Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Maidenhead

Contact: Karen Shepherd  07766 778286

Video Stream: Click here to watch a recording of this meeting on YouTube

Items
No. Item

27.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Lynne Jones, Joshua Reynolds, Chris Targowski and Leo Walters.

28.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 769 KB

To receive the Part I minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 20 July 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 20 July 2021 be approved.

29.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

None

30.

Mayor's Communications pdf icon PDF 64 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 ordinary meeting. These were noted by Council.

31.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 194 KB

 

a)    Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward will ask the following question of Councillor Cannon, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Parking:

 

Does the Lead Member agree with many Windsor residents and business owners that the reintroduction of discounted parking for residents will enable the town to bounce back from the economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic?

 

b)   Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward will ask the following question of Councillor Clark, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity:

 

Can the Lead Member advise what repairs and maintenance have been conducted at the Elizabeth Bridge and the Windsor Bridge in the past 5 years and at what cost?

 

c)    Martyn Cook of Hurley and the Walthams ward will ask the following question of Councillor Stuart Carroll, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health

 

 As a serving veteran of the conflict in Afghanistan, I would like to ask the council and cabinet to outline the positive actions taken by RBWM to support refuges from the crisis in Afghanistan?

 

d)   Victoria Parkin of St Mary’s ward will ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Cabinet Member for Planning, Environmental Services and Maidenhead:

 

In light of the recent decision by the golf course to accept the offer from the council for the purchase of the lease, what are the council’s plans for providing infrastructure to support the proposed 2000 new homes?

 

e)    Hillary Su of Oldfield ward will ask the following question of Councillor Andrew Johnson, Leader of the Council:

 

In light of business rates loss from the Nicholson centre, does the Council have plans to attract new business into other areas of Maidenhead town to help offset the loss and balance the book? If so, how?

 

f)     Hillary Su of Oldfield ward will ask the following question of Councillor Gerry Clark, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity:

 

Does the council have plans to improve fibre broadband/5G data connection in Maidenhead to accommodate growing business needs and WFH demand?

 

g)   Sunil Sharma of Furze Platt ward will ask the following question of Councillor Ross McWilliams, Cabinet Member for Housing, Sport & Leisure and Community Engagement:

 

The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead has worked considerably hard on bringing in affordable housing to the town and it’s great to see some of the developments across the borough. I understand the council is looking to support some refugees from Afghanistan. What sort of impact can we expect this to have for the borough & residents?

 

h)   Derek John Wilson MBE of Bray ward will ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Cabinet Member for Planning, Environmental Services and Maidenhead:

 

With the BLP proposed main modifications consultation finishing on Sunday 5th September, following the Examiner's confirmation, when is it expected to be adopted by RBWM for approval?

 

i)     Adam Bermange of Boyn Hill wardwill ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Cabinet Member for Planning, Environmental Services and Maidenhead:

 

Could the Lead Member  ...  view the full agenda text for item 31.

Minutes:

a)    Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward asked the following question of Councillor Cannon, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Parking:

 

Does the Lead Member agree with many Windsor residents and business owners that the reintroduction of discounted parking for residents will enable the town to bounce back from the economic impact of the COVID 19 pandemic?

 

Written response: Offering a discounted parking scheme for residents could assist with the bounce back of town centres and will encourage residents to shop locally which helps support the local economy, creates jobs and boosts local communities.  I therefore remain committed to the introduction of a new residents discounted parking scheme and one will be introduced, as soon as it is financially responsible to do so, so the residents and businesses can benefit from it.  

 

By way of a supplementary question, Ed Wilson asked if the Cabinet Member would commit to publishing a timetable for the new scheme.

 

Councillor Cannon responded that he had already committed to bringing forward a new scheme when it was financially responsible to do so; he could not give a timetable because it was being led by the finances. A scheme would be introduced at the earliest possible time.

 

b)   Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward asked the following question of Councillor Clark, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity:

 

Can the Lead Member advise what repairs and maintenance have been conducted at the Elizabeth Bridge and the Windsor Bridge in the past 5 years and at what cost?

 

Written response: The project to extend the life of Queen Elizabeth Bridge in Windsor was completed in July 2021.  We carried out essential repairs and improvements to the bridge on the A332 Royal Windsor Way to future-proof the structure.  Investment in the 1960s-built bridge was necessary due to corrosion of some of the steel components over time.  It is part of a major arterial route in and out of the historic town of Windsor, as well as a key link to the M4 over the River Thames, so keeping it in good working order was crucial for the borough’s road users, those visiting and others passing through.

 

The project demonstrated the council’s commitment to investing in our ongoing highways maintenance and improvement programme, ensuring our roads are in a safe and usable condition for everyone.  The main element of the work involved the replacement of the 20 tie rods. These hold down the back of the two shore sections of the bridge and allow the central span to extend out over the water.  The project also included concrete repairs, expansion joints and waterproofing the structure.  The work was carried out through contractor VolkerHighways, and its sister business VolkerLaser at a cost of £2.1 million.

 

The pedestrianised bridge between Windsor and Eton has not had any significant structural works only small rectification of defects such as replacing bollards etc, we are waiting for the exact costs from Volker Highways.

 

By way of a supplementary question,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Petitions

To receive any petitions presented by Members on behalf of residents.

 

(Notice of the petition must be given to the Head of Governance not later than noon on the last working day prior to the meeting. A Member submitting a Petition may speak for no more than 2 minutes to summarise the contents of the Petition).

Minutes:

Councillor Haseler, on behalf of Councillor McWilliams, submitted the following petition:

 

We the undersigned petition the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to consider pedestrian and cycle improvements to Harvest Hill Road and to encourage sustainable travel.

 

Councillor Haseler explained that the East section of Harvest Hill Road between Kimbers Lane and Braywick Road was a busy, narrow, single carriageway, unlit road, subject to a 40mph speed limit, lined by tall hedgerows, with an unkempt verge on the north side. The road was used by various categories of road users: pedestrians and cyclists of all ages, motorcyclists, cars, vans, buses and large goods vehicles, with no provision for safe walking or cycling, creating potentially hazardous situations.

 

An infrastructure upgrade creating a safe walking and cycling route was badly needed; it was a vital missing link that would connect the communities of Cox Green, Oldfield, Woodlands Park, Boyn Hill, and beyond with the new state of the art Braywick Leisure Centre, rugby and athletics clubs, cemetery, nature centre, schools, mini golf and restaurants.

 

Conversely it would provide an accessible route from Holyport and Bray to parks and schools in Cox Green, Oldfield and Boyn Hill. Taking a broader helicopter view it would also provide a link via the Causeway to Bray village, Maidenhead & Bray Cricket Club, Monkey Island Lane, Bray Lake Watersports activity centre and the M4 motorway path leading to the Thames path and the world renowned Dorney Lake.


A safe walking and cycling route along Harvest Hill Road was a vital infrastructure upgrade that would encourage sustainable modes of transport, positively contributing to the declared climate emergency, whilst at the same time increasing residents’ safety and enjoyment of the outdoors, making a myriad of community facilities more accessible.

 

Councillor Haseler strongly urged the Council to put the matter on the infrastructure upgrade agenda and to consider options for its implementation at the earliest possible opportunity.

 

 

33.

Referrals from other bodies

To consider referrals from other bodies (e.g. Cabinet)

 

There are no referrals to consider at this meeting.

Minutes:

There were no referrals for consideration.

34.

Council Meeting Arrangements pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To consider the above report

Minutes:

Members considered meeting arrangements for the remainder of the municipal year.

 

Councillor Rayner explained that since March 2020 the council had needed to change the way it held meetings, due to the global pandemic. Moving to virtual meetings had allowed decisions to continue to be taken but had also kept residents safe and protected the borough. Technology had become a central tool to which all had adapted. Live streaming of council meetings had improved accessibility. Due to the recent expiration of the legislation allowing virtual decision-making meetings, there had been a return to some in-person meetings. It was now time to reflect on the benefits of virtual meetings and the opportunities for more transparency. Virtual meetings had increased engagement and had been welcomed by many participants. Travel requirements had reduced making it easier for all to conduct council business. Virtual meetings also allowed flexibility for those with caring responsibilities, a disability, or other commitments. The review took into account these benefits but also acknowledged the positives of in-person meetings to enable the council to serve residents. The report highlighted the importance of enabling hybrid meetings to take place and technology to ensure this approach could continue was being investigated.

 

Councillor Werner commented that all would agree they had come to see the benefits of virtual meetings. The council had been able to continue to make decisions and the public had seen more clearly how this was done. Virtual meetings also had important benefits in the fight against climate change and the current fuel supply issues. Virtual meetings were the family friendly option to enable individuals from all backgrounds to be councillors. The problem was that the government had failed to recognise the reality and had stopped decision making meetings taking place virtually. He asked the council to continue to lobby the government on this issue and he asked the Leader to write to confirm the council’s support. 

 

Councillor Werner commented that the hybrid option was the best way forward, He felt that officers had worked hard to get to this point but had not been given the tools needed. He referenced a Council motion in 2019 on the subject. Councillor Werner stated that he would like to see a clear timetable for improving the AV equipment; he felt Christmas would be a reasonable deadline.

 

Councillor Hilton held the view that had been proven that decision making meetings were best held face to face. He had attended three meetings in council premises: they had been easier to Chair, generated better responses and provided a better environment for debate. He set aside any personal inconveniences as being inconsequential. However he agreed that it was appropriate for some meetings to continue to be held virtually. He had no comments on the AV arrangements as he felt they worked well for him.

 

Councillor Knowles stated that he supported the paper. The working environment had advanced 20 years in a short period of time, however he now found online meetings tortuous after attending so many  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 104 KB

a) Councillor Larcombe will ask the following question of Councillor Cannon, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Parking:

The Jacob’s Report dated September 2014 identified the need for maintenance works on the Wraysbury Drain.  Significant RBWM expenditure (about £150k) failed to cure the problems.  As designated lead local flood authority RBWM has repeatedly failed to ensure riparian maintenance.  By what date will the problems be fixed please?

 

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

Channel One of the River Thames Scheme (Datchet to Teddington) was removed from the project after RBWM was unable to meet the partnership funding contribution requirement.  My view is that the Environment Agency demand for partnership funding was ‘ultra vires’ and consequently invalid.  What do you think?

 

(The Council will set aside a period of 30 minutes to deal with Member questions, which may be extended at the discretion of the Mayor in exceptional circumstances. The Member who provides the initial response will do so in writing. The written response will be published as a supplement to the agenda by 5pm one working day before the meeting. The questioner shall be allowed up to one minute to put a supplementary question at the meeting. The supplementary question must arise directly out of the reply provided and shall not have the effect of introducing any new subject matter. A Member responding to a supplementary question will have two minutes to respond).

 

 

 

Minutes:

a) Councillor Larcombe asked the following question of Councillor Cannon, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Parking:

The Jacob’s Report dated September 2014 identified the need for maintenance works on the Wraysbury Drain.  Significant RBWM expenditure (about £150k) failed to cure the problems.  As designated lead local flood authority RBWM has repeatedly failed to ensure riparian maintenance.  By what date will the problems be fixed please?

 

Written response:There are a number of workstreams for maintenance of the drain, including liaison with riparian landowners, enforcement action, direct works, and the Environment Agency partnership for Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury, and Old Windsor wards. Each workstream has in common the goal of ensuring maintenance of the Wraysbury Drain is carried out.  As each has its own timeline and parties responsible for carrying out works, it is not possible to provide a definitive date by which problems will be fixed.    

 

Current activities include:

·         Enforcement activity commenced in July 2021 in line with the council's Land Drainage Enforcement Policy under advice from the Legal Services team.

·         Site investigations have taken place to identify blockages and works are programmed to take place in October/November on sections of the watercourse

Officers will continue to provide regular updates on the Wraysbury Drain, including at the quarterly meetings of the Flood Liaison Group. The next update will be provided at the FLG on 13 October 2021.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Larcombe thanked Councillor Cannon for his predictable reply.  He imagined the long-term failure of RBWM to ensure maintenance of the land drainage infrastructure was actually due to legislative shortcomings. 

 

After the 2007 floods and the Pitt Review, the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 clearly identified the newly created Lead Local Flood Authority as the body responsible for ordinary watercourses, surface water and groundwater and with appropriate permissive and enforcement powers. 

 

Unfortunately there was no legal duty on the authority to monitor the condition of the ordinary watercourses or to use the available powers.

 

An ancient watercourse had ceased to flow properly and RBWM had failed for years to fix this problem.  There was no joined up thinking here and public money had been poured down the drain.  He would now go to the Ombudsman but invited the Cabinet Member to respond.

 

Councillor Cannon stated that he had not heard a question to which he could provide a response.

 

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

 

Channel One of the River Thames Scheme (Datchet to Teddington) was removed from the project after RBWM was unable to meet the partnership funding contribution requirement.  My view is that the Environment Agency demand for partnership funding was ‘ultra vires’ and consequently invalid.  What do you think?

 

Written response: “Ultra vires” is a legal term which means that a person or body corporate has acted beyond its legal power or authority.

The Environment Agency derives its authority from the Environment Act 1995, and its specific flood risk management powers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Motions on Notice

a)    By Councillor Stimson

This Council, in acknowledging the work that is being done across the borough by the council and residents alike to mitigate against climate change and encourage sustainability, and to increase the participation of businesses, civic society and residents alike, agrees to hold a Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead COP26 online Summit during the UN COP event in Glasgow.  This will highlight the work that has been done, and is currently ongoing within the borough in the areas of climate change and sustainability.


(A maximum period of 30 minutes will be allowed for each Motion to be moved, seconded and debated, including dealing with any amendments.  At the expiry of the 30-minute period debate will cease immediately, the mover of the Motion or amendment will have the right of reply before the Motion or amendment is put to the vote).

 

Minutes:

Motion a)

 

Councillor Stimson introduced her motion. She stated that the council faced significant resource challenges with tackling environment and climate change and sustainability efforts.  Those involved knew the council needed to go faster and involve more groups, more businesses, and more individuals. 

 

The 6th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released in August 2021 confirmed that the world was warming faster than previously predicted, and that humans were causing it, without question.  Added to that the pandemic of the past 20 months had created heartache for many, increased mental health issues, and the need for everyone to be able to get to a green space, and safely. 

 

However the pandemic had also created an opportunity to reset, and to no longer do things the same way simply because they had always been done that way.   From a climate change and sustainability perspective there was a need to break free from the current constraints, engage businesses, civic society, and resident groups.   On 30 September 2021 she would present to Cabinet a proposal for a climate partnership.  The council and officers would continue to deliver the actions of the environment and climate strategy related to the council. 

 

Councillor Stimson explained that it was in this context that she was proposing her motion.  During the past year, whilst wrestling with how to reach net zero as a borough, the officers and resident groups had been doing some incredible work. Over the next two months, the council planned to showcase that work to coincide with the UNITED Nations Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow between 1 and 12 November 2021.

 

The plan was to organise a Local COP26 Environment & Climate online series of podcasts for residents of the Royal Borough.  There was so much to celebrate, and the event would help with building the Climate Partnership.  The CEC were also organising ‘COPtober’, and the council hoped to work together with them.

 

There would be a virtual event consisting of a series of pre-recorded panel events on key COP26-aligned themes and topics, that were also aligned with the climate strategy. In the last few days a shop in the Maidenhead area and one in Windsor had been offered for use as Climate Hubs to be staffed by volunteers to improve public engagement. 

 

Councillor Stimson highlighted a number of issues that could be celebrated:

 

·         LED lights in school buildings

·         500,000 Local Authority Delivery Scheme home efficiency grants

·         A heat decarbonisation feasibility funding to the remainder of schools, libraries and the town hall

·         Carbon literacy training for officers, residents and members

·         Maidenergy, Draftbusters

·         A Panel to advice on how residents could contribute to tackling climate change: Filling Good, the Repair Cafe, Windsor and Maidenhead Plastic Free, the Good Gym, The Thames Hospice

·      A Panel of schools and young people: RBWM’s youth parliament, a representative from Eton, Altwood and All Saints on their sustainable projects, BCA and Windsor schools’ Green Skills College, Cumberland Lodge, Berkshire Schools EcoNetwork

·      A Panel on Sustainable Transport: Maidenhead and Windsor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.