Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Maidenhead

Contact: Karen Shepherd  07766 778286

Video Stream: Click here to watch this meeting on YouTube

Items
No. Item

14.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Carroll, Shelim, Taylor and Werner.

15.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 939 KB

To receive the minutes of the meetings of the Council held on 27 April, 4 May and 29 June 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That:

 

i)             The minutes of the meeting held on 27 April 2021 be approved.

ii)            The minutes of the meeting held on 4 May 2021 be approved.

iii)          The minutes of the meeting held on 29 June 2021 be approved

16.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

17.

Mayor's Communications pdf icon PDF 66 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.

 

The Mayor highlighted that the Garden in Bloom competition had now closed. Certificates and rosettes had been made available to Members. If there were any questions, Members should contact the Mayor’s Secretary.

18.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 164 KB

a)    Deborah Mason of Riverside ward will ask the following question of Councillor Stimson, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside:

 

Does the Lead Member agree that the UK is facing ecological freefall, that biodiversity gain must be the over-riding priority in all natural habitats owned by the Council and that assumptions we have made in the past about public rights must be reassessed in view of this?

 

b)   Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward will ask the following question of Councillor Carroll, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

 

Will the Lead Member confirm how much RBWM has collected through the Adult Social Care Precept since its' inception?

 

c)    Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward will ask the following question of Councillor Hilton, Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot:

 

Will the Lead Member for Finance advise by ward which roads and pavements were improved under the Clewer & Dedworth Improvement Programme?

 

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

 

In 2019 Councillors granted permission to dispose of the 50% freehold in the Nicholson Shopping centre on the understanding of multi-billion pound backing from “ 22bn” Tikehau Capital. When did the Council become aware that funding for the Nicholson Quarter was no longer secured, and when was this reported to Members? 

 

e)    Andrew Hill of Boyn Hill ward will ask the following question of Councillor Hilton, Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot:

 

In light of the s114 ‘bankruptcy’ by Slough Borough Council, and their £159m deficit projected for 2024/25 what is RBWM’s equivalent projected year end general fund reserve figure for 2024/25, and does RBWM share any joint ventures/financial interests with SBC that may be affected or miscalculated?

 

(The Council will set aside a period of 30 minutes to deal with public 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)    Deborah Mason of Riverside ward asked the following question of Councillor Stimson, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside:

 

Does the Lead Member agree that the UK is facing ecological freefall, that biodiversity gain must be the over-riding priority in all natural habitats owned by the Council and that assumptions we have made in the past about public rights must be reassessed in view of this?

 

Written response: The council is committed to delivering nature recovery and biodiversity net gain.  The Natural Environment is one of the four themes of our strategy with the intent to protect and enhance our natural environment, raise awareness of biodiversity and green our towns and cities.  We have been working closely with stakeholders to develop a borough-wide biodiversity action plan, that will support improved habitats across the borough.  Any decisions that the council makes will be guided by the evidence of the specific case, using our internal and independent expertise, rather than making blanket assumptions.  Allowing some controlled access can reduce overall risks to wildlife and habitats as well as providing valuable opportunities to educate, inform and raise awareness of these critical issues.

 

By way of a supplementary question, Ms Mason asked whether the Cabinet Member would therefore agree that in the case of Battlemead, the council has already ensured there was sufficient access for the public including the long sought for Millennium Way link between Widbrook Common and the Thames Path and that the unnecessary path across the East Field could wait to be implemented until after ecologists have assessed the bedding in of the ecological management plan in five years’ time. This would prioritise biodiversity gain that would benefit all people of the borough over the desire of a small number of people for another view of Cliveden and set a great example of controlled access for the benefit of nature.

 

Councillor Stimson responded that Battlemead Common had been a long haul for everyone, but she hoped it was getting to a stage where there was a consensus, though this would not be until 3 August. She recognised that the world was facing significant biodiversity costs; a 75% loss of species since she had been 10 years old. The borough would do everything it could to mitigate against this but the site had been bought for accessibility and biodiversity and was trying to manage both aspects. The ultimate decision had not yet been reached as ecological reports were being read through. She had a good idea the causeway would be opened for half the year, but it had been two years of decision making and she knew exceptionally good biodiversity gains were being made. The council wanted to encourage people to enjoy biodiversity and enjoy the place rather than closing it off entirely.

 

b)   Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward asked the following question of Councillor Carroll, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

 

Will the Lead Member confirm  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

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:

No petitions were submitted.

20.

Appointment of Independent Person pdf icon PDF 268 KB

To consider the above report

Minutes:

Members considered the appointment of an Independent Person.

 

Councillor Rayner explained that, if appointed, Keith Robinson would be the council’s third Independent Person. This would add resilience to the process and the standards regime. The Independent Person role was important as their views were sought by the Monitoring Officer on allegations against a councillor as to whether an investigation should be undertaken. The person complained about could also seek their view. The Independent Person could also advise on other standards and conduct matters and take part in a Statutory Officer Panel. Councillor Rayner thanked Mr Robinson for putting himself forward for the role.

 

Councillor Price asked how much time the Independent Person gave to the council as £1000 did not seem very much. Councillor Rayner responded that it would depend on the caseload during the year.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Rayner, seconded by Councillor Johnson, and:

 

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: Thatfull Council notes the report and:

 

i)          Appoints Keith Robinson as an Independent Person under s28(7) of the Localism Act 2011.

ii)         That £1000 be added to the Member Allowances budget to cover the cost of the allowance to the new Independent Person.

 

21.

Appointment of Chairmen

To consider the following recommendation:

 

RECOMMENDATION: That:

 

i)             Councillor Haseler be appointed as Chairman of the Maidenhead Development Management Committee for the remainder of the municipal year

ii)            Councillor Cannon be appointed as Chairman of the Windsor and Ascot Development Management Committee for the remainder of the municipal year

iii)          Councillor Rayner be appointed as Chairman of Windsor Town Forum for the remainder of the municipal year.

Minutes:

Members considered the appointment of a number of Chairmen positions.

 

Councillor Johnson explained that he wished to propose an amendment to the recommendations, to include nominations for Vice Chairmen. He also wished to withdraw the recommendation to amend the Chairmanship of the Windsor Town Forum.

 

Councillor Price asked if the proposal meant that the current situation at the Windsor Town Forum therefore remained. Councillor Johnson confirmed that this was the case; Councillor Bowden would remain as Chairman and Councillor Rayner as Vice Chairman.

 

Councillor Baldwin asked if there were any concerns or consideration given to the role of Councillor McWilliams as Cabinet Member for Housing in proposing his appointment as Vice Chairman of one of the Committees.

 

Councillor Johnson responded that members of the Cabinet had previously sat on the Development Management Panels, including in the position of Chairman. Providing the usual declarations on conflict were declared he had no issue with another member of Cabinet being the Vice Chairman.

 

It was proposed by Councillor Johnson, seconded by Councillor Rayner, and:

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

i)             Councillor Haseler be appointed as Chairman, and Councillor McWilliams be appointed as Vice Chairman, of the Maidenhead Development Management Committee for the remainder of the municipal year.

 

ii)            Councillor Cannon be appointed as Chairman, and Councillor Bowden be appointed as Vice Chairman, of the Windsor and Ascot Development Management Committee for the remainder of the municipal year

 

 

22.

Referrals from other bodies

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

Minutes:

i)          COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE REVIEW - WINDSOR TOWN COUNCIL - FINAL RECOMMENDATIONS

 

Members considered the recommendations of the Community Governance Review Working Group.

 

Councillor Hilton introduced the item by stating that he wished to move the motion to establish a new town council for Windsor as detailed in Appendix A. He explained that in September 2019 an e-petition was started seeking support for the formation of a Windsor Town Council. The petition gained just over 600 valid signatures; some way short of the 1,661 needed to trigger a Governance Review. However, at its meeting on 28 July 2020, the council committed to undertake a review and approved the terms of reference.

 

It was agreed that responsibility for composing the recommendations would be delegated to a cross-party, Member-led Working Group comprising Councillor Shelim as Chairman, Councillor Cannon as Vice Chairman, Councillor Davies, Councillor Knowles, and himself, replacing Councillor Story when he had taken up his mayoral duties.

 

A consultation took place on the Terms of Reference and informed by this the working group developed the public consultation into the creation of a Windsor Town Council. This would not have been possible without the incredible support from the Head of Governance, Service Lead - Information Governance and Electoral Services, and Project Management Officer.  On behalf of all Members of the Working Group he thanked the officers for their support, advice and expertise.

 

The second consultation made recommendations on proposed electoral arrangements including a single Town Council comprising 12 polling districts, 21 elected representatives and 10 wards with the first elections to take place in May 2023. Ten wards were proposed across the unparished parts of Windsor and to ensure fair representation twelve polling districts spanning the wards of Clewer & Dedworth East, Clewer & Dedworth West, Clewer East, Eton & Castle and Old Windsor, enabled the number of the electorate per Town Councillor to be broadly similar and within acceptable limits.  The consultation also included sections on the powers of a Town Council and the likely financial implications.

The consultation process was described in section 8 of the report and included a leaflet with details of the proposals to all households in the review area, placing an advert in the Windsor Observer, use of the Residents Newsletter, the council’s social media channels and a letter in the local press from a member of the Working Group.

 Every effort was made to ensure that residents were aware of the consultation and the multiple means through which they could respond. A total of 679 responses were received during the consultation period. Residents were asked three questions: whether they agreed that the proposals would deliver effective and convenient local government, whether they supported the proposed electoral arrangements and if they supported the creation of a Windsor Town Council as an additional layer of local government or believed the existing governance arrangements were sufficient. Roughly 520 said yes to these questions, 100 said no and ‘don’t know/no answer’ varied between 11 and 60.

On the basis of the consultation the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Community Governance Review – Windsor Town Council - Final Recommendations Motion Rejected
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 23.

    Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 179 KB

    a)    Councillor Bond will ask the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Cabinet Member for Planning,Environmental Services, and Maidenhead:

     

    Following the Greenpeace investigation into UK plastic recycling being dumped in Turkey, can you confirm which countries RBWM plastic waste is now being sent to please, giving a percentage breakdown, and also what supply chain audits are undertaken to ensure it is actually recycled?

     

    b)   Councillor Knowles will ask the following question of Councillor Johnson, Leader of the Council:

     

    The LGA peer review carried out last year identified areas of weakness in RBWM scrutiny process. Is it the intention to invite the LGA peer review team to revisit this and to assure us of progress being made to improve the system?

     

    c)    Councillor Hill will ask the following question of Councillor Clark, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity:

     

    The Greenfields Zebra Crossing, surrounding road markings and street furniture are in a poor state of repair and the result of numerous residents and councillor complaints.  When will this area of Stafferton Link Road be renovated and brought up to standard?  

     

    d) Councillor Price will ask the following question of Councillor Carroll, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health and Mental Health:

    The delivery of the Transformation Strategy is key to RBWM achieving its long-term objectives. The Cabinet Transformation sub committee was formed last year.  Its TOR included monitoring progress of delivery of the Transformation Strategy.  The Constitution states it will meet quarterly.  Why has it therefore only met once in September 2020? 

    e)     Councillor Price will ask the following question of Councillor McWilliams, Cabinet Member for Housing, Sport & Leisure, and Community Engagement:

    The Transformation Strategy is clear that ‘investing in strong foundations’ is key to underpinning RBWM’s three core values.   Such underpinning includes ‘modern and robust IT’.  More and more information is being communicated exclusively to residents via the website. When will time, effort and money be invested in making the RBWM website easy to navigate and thus ‘fit for purpose’? 

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

     

    On 21 June Datchet Parish Council passed a resolution requiring the Environment Agency to limit the Jubilee River conveyance capacity to a volume that is compatible with current Datchet flood defences and land drainage infrastructure.  How will RBWM be demonstrating their support for the resolution?

     

    g)     Councillor Davey will ask the following question of Councillor Johnson, Leader of the Council:

     

    One issue highlighted by the CIPFA Review of Governance 2020 was that there was “no appropriate challenge or recognition that challenge was a good thing”. What have you done to demonstrate to both the public and this council that you believe challenge is a good thing, and encourage both Members and residents to challenge?

     

    h)     Councillor Davey will ask the following question of Councillor Johnson, Leader of the Council:

     

    The CIPFA Review of Governance 2020 suggested the new Audit Committee, and an Independent Chair. Why did you not take  ...  view the full agenda text for item 23.

    Minutes:

    a)    Councillor Bond asked the following question of Councillor Coppinger, Cabinet Member for Planning, Environmental Services, and Maidenhead:

     

    Following the Greenpeace investigation into UK plastic recycling being dumped in Turkey, can you confirm which countries RBWM plastic waste is now being sent to please, giving a percentage breakdown, and also what supply chain audits are undertaken to ensure it is actually recycled?

     

    Written response: All plastics material collected by the borough in the blue bin recycling collections is sent for sorting in Warwickshire. From there recycling is sent to a range of destinations depending on the type of material. Plastics are sent to a company in Swinton, where it is sorted into further types and sent to a range of UK or EU based reprocessors to be flaked for manufacture of new plastic packaging. We report on a quarterly basis through the national Waste Data Flow System what has been collected for recycling and waste and the destinations of all materials. The contract with Pure for reprocessing of recycling, includes regular checks of the material we are sending to the MRF, which is designed to sort the recycling to provide the quality of material required by the reprocessers and to meet UK and international quality standards.

     

    By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Bond commented that he welcomed that nothing was going to Turkish beaches and it was all dealt with in the UK or Europe. He thanked officers for updating the website with the information. He asked if the Cabinet Member agreed that the best solution for everyone was the waste hierarchy – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle.

     

    Councillor Coppinger responded that the plant that carried out the initial sorting had a major fire the previous evening which had been reported in the press. The council was awaiting an update as to how they would proceed in future. He did not expect it to have any impact, but material was currently being stored at Stafferton Way.  The government was currently undertaking a consultation on major changes to recycling including whether producers and retailers would be responsible for future collection. There were lots of changes happening, all in the right direction.

     

    b)   Councillor Knowles asked the following question of Councillor Johnson, Leader of the Council:

     

    The LGA peer review carried out last year identified areas of weakness in RBWM scrutiny process. Is it the intention to invite the LGA peer review team to revisit this and to assure us of progress being made to improve the system?

     

    Written response: Overview and Scrutiny was identified as a particular area for improvement in the LGA Peer Review that took place in September 2017 during which the LGA team recommended a number of suggested actions including all Member briefings, Member development, timely papers, ensuring the executive and scrutiny functions had more separation and a review of the number of Panels. During a follow up visit in September 2019 progress in implementation was noted and the Peer Review Team recommended that;

     

    “The Council must now  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

    24.

    Motions on Notice

    a)    By Councillor Davey

     

    This council agrees to review the issues highlighted within the following reports: RBWM Corporate Peer Review Challenge Sep 2017, CIPFA Review of Financial Governance of July 2019 & CIPFA Review of Governance Final Report of June 2020 and ensure they are fully addressed by March 2022.

     

    b)   By Councillor Davies

     

    Both Parliament and this Council have declared an Environmental and Climate Emergency. There is currently a Bill before Parliament, which, if enacted, would require the government to develop a strategy to address the emergency; enshrine the Paris Agreement and Leaders’ Pledge for Nature into law; and ensure the UK takes full responsibility for our entire greenhouse gas and ecological footprints.

     

    This Council:

     

    e)    Declares its support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the “Climate and Ecology (No. 2) Bill”);

     

    ii)     Requests that the Leader of the Council writes an open letter to the Members of Parliament for Maidenhead and Windsor (shared with our residents through local and social media) urging them to sign up to support the Bill; and

     

    iii)   Further requests that the Leader of the Council writes to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing the Council’s support.

     

    (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 Davey introduced his motion. He explained that at the last full council meeting Councillor Johnson had said the administration was candid when it got things wrong and there was always room for improvement. From the responses given to the questions by himself and Councillor Knowles it was apparent that while officers were doing their best to facilitate the recommendations made by senior members of other councils, there was a level of cherry picking by the administration.

     

    Councillor Davey stated that not making use of the best possible chairs to ensure thorough governance was, in his opinion, short sighted. By way of an example, if there was a hung council next time around he would strongly recommend Councillor Hilton as Chairman of Planning as he had shown exemplary leadership in this area. By making Councillor McWilliams Vice Chair on Planning went against many of the recommendations in those reports.

     

    Councillor Davey commented that he was probably very naive and idealistic wanting council to be more accountable, more transparent and open to public criticism, actually ‘Putting Residents First’ not just being a soundbite. Every Councillor who took the time to read the reports would find their own issues which needed addressing and so it would be good to have those discussions, to identify those issues and look for cross-party agreement on how they might be resolved. Officers would be best placed to advise what had been addressed, what was in the pipeline and what had not been possible to achieve thus far.

     

    Residents were crying out for the council to make contractors accountable. Tivoli had been allowed to not perform; every week there was another complaint from a resident about the grass not being cut.  Last week Councillor Davey had been told the shears they used to trim hedges were not working. He asked how was that the council’s problem? Did it just keep paying them or did it challenge and set an example? 

     

    CIPFA were asked to review Governance on the £350,000 Clewer and Dedworth Neighbourhood Improvements capital scheme that was allowed to go more than £50,000 over budget. Two years on, his first question to the council still seemed to get a regular mention at Full Council. Scrutiny not realising its potential was another comment.  He had written to the Chair of Infrastructure asking why no topics had been selected. At the last Council meeting Councillor Johnson had said that there was a lack of ambition in bringing forward credible ideas to scrutiny. The previous year, he had encouraged Members and residents to bring forward their ideas and issues that mattered to them. Over 40 topics had come forward, there were still a dozen or more on the work schedule. His reward was to be pushed to one side.

     

    Councillor Johnson had said the administration was candid when it got things wrong and there was always room for improvement. He suggested Members be candid, vote for the motion and ensure each and every issue was challenged  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Motion b Motion Rejected
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 25.

    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 13 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 13 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.

    26.

    Referrals from Other Bodies

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