Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Maidenhead. View directions
Contact: David Cook 01628 796560
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors N Airey, S Rayner, Targowska, M Airey, Bateson and Hilton.
To receive any declarations of interest
There were no declarations of interest received.
To consider the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 25 October 2019.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 25 October 2018 were approved.
The Chairman announced that Cllr Bicknell had been appointed to the Achieving For Children Joint Committee.
To consider the Forward Plan for the period December 2018 to March 2019.
Cabinet considered the contents of the Forward Plan for the next four months and noted the changes made since the last meeting including the addition of the following report going to December 2018 Cabinet; Sale of Freehold – Lock n Store.
The Chairman introduced the report regarding the release of restrictive title covenants, at nil consideration, to assist the sale of the Thames Hospice site at Pine Lodge, Hatch Lane, Windsor.
The Chairman informed Cabinet that the land, approximately 1.53 acres, was sold to Thames Hospice in two land sales in 2001 and 2012.
Thames Hospice did an important role in supporting end of life care and that the proposals were an important part of the Trust`s relocation strategy to enable the completion of the Trust`s proposed new hospice site at Bray Lake to take place.
Restrictive covenants would be attached to the land on which the new facility will sit, to ensure that if the facility is sold at any time in the future, or redeveloped for use other than hospice care, that there is a similar covenant in place in favour of the Council.
The Chairman informed that the report proposed that the covenants would be fixed at the current land value of £2,250,000, however it was proposed to now have this indexed linked following recommendations from the Corporate Services O&S Panel. The hospice had a lot of benefactors and did wonderful work. The new site would be overlooking Bray lake.
The Lead Member for Finance and Economic Development informed that the Royal Borough had made an important investment to support the hospice. He agreed that if the land was sold that the investment should return to our residents. It, therefore, was sensible to roll over the covenants onto the new site whilst supporting the hospice in the excellent work they do.
The Lead Member for Highways, Transport and Windsor informed that the late Cllr Grey and himself had worked with the hospice over the last few years to help facilitate the move to the new site. The Chairman also mentioned his thanks to Peter Prior and Summerleaze for their support of the hospice and for making available the land for the relocation at a very good rate.
Resolved unanimously: that Cabinet:
I. Approves the release of the Thames Valley Hospice Trust from the overage and restrictive covenants that are currently attached to the title of the land.
II. Delegates authority to the Executive Director to sign off the release of the existing restrictive covenants.
The Chairman introduced the report that report summarised the performance in the first two quarters’ of the council’s 25 strategic measures in the performance management framework.
The Chairman informed that the 25 key measures aligned to the refreshed Council Plan with the six strategic priorities detailed in section 2.1 of the report. The new performance management framework would also feed into the Residents Survey report that is due to come to Cabinet in January 2019.
Out of the 25 strategic measures 18 (72%) reported in Q2 had met or
exceeded the target (Green), 4 measures (16%) (Amber) were just short of the target and three measures (12%) (Red) were below target. The Chairman asked for additional information on the three measures reporting ‘Red’.
The Director of Children’s Services reported on the measure percentage of children with a review at 2 to 2.5 years of age. Cabinet were informed that to get a better connection with social care the authority were one of a few who had decided to undertake these review by using our health visitors. A number of authorities counted any contact with families as a review, however it had been decided locally only to include face to face contact with families. Although below target performance had been stable over the last two quarters and the service offered after work evening sessions and sessions on Saturday. Parents were reporting that they were satisfied with the high quality feedback they got from childcare providers and thus did not wish to take up reviews offered.
With regards to the number of homelessness preventions through council advice and activity the Chairman asked the interim Head of Housing Services Manager to provide an update.
Cabinet were informed that in the past it had been difficult to help prevent homelessness but new legislation provided a legal framework and thus a wider range of initiatives were required.
The Chairman asked for clarification on the main reasons for homelessness within the Royal Borough and was informed that the three main reasons locally were also national reasons; the end of private tenancies, family breakdown resulting in a family member being ask to leave the home and domestic abuse. Within the Royal Borough the high cost of tenancies was problematic.
The Chairman asked how many families required help and that informed that there are usually about 500 approaches. Not all the families require accommodation sometimes they require advice and support, it was better to help prevent homelessness then having to find accommodation. The Chairman said that as we were talking about 500 families this could mean over 1000 residents and demonstrated the need for more housing, especially affordable housing, which planning panels needed to be mindful of.
Cllr Beer addressed Cabinet and said that agenda page 35 showed the number of affordable homes delivered was 32 at quarter two but the emerging Borough Local Plan required well over 400 affordable homes each year.
The Chairman responded that it took time to produce affordable homes and therefore realistic targets ... view the full minutes text for item 6b
The Lead Member for Highways, Transport and Windsor introduced the report that recommended the next step on the introduction of Big Bellied Bins, following the pilot scheme, within the Royal Borough.
Cabinet were informed that the recommendations were built on the success of the original ‘pilot’ scheme and was recommending that a Borough Wide ‘pilot’ scheme be introduced based on leasing of 5 ‘Big Belly Bins’ bins.
These bins were connected, solar powered waste bins with sensors that communicate real-time status enabling emptying schedules to be timed to occur when the bin is nearing capacity. In addition the bins include solar-powered compacting technology which effectively increases the capacity of the bin.
Cabinet were informed that section 2.7 of the report showed the proposed locations for the extended trial period, the locations had been chosen due to the impact the technology would have on performance. Although there would be additional costs this would be offset by efficiency savings allowing better use of resources. If the recommendations were accepted implementation would commence March 2019.
Cllr E Wilson attended the meeting and informed Cabinet that he was a bid advocate of the technology and had seen its success across the country. The trial in Windsor had been a success and not only did it save money but there was also a positive impact on anti-social behaviour and the positive impact on local businesses. He commented that this was an excellent report and that members should focus on the 112,000 bin collections that were made each year. There were instances of bins being collected when not full and in Windsor there were two bins five feet apart, the recommendations would be a way forward to improving the situation. He welcomed further expansion of the scheme.
The Leader of the Opposition asked what the criteria was for selecting the locations and when were savings expected to be realised. The reporting Lead Member explained that the locations were chosen on the frequency they were required to be emptied and the positive impact the new bins would have. The new bins impact would be a reduction in the frequency of emptying bins, the reduction in anti-social behaviour associated with overflowing bins and a relocation of resource to further improve the local environment.
Resolved unanimously: that Cabinet:
i) Approves the leasing of 5 ‘Big Belly’ bins which will be installed at locations across the Royal Borough.
ii) Approves the allocation of £5,000 in the 2019-20 capital programme and for four subsequent years to implement this initiative.
The Lead Member for Planning and Health introduced the report that requested approval for an updated homelessness strategy, approval to formally consult on an updated housing allocations policy and the activation of the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP).
The Lead Member informed Cabinet that he was delighted to be presenting this paper as it contained so much good news. There was the homelessness strategy which would guide the Council’s approach to the provision of homelessness and rough sleeping services in the Borough over the next five years working with partners.
There had been work and engagement with partners including voluntary organisations such as the Brett Foundation and the Windsor Homeless Project, housing providers such as Radian and Housing Solutions, health service providers and Thames Valley Police. There would be a multi-agency approach to helping the homeless with policies to help prevent homelessness, decrease the need for temporary accommodation, improve the quality of housing provision, support for families, reduced number of rough sleepers and improved services.
The Lead Member reported that if Cabinet approved the recommendations then SWEP would be immediately implemented. The Interim Housing Services Manager informed that by introducing SWEP tonight the Royal Borough would be ahead of other authorities in its implementation as the regulations only required it to be introduced when the temperature dropped to zero or below for three consecutive nights. Not only was the authority introducing it early but also it would remain in place throughout the winter which was far beyond the legislation.
The Chairman asked if any other authority had introduced SWEP and if SWEP was withdrawn when the temperature went above zero. Cabinet were informed that the Royal Borough were the only authority that had implemented SWEP and that they would keep it in place beyond the zero temperature cut of point. The Chairman said that this was a level of care that no other authorities were doing across the country.
The Lead Member also informed that the report also request approval to formally consult on an updated housing allocations policy which sets out how the council assesses applications for housing, prioritises each application and decides which applicant will be offered (allocated) housing. The council would be working with a number of suppliers who they had excellent relationships with. There would be more emphasis on support for those suffering from domestic abuse, better help for those leaving care and a policy that bed and breakfast temporary accommodation would no longer be used.
The Interim Housing Services Manager informed that with regards to care leavers the new policy would allow those placed outside the authority to access housing services if they wish to return to the Royal Borough. During the last 6 month the use of temporary accommodation and use of bed and breakfasts had been reduced as it was felt these were not suitable for families with children.
The Chairman reiterated that this change in policy demonstrated the need to build more houses within the Royal Borough.
Cllr McWilliams addressed Cabinet and ... view the full minutes text for item 6d
The Chairman introduced the report that sought approval for the appropriation of a selection of key council owned sites which have already been approved for redevelopment.
Following the planning approval for the Landings site the Chairman also requested that an additional recommendation be added giving delegated authority for the Acting Managing Director and Leader of Council to include the appropriate red line site for the Landings. The recommendations were an appropriate approach for the development of sites that would also provide additional affordable housing.
The Lead Member for Finance and Economic Development informed that the proposals did not override people’s rights of representation regarding future developments. What the proposals did was introduce appropriate filters on potential negativity when authorities bring forward important projects.
The Leader of the Opposition asked for an explanation of easement of rights and was informed that the developer (in this case the council) could take out insurance against compensation claims for issues such as the loss of light. The proposals did not prevent such objections.
The Chairman mentioned that this was a procedural paper but important as part of the development process.
Resolved unanimously: that notes the report and:
i) Approves the appropriation of the following sites (see appendix A red line plans);
a. St Clouds Way, Maidenhead
b. West Street, Maidenhead
c. York Road, Maidenhead
d. Reform Road, Maidenhead
e. Maidenhead Golf Course
f. Ray Mill Road East, Maidenhead
g. Riverside Caretakers House, Maidenhead
h. Mokattam, Maidenhead
i. Brocket, Maidenhead
j. St Edmunds, Maidenhead
k. Vicus Way (Car Park), Maidenhead
l. Broadway (Car Park), Maidenhead.
ii) Delegates authority for the Acting Managing Director and Leader of Council to include the appropriate red line site for the Landings site.
The Lead Member for Finance and Economic Development introduced the latest Financial Update report.
The Lead Member informed that he had presented the latest financial update and the associated background to the report to Members from all parties and to the appropriate scrutiny panels.
Cabinet were informed that the financial update reports had shown that since July 2018 there had been early pressures on the budget mainly due to the increased demand and cost of children in care, pressure on parking income and recovery of . debt from revenues and benefits. It was reported that there would be a NET pressure of around £1.5 million.
The budget position was being driven by national pressures. The current pressures were being partially mitigated resulting in a net service pressure of £3,044,000 along with an additional £1,500,000 from the Business Rates Pilot, leaving a financial pressure across the Council of £1,544,000 as detailed in appendix A.
The Lead Member informed that at the Corporate Services O&S Panel Cllr Brimacombe had used the analogy of a graceful swan swimming across the lake whilst paddling franticly below the water. The report provided additional appendices detailed what had occurred ‘bellow the water’ and actions taken to get to the current financial outturn position.
With regards to children in Care the Lead Member for Finance and Economic Development informed that an additional child entering the system could cost between £50,000 t over £150,000 per year. In forecasting the year end position it had been assumed that the national and local increase in demand and cost would continue.
The Lead Member also informed that the other major area of pressure was the projected income from parking. When setting the budget the Lead Member had informed that there had been a policy decision not to increase parking provision for local residents but ,after benchmarking, to increase parking charges proportionally for visitor parking. What had not been expected was that there would be a shift in an increase of resident parking and thus a corresponding drop in projected income due to increased use of the vantage card.
Officers were asked to provide a range of realistic mitigating actions which had also been appended with a matrix of delivery risk. There were also additional funding opportunities such as higher than expected revenue from Business Rates Pooling.
The Council’s aggregated usable reserves remained in a healthy position at £8,545,000 (10% of budget) which was in excess of the £5,860,000 (6.87% of budget) recommended minimum level set at Council in February 2018. The Lead Member reiterated the report’s recommendations and informed that the projected trends would be taken into account when setting next year’s budget.
The Chairman informed that there would be an additional £1.29 million Adult Social Care funding allocated to next year’s budget.
The Leader of the Opposition reported that back in 2015 she had raised concern about the rising costs of adult social care, children social care and the increased demand. Yet the budget remained stagnant and council tax ... view the full minutes text for item 6f
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 - EXCLUSION OF THE PUBLIC
To consider passing the following resolution:-
“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1-7 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act"
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local
Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting whilst discussion takes place on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1-7 of part I of Schedule 12A of the Act.
Financial Update - Resolved unanimously: that Cabinet noted the Part II appendix.
To consider the Part II appendix.