Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Maidenhead. View directions

Contact: Karen Shepherd  01628 796529

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Items
No. Item

98.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M. Airey, Bhatti, Bullock, Pryer, Richards, Saunders and Stretton

99.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To receive the Part I minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 27 September 2016

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2016 be approved.

100.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor Hunt declared an interest in the item ‘Central House, Maidenhead’ as she owned a property in the town centre. She remained in the room for the duration of the discussion and voting on the item.

 

Councillor Hill declared an interest in the item ‘Central House, Maidenhead’ as he owned a property in the town centre. He remained in the room for the duration of the discussion and voting on the item.

 

Councillor Clark declared an interest in the item ‘Central House, Maidenhead’ as he owned a property in the town centre, not near the site. He remained in the room for the duration of the discussion and voting on the item.

 

 

 

Councillor Dudley placed on record his thanks, on behalf of all councillors, to Simon Fletcher, Strategic Director of Operations and Customer Services as this would be his last meeting before leaving the council.

101.

Mayor's Communications pdf icon PDF 94 KB

To receive such communications as the Mayor may desire to place before the Council

Minutes:

The Mayor submitted in writing details of engagements that she and the Deputy Mayor had undertaken since the last meeting, which were noted by the Council. 

The Mayor explained that the Housing Benefits team had worked exceptionally hard to deliver significant improvements to the way the Council delivered benefit services to its residents. Using new technology and redefining the way they interacted with residents they had significantly reduced the time taken to process new claims and changes in circumstances. In 2015-16 the borough was the best performing unitary council in the South East, and the best across the UK for processing new claims.

The improvements had led to avoidable contact in the Customer Service Centre reducing by 57% and resident satisfaction with the service increasing to 94%, the highest for any service across the whole council. In addition they had delivered significant financial efficiencies.  The team were finalists in two categories in this year’s prestigious Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation Awards, recognising the great improvements made. The council was very proud of their achievements.

The Mayor highlighted that she had attended some very interesting and humbling events over the last two months, including Christmas parties for disabled children. She had also been present when the German delegation had presented a Christmas tree to the town in Windsor. She thanked the Mayoral team for all their support during 2016.

102.

Public Questions

a)    Bethan Osborne of Belmont ward will ask the following question of Councillor N. Airey, Lead Member for Children’s Services

 

Can you confirm given the Leader’s recent statement  "free  school  meal figure  at  (Sir) William Borlase school  was  a  disgrace" that RBWM will not be progressing a satellite option with them or with any other grammar school?

 

 

b)   Bethan Osborne of Belmont ward will ask the following question of Councillor N. Airey, Lead Member for Children’s Services

 

How can the council claim to be increasing Parental Choice when selective education will deliver a Grammar School for just 20% of children and, by default, a Secondary Modern to the remaining 80%?

 

 

c)    Andrew Hill of Boyn Hill ward will ask the following question of Councillor Dudley, Leader of the Council

Following RBWM's unsuccessful September challenge to the ICO ruling, do you now accept in full the finding that because it was not “necessary” to the democratic function of investigating your alleged conflict of interest, it was therefore not lawful to publish the political affiliations of members of the public who raised concerns about your actions?

d)   Andrew Hill of Boyn Hill ward will ask the following question of Councillor Dudley, Leader of the Council

 

In August Councillor Dudley argued that the Council must “stop complaints” that are "politically motivated". The Monitoring officer must now pre-approve public questions, throwing out those that are deemed “politically motivated”. I have demonstrated dangers in the Monitoring Officer's understanding and use of this sensitive data. Please define “politically motivated” and state whether this pre-vetting will be urgently reviewed?

 

 

(A Member responding to a question shall be allowed up to five minutes to reply to the initial question and up to two minutes to reply to a supplementary question. The questioner shall be allowed up to 1 minute to put the supplementary question)

Minutes:

a)    Bethan Osborne of Belmont ward asked the following question of Councillor N. Airey, Lead Member for Children’s Services

 

Can you confirm given the Leader’s recent statement  "free  school  meal figure  at  (Sir) William Borlase school  was  a  disgrace" that RBWM will not be progressing a satellite option with them or with any other grammar school?

 

Councillor N. Airey responded that evidence from a number of reviews, including the Sutton Trust in 2008, indicated that disadvantaged pupils eligible for free school meals were under-represented in traditional grammar schools for a variety of reasons. The same reviews showed that on average pupils who attended grammar schools achieved slightly higher results than a similar cohort in comprehensive schools.

 

The Royal Borough was ambitious for all its school children in the borough and wanted to provide the best education for all, taking into account the family preferences for education type including faith, gender, comprehensive or selective. To that end the borough had committed £30m to provide more school places at Windsor Boy’s and Girls’, Dedworth Middle School, Charters in Ascot and both Cox Green and Furze Platt in Maidenhead.

 

The borough wanted to explore innovative ideas from any school or educational body which addressed the need to raise the level of attainment for disadvantaged pupils while offering increased choice of high quality education to all residents. Officers had written to Sir William Borlase Grammar School to see how they might address their historic lack of disadvantaged pupils as part of any proposal they might make.

 

Until such time as the Government confirmed any new regulations that would allow the creation of new selective education places, a satellite option remained the only legal option to any local authority and she would therefore not rule out such a possibility

 

By way of a supplementary question Ms Osborne asked if the Lead Member could explain why the council believed it was appropriate to bring selective education to the borough when it knew that Borlase had just three children eligible for free school meals whilst the nearby secondary modern Cressex had 170, representing 22% of the school. Buckinghamshire had one of the largest attainment gaps in the country. Could she explain why it would be a good idea to partner up as a satellite with a school that offered so few places to free school meal children? If social mobility was an important issue, given the evidence in neighbouring authorities, why did RBWM think it would be different in the borough?

 

Councillor N. Airey responded that the report to Cabinet was responding to a consultation and clearly stated the safeguards that would be put in place to ensure disadvantaged pupils would not be excluded, for example a test that could not be tutored for, allowing entrance at different ages and limiting the proportion of selective places across the system.

 

 

b)   Bethan Osborne of Belmont ward asked the following question of Councillor N. Airey, Lead Member for Children’s Services

 

How can the council claim to be increasing Parental  ...  view the full minutes text for item 102.

103.

Petitions

To receive any petitions presented by Members on behalf of registered electors for the Borough under Rule C.10.

 

(Any Member submitting a petition has up to 2 minutes to summarise its contents)

Minutes:

Councillor Rayner presented the following petition:

‘The Windsor and Eton Society would like RBWM to restore quarterly meetings of the society with officers and local Councillors. The meetings cover relevant planning, conservation and environmental issues affecting Windsor and Eton but were stopped by RBWM for no apparent reason in December 2015.’

 

Councillor Rayner explained that the Windsor and Eton Society was founded in 1946. During its seventy years the society’s views and perceptions had changed but the one thing that had remained central was the commitment to preserve, protect, promote and improve features of historic or public interest in the towns of Windsor and Eton and their surrounding areas. Windsor was unparished so the Society felt it was particularly important that it had some enduring participation with planning, development and conservation in both towns. Furthermore the Society had a large amount of local and historical knowledge which had been used to benefit a positive and effective relationship with local councils, officers and councillors in the past. For that reason, ongoing quarterly meetings with RBWM planning officers and councillors were initiated in 2000 to discuss local planning and environmental issues and all involved found these meetings extremely useful. These meetings were, unfortunately, abruptly stopped in December 2015 with no reason given. In this context, the Windsor & Eton Society respectfully requested that the ongoing meetings with RBWM be reinstated and offered the signed petition in support of this. 

 

The Mayor ruled that the petition be submitted to Cabinet.

 

Councillor Rayner left the meeting at 8.00pm

104.

Change to Council Tax Empty and Unfurnished Exemption pdf icon PDF 341 KB

To consider the above report

Minutes:

Members considered removal of the discretionary one-month, 100% empty and unfurnished in line with many other local authorities with effect from 1 April 2017. The Lead Member explained that the net effect was that the council would collect a further £325,000 in council tax, £267,000 of which would be retained by the borough.

 

Councillor Werner welcome the proposal following an expose by the Maidenhead Advertiser. He commented that there was so much more the council could be doing about empty homes in the borough to bring them back into use, rather than building on the green belt.

 

The Leader responded that he had met with the Housing Minister and had requested that the upcoming White Paper include something to encourage the reuse of empty properties. Councillor Werner responded that the there was so much that could be done under existing legislation, this was important when the green belt was being sacrificed.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Hill, seconded by Councillor Dr L Evans, and:

 

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That Council:

i.              Approves removing the one-month Council Tax exemption for empty and unfurnished properties (previously known as Class C discount), with effect from 1 April 2017.

105.

Initial Savings in respect of 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 488 KB

To consider the above report

Minutes:

Members considered savings proposals to reduce the council’s expenditure  by £6,107,000 in 2017-18.

 

Councillor Rankin explained that in the interest of transparency and openness, the report lay out in summary how the Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) presented and approved by Full Council in February 2016 would be achieved. Very little in the report should surprise Members at the overwhelming majority of the recommendations had been through Overview and Scrutiny, Cabinet or Employment Panel. There would be more detail at Cabinet on 15 December and again in the new year. It was important to give clarity on the bigger picture to demonstrate the MTFP could be achieved and to add transparency so the savings were not buried in the budget book. Councillor Rankin proposed additional wording to the recommendation to reflect the Cabinet process still to come, following comments from the Opposition.

 

It was noted that authorisation at this stage would allow for the full-year effect. Naturally each saving would be signed off by the Lead Member and Strategic Director.

 

Councillor Rankin proposed an additional recommendation to primarily reduce duplication in the council an streamline processes that would wrap up the Participatory Budget schemes and roll them into the Grants Panel process.

 

Councillor McWilliams commented that the report clearly set out the vision for the council, which was further down the line of transformation than other councils. The council was using its land holdings prudently and was working with the private sector and third sector to ensure the challenges of a reduced budget were met.

 

Councillor Dudley thanked all officers for their work in putting the budget together, and Lead Members and councillors who had also been involved. Savings of £6.1m were being achieved whilst investing heavily in areas such as home to school transport, temporary accommodation for vulnerable residents, social workers and the planning department and increasing grants to voluntary organisations.

 

Councillor Coppinger commented that all were aware that adult social care was a national crisis as people were living longer. Over the last two years the borough population had risen by 1.1%. The population aged over 65 had risen by 5.6% and aged over 85 had risen by 8%. This put a tremendous strain on services. Every year the council added funding to the adult social care budget to deal with the increase. In the previous year costs had to be covered by underspends in other directorates and the use of reserves. Yet there had been no cut in services.  The council had taken advantage of the adult service precept to increase spending by £3m, with no cut in services. The council was moving towards a joint service through Optalis to take advantage of efficiencies through scale. The council had helped develop the Frimley Park Sustainability and Transformation Plan to prevent hospital admissions. The list of savings in adult services amounted to £1.3m, without one cut in service.

Councillor E Wilson commented that none of this was easy; tough choices had to be made. The council was doing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 105.

106.

Members' Questions

a)    Question submitted by Councillor Yong to Councillor Cox, Lead Member for Environmental Services

 

What byelaws are in place to prevent spitting and public urination in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and does his department have plans to introduce new byelaws to prevent these problems?

 

b)   Question submitted by Councillor E. Wilson to Councillor S. Rayner, Lead Member for Culture and Communities:

Will the Lead Member confirm community use agreements are now in place for the Dedworth Community All Weather Pitch and similar pitches across the Borough?

c)    Question submitted by Councillor Lion to Councillor Bicknell, Lead Member for Highways and Transport:

Will the Lead Member explain why Streetcare sanctioned a drop kerb on Clare Road and was this decision communicated to and developed with the ward members?

d)   Question submitted by Councillor Jones to Councillor Coppinger, Lead Member for Adult Services and Health:

 

Could the Lead Member detail the smoking cessation targets and why they are not being achieved?

 

e)    Question submitted by Councillor Jones to Councillor D. Wilson, Lead Member for Planning:

 

Could the Lead Member detail the reason why the draft Borough Local Plan is putting forward approximately 105% of the housing target?

 

f)     Question submitted by Councillor Hilton to Councillor Cox, Lead Member for Environmental Services:

Can the Lead Member for Environmental Services explain whether his Directorate is able to regulate home boarding and dog walking providers in the same way that it regulates kennels?

g)   Question submitted by Councillor Carroll to Councillor Cox, Lead Member for Environmental Services:

 

Can the Lead Member please advise on the key principles and objectives of the forthcoming parking strategy and how residents in Boyn Hill and across the Borough can best engage with ongoing plans and raise issues about parking? 

 

(The Member responding has up to 5 minutes to address Council. The Member asking the question has up to 1 minute to submit a supplementary question. The Member responding then has a further 2 minutes to respond.)

Minutes:

a)    Question submitted by Councillor Yong to Councillor Cox, Lead Member for Environmental Services

 

What byelaws are in place to prevent spitting and public urination in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, and does his department have plans to introduce new byelaws to prevent these problems?

 

The Lead Member responded that there was a specific byelaw for urination only, drafted in accordance with the Local Government Act 1972; namely, Byelaw 20: “No person shall urinate or defecate in a public place”.

 

However, since the drafting of this byelaw, the most appropriate method of addressing the issue now sat within the Environmental Protection Act 1990, for which a £75 fixed penalty notice (FPN) could be issued (reduced to £55 if paid within 10 days). Two FPNs for this offence had been issued in 2016/17. The arm of the legislation had not been used historically for spitting, but would be looked into to see if it could be changed. No new bye laws were foreseen. However, the use of Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) could be used to improve the situation.

 

Councillor Yong, confirmed she had no supplementary question.

 

 

b)   Question submitted by Councillor E. Wilson to Councillor S. Rayner, Lead Member for Culture and Communities:

Will the Lead Member confirm community use agreements are now in place for the Dedworth Community All Weather Pitch and similar pitches across the Borough?

The Lead Member responded that a Community Use Agreement was in place for the all weather pitch at Dedworth Middle School and at similar pitches across the borough. This allowed Dedworth to have use of a top class facility in school hours, and community use at other times. She thanked all the volunteer coaches. There were a number of all weather pitches located at other schools in the borough, all were subject to use agreements based on legally binding facilities agreements. The pitches at Charters Leisure Centre had been used by the community for over 10 years via the lease agreements with the Charters Recreation Trust and the School. The pitches at Cox Green Leisure Centre were on land owned by RBWM and use by the school was governed by a facilities agreement, as was the case at Furze Platt.

 

Councillor E. Wilson, by way of a supplementary question, asked whether a Community Use Agreement was in place on day one as was promised.

 

The Lead Member responded that unfortunately this had not happened due to school holidays, however it was now in place.

 

c)    Question submitted by Councillor Lion to Councillor Bicknell, Lead Member for Highways and Transport:

Will the Lead Member explain why Streetcare sanctioned a drop kerb on Clare Road and was this decision communicated to and developed with the ward members?

The Lead Member explained how a resident could achieve a ‘cross over run up’ or dropped kerb, allowing motor vehicles to cross a public footpath on to their land.   The highways department had a system in place which contained a set of criteria to allow  ...  view the full minutes text for item 106.

107.

Urgent Member Question pdf icon PDF 4 KB

As per Part 2 paragraph C11.4 b) of the Council Constitution, the Deputy Leader has agreed that the following urgent question can be added to the agenda:

 

h) Question submitted by Councillor Lenton to Councillor Dudley, Leader of the Council:

 

Would the Leader please advise Council of the assistance the Borough is receiving from Environment Agency in protecting the residents of Wraysbury from the health and safety problems resulting from the waste disposal and other industrial operations along Hythe End Road, Wraysbury

Minutes:

As per Part 2 paragraph C11.4 b) of the Council Constitution, the Deputy Leader had agreed that the following urgent question can be added to the agenda:

 

h) Question submitted by Councillor Lenton to Councillor Dudley, Leader of the Council:

 

Would the Leader please advise Council of the assistance the Borough is receiving from Environment Agency (EA) in protecting the residents of Wraysbury from the health and safety problems resulting from the waste disposal and other industrial operations along Hythe End Road, Wraysbury

 

Councillor Dudley responded that the council has no direct legal jurisdiction for health and safety and or nuisance issues associated with the primary waste processes carried on at the site in question.  Nuisance issues for example noise, dust, odours and artificial light were incorporated within the Environmental Permit for the operation and as such are enforced by the EA.  

 

In September 2015, the Council was advised that the EA had issued enforcement notices upon the operator of the site for non compliance with waste storage conditions.  More recently the Environment Agency issued two revocation notices on the grounds of concerns about operator competence and was pursuing legal action in this regard.

 

Council officers learned at the start of December 2016 that the EA had withdrawn their legal notices and were no longer pursuing legal action against the operator of the site.  The EA confirmed that this decision had been based on improvements that the Operator had made to operating methods at the site and that legal action would no longer be in the public interest.  The council received no prior notice of this decision and were given no opportunity to comment on it.  Officers have requested further information about the improvements cited so that this information can be shared with elected Members and local stakeholders.

 

Planning Enforcement Officers met with E.A. Officers in 2015 to discuss various planning issues that they would be required to comment on the current retrospective applications.  Planning Enforcement has sought assistance on issues relating to the material change of use to incorporate an  unauthorised skip hire business during the course of 2016 and received some assistance, albeit not always in a timely fashion.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Lenton explained that he had received a phone call from the EA that suggested they had not informed people because they did not have email addresses and did not know who to contact. On 6 December 2016 he had received a letter but this gave no explanation, did not say when the notices were revoked and made no reference to the two planning applications on the flood plain. He asked if the council would consider asking the Secretary of State to come to the council and explain why parish and borough councillors and officers were not kept up to date, and to explain the situation.

Councillor Dudley responded that he would happily write to the Secretary of State. It would be more appropriate for the Environment  Agency to come to explain the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 107.

108.

Motions on Notice

None received

Minutes:

None received

 

 

Councillor Werner left the meeting at 9.00pm

109.

Local Government Act 1972 - Exclusion of 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 item 12 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"

Minutes:

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 item 12 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

 

110.

Central House, Maidenhead

To consider the above report