Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Desborough Suite - Town Hall

Contact: Karen Shepherd  07766 778286

Video Stream: Click here to watch this meeting on YouTube

Items
No. Item

37.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors C. Da Costa and W. Da Costa.

38.

Council Minutes pdf icon PDF 709 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 28 September 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the minutes of the meeting held on 28 September 2021 be approved subject to the following amendment:

 

·         p.24 to read ‘Councillor del Campo highlighted that she had previously brought a motion to full Council bring 730 empty homes back into use which had been unanimously rejected by the administration. There had been little action on the issue other than a tacit nod in the Housing Strategy.’

39.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To receive any declarations of interest

Minutes:

None received

40.

Mayor's Communications pdf icon PDF 59 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.

41.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 107 KB

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

 

Some local authorities have received up to £500,000 in funding from the Government's Traffic Signals Funding Scheme.  Will the Lead Member advise if RBWM has applied for or received funding from this scheme?

 

b)   Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward will ask the following question of Councillor McWilliams, Cabinet Member for Housing, Sport & Leisure, and Community Engagement:

 

What work has been done to improve sporting opportunities for young people in Windsor during the past year?

 

c)    Sunil Sharma of Furze Platt wardwill ask the following question of Councillor Stimson, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Sustainability, Parks and Countryside:

 

Following COP26, the world is paying more attention than ever to climate change and ways in which we can combat it. What are the next steps that the borough are doing to help tackle global warming?

 

d)   Martyn Cook of Hurley and the Walthams ward will ask the following question of Councillor Cannon, Cabinet Member for Public Protection and Parking:

 

Does the council take a zero tolerance approach to littering in the borough?


(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) Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward asked the following question of Councillor Clark, Cabinet Member for Transport, Infrastructure and Digital Connectivity: Some local authorities have received up to £500,000 in funding from the Government's Traffic Signals Funding Scheme.  Will the Lead Member advise if RBWM has applied for or received funding from this scheme?

 

Written response: RBWM did submit a bid under the Traffic Signal Funding Scheme to upgrade 10 traffic signal sites. Unfortunately we were not one of the local authorities allocated the grant funding.

 

This is the link to the published list of successful bids on the DfT website.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1009151/traffic-signals-maintenance-scheme-award-winners.csv/preview

 

By way of a supplementary question, Ed Wilson commented that he hoped the Clewer Hill Road lights were one of the ten put forward for funding. the issue would not be going away, would the Cabinet Member consider a formal 6-month review of these lights?

 

Councillor Clark responded that the junction was currently under review and he awaited an officer’s report for improvements, Councillor Shelim had raised it with him at an earlier meeting and it had therefore been referred to officers as an important junction to look at. He would welcome the opportunity to discus the issue with Mr Wilson when the report was available.

 

b) Ed Wilson of Clewer and Dedworth West ward asked the following question of Councillor McWilliams, Cabinet Member for Housing, Sport & Leisure, and Community Engagement:

 

What work has been done to improve sporting opportunities for young people in Windsor during the past year?

 

Written response: I am pleased to be able to confirm that in the Windsor area, as across the whole Borough, our built sporting and leisure facilities were successfully re-opened as soon as the restrictions allowed, to enable the community to restart using these venues. This was not the case across the whole country and it has been a really positive opportunity for our communities to re-start their sporting and leisure activities. Huge credit goes to both Leisure Focus, RBWM officers and the passionate army of volunteers from sporting groups that have worked together during the reopening.

 

There are many great sporting and leisure facilities in Windsor, including three main centres which support the Windsor community area, i.e. the Windsor Leisure Centre, the Dedworth Community pitch and the Thames Valley Athletics Centre. All three are offering a full programme, and have seen a steady return of customers to a wide range of sports and leisure activities.

 

In addition to the re-openings of all three venues, which includes the restarting of the swimming lesson programmes and a wide range of other classes, I am pleased to be able to report that the replacement staircase to provide access to the water slide at Windsor Leisure Centre is well underway and the leisure pool will re-open again when these works are completed early in January. RBWM invested in this important improvement and repair to help keep the centre as an attractive family destination. We are also looking at the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

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 Tisi submitted the following petition:

We the undersigned petition the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to urgently upgrade the existing Zebra crossings on Maidenhead Road adjacent to the Parsonage Lane/Mill Lane mini roundabout to Toucan crossings; also to introduce traffic calming measures and reduce the speed limit.

Councillor Tisi commented that the video of Councillor Johnson in Mill Lane claiming to be listening to residents’ concerns about highways issues must have been confusing to Mr Gibbons, the petitioner.   He, like his neighbours and his ward councillors, Councillor Davies and Councillor Tisi, had been telling the council for years that the Mill Lane junction urgently needed upgrading. From his home in sight of the roundabout, Mr Gibbons had witnessed crumpled bumpers, a smashed bicycle and flashing ambulance lights all too often. At times, literally the entire M4 flowed through that junction, complete with thundering juggernauts and impatient motorists forced to detour through the residential areas.

 

Councillor Tisi asked what was there to protect cyclists against the onslaught? Fading white cycles on the cracked tarmac. Pedestrians took their chances on a zebra crossing, which was still poorly lit by broken Belisha beacons even after months of regular reporting by Mr Gibbons and herself.

 

The council knew this junction was a problem. They just had not done anything to properly sort it out. It was the third worst accident blackspot for cyclists in Berkshire. In 2018 RBWMM identified the need to replace the crossing with toucan lights as ‘high priority’ with a ‘high safety impact’ and even allocated £67,000 for improvements.

 

So far the considerable lobbying had achieved a new safety sign and assurances from highways officers and the lead Member that the junction would be reviewed, again. Councillor Tisi suggested the council should show residents that it was truly listening by getting Mill Lane done. Councillor Tisi requested that the lead Member write to Mr Gibbons with a plan for the review of the junction and an indication of timescale.

 

Councillor L. Jones submitted the following petition:

We the undersigned petition the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to carry out an urgent review of road safety to inform improvements for children walking and cycling to Trevelyan Middle School; and install additional crossings on St Leonard’s Road and Bolton Road.

Councillor L. Jones explained that the petition had been brought about due to a lack of crossing points on significant junctions on St Leonards Road and an accident and several near misses. It underlined the concerns of parents who wanted their children to walk or cycle to school safely. Trevelyan School was located on the opposite side of St Leonard’s Road to the main residential area. The road had a 30mph limit and was a busy through route used by a variety of road users; most importantly up to 600 9-13-year-olds could walk or cycle to school.

 

A promised review in 2019 and again in 2020 appeared to become the victim of a priority list once the council started dealing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Referrals from other bodies

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

Minutes:

Corporate Plan

 

Councillor Johnson introduced the report.  He thanked all Members of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Panel for the effective challenge session held on the Plan, which had been invaluable in shaping the document. He credited Councillor Werner for suggesting the title be amended to reference ‘sustainable’.  The Plan built on the interim strategy approved the previous year. It provided a clear plan for the medium term; Members would see at Cabinet later in the week how it aligned with the emerging budget priorities.

 

Many people had questioned why climate change had not featured more strongly. Councillor Johnson stated that he firmly believed it did feature strongly and referenced the Climate Partnership that had been set up. However the council also needed to deliver core business including adult social care, children’s services, housing, and tackling anti-social behaviour. These were all priorities that residents valued in addition to tackling climate change. The Plan was one that must evolve over time and be responsive and flexible to take into account external events and future challenges.

 

Councillor Rayner commented that the Plan set a clear vision beyond the statutory duties of the council. The three key drivers were affordable housing, infrastructure and tackling climate change. They were important pillars to make the borough a better place and improve residents’ lives. Aims that would be achieved in partnership with others including volunteers and health partners. Climate change was one of the most talked about challenges. This shift was clearly reflected in the Plan which also set out the tools to address the issue.

 

The library consultation was a good case study. A 12-week extensive consultation had been undertaken leading to proposals for a financially sustainable service. Libraries were also at the forefront of the climate agenda, for example holding workshops and leading by example. In relation to infrastructure, Councillor Rayner referenced the Windsor Master Plan which residents had been asking for and was committed to in the Plan.

 

Councillor Werner commented that the discussions at Overview and Scrutiny and Cabinet had been productive but they had run out of time; some items got lost in the decision making. He had been pleased that some of his proposals had been accepted. Members at the O&S Panel had been advised that it was not possible to measure wellbeing however the ONS measured it at local authority level. Councillor Werner highlighted the issue or rates of anxiety in the borough and requested further work on the issue.

 

Councillor Werner commented that on council-owned land, the council could set any standards it liked for eco-homes. There was no point declaring a climate emergency if the council continued to build homes that did not work towards the targets. Rather than just raising awareness, the issue of climate change needed to be embedded in every decision taken. Tackling climate change should be seen as the council’s core business.

 

Councillor Werner felt that the Plan was just an interim plan which would be comprehensively reviewed by 2023 to put  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
To amend the Terms of Reference for Development Control Motion Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 44.

    Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 200 KB

    a)    Councillor Larcombe will ask the following question of Councillor Hilton, Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot:

     

    The RBWM Corporate Plan refers to investing £10m on flood prevention within Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury, and Old Windsor wards.  Please confirm that where drainage channels have been deliberately blocked, culverted without authorisation or access to land denied - any public money used to rectify these problems will be recovered from the riparian owners?

     

    b)   Councillor Larcombe will ask the following question of Councillor Hilton, Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot:

     

    The RBWM Corporate Plan refers to investing £10m on flood prevention within Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury, and Old Windsor wards.  Please confirm that for this project RBWM as lead local flood authority has requested the partnership funding contribution from the Environment Agency?

     

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

     

    Can Cllr Cannon please explain clearly why there are discrepancies between Windsor & Maidenhead for the Christmas discounted parking offer?

     

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

     

    With regards to the small plots of land that are “adopted highways'', can the lead member explain the liability responsibilities of the owner and RBWM?

     

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

     

    Since the change to our waste collection, what are the weekly statistics in terms of numbers and response times for residents reporting missed bins, non-delivery of assisted collections and large/new bins?

     

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

     

    Residents and members have been reporting an increase in overflowing public waste bins for months. Litter and dog waste bags are piling up in our streets. What steps has the lead member taken to resolve apparent issues with the contract and would providing more litter bins, for which members were asked to identify locations months ago, have improved the situation?


    (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 Hilton, Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot:

     

    The RBWM Corporate Plan refers to investing £10m on flood prevention within Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury, and Old Windsor wards.  Please confirm that where drainage channels have been deliberately blocked, culverted without authorisation or access to land denied - any public money used to rectify these problems will be recovered from the riparian owners?

     

    Written response: Ordinary Watercourses: Riparian owners have a duty to maintain watercourses for which they are responsible. Under the Land Drainage Act 1991 the Council has the powers to serve notice on riparian owners, for the removal of any blockage to an ordinary watercourse. Should the riparian owner fail to do so, the Council has powers to undertake the work themselves and recharge the costs to the riparian owner. The Council will try to resolve problems through discussion with the owners in the first instance and enforcement of legislation will only be used as the last resort.

     

    Main River Watercourses: The overall responsibility for maintenance of Main Rivers lies with the riparian owner. The Environment Agency has permissive powers to carry out works of maintenance and improvement on Main Rivers where required. This can include any structure or appliance for controlling or regulating flow of water into or out of the channel.

     

    If any joint scheme were to offer an element of funding to riparian owners that would be a matter for those funding the scheme.

     

    By way of a supplementary question, Councillor Larcombe explained the 200-year-old Wraysbury drain had worked well for many years until recently. After £150,000 of RBWM expenditure, it failed to work at all. The weir had fallen apart; it was then fixed at more expense and a circular was issued to the riparian owners to remind them of their responsibilities. Five years later it was still not working. The Corporate Plan referred to failing to maintain or blocking watercourses could be considered to be anti-social behaviour and subject to zero tolerance. He had not seen any sense of urgency or importance on the matter. The borough was the designated lead local flood authority and it did not do enough. Councillor Larcombe asked if he could offer Councillor Hilton a guided tour.

     

    Councillor Hilton responded that he was Cabinet Member for Finance and his knowledge of flooding was limited. Through Democratic Services he had suggested that the question should be answered by Councillor Cannon but this had ben rejected by Councillor Larcombe. In the circumstances he would come out and walk with Councillor Larcombe but if there was anything else, Councillor Cannon would respond.


    b) Councillor Larcombe asked the following question of Councillor Hilton, Cabinet Member for Finance and Ascot:

     

    The RBWM Corporate Plan refers to investing £10m on flood prevention within Datchet, Horton and Wraysbury, and Old Windsor wards.  Please confirm that for this project RBWM as lead local flood authority has requested the partnership funding contribution from the Environment Agency?

     

    Written response: Members will  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

    45.

    Motions on Notice

    a)    By Councillor Davey

     

    This Council respects the value of its volunteers and charity leaders and will pay a fair consultancy rate to the relevant charity when one of their employees, volunteers or trustees are invited to meetings where their knowledge is sought by RBWM and partner organisations who may go on to use that information for their own financial gain.

     

    b)   By Councillor Davies

     

    In September the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued new Global Air Quality Guidelines, which recommend much stricter values for the legal limits of six air pollutants. The Borough’s Corporate Plan 2021-2026 (draft) commits to prioritise actions to:

     

    ? tackle climate change,

    ? improve the natural environment,

    ? promote health and wellbeing,

    ? reduce inequalities.

     

     This Council:

     

    i) Agrees to increase measurement of PM10 air particulates from a single location in the Borough to locations within all five Air Quality Management Areas and start measuring PM2.5 air particulates in AQMAs.

    ii) Agrees to review the Borough’s Air Quality Improvement Action Plan in the light of the updated WHO Guidelines.

    iii) Requests that the Leader of the Council write to the Secretary of State welcoming these updated WHO Guidelines and asking that they be adopted into law as a matter of urgency.

     

    (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:

     

    This Council respects the value of its volunteers and charity leaders and will pay a fair consultancy rate to the relevant charity when one of their employees, volunteers or trustees are invited to meetings where their knowledge is sought by RBWM and partner organisations who may go on to use that information for their own financial gain.

     

    Councillor Davey stated that he would not share specifics in public as he feared for the potential backlash to the organisation that had told him how they shared information and then watched as a third-party contractor made money from their insight. Councillor Davey stated that he had experienced this personally, in the noughties he had run a very successful business network called Business in Berkshire and helped drive business owners to Business Link workshops not realising the business model arrangement they had with the government until much further down the line.

     

    The use of volunteers was increasingly promoted when the council should really be funding professionals. If it could not afford to pay them immediately, if funding should land from their consultancy then they should be given the opportunity to be paid to deliver the service. His extensive experience of volunteers told him that most were doing what they did through a personal experience that fed their desire to help as best they could. Being asked questions around something they know, by people they trusted, meant they were likely to want to be of assistance and share information freely in the meeting. For this information to be used by a third party listening in with an eye on a tender for government funding was ethically wrong. Councillor Davey therefore asked if the council could start paying a fair consultancy rate, when feasible, to the relevant charity when one of their employees, volunteers or trustees were asked for insight into how things work

     

    Councillor Werner seconded the motion.

     

    Councillor Haseler commented that he could not understand the motion as it did not give examples. He asked if Councillor Davey had sought officer advice and whether a business case had been prepared.

     

    Councillor Hilton commented that it was an interesting motion but it missed the point of the council’s partnerships with many volunteer and charitable organisations. In his experience when charities and the council meet, they did so to discuss shared interests in a spirit of cooperation with the objective of agreeing how they could work together to further both parties’ objectives. Crucially the discussions would always have at their heart how the charity and the council could work together to better support a cause and residents. This was about shared experience, information and expertise.  Councillor Hilton could not think of a circumstance when the council would charge a charity for advice nor where a charity would refuse to meet without payment. Of course, if the council would like to use valuable intellectual property owned by a charity this could lead to payment. He could not support the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.