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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Tewkesbury Borough Council Offices, Avon Room

Contact: Democratic Services Tel: 01684 272021  Email:  democraticservices@tewkesbury.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

46.

Announcements

When the continuous alarm sounds you must evacuate the building by the nearest available fire exit. Members and visitors should proceed to the visitors’ car park at the front of the building and await further instructions (during office hours staff should proceed to their usual assembly point; outside of office hours proceed to the visitors’ car park). Please do not re-enter the building unless instructed to do so.

 

In the event of a fire any person with a disability should be assisted in leaving the building.

Minutes:

46.1          The evacuation procedure, as noted on the Agenda, was taken as read. 

47.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

To receive apologies for absence and advise of any substitutions. 

Minutes:

47.1          Apologies for absence were received from Councillors G J Bocking, H C McLain, P D McLain, P W Ockelton and J K Smith.  Councillor M L Jordan would be acting as a substitute for the meeting.

48.

Declarations of Interest

Pursuant to the adoption by the Council on 26 June 2012 of the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct, effective from 1 July 2012, as set out in Minute No. CL.34, Members are invited to declare any interest they may have in the business set out on the Agenda to which the approved Code applies.

Minutes:

48.1           The Committee’s attention was drawn to the Tewkesbury Borough Council Code of Conduct which was adopted by the Council on 26 June 2012 and took effect from 1 July 2012.

48.2          There were no declarations made on this occasion.

49.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To approve the Minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2019.

Minutes:

49.1          The Minutes of the meeting held on 10 September 2019, copies of which had been circulated, were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair. 

50.

Executive Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 235 KB

To determine whether there are any questions for the relevant Lead Members and what support the Overview and Scrutiny Committee can give to work contained within the Plan.

Minutes:

50.1           Attention was drawn to the Executive Committee Forward Plan, circulated at Pages No. 20-24.  Members were asked to determine whether there were any questions for the relevant Lead Members and what support the Overview and Scrutiny Committee could give to the work contained within the plan.

50.2          The Head of Corporate Services advised that the Council Plan 2016-20 refresh was due to be taken to the Executive Committee meeting on 8 April 2020 but this would now be brought forward to the meeting on 8 January 2020 in order for the Council Plan to be approved prior to the peer review challenge which was taking place during the first week in March 2020.  In addition, the Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that the special Executive Committee meeting due to be held on 4 November 2019, to consider approval of the West Cheltenham Masterplan Supplementary Planning Document for consultation, had been cancelled; it was now intended that this would be considered at the normal meeting on 27 November 2019 which would be in line with Cheltenham Borough Council.

50.3          It was

RESOLVED          That the Executive Committee Forward Plan be NOTED.

51.

Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 339 KB

To consider the forthcoming work of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

51.1          Attention was drawn to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2019/20, circulated at Pages No. 25-34, which Members were asked to consider.

51.2          With regard to the pending items section of the Work Programme, set out at Page No. 33 of the report, the Head of Corporate Services advised that the Communications Strategy would now be taken to the meeting on 3 December 2019 and the presentation on the Growth Hub and Gloucestershire First Local Enterprise Partnership (GFirst LEP) would be taken to the meeting on 14 January 2020.  It was further noted that the Flood Risk Management Group Report - which was received on an annual basis by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee in order for Members to make a recommendation to the Executive Committee as to whether there was a continuing role for the Group and was currently scheduled for the meeting on 10 March 2020 - would be removed from the Work Programme as this had been superseded by the Council decision to expand the remit of the existing Flood Risk Management Group to deal with climate change maters.  It was noted that the Group was due to report to Council by its meeting on 21 April 2020 with a detailed action plan for delivery. 

51.3          With regard to the Parking Strategy Review items which were due to be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meetings on 14 January and 10 March 2020, the Deputy Chief Executive advised that it was more appropriate for the Head of Finance and Asset Management to be the Lead Officer, rather than the Head of Development Services, and the Work Programme would be updated accordingly.

51.4           It was

RESOLVED          That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee Work Plan 2019/20 be NOTED, subject to the following amendments:

-     Communications Strategy to be moved from Pending Items to the meeting on 3 December 2019;

-     Presentation from the Growth Hub and GFirst LEP to be moved from Pending Items to the meeting on 14 January 2020;

-     Flood Risk Management Group Report to be removed from the Work Programme on 10 March 2020; and

-     Parking Strategy Review items on 14 January 2020 and 10 March 2020 to be amended to show the Head of Finance and Asset Management as the Lead Officer rather than the Head of Development Services.

52.

Development Services Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 143 KB

To consider the progress made against the actions within the plan and to note that the remaining actions will all be completed by March 2020; should that not be the case, a further report will be brought back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

52.1          Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Development Services, circulated at Pages No. 35-49, which provided an update on progress made against the Development Services Review Action Plan.  Members were asked to consider the report and to note that the remaining actions would all be completed by March 2020 and, should that not be the case, a further report would be brought back to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

52.2          The Head of Development Services explained that the Development Services Review was approved by Council on 25 April 2018 and was supported by an action plan to help improve the service.  The action plan had contained 76 actions at the time of approval but considerable progress had been made and, of those, all but 13 had been completed; the report provided an update on the outstanding actions.  Members were reminded that this was not a service plan and the action plan did not represent all of the work that was undertaken by the department.  It was noted that the majority of actions were for the Development Management team and they had been prioritised; this had involved joint working across the Council with IT and Customer Services to improve the service for customers.  She was fully aware of the importance of the relationship between Officers and customers and she regretted that there had been times when the service had fallen short of expectations but she provided assurance that this would be addressed where issues were identified.  With regard to planning policy, the Tewkesbury Borough Plan had reached the Pre-Submission stage; whilst this had impacted on other projects, clearly it was a very important piece of work.  In terms of economic development and tourism, the Growth Hub had now been operational for a year and many compliments had been received about the positive impact on businesses.  In respect of community development, a Member workshop had been held to clarify and define the role of the Place Approach and that had been well received.  The next stage was to ensure it was embedded across the three areas within the borough.  The relationship between place and health was recognised as a key priority for the team moving forward.

52.3           A Member drew attention to Page No. 42, Action B.12 – Review whether to propose Local Development Orders for areas where no permitted development rights - which stated that the action had been suspended for a year in order to enable a cost/benefit analysis to be undertaken but then went on to say that this was now unlikely to be taken forward due to the loss of income predicted and he sought clarification as to the situation.  The Head of Development Services explained that, whilst the majority of areas benefited from permitted development rights, those rights had been removed in some newer areas; permitted development rights allowed properties to be extended without planning permission - within certain limits - if permitted development rights had been removed, a planning application would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.

53.

Review of Planning Enforcement Plan pdf icon PDF 133 KB

To consider the information on performance arising from the adoption of the Planning Enforcement Plan and note that this will be included with the Planning Performance Indicators in future.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

53.1          The report of the Head of Development Services, circulated at Pages No. 50-73, provided an update on performance arising from the adoption of the Planning Enforcement Plan.  Members were asked to consider the information and to note that this would be included within the planning Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in future.

53.2          Members were advised that the Planning Enforcement Plan, attached at Appendix 1 to the report, had been adopted by the Executive Committee in July 2018.  The Plan had been introduced following a review of the Planning Enforcement service and had been through various consultation prior to approval.  The Plan set out the Council’s principles and approaches to delivering the service and was intended to be used primarily by the public.  The Head of Development Services advised that, when the Plan was adopted in 2018, the Enforcement team comprised a Senior Planning and Enforcement Officer and two Enforcement Officers; unfortunately, all three of the staff in those roles had now left the authority.  After two or three attempts to recruit, appointments had been made to two junior posts – these Officers were doing very well but were both inexperienced and still learning the trade so they did require support.  She had now tried to recruit to the Senior Planning and Enforcement Officer post unsuccessfully on four occasions.  As an interim solution, arrangements had been made to cover this post for two days per week in order to assist with high priority cases.  The focus for the last six to 12 months had been on implementing the new service with the new Officers and the Planning Enforcement Plan had been a useful tool during that process.  She confirmed that consideration was being given as to how best address the vacant senior role.  She went on to advise that statistics in relation to the service had been recorded on the Uniform system since 1 April 2019 and the first six months’ data to 30 September 2019 was set out at Appendix 2 to the report.

53.3           In response to a query, the Head of Development Services advised that an Enforcement Officer did not necessarily have to be a qualified Planning Officer – neither of the staff in the two junior posts were qualified although both had experience in the industry.  The senior role that had been advertised on several occasions was for a Planning and Enforcement Officer but candidates seemed to be very scarce and those that did exist tended to be based within County authorities which was why it was necessary to rethink the structure of the team; it was likely that the senior role would be a planning post with an element of enforcement but no decisions had been made as yet.  A Member questioned how many live enforcement cases there were and was advised that Appendix 2 to the report stated that 73 breaches had been reported; however, that only related to new breaches between 1 April and 30 September and, as enforcement cases could take a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

Housing Strategy Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 276 KB

To consider the progress made in respect of the outcomes identified in the Housing Strategy Action Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

54.1          The report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 75-10, provided a summary of the key activities identified within the Housing Strategy 2017-21 which had been achieved between April and September 2019.  Members were asked to consider the progress made to date in respect of the outcomes identified in the Action Plan. 

54.2          The Head of Community Services explained that it had been a year of change for the Housing team mainly due to the introduction of the Homelessness Reduction Act which was very much focused on prevention; fortunately, this was the approach that had generally been taken by Tewkesbury Borough Council.  In terms of service improvement, he drew particular attention to Page No. 76, Paragraph 2.3.2 of the report which set out that Personal Housing Plans in the new database were currently being updated and a home visit service was being developed in order to increase understanding of a customer’s situation in a less intimidating environment.  Page No. 81, Paragraph 2.4.1 of the report stated that the Local Housing Needs Assessment was close to completion.  This was carried out on a countywide basis, with the last full assessment in 2009, and would form the basis of the new Housing Strategy when the current strategy came to an end in 2021.  The action plan was attached at Appendix 1 to the report and he apologised that a number of the target dates had already passed and undertook to ensure these were corrected for the next update.

54.3           With regard to the rough sleeper count set out at Page No. 78 of the report, a Member questioned whether the one rough sleeper recorded in February 2019 was the same person that had been recorded in January 2019 and the Head of Community Services confirmed that was likely to be the case.  He pointed out that it could take a long time to find solutions for rough sleepers, particularly if they lived chaotic lifestyles, and it was worth remembering that, although there were genuine cases, some chose to live on the street, or preferred to be seen as a rough sleeper, even when they had access to accommodation.  The Interim Housing Manager confirmed that there were many reasons why people with accommodation could be found on the street, for instance, some were so entrenched in rough sleeping that they had adapted to that lifestyle and had their social networks on the streets.  Officers worked with individuals to establish their reasons and were supported by organisations such as the P3 charity to ensure they received the right help.  A Member expressed the view that the homelessness figures for Tewkesbury Borough were very positive and a credit to the Housing team.  The Interim Housing Manager indicated that he had been with the authority since June, having worked in a number of local authority departments previously, and the Tewkesbury Borough Council Housing Team was the best he had worked with.  The staff all pulled together and were extremely committed to helping  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

55.

Warm and Well Scheme Update pdf icon PDF 156 KB

 To consider the achievements made to date through the Warm and Well Scheme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

55.1          Attention was drawn to the report of the Head of Community Services, circulated at Pages No. 110-138, which gave an overview of the Warm and Well scheme.  Members were asked to consider the achievements made to date.

55.2          The Head of Community Services explained that, along with the other local authorities in Gloucestershire, Tewkesbury Borough Council contributed £20,000 per year to pay for services provided by the Severn Wye Energy Agency in order to achieve its commitments around achieving affordable warmth and tackling fuel poverty.  The main achievements for 2018/19 were set out at Pages No. 112-113 of the report with a detailed breakdown at Appendix 1.  He drew particular attention to Paragraph 2.9 of the report which stated that the scheme had led to an overall annual carbon saving of 265 tonnes which was a significant reduction.  He hoped that Members would agree that the Warm and Well Scheme was extremely good value for money in terms of the benefits it provided to vulnerable households and the environment.  The Environmental Health Manager felt it was important to bear in mind that the scheme was primarily directed at vulnerable adults and there were some unscrupulous operators who mimicked the Warm and Well branding and marketing so he urged Members to contact the Council to confirm legitimacy if they were in any doubt whatsoever. 

55.3           It was noted that the Severn Wye Energy Agency ran training sessions on fuel poverty and it was agreed that a session should be arranged for Members in the New Year.  A Member queried whether the Warm and Well scheme was advertised in the Tewkesbury Borough News and the Head of Community Services confirmed that it had been in the past and undertook to speak to the Communications team about including something in the next edition.  It was noted that the scheme was publicised at community events and information leaflets could be provided for such occasions.  A Member asked for information on the scheme to be circulated to Town and Parish Councils and the Head of Community Services suggested that it may also be beneficial to include this on the agenda for the next Town and Parish Council Seminar.  Another Member felt it would be beneficial to send out a Member Update with a summary of the service and how to contact the Severn Wye Energy Agency and the Head of Community Services undertook to ensure that was done by the end of the month.

55.4           It was

RESOLVED          That the achievements made to date through the Warm and Well Scheme be NOTED.

56.

Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee Update

To receive an update from the Council’s representative on matters considered at the last meeting.

Minutes:

56.1          The Chair indicated that he had chaired the last meeting of the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee - a joint meeting with the Gloucestershire Environment Scrutiny Committee - which the Council’s representative had been unable to attend.  The meeting had focused on Gloucestershire’s Local Transport Plan Review and the presentation had been circulated to the Committee.  He intended to briefly outline the issues that had been raised and to take any questions arising.

56.2           The presentation at the joint meeting had covered the following key points:

·           Local Transport Plan Vision and Objectives – Support sustainable economic growth; conserve the environment; enable community connectivity; and improve community health and wellbeing.

·           Objectives – Consider national, regional, county and local priorities and policies that have changed during the plan period; strengthen climate change agenda; reflect adopted local plans and their infrastructure requirements; look toward a new time horizon to 2041 to discuss future transport technologies and likely growth scenarios; and link to the newly introduced cycling and walking infrastructure plans.

·           Shaping the Way to 2041 – Challenges: economic prosperity and the need for improved connectivity; inclusion; changes in attitude and consumer behaviour; innovation.  Opportunities: better integration of all modes; SMART places and innovation; new vehicle technologies; shared mobility.

·           Public and Community Transport – transport interchange hubs; three tiered bus stations; bus priority; total transport; Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) bus lanes.

·           Cycle Policy – Strengthen Gloucestershire’s cycle network - £50m investment to connect Cotswolds to Tewkesbury and sub-routes once main routes in place; follow green infrastructure principles.

·           Freight and Highways – Freight: Gloucestershire’s freight network; advisory freight route map; journey routing information; low carbon and ULEV.  Highways: document review; movement of certain policies into more appropriate document e.g. overarching strategy, public and community transport and walking policy document; £150m investment in the highway network.

·           Rail – Rail connectivity long term aims – including Ashchurch for Tewkesbury – upgrade offer and connectivity.

·           Scheme Prioritisation – Move away from short/long term time periods for scheme delivery to new categorisation developed by a scale of impact indicator to provide objective classifications.  Strategic scheme priorities less than £20m; major scheme priorities £5m-£20m; local scheme priorities £200,000-£5m; countywide scheme priorities – non-place specific, revenue projects.

56.3           A Member questioned how they could comment on the proposals and put forward suggestions as he was under pressure from residents in Shurdington to get the proposal for a bypass reconsidered.  The Chair advised that there would be public consultation and suggested that it might be possible to invite the County Council to give a short presentation to Members - he would also be happy to feedback on specific issues.  The Deputy Chief Executive felt that it would be prudent to wait to see exactly what the consultation was on, and whether it would be appropriate to comment on particular issues such as Shurdington, in order not to raise expectations.  A Member welcomed the planned improvements to cycle networks but felt there was more to be done within smaller areas, i.e.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.