Housing OSC in Oct.


Sports and Physical Activity Strategy – updated version also   reporting to Cabinet and Housing OSC in Oct.


The Old Town Hall


40th Anniversary - autumn Programme was launched 15 September 2018.

Animal Welfare


Following discussions with Boxmoor Trust, National Trust, Dogs Trust, RSPCA and the Police. Public Space Protection Order relating to dog issues went live and has attracted over 1000 responses (closes 14th September). The results are due to be presented to OSC in Oct. 




The premises closure on the tents on the land by the fire station was a success and the business concerned (BPA) were very pleased. This was the first closure order we have done on open land and there was good co-operation with CSG in terms of clearance of the site.


Environmental Health


We are participating in some initial benchmarking looking at potential for joint working between Hertfordshire Authorities on Environmental Health Services. Once the data has been gathered there will be a process to look at future opportunities and areas for efficiencies.


Grovehill Action Day – 9th August 2018


On Thursday 9th August a number of people, had a very early start, in order to undertake a clean-up event for the Grovehill Area. This event was running alongside the Love Your Neighbourhood event which had been organised by Neighbourhood Action team.

24 people including 3 ward councillors, fire service officers, police staff, DBC Housing staff and ECP enforcement officers as well as members from the local Church.

The aim of this operation was to look at environmental issues that could affect the quality of life of people in the locality, aiming to deal with as many of those issues as possible, on the day itself.  


The result of this operation:


3.5 tonnes of fly tipped waste removed

2 potential unregistered houses of multiple occupation identified

2 community protection notice warnings to be issued on overgrown gardens

14 notices served on untaxed vehicles

4 vehicles removed due to being untaxed and, on the Highway,

39 Streets litter picked

4 damaged utility boxes identified and reported for repair

And finally, the subway underpass was given a makeover by young citizens representing Youth Connections Hertfordshire.


Dacorum Borough Council strives to provide a clean safe and green environment for people living and working within our Borough, and these operations go some way to showing our commitment to tackle environmental issues that can be a blight on local communities.




Cllr Tindall asked; is there a schedule by which the environmental inspections will be going through Ward by Ward, or is this a one off?


Cllr Harden advised another due in November, does not have location to hand but will go out in Members News.  Intend to have 3 or 4 a year, each in different areas.


Cllr England asked the Portfolio Holder to give a couple more lines on the re-branding project as he could not recall that as having been raised at scrutiny. 


Cllr Harden clarified this refers to Adventure Playgrounds and the marketing and promotion of the Adventure Playground spaces for private party hire.


Cllr Elliott commented that there have been lots of comments from residents about fantastic improvements to the Sports Centre and asked; do you feel the new provider has enhanced sports provision for the Borough?


Cllr Harden responded that Everyone Active have invested £1.3m of their own money into improvements at Hemel Hempstead Sports Centre, a ribbon cutting opening took place this past weekend, would encourage anyone that has not visited to do so.


Cllr Bhiner confirmed that he and the other Ward Councillors had a great day on 9th August in Grovehill, but commented that it was a very exhausting day.  Wondering if the 2 events could be held on separate days in future years.


Cllr Harden confirmed that the idea is for it to both the Action Day and Love your Neighbourhood day to be combined so both teams work together.


Cllr C Wyatt Lowe asked; do we advise the public we are doing this, ie do we give a warning or are we intending to catch people without prior warning?


Cllr Harden confirmed that the Action Day is not advertised and is without warning and takes place very early in morning.  Love your Neighbourhood is an afternoon event which is promoted.


Councillor G Sutton, Portfolio Holder for Planning & Infrastructure


The Bury Museum Project


The bid to deliver the new museum at The Bury was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for its consideration on 16 August.


Though the competition for lottery funds is high we believe we have submitted an exciting and robust bid


We expect to hear the outcome of the application by Christmas. If we are successful it will provide funds to develop the plans in detail ready for a second bid to the HLF for building works to the Bury, including a café and gallery extensions as well as the conversion of the main building for the new museum.


The project, if it proceeds, it would see construction start in 2022 and the new museum opening in 2023. 


The Water Gardens – More Success


On 20 July, the Council hosted the Green Flag awards for parks and gardens in Hertfordshire.


The Water Gardens was awarded its first Green Flag, along with Canal Fields, Berkhamsted, Chipperfield Common, Tring Memorial Garden and Bunkers Park, Hemel Hempstead also receiving Green Flags for their qualities and benefits they bring to the community


The Green Flag award is now added to the prestigious Landscape Institute award for the Water Gardens which was received last year.


The Hemel Hempstead Business Ambassadors reach 75!


The HH Business Ambassadors was set up just a few years ago to bring together like minded businesses to promote the great opportunities there are to do business, and invest in, Hemel Hempstead and the wider Borough


Meeting regularly, the Ambassadors have gone from strength to strength and Membership has now reached 75 local businesses, a great achievement.

My sincere thanks to the team for this success.


Economic Growth at Maylands


Considerable growth of the local economy continues with new developments at Maylands Business Park


Work is progressing with the first phase of the Maylands Retail Park on the former Lucas Aerospace site – with the developers aiming for opening by Easter 2019


The Prologis development on Breakspear Way, offering in excess of 400,000 square feet of new commercial floor space is gathering pace. The first occupier is due to be in place by October and most of the other units due for completion by the end of the year. This is particularly important for the area as the business rates payable by new occupiers will be retained within the Herts Enviro-Tech Enterprise Zone, and the receipts ploughed back into the area to improve road and transport infrastructure


Land at the former Campus site on Maylands Avenue to the front of the Gyron data centre is ready for redevelopment for new industrial units




Cllr Mahmood asked the Portfolio Holder to pass on everyone’s compliments to the team responsible for the work on The Bury Museum; it is a legacy project for future generations.


Cllr Sutton agreed the team had done a good job and are very enthusiastic, commenting that he will pass on this thanks.


There were no further questions.



Councillor Marshall, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services


Trial of collecting Food Waste from flats comes to an end at the end this month.  The trial is for 3 months and 1600 flats are involved – in Berkhamsted, Grovehill and Leverstock Green.  Just under 1 tonne of food waste per week has been collected, so that saves it going to landfill.  The contamination appears to be low.  Analysis of how it went, lessons learnt, what to do in the future to be done – report to go to SPAE OSC in a few months.


Programme of installing dry recycling facilities for blocks of flats in the Borough who currently have no such facilities starts next month.  All going well (and no huge snowfalls), it should be completed by end February 2019.  We are talking about 3000 flats in 663 blocks.  Again, saving on sending refuse to landfill – bad for the environment, even worse for the purse.


This week is the National Recycling week and DBC staff have had sessions at local supermarkets to encourage recycling and to advise what can be recycled and where.  In so doing, DBC is pleased to tell residents that black plastic food trays can now been recycled.  The Council’s website has been updated with this information and more information on what can be recycled will be published on a County-wide basis in a few months.  Our contractors are able to extract the black plastic trays, batch them up and sell them as “black plastic”. 


Regarding the Green Flags awards, I echo Cllr Sutton’s comments and would add that, achieving these awards mean that the hard work and commitment of everyone involved is recognised – not just the council staff but also the community and many volunteer groups.




Cllr Pringle asked the Portfolio Holder to explain the justification for the destruction of 3 ancient woodland tress, Horse Chestnut Trees, on the moor in Berkhamsted, one of which is 247 years old.


Cllr Marshall confirmed this relates to the temporary relocation of the car park and confirmed this will be covered by Cllr Collins in his report and therefore asked that this question be referred to him.


Cllr England congratulated on further improvement in recycling rates in the Borough and asked; does the Portfolio Holder expect the figures will ever bring us up to comparable recycling number to our neighbouring Liberal Democrat controlled Three Rivers Council which has been ahead of us on this for 3 years?  How long is the Council willing to wait before putting in a reasonable effort to reach rate of say, 60%?


Cllr Marshall responded that we are continually trying to improve our recycling rates.  The recycling for flats will improve on figures; I cannot tell you by how much, but we will not stop there.  We will continue to press for improved recycling which is an ongoing path.  I am not able to answer any more fully at this time.


Cllr Fisher referred to recycling soft plastic and commented it would be good if we were able to recycle this.


Cllr Marshall clarified this relates to the film covering on food trays, commenting that there are a lot of things we would like to be able to recycle, but the question is can the recycling industry recycle these materials; we can only go so far as that industry can take us, we have to work with them, we pressurise them as do other local authorities to improve and to investigate what can be recycled. 


Cllr Elliott asked; would the Portfolio Holder agree that recycling is not just the Local Authority’s responsibly but also the manufacturers, the supermarkets and the individual – we all live on this planet?


Cllr Marshall thanked Cllr Elliott and agreed.  The government is also aware of this and has recently issued a paper on this subject.


Councillor Elliot, Portfolio Holder for Finance and Resources


Commercial Assets & Property Development


The first phase of the demolition of the former Civic Centre is now complete.  This involved demolition of the majority of the Civic Centre with the exception of the north eastern and south western corners of the building which adjoin Affinity Water & UKPN infrastructure.  We are working with UKPN and Affinity Water on timeframes to begin Phase 2 which will involve diversion and relocation of utilities followed by demolition of the remaining building structure.


Whilst it is too early to confirm the precise date that the relocation work will be complete, it is likely to be within the next 6-12 months. This has no impact on the cost to the Council, nor will it delay the development of the site as the relocation process will run concurrently with the design and feasibility work of the proposed development.


The sales of underutilised garages to release a capital receipt are continuing. We have recently completed the sale of 6 sites to Watford Community Housing Trust for £3.06m.  There are a further 4 sites under offer to a Housing Association in the region of £1.85m which is moving towards exchange.  After a period of marketing, a further site is under offer at £500k to a private developer.  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. 


Financial Services


The service successfully published the 2017/18 financial statements for the Council with an unqualified audit opinion and in line with the statutory deadline.  This deadline represented a contraction of timescales from previous financial years and hence an additional challenge to the service.


The Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy for the period 2018/19-2022/23 was approved by Cabinet in July for recommendation to Council.


The service is looking ahead to the 2019/20 budget setting cycle.  Savings, growth and capital proposals from the Council’s Leadership Team are under officer review, prior to their presentation to Members over the next few months.


Revenues, Benefits & Fraud


The team are preparing for the regular review of council tax single person discounts, which will again be carried out on our behalf by CapacityGrid. This project is jointly funded by the County Council and Police, and helps make sure that everyone is paying the right amount of council tax.




Cllr Birnie referred to a number of residents being concerned about the 2 structures left standing on the old Civic Centre site.  Can we confirm they are not being left out of dereliction of duty but for concern about water supplies etc for town, and that we could demolish them but we are saving money by waiting to use mechanical equipment?


Cllr Elliot confirmed the 2 corners left standing are due to utilities and are higher than we expected.  If we were to demolish them by hand to a height of approx. 6 or 7 ft, it would cost in the region of £300k.  To put screening around the site would cost approx. £100k, due to security & H&S etc. We do not want to throw away tax payers money; they will come down within the next 12 months and we are working closely with the utility providers concerned.


Cllr C Wyatt Lowe congratulated the Portfolio Holder and Officer involved in the Verge Hardening Scheme which is being funded through capital receipts and asked; will this continue?


Cllr Elliot confirmed it was an initiative of this Council to use capital receipts to alleviate parking in this successful town.  The verge hardening scheme is to be continuing process to help residents due to the increase in cars since the New Town was formed.


Councillor Griffiths, Portfolio Holder for Housing


Tenant and Leaseholder Services


Tenants and Leaseholder team managers are continuing to build links with health and social care through attendance at numerous locality and county wide meetings. Specifically presenting at a Health and Housing Public Health Workshop and attending a Dacorum Locality Board.


We are starting 2 projects following funding from Public Health. The first one works with older tenants to focus upon healthy eating and reducing social isolation. The second ‘De-cluttering the MIND’ will include sessions with a MIND councillor to explore what triggers hoarding behaviour and helps the resident to explores ways of managing them.


We have started regular monthly meetings with our DWP partnership manager and Jobcentre Plus contacts to discuss the implementation of Universal Credit. The DWP will also be using the Council Chamber to run a session to DBC and external agencies.


We have now resettled 6 refugee families in Dacorum. Families number 5 and 6 have just completed a 26 week course of intensive ESOL classes, with the intention of raising their language skills to maximise integration potential and improve employment opportunities.


Our Pet Policy has received an award for the 5th year in a row giving us the Platinum award. September is focussing on Tenancy Fraud as part of the Our House Your Home Service Standards. We are carrying out a small key amnesty project and using social media to focus on this theme throughout this month to encourage reports of subletting and housing application fraud.


Our Housing Officers have started to carry out Flexible Tenancy Reviews. From over 60 home inspections the majority still meet the allocations policy and will be given a further 5 year tenancy. There have been a number of queries such as joint tenancy relationship changes and we are closely monitoring the outcomes and resource in carrying out these reviews. No one has been identified as having an income too high for a further Flexible Tenancy to be offered.


Strategic Housing


Strategic Housing have made significant progress in a number of areas which includes:

·         The private sector housing team have now launched their HMO licencing campaign

·         Gone live with new government H-clic reporting for homelessness

·         Over 100 tenants and leaseholders have been consulted with around fire safety

·         We have developed all new communications for our supported housing schemes including individual fact sheets for each scheme (we got a professional photographer to visit each scheme) this should help with allocations of hard to let accommodation.


Housing Development


·         Kylna Court – Works are progressing well on site. Completion Nov 2018.

·         Swing Gate Lane (Corn Mill Court) – Completion Dec 2018

·         Martindale, Stationers Place, Northend and Westerdale all on site in November.

·         Pipeline Schemes - St Margaret’s Way, Coniston Road, Bulbourne and Eastwick Row - Appointing consultant support.

·         Team – Shortlisted for Housing Development Team of the Year

·         New Build Update going to Cabinet on the 18th Sept to include:

-   To note the bid made to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, as set out in the report, for additional borrowing freedom for £10.1M in the Housing Revenue Account to facilitate the early delivery of 106 new homes and to approve the acceptance of the bid if successful.

-   To consider the purchase of land from Homes England at Paradise Fields for council house new build purposes.

-   To consider the purchase of 3 London Road Apsley for council house new build purposes.

-   To consider the award of contract for the construction of 29 new homes at Stationers Place.

-   To consider a process for purchase of land for social housing purposes within agreed budgets which allows for a sufficiently speedy approach to compete effectively for open market sales.

-   To provide Members with an update on the progress of the Council’s new build Council housing programme and to approve a variation in the procurement of the scheme at Stationers Place Apsley.


Property and Place


Re-roofing council homes continues and we have 110 programmed in for 2018 /19 with 63 still to be completed


We have re-started our external wall insulation programme and have identified 28 Homes that will be carried out in 2018 / 19. We have agreed that we will be using “Rockwool” as the insulation due to its fire retardant properties. These are all individual 2-storey homes.


We will continue to renew kitchens and bathrooms on our programme and are looking at achieving 400 new kitchens and over 300 new bathrooms this year


We are investing £400k in electrical safety testing this year and are looking to complete all electrical test in our homes by the end of the financial year


We are investing £400k on new windows during this financial year




Cllr Tindall asked; what discussion has the Council had with The Mount Prison to ensure smooth transition from 1st October when the new legation comes in for avoidance of homelessness?


Cllr Griffiths responded that we’ve had a very good relationship with The Mount for many years, we have kept that conversation continuing.  We want to avoid an influx of people wanting to stay in the locality of the prison they have just left.  We are working with The Mount to ensure there is a link for released prisoners to go back to the location they are from.


Cllr Tindall commented; if individuals that are being released due to being a Domestic Violence perpetrator, can we ensure action is taken to ensure they do not cause further problems to their victims?


Cllr Griffiths commented that we as a Council, we do not encourage ex-offenders to be placed anywhere near where their victim is located.  Likewise, we do not want to displace these people to other Boroughs as we would have to reciprocate.  Such risks are looked at before placing anyone in any sort of accommodation.



Councillor D Collins, Portfolio Holder for Corporate and Contracted Services


Update on parking provision in Berkhamsted


The carpark in Lower Kings Road, Berkhamsted will remain open until the New Year.  Construction of the new multi-storey carpark is planned for January 2019, once the utility companies have completed their diversionary works.  Proposed changes to other carparks in the town will be implemented when the construction.  During this period the Lower Kings Road carpark will close and customers will be asked to utilise the alternative parking available in the town, including a temporary carpark on the Moor.  The new multi-storey carpark is expected to be operational by early autumn 2019.




Works at Tring Sports Centre are now well underway with most of the strip-out works complete.  SA Pools have been subcontracted by the Council’s main contracted, Keir, to carry out the swimming pool resurfacing work and preparatory works are underway before the new surface is applied.  The target completion date for all of the works is the first week in February 2019.


The new refurbished gym at Hemel Hempstead Sports Centre was formally opened by the Mayor of Dacorum and Max Whitlock MBE (Freeman of the Borough) on Saturday.  The new facility looked fantastic and will be a great asset to residents of the Borough.  The opening was followed by a family fun day at the sports centre.


KP1s have been approved by F & R OSC and performance will be reviewed by this committee every six months for the first two years of the contract


Corporate Support


The annual canvas is well under way and 65,000 Household Enquiry Forms were sent to all properties across Dacorum.  To date we have received a 66% return.  Two thirds, 27,706, responded online and 14,000 used paper (9,200 of which had no changes)


Of the automated responses we have received approximately 60% via the internet, 15% via text and 25% via the telephone.


25,000 reminder forms have now been sent out and the door to door canvass will take place in October, all in the lead up to the new register being published 0n 1 December 2018.

The new elections management system, Express, was implemented in July and we are already seeing the positive effects it has had on the canvass process.


Legal Services


The Legal Services team obtained the first closure order on open land (next to the Fire Station in Hemel Hempstead) which was being unlawfully occupied and causing antisocial behaviour.




The number of active users on MyDacorum (the portal for residents) has reached 500.  The Web Team and Comms Team are developing an enhanced communications plan.


The roll- out of new equipment to officers is continuing, and is now 55% complete.

The replacement of equipment within the Council’s data centres is also ongoing.  We expect this to provide a significant performance increase for key business applications.




Cllr Pringle asked; would the Portfolio Holder explain the justification for the destruction of 3 ancient horse chestnut trees on The Moor in Berkhamsted, the oldest of which is 247 years old?


Cllr Collins advised that 2 trees have been condemned for the fact that they are at the end of their natural life; we do not want to put residents or visitors to Berkhamsted at risk.  The oldest tree, the Horse Chestnut, we are reviewing.  The slight delay on the work of the utility services is enabling us to look at other options for that tree.


Cllr Pringle commented that it seems the temporary car park will only to be in use for 9 months.  Adding; it is a contentious view in the local community that these trees are dangerous and that they could have some 20 years left in them, asking for assurance if they can be, that these trees will be preserved.


Cllr Collins responded that 2 trees have been condemned by our officers and we have to take that advice, adding that we are trying to take advice on what we can do with the oldest 3rd tree.


Cllr Tindall referred to the number of residents who are still not on the internet and with the parking permits move to electronic methods, asked that assurance be given that paper based methods are still made available.  Cllr Tindall clarified this referred to the parking in permit controlled resident areas.  Cllr Collins confirmed he will look into it.


Cllr Timmis asked, with regard the utilities, will the car park be closed off before Christmas while this goes in?


Cllr Collins confirmed it will be open, some parts may need to be coned off while work is undertaken but most of the car park will be open for festive season.


Cllr Birnie commented on the fact the microphones are not working correctly and asked, when; will they be fixed?


Cllr Collins responded that he has been assured the issue is being addressed.