Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: York House

Contact: Karen Shepherd  01628 796529

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Items
No. Item

22.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Hill.

23.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 249 KB

To receive the Part I minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 25 June 2019.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes of the meeting held on 25 June 2019 be approved, subject to the following amendment:

 

Page 29 , paragraph 2 to read: ‘…..The Director of Adult Social Care and the Assistant Director of Statutory Care had advised him of the unavoidable issues relating to safeguarding and health and safety in relation to the motion…..’

24.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

Councillor McWilliams declared a personal interest on Item 7 as he owned a property in Kings Walk. He had taken legal advice and was able to take part in the debate and voting on the item.

 

Councillor Hunt declared a personal interest in Item 7 as she owned a property in the town centre. She had taken legal advice and was able to take part in the debate and voting on the item.

 

 

Councillor Dudley placed on record his thanks, on behalf of the council, to the Maidenhead constituency MP Theresa May for her just over three years as Prime Minister. He also congratulated Jo Swinson MP on her election as Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Boris Johnson MP on his election as Leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party.

25.

Order of Business

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the order of business as detailed in the agenda be varied.

26.

Mayor's Communications pdf icon PDF 77 KB

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

Minutes:

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

 

27.

Public Questions

a)    Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward will ask the following question of Councillor Rayner, Lead Member for Culture and Communities:

Given your manifesto pledge to plant more than 2,000 trees in the Royal Borough, will you please tell us when new trees will be planted to replace those removed from St Andrews Crescent, Testwood Road and Hayse Hill?

 

(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)    Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward asked the following question of Councillor Rayner, Lead Member for Culture and Communities:

Given your manifesto pledge to plant more than 2,000 trees in the Royal Borough, will you please tell us when new trees will be planted to replace those removed from St Andrews Crescent, Testwood Road and Hayse Hill?

 

Councillor Rayner responded that she was pleased to be able to confirm that as part of the pledge to plant 2,000 trees over the next four years, the trees removed which Mr Wilson had referred to would, where feasible, be replanted during the next tree planting season, which was between November 2019 – February 2020.

 

The trees in St Andrews Crescent were in terminal decline with extensive dieback of the crowns and decay evident.  The Silver maple in Testwood Road had a defective stem union.   All had been removed for health and safety reasons. There was no recent record of tree removal at Hayse Hill but there were some small vacant planting pits adjacent to the narrow path between Hayse Hill and Maidenhead Road, indicating where trees may have grown previously.

 

Six new trees were due to be planted in St Andrews Crescent and the council was assessing the constraints concerning the planting of a tree in Testwood Road and trees at Hayes Hill.  The latter would require the widening out of the pits to provide a sufficient rootable volume to allow the trees to successfully establish. Alternative sites would  be found close by, if planting could not be achieved there.

 

She was also delighted that 7,000 new tree whips would be planted in Thriftwood over the next three years. This was being funded by a £35,000 grant from Network Rail. Support had already been given by business partners including Smart Motorways, Mars Chocolate and Husband and Wife Cleaning Company. This would exceed the pledge of 2,000 trees across the Royal Borough, and help support the achievement of the net zero carbon 2050 target recently adopted by full Council.  There was also a commitment to expand the tree stock in other parts of the borough.

 

Native trees supported many more species in the natural woodland and therefore the plans would support the council’s aim to increase biodiversity across the borough. The new trees would also enhance the existing tree stock, which contributed so positively to the borough’s look and feel. The borough was very fortunate that this would will help sustain the green and pleasant feel of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead for generations to come.  There was also an Adopt a Tree scheme on the borough website.

 

By way of a supplementary, Mr Wilson commented that not many people knew about the pledge to plant 2000 trees therefore he asked for something to be put on the website to explain and allow residents to suggest areas to be planted.

 

Councillor Rayner responded that she would be happy to take this up; the council positively welcomed suggestions for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

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:

No petitions were submitted.

29.

Members' Questions

a)    Councillor Larcombe will ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Lead Member for Planning:

 

A survey commissioned by RBWM has exposed significant numbers of ‘unauthorised and tolerated’ developments in the Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury Ward. What action is being taken to rectify the situation please?

 

b)   Councillor Larcombe will ask the following question of Councillor Cannon, Lead Member for Public Protection:

 

Fly tipping is an ever-increasing problem in the Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury area as it is elsewhere. How many successful prosecutions for local fly tipping have there been in the last four years?

 

c)    Councillor Hill will ask the following question of Councillor Dudley, Leader of the Council:

 

Why did you avoid repeated requests to meet Councillors Hill & Taylor to discuss the proposed Vicus Way Car Park?

 

d)   Councillor C. Da Costa will ask the following question of Councillor Johnson, Lead Member for Infrastructure, Transport Policy and Housing:

 

Is the Member responsible for housing aware that Radian has apparently taken legal action, so that they no longer have to consult with residents regarding setting service charges? If successful there will no cap on what is charged. While I understand Radian is a business, I question the ethicsof disempowering those living in social housing, their tenants, our residents.

 

e)    Councillor Knowles will ask the following question of Councillor Johnson, Lead Member for Infrastructure, Transport Policy and Housing:

 

Will you commit to supporting the resurfacing of Bolton Road, particularly the portion between the junctions with Bolton Avenue and Kings Road as part of your commitment to spend £50m on our roads?

 

 

(A Member responding to a question shall be allowed up to two 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)    Councillor Larcombe asked the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Lead Member for Planning:

 

A survey commissioned by RBWM has exposed significant numbers of ‘unauthorised and tolerated’ developments in the Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury Ward. What action is being taken to rectify the situation please?

 

Councillor Coppinger responded that he assumed the question referred to the RBWM Gypsy and Traveller Accommodation Assessment (GTAA), which was produced for the Council by consultants arc4 and published in 2018.

 

The study included a review of all types of existing sites and used this to estimate the future needs for Traveller accommodation in the borough.  The study defined terms such as authorised sites, unauthorised development and tolerated sites. 

 

The study showed that there were, in addition to two authorised permanent council sites, six authorised permanent private sites, two temporary private sites and 16 tolerated private sites.   Authorised meant sites that had planning permission. Tolerated sites in the borough were mostly those that had existed in excess of 10 years and were immune from enforcement action.

 

It was recognised there was a relatively high proportion of Traveller pitches and plots in the Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury area. This existing uneven distribution of Traveller sites in the Borough was addressed in the Traveller Local Plan Issues and Option paper, where one of the questions specifically asked was whether there should be a more even distribution across the Borough.  The planning policy team was currently analysing the responses received.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Larcombe asked if it would be helpful if he supplied the Lead Member with a list of unauthorised and tolerated sites in the ward?

 

Councillor Coppinger responded that he hoped that these would already have been put forward by the ward councillor but if there were any missing he welcomed further input.

 

b)   Councillor Larcombe asked the following question of Councillor Cannon, Lead Member for Public Protection:

 

Fly tipping is an ever-increasing problem in the Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury area as it is elsewhere. How many successful prosecutions for local fly tipping have there been in the last four years?

 

Councillor Cannon responded that fly-tipping was an ever increasing  problem; it was illegal and anti-social and the council was committed to reducing the activity across the Royal Borough through various initiatives.

 

Prosecution was part of that, which could be used. He was aware of seven prosecutions over the last four years: five had related to asbestos, one to household waste and one to a taxi driver throwing waste out of a vehicle. All seven had led to successful prosecution and fines.

 

In addition, the council had been proactive by:

 

·         deploying mobile CCTV at vulnerable sites to act as a visible deterrent; this was not publicised for obvious reasons

·         installed signage and made physical changes to specific locations

·         removed facilities which had previously attracted fly-tipping (for example recycling centres in Ascot and Eton Wick)

·         sought to collect evidence from fly-tipping which had been cleared by Royal Borough contractors, to recover costs and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

Motions on Notice

a)    By Councillor Stimson

 

Last month this Council passed a motion to reach a carbon neutral position by 2050, and declared an environmental and climate emergency.   We are committed to achieving this target.

That this Council, in the interests of encouraging biodiversity, and with input from ward councillors, agrees to:

 i) Less frequent mowing of verges to encourage wildlife friendly grasses and flowers and of parks and open spaces to encourage biodiversity, whilst being cognisant of health and safety issues insofar as traffic is concerned

ii) The introduction of wildflowers to cheer up targeted barren sites within the Borough

iii) The introduction of drought resistant insect friendly plants in key roadside areas

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Stimson introduced her motion. She commented that she was thrilled that her maiden motion was on such a life enhancing topic.  The great Sir David Attenborough had said “plants capture energy from the sun, and all life on land, directly or indirectly, depends on them”.  Her motion looked to tackle just one aspect of biodiversity: to address the way verges, open spaces and barren sites were managed.

 

Biodiversity was the technical term for life on earth.  It was a scientific measure of the variety of habitats and ecosystems across the planet.  It was essential for human existence.  As well as underpinning the food that was eaten and the air that was breathed, humans depended on biodiversity for protection from other threats, like pollution, flooding and climate breakdown.

 

Last month Council had declared an environment and climate emergency, and passed a motion to reach carbon neutrality. Councillors were increasingly aware that almost everything the council did had implications for sustainability.  As the Chairman of the planning panel she felt a great responsibility for this. The previous Wednesday the panel had passed four applications totalling 200 residential dwellings on brownfield sites, all with perfectly good reasons for approval, and all of which would most likely win on appeal if turned down by the panel.  The borough was vulnerable until it had approved its borough local plan.  The onus was therefore on the council to do as much as it could to ensure that the properties built were sustainable and that more steps were taken to mitigate against the development that council had to, and should, continue with.

 

Councillor Stimson proposed three action steps towards improving biodiversity in the borough:

 

Firstly, to allow the grasses on verges to grow long enough to get through their lifecycle of grow, flower and seedeach year.   Over 700 species of wildflowers grew on verges, which was nearly 45% of the total flora. 

 

The council would have to be mindful of health and safety by keeping the grass short where sight lines mattered, or along paths where children walked to school.  She thanked Councillor Jones for her input in this regard, and also for suggesting that ward councillors get involved as they had intimate knowledge of their own wards.  Councillors could also draw on skilled officers such as the Countryside Manager and Ecologist.

 

Some of the borough parks and open spaces already benefitted from selective mowing.  Parts of Town Moor had longer swaths of grasses, for example, and was alive and buzzing for much of the year.  Councillor Stimson thanked Councillor Baskerville for his motion relating to bees that the council had passed many years previously.  She would like to aim for borough parks to have 10% of their area given over to biodiversity.  It was more complicated than mowing everything, but the benefits were more than worth it.  Frequently trodden paths across an open park might be more neatly clipped, or the shape of a football field where children were known to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

Nicholson's Walk Shopping Centre pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To consider the above report

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered sale of the council’s freehold interest in Nicholson’s Shopping Centre and the freehold of the Central House office.

 

Councillor Dudley introduced the report. He explained that Nicholson’s shopping centre covered 4.5 acres in the middle of Maidenhead and had originally opened in 1964. In February 2019 Tikehau Capital, in partnership with Areli Real Estate, had acquired the shopping centre from the administrators. In March 2019 they had undertaken extensive public consultation on their proposals. In April 2019 Cabinet gave approval for Heads of Terms with Tikehau and Areli to form the basis of a development agreement including the re-provision of the town centre car park and redevelopment of the shopping centre. At the time the Cabinet report included a delegation to officers and himself as Leader of the Council to finalise the development agreement and commercial terms. However there had been some concern from Members about the breadth of that delegation therefore he had agreed to bring it to full Council. Extensive negotiations had been undertaken between the architect and the RBWM Property Company as detailed in the Part II appendices.

 

The Part I report detailed three elements relating to the transaction. The council owned 55% of the freehold of the shopping centre on a very long term lease. Over time the financial return to the council had reduced significantly. The projected income in the Medium Term Financial Plan was zero given the challenging nature of the retail environment.

 

Councillor Dudley explained that the second element related to Central House, which the council had acquired a few years previously. The building had a structural life of 40 years therefore it could not be refurbished as an office building. It was therefore proposed that it also be sold to Areli. Areli would then bring forward a comprehensive planning application. The transfer of title and freehold would be dependent on a successful planning application including long-stop dates for submission.

 

The third element concerned the redevelopment of the car park. The council had approved a budget of £35m for a new car park. However the proposal was now for a land swap for an equivalent footprint of land for the building of a new car park at a significantly lower cost. The cost would be greater on the current site because of linked buildings.

 

Councillor Werner stated that all welcomed the excellent proposals for Nicholson’s Walk. He noted there would be no sale until planning permission had been agreed. He welcomed the change of plan ensuring the current car park would not be knocked down until a new one was built.  However the problem he had identified was that the council would no longer had a freehold interest in the enterprise. Strategic oversight of the sites meant the council was in the game and could ensure commitments made in the consultation would be met. He referred to the Landing development which was given a number of planning permissions with increasing heights of building and less of a community hub element. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Nicholson's Walk Shopping Centre Motion Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 32.

    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 items 11-12 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 items 11-12 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.

     

     

    33.

    Nicholson's Walk Shopping Centre

    To note the Part II appendices to the earlier Part I report.

    34.

    Minutes

    To receive the Part II minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 25 June 2019.