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Contact: Katie Coughlan Governance and Civic Officer
Note: Subject to Call-in. Call-in will expire at 4.30pm on 18 May 2018
To confirm and sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Prosperous Communities Committee held on 20 March 2018.
(a) Meeting of the Prosperous Communities Committee – 20 March 2018
Councillor Bierley advised that at the previous meeting he had made a declaration of interest in respect of the Waste Service Policies report, not the Parish Lighting Policy report as indicated in the minutes. The same applied to Councillor Howitt-Cowan.
Officers advised that this amendment had already been identified and rectified in the copy to be signed.
In reference to street lighting Councillor Darcel indicated he had sent Officers an e-mail regarding potential financial savings and would like this further investigated.
RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Meeting of the Prosperous Communities Committee held on 20 March 2018 be confirmed and signed as a correct record, subject to noting the amendment that had been made since originally circulating the minutes.
Up to 15 minutes are allowed for public participation. Participants are restricted to 3 minutes each.
The Chairman welcomed Mrs Mallen and Mr Ridley to the meeting and invited them to put their 3 questions to the Committee.
“Thank you Lady Chairman, ladies & gentlemen.
Can the Chair explain the local plan view on indoor bowls and how the Council is working to adopt the outline strategy? Your local plan is an important document a road map if you like as to how as guardians of the community intend to develop and nurture it in the years to come. All local plans are an complex document that has taken a lot of work and money to develop - it is therefore a valuable document that needs to be used as a guide to how things should happen in your community.
The mid Lincolnshire Local Plan was developed in conjunction with 2 other authorities to give a joined up process for many years to come. It covers not only housing and industry, the local economy, the natural and historic environment, and so it goes on. But it also addresses leisure & sport provision. Just over a year ago, on 24 April 2017, West Lindsey District Council signed up to that mid Lincolnshire Local Plan in preference to the previous one. I know we are only one year down the road since then, but I have a special interest in one section and would like to hear how the Prosperous Communities Committee plan to work on that section of the plan. The plan does touch on other types of bowls: such as short mat, which is acknowledged as a village hall type of activity and is very well provided for in some venues it also addresses outdoor bowls and identifies that specifically that in Gains in the next 5 to 10 years, additional provision will probably be required.
So what I’m enquiring about is the local plan and indoor bowling rinks that are used in national and international competitions and featured on television each year for the world championships. We understand the local plan West Lindsey was estimated in 2012 in to need 7.5 indoor rinks.
Until the end of May 2018 there are 8 rinks; at a stroke on 1st June this will reduce to 5, which puts West Lindsey out of step with the Plan and which creates under-provision.
The final words on indoor bowling in the Plan are in bold, saying there is an increasing importance and role to support indoor bowls.
Before responding the Chairman advised that this matter had been the subject of discussions at both this Committee and the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee, and subsequently a meeting of Full Council on 9 April 2018. The decisions taken then had been ratified and were now being implemented.
The Chairman responded to the question as follows: -
“Thank you Mrs Mallen for your question. The Central Lincolnshire Local Plan is essentially concerned with development that needs planning permission. Whilst the works to the Leisure Centre will be extensive that are ... view the full minutes text for item 115.
Setting out current position of previously agreed actions as at 23 April 2018.
Members gave consideration to the Matters Arising Schedule which set out the current position of all previously agreed actions as at 23 April 2018.
In reference to the green actions entitled “Waste Services Policy” and “Parish Lighting Policy” both with imminent due dates, in response to a Member’s enquiry, Officers advised that they understood the Actions would be completed during the week, however a definitive position would be sought and provided to Members outside of the meeting.
RESOLVED that progress on the Matters Arising Schedule, as set out in the report be received and noted, and the requested updates be circulated on receipt.
Members' Declarations of Interest
Members may make any declarations at this point but may also make them at any time during the course of the meeting.
No declarations of interest were made at this stage of the meeting.
Members gave consideration to a report which presented the results of a public consultation regarding the possibility of adopting Schedule 4 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) which related to abandoned shopping trolleys.
The report further set out recommendations arising from the consultation, the steps which would be undertaken if the recommendation was accepted and the Order made, and finally details of the level of charge which would be applied across Gainsborough.
The proposed scheme had been drawn up given the continuance of the issue and lack of engagement by supermarkets to help the Council to resolve the situation informally.
In presenting the report Officers stressed that the purpose of the proposed scheme was not to provide an income to the Council or to financially penalise the supermarkets, but to incentivise steps to prevent trolleys being taken in first instance, and to cover costs to the Council when trolleys had to be collected.
The Scheme had been used elsewhere in the country and had been hugely successful in reducing the number of abandoned trolleys.
Debate ensued and in response to Members’ comments Officers indicated the number of trolleys that were collected on a weekly basis and how this impeded the “planned work” of operatives. Abandoned shopping trolleys still needed to be reported to the supermarket in the first instance. The technicalities of dealing with the issue as a fly-tipping offence were outlined and furthermore such an approach did not rely on supermarkets taking any responsibility. Charges would be raised through the usual debtor system and the standard terms and conditions of payment would be applicable. There was no intention, should the Order be adopted, for the Council to undertake a proactive campaign. Operatives would continue to pick up trolleys as and when they came across them, as they had been doing, but the Order would ensure that there was a means by which costs could be recovered. Those supermarkets who made use of the trolleywise service had already committed to undertake sweeps twice weekly, as opposed to current once a week service, and the approach was driven by the desire for supermarkets to take responsibility. The plastic bag tax had seen cases increase however there were always a number of factors which contributed to high levels of abandoned shopping trolleys being seen in some areas.
Officers confirmed the impact of the Order, if made, would be monitored going forward.
RESOLVED that Schedule 4 of the Environmental Protection Act, as per the proposal in Appendix A of the report, be adopted to come into effect on the 17 August 2018.
Note: Councillor Gillian Bardsley declared a pecuniary interest in the following item of business (Housing Enforcement Policy and Civil Penalties) as a Landlord and left the Chamber prior to consideration of the item.
Members gave consideration to a report which sought approval of the revised Housing Enforcement Policy and the newly proposed Civil Penalties Policy.
The Housing Enforcement Policy was currently in operation but had been updated as a result of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 which allowed financial penalties to be imposed as an alternative to prosecution for certain offences. The Civil Penalties Policy would enable the Council to issue financial penalties directly to landlords who committed certain offences.
Consultation had been undertaken, the results of which were shared with the Committee
Financial penalties issued under the Policy would still be subject to challenge but they would not be issued by the Courts, however there would be a right of appeal for those issued a fine.
The rate of fines being proposed were outlined to the Committee and were contained with the Policy. Income received from penalties would be used to offset costs which may include additional legal costs incurred through the hearing of appeals and seeking of court orders.
It was anticipated that for lower level offences the proposed policy would streamline the process and be a more efficient and effective way in which to deal with matters. However each case would be reviewed and considered on its own merits.
In response to Members questions and comments Officers advised that Rent Repayment Orders could be sought, and outlined the circumstances when such an Order may be sought. The Policy expanded the scope as to when such an Order could be made. To-date the Authority had not used Rent Repayment Orders and it was an area that Officers would like to further explore, particularly in light of the some of the offences uncovered through the Selective Licensing Scheme.
This was a new piece of legislation and therefore there was little case law to rely on. As cases were heard the Policy would be reviewed and amended (by Committee) if need be.
There would be a database of rogue landlords, this would be populated with those persons who had either been prosecuted in Court, or who had received two civil penalties, and it would be a national database.
From a customer point of view, and those raising concerns the process would be no different, only the way in which an offence identified was dealt with at the end of the process. It was also noted that Council would need to have the same “burden of proof” to issue a civil penalty as it would if it was taking the case to Court.
Officers confirmed the appropriate resources were in place, briefly outlined how these resources were apportioned to this work and indicated these would continue to be monitored through the Progress and Delivery reports going forward.
(a) the Updated Housing Enforcement Policy be approved to come into effect from the 21 May 2018; and
(b) the Housing Enforcement Civil Penalties be approved to come into effect from the 21 May 2018.
Note Councillor Gillian Bardsley re- joined the meeting
Consideration was given to a report which presented an updated Housing Assistance Policy for approval. The Policy revision sought to amend the existing approach to DFGs and enhance their scope and impact. Furthermore the policy sought to introduce a completely new offer for Private Sector Renewal (PSR). The report further sought approval of additional finances required to provide the assistance offered through the Policy.
Members were advised of two omissions / errors contained within the report. Paragraph 8.1.2 of the Policy should read DBS check as opposed to CBR; and the table at 6.2 of the report should have included £100k of capital receipts. Members noted these two points.
In presenting the report Officers outlined in detail the types of support which the Policy would offer as set out in Sections 4.1 and 7.2 of the report. In respect of 7.2, since writing the report it had been suggested that the First Time Buyer initiative should be amended to simply be an Empty Property Buyer initiative. The rationale for this was explained and Members were agreeable to the amendment.
In response to Member comments and questions, Officers advised that where a charge against land was made to recover costs, costs recovered in respect of DFGs were allocated to capital receipts, whereas costs recovered in respect of PSR works would be re-invested and used to fund further work under the Scheme. The PSR assistance would only be available in Gainsborough, as the funding which supported the programme was from a pot of funding relating to the Regeneration and Growth of Gainsborough, which had been allocated within the Capital Programme sometime ago. Furthermore, with such finite and limited resources it was hoped that the targeting of resources would see a greater impact and would support the proactive work currently being undertaken in the area using statutory measures.
In light of the information provided it was proposed and seconded that recommendation a) be amended to read “approve the Housing Assistance policy as set out in Appendix 3 to come into effect on 1 June 2018 subject to the policy being amended as follows: - all references to the First Time Buyer initiative be amended to read Empty Property Buyer initiative”
On being put to the vote the amendment was carried and on that basis it was RESOLVED that:
(a) the Housing Assistance Policy, as set out in Appendix 3, be approved to come into effect on 1 June 2018, subject to the Policy being amended as follows: - all references to the First time buyer initiative being amended to read Empty Property buyer initiative
(b) it be RECOMMENDED to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee that the earmarked reserve allocated for private sector renewal be released to fund the assistance offered within the Policy.
Note: Councillor Gillian Bardsley, during consideration of the above item, declared a pecuniary interest as landlord and left the meeting. Councillor Mrs Bardsley did not take part in the deliberations or vote on the above item of business but ... view the full minutes text for item 120.
Consideration was given to a report which sought approval to introduce a Business Rate Growth Policy in order to attract new and expanding business to locate in West Lindsey, specifically on its Strategic Employment Sites (as defined within the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan), these being the Central Lincolnshire Food Enterprise Zone at Hemswell Cliff and Somerby Park in Gainsborough.
In presenting the report Officers outlined in detail the rationale for the Policy, the contents of the proposed Scheme, as summarised at Section 3 of the report, the costs associated with its introduction and how these would be financed, details of how the Scheme would be promoted and finally how applications would be assessed and decisions made.
RESOLVED that it be RECOMMENDED to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee that the Business Rate Growth Policy for West Lindsey’s Strategic Employment areas, as detailed within the report be approved.
Members gave consideration to a report which sought to introduce a Commercial Loan Policy and Framework, that if implemented would allow the Council to lend money to third party organisations, through a discretionary Commercial Loan to support Growth and Economic Development.
The Gainsborough Growth Fund had now ceased to exist and a number of financial support initiatives were being proposed for introduction, this being one of them.
The Scheme would not be promoted and those approaching the Council for financial support under the Policy would be supported in applying for assistance from other funders and lenders in the first instance.
The ways in which risks had been mitigated through the Policy were outlined to Members, and loans would not be made to individuals. All “loan offers” under the Policy would need final approval by the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee.
RESOLVED that it be RECOMMENDED to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee that the Commercial Loan Policy be approved in order to allow the Council to award discretionary commercial loans to third party organisations in support of local growth and economic development.
Members gave consideration to a report which assessed the performance of the Council’s services and key projects through agreed performance measures. Members were asked to review performance and recommend areas where improvements should be made, having regard to any remedial measures already included within the report.
The report summary was structured to highlight those areas that were performing above expectations, and those areas where there was a risk to either performance or delivery.
Areas described as performing well included:
· Benefits – Customer Satisfaction
· Local Land Charges
Those areas described as risks included:
· Overall Complaints
· Street Cleaning Income
· Home Choices
Further information was given on each of the above.
Debate ensued and the report and general direction of travel was welcomed.
Whilst complaints overall were up, Members commented that this was an improved position in light of the fact that complaints were now being more accurately recorded, and as such was to be expected.
Making reference to Waste Services and the reduced recycling rate, a Member referenced that he had previously made enquiries of Lincolnshire County Council as to what potential penalties could be levied against the Authority if the target was not met and under what legislative basis, however the position had been unknown. The Member sought indication as to whether the position had yet been clarified and Officers undertook to further investigate this.
Members commented on the difficult winter the Market Traders had endured and it was suggested that maybe initiatives such as that seen at Cottingham whereby traders were only charged for 9 months of the year should be investigated, with the Council offering support sooner rather than later due to the recent bad weather.
In response Officers outlined the previous decisions Members had made with regard to the Market, alongside this a raft of improvements were being implemented including the introduction of a dedicated Markets Manager and £25k events programme. The suggestion would be taken back to Officers concerned for consideration, however the importance of not conflicting with the good work currently being undertaken was stressed.
Volunteer litter picks were to be encouraged wherever possible and in response to Members’ questions Officers outlined how income was generated through the street cleansing service.
RESOLVED that having critically appraised the performance of services and key projects, and having had regard to the remedial measures suggested in the report, and the information provided in response to Member questions, no further formal action be requested at this stage, however the suggestions made throughout the debate be considered.
Members gave consideration to the Committee Work Plan.
The Lead Officer advised that post Annual Council, at which the Committee make-up would be determined, he would be working with Lead Members of the Committee to identify key reports for the 2018/19 civic year.
In response to questions Officers outlined the background to, and future intention of, the Gainsborough Green Corridor report. In light of the work required Members were advised that this item would be re-scheduled for November 2018.
RESOLVED that the Work Plan as set out in the report, be received and noted.
This being the last meeting of the Civic Year the Chairman expressed thanks to all Members and Officers for their dedication and work over the past 12 months.
The Committee in turn paid tribute to the Chairman for her work and leadership over the period.
Vice-Chairman Councillor England addressed Members indicating that he intended to stand down from his duties on the Committee for new challenges, and spoke of the honour and pleasure it had been to serve on the Committee.