Agenda and minutes
Venue: Virtual Meeting - Online access
Contact: Fatima Rehman 01628 796251
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APPOINTMENT OF CHAIRMAN AND VICE-CHAIRMAN
To appoint the Chairman and Vice-Chairman for the municipal year 2020/21.
Cllr Davey nominated Cllr Singh to be Chairman, which was seconded by Cllr Baldwin. Cllr Bateson nominated Cllr Sharpe to be Chairman, which was seconded by Cllr Singh. As two nominations for Chairman had been received, a named vote was taken.
RESOLVED; That Cllr Singh be Chairman of the Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Panel for the municipal year 2020/21.
Cllr Davey nominated himself to be Vice Chairman, which was seconded by Cllr Baldwin. Cllr Sharpe nominated himself for Vice Chairman, which was seconded by Cllr Bateson.
RESOLVED; That Cllr Davey be Vice Chairman of the Infrastructure Overview and Scrutiny Panel for the municipal year 2020/21.
Apologies for Absence
To receive any apologies for absence.
To receive any Declarations of Interest.
To confirm the Minutes of the previous meeting held on 12 March 2020.
RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 12th March 2020 be approved as a true and correct record.
To consider the report.
The Panel received a verbal update on the Q3 and Q4 Performance Update Report by Russell O’Keefe, Executive Director.
The report set out the key performance measures relevant to the Panel’s remit up until the end of the financial year, with eight performance measures, five of which met or exceeded targets.
Cllr Baldwin queried how many expected affordable houses were to be completed in the previous financial year, how many were completed, and when the uncompleted houses would be completed in this financial year. The Panel were informed there were no affordable houses due to be completed on the regeneration site during this period and York Road was not due to completed in the financial year.
Cllr Davey asked if new indices were used considering the change in economic environment caused by Covid-19. Chris Joyce, Head of Infrastructure, Sustainability and Economic Growth, informed the Panel that a new economic development strategy as part of the economic recovery strategy was to be implemented.
Cllr Sharpe queried the outcome of the overall report and the performance indicated for the Council. The Panel were informed that the services overall were working well. The planning performance was at the top quartile performance, in comparison to four years ago, where the Council was at bottom quartile performance. Housing services had improved over the last few years and the Council had secured good schemes within regeneration and development. Whilst Covid-19 had an impact on-site, nothing could be done about this, however developments on York Road had restarted with social distance measures in place.
The Panel were advised that more work was needed to be done in town centres to reimagine how the economy needed to prosper in the new environment. The strategy to reopen the town centre was working well, with shoppers queuing early to visit stores whilst adhering to social distancing rules. A place recovery plan would be required to revive town centres as social arenas with activities and events rather than just shops, by working with business communities and partners.
Cllr Rayner - Deputy Leader of the Council, Resident and Leisure Services, HR, IT, Legal, Performance Management and Windsor; Armed Forces Champion, informed the Panel that the Council had and should continue to work closely with partners and local shops to ensure they survive. Highstreets were changing and Covid-19 had exacerbated this change.
Cllr Bateson asked where vehicles from the station forecourt would go and the Panel were informed, they were due to be relocated to Stafferton Way.
Cllr Brar asked if there were any other sites where there would be affordable housing, apart from York Road. The Panel were informed that all the regeneration sites were based on planning policy compliance and thus would have affordable housing were applicable. The next regeneration site that was due to come forward in the Autumn was St Claire’s Way. Some small sites were 100% affordable housing, which were being reappraised to assess their viability due to the impact of Covid-19.
Cllr Baldwin asked to what extent ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
CIL Review - Progress Update Report
To receive training as part of the Community Infrastructure Levy review.
The Panel received a verbal update on the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
Chris Joyce informed the Panel that CIL was introduced to simplify the system of developer contributions and was applied to any development over 100m², with various exemptions and relief that could be applied. The Borough introduced CIL in September 2016 on residential development and some charges on large retail warehousing. All the money so far had been related to residential development.
The Borough has three charging zones. At the time of the CIL examination, the viability of development in Maidenhead town centre was not able to justify a CIL charge for development, due to higher costs of development. The levy could be used flexibly across infrastructure, including transport, flood defences, schools, hospitals, and other health and social care facilities.
The estimated income of CIL was £2-3million annually, which has been allocated to support the Council’s Capital Programme, based on the principles of how CIL funding would be allocated agreed through a paper that went to cabinet.
Cllr Baldwin asked for the evidence that supported the costs of the brownfield sites in Maidenhead town centre to be unviable for CIL. The Panel were informed that the Council had decided there was insignificant evidence to justify a CIL charge, as it was charged on an area-wide basis rather than individual site basis. It needed to be proven that developments across the whole town centre could afford the CIL charge. The cost and time required to reintroduce a new CIL charging schedule was challenging, so the pragmatic approach was to adopt S106 site-by-site in order to collect the appropriate levels of contribution, whilst the evidence was being reviewed.
Cllr Baldwin asked what percentage of developer’s contribution from the Council had funded the improvements of Maidenhead’s town centre. The Panel were informed that no CIL had been allocated to the Capital Programme and had only started this year, with CIL and other funding used to fund infrastructural needs across all the Borough.
Cllr Baldwin asked if the Council was in receipt of 100% of CIL contributions from unparished areas where there were no adopted local plans or neighbourhood plans. This was confirmed to the Panel, but CIL was allocated separately in the finance system. 75-85% of the CIL was allocated to the Borough’s central pot, with neighbourhood portions available in the finance system for Maidenhead and Windsor. There was a responsibility to ensure the CIL was spent in the local areas, irrelevant of whether they were parish areas or not.
Cllr Sharpe asked how the Council ensured CIL money was utilised in best possible way, as it was spread across developments across the Borough. The Panel were informed that capital investment and CIL should be integrated so that the most beneficial and value for money schemes could be identified.
Cllr Davey said S106 should be deployed if CIL could not be applied on the £400 million Areli Real Estate plan development in the town centre. The Panel were informed that the ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
To consider the report.
The Panel received a presentation by Tracy Hendren, Head of Housing and Environmental Health, on the refresh of the Homelessness strategy.
The Panel were informed that the proposed recommendations to Cabinet included the title change from Homelessness Strategy 2018-2023 to Homelessness and Rough Sleeping Strategy 2018-2023, and to build on the five key priorities. This included:
- To continue to deliver against the actions that are still relevant.
- Removing the actions that have been delivered from the updated action plan, and
- Implementing new actions emerging from the focus group, feedback responses and emerging trends. This was Covid-19, temporary accommodation, partnerships, forums, alternative giving, protocols, scorecards, funding and service mapping.
Reviewing the strategy and implementing a rough sleeping strategy was in adherence to the Homelessness Act 2002 and MHCLG Rough Sleeper Strategy 2018.
The Panel were informed of the key messages that came from a survey sent to all councillors and partners of RBWM, which included:
- 93% of respondents thought the five priorities were correct.
- 87% of respondents would have liked to be actively engaged in the strategy moving forward.
- 50% of respondents thought there needs to be additional priorities.
The Panel were informed that the new IT system allowed customer feedback.
Cllr McWilliams - Lead Member for Housing, Communications and Youth Engagement, informed the Panel that over 50 people were counted as rough sleeping in 2020 had all been housed, as well as hundreds of others that required temporary accommodations due to Covid-19.
Cllr Sharpe asked what the underlying ethos, methodology and techniques were being used to ensure best practice. Tracy Hendren said her previous roles included being the Team Leader for the national HMCO specialist advisor team that gathered good practice and evidence of success across the country for five years. She also led the only national homeless conference in the country for local authorities and partners to share good practice.
Cllr Bowden asked what could be done to ensure homeless people would seek employment and housing. Cllr McWilliams informed the Panel that force could not be used, but individuals should instead be ensured access to the support services available. Some rough sleepers in Windsor had an affinity to the town and therefore did not want to relocate in the wider Borough. It was important to expand the temporary housing stock across the Borough, and the Council was in conversation with Windsor Christian Action about expanding sheltered accommodation, day centres and other services. He said that one solution did not fit all.
Cllr McWilliams informed the Panel that a giving scheme that was being pursued which was a long-term funding system where residents, tourists and visitors could donate via cash or contactless to local charities and other partners that support the rough sleeper pathways.
Cllr Davey asked how the findings of the homeless T&FG inputted into the strategy. Cllr McWilliams informed the Panel that the purpose of the T&FG was to examine best practice through evidence from partners and other boroughs. Cllr ... view the full minutes text for item 46.
To consider the Panel’s Work Programme for the remainder of the municipal year.
To include consideration of items scheduled on the Cabinet Forward Plan.
The Panel considered the Work Programme for the next municipal year.
The Chairman wanted CIL and homelessness T&FGs to be added to the Work Programme, as well as housing solutions, and inviting Radian to the Panel.
Cllr Baldwin said there were legacy issues with items that were not carried over on the Work Programme, which included:
- A review after a call-in for the changes in traffic flow on Queen Street Junction
- A review on street lighting with regards to resident security
- Bus routes frequency and availability
- Waste and recycling and the work done by plastic free Windsor, which was topical due to the climate emergency
- Junction improvements
- The Cycling Action Plan, which was topical and goes to the sustainability of our communities
Cllr Baldwin said he would like a T&FG to look at ways developer’s contribution could be maximised, such as financial contributions or housing units.
Cllr Price suggested for the new homelessness strategy progress to be monitored in this panel, as well as the minutes and progress from the Homelessness Forum to be reported back.
Cllr Sharpe suggested to take up issues as they progress throughout the year rather than adding additional work that would create backlog in the system.
Cllr Davey said there were several topical areas to cover and would like more than three meetings a year.
Cllr Davey and the Chairman asked if co-optees could be added to the panel and what the process was. The Panel were informed that an email would be circulated after checking the Constitution.
Cllr Larcombe asked to look at the local flood risk management strategy produced in 2014 and has not been implemented. The Chairman said this could be considered in the Work Programme.
- Clerk to add items mentioned to the Work Programme as suggested but not yet programmed
- Clerk to share the process of adding co-optees to the Panel and invite Radian
- Clerk to add an additional meeting to discuss the Work Programme and T&FG.
The Panel noted the work programme.
To agree and sign off the Annual Scrutiny Report that will be sent to Full Council.
The Panel were informed that the report would be shared at the next Council meeting and were asked for agreement to the report.
Cllr Davey said he was reassured the panel was on the right path and addressed areas of the report and appendix.
Cllr Baldwin asked for reports for Panels to be made available well in advance of meetings.
Cllr Price said item 6.1 did not reflect what happened in the T&FG, as nothing was done and there was no direction. The Chairman asked for this to be noted and to overcome these issues in the future.
Action points –
- Clerk to reflect in the annual scrutiny report that no outcomes came from the homelessness T&FG.
- Officers to ensure reports are delivered to the Panel in advance of the meeting.
The Panel agreed to the report, subject to the amendment to 6.1.
The Chair thanked the panel and officers.