Councillors' Attendance Statistics
Agenda and minutes
Environment and Sustainability Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 14 January 2010 7:00 pm
Venue: York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham
Contact: Gary Lelliott; 020 8891 7275; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This meeting has been moved from Tuesday 18 January 2009
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Mumford and Tony Goodall.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Members are requested to declare any interests orally at the start of the meeting and again immediately before consideration of the matter. Members are reminded to specify the agenda item number to which it refers and whether the interest is of a personal or prejudicial nature.
Members are also reminded of the requirements of Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 that they should declare and not vote on specified matters if they are two months or more in arrears with their Council Tax payments.
AGENDA ITEM 7 – REVIEW OF CHARGES FOR 2010/11:
Councillor Seymour declared a personal interest by virtue of his mother using some of the services for which the charges were being reviewed.
AGENDA ITEM 8 – LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK; DEVELOPMENT MANAGEMENT DPD – PRE-SUBMISSION VERSION:
Councillor Cardy declared a person interest by virtue of being a director of the Richmond Housing Partnership and because he lived close to a proposed town centre boundary.
James Page declared a personal interest by virtue of working for a solar energy company.
To consider and approve the minutes of the last meeting on 10 November 2009 attached.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2009 be received and approved, subject to the following amendments, and the Chair be authorised to sign them:
· List Councillors Acton and Elengorn as “in attendance”.
· Page 2, 3rd bullet – amend “leaf strife” to read “loose strife”.
· Page 3, views section – add additional bullet to read “Consideration was to be given to home working requirements”.
· Page 3, views section – delete bullet point that reads “there should be a change to the 60:40 split on social rented/intermediate accommodation policy with a greater focus on subsidising low income housing”.
REPRESENTATIONS BY THE PUBLIC (IF ANY)
There were no representations.
EXECUTIVE DECISIONS CALLED IN (IF ANY)
There were no executive decisions called-in.
Assistant Director of Environment Property, Parks and Sustainability
The committee welcomed Ishbel Murray to her first Environment and Sustainability Overview & Scrutiny Committee meeting.
This report describes the budget setting process and sets out the detailed revenue budgets for the Environment Directorate for the financial year 2010/11, highlighting significant changes from the previous year.
Report of Director of Environment attached.
It was noted that this small reduction in the budget was the first in many years. It was likely that this reduction would be implemented although some further proposed efficiencies could be put in place toward the end of the next financial year.
The final budget would be sent for approval by Council after Cabinet had agreed its final recommendations.
It was not proposed to make changes to budgets where they were in place to support vulnerable people. Some areas were starting to see savings, where previous efficiencies were starting to filter through. The Director stated that a blanket level of savings was not being sought. Rather, resources were being more carefully scrutinised, and vacancy control was being widely used.
Unions would be involved, although it was recognised that this was a discussion for Human Resources and Finance & Corporate Services.
There was no indication on when the 2011 census data would be available to base settlements on.
Although there were several funding streams available from Property, Parks and Sustainability, some of these would not start generating income immediately. This area would require more work on each proposal.
More efficiencies could be made from better targeted street cleansing. There was scope to provide more cleansing in high traffic areas, and less in those residential areas where less cleaning was necessary. Officers were confident that this proposal could be delivered, particularly with better monitoring of contracts.
Costs in relation to car parking passes, for staff who needed the use of a car in order to carry out their jobs, were recouped by charging the directorates they worked for.
Additional money was being provided for regulatory services such as planning because there was a decrease in income for these services due to the economic downturn. This was to ensure that an efficient service remained for when the economy picked up again.
Current budgetary targets for fees and charges in relation to parking services were not being met because people weren’t using their cars as much as was expected.
Fees and charges had increased for waste services. This was because the cost of landfill tax had increased by £8.00 a tonne and the council was currently sending 50,000 tonnes to landfill every year, although it was noted that collection costs were remaining fairly steady.
Councillors congratulated officers for the high level of savings.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
To consider the proposed charges for 2010/11.
Joint report of Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Resources, Cabinet Member for Environment, Cabinet Member for Traffic, Transport and Parking and the Cabinet Member for Communities attached.
The Committee was assured that there were no plans to change parking charges for the 2010/11 year.
The West London Waste minimum charge was agreed by the West London Waste Board. The reciprocal arrangements between Richmond and Kingston had broken down; Kingston were now only allowing residents of that borough to use the Villiers Road site. It was noted that Richmond was still allowing out-of-borough residents to use the Townmead Road site and it was hoped that an agreement with Kingston could be negotiated in the future.
The Mayor of London had rejected proposals to take over the management of waste centres and it would prove both costly and bureaucratic to roll out a system similar to the one in operation at Villiers Road. Introducing charges for large item collections had reduced the number of items being collected to a more manageable level and it was reported that the levels of fly-tipping had not increased because of this.
There had been a change in the regulations pertaining to impermeable surfaces. Anyone wishing to install an impermeable surface now had to apply for planning permission. Permeable surfaces were allowed under permitted development.
The contents of Council provided skips was sorted, and all recyclable material was removed before the remainder was sent to landfill. Many private skip companies were also offering the same service, which meant that the Council was not able to promote its own service as being a better one. The Committee felt that the Council should still be advertising the fact that it recycles as much as it can from skips. The recycling rate of 80% was very high and this was monitored by the Environment Agency.
There were 1886 allotment plots in Richmond upon Thames, with an average plot size of 5 rods. It was proposed to increase the cost of leasing a plot by £1.00 per rod, per year. It was noted that a high proportion of plot users were entitled to some sort of concession, with the current level of subsidy provided by the Council being in the region of £50,000 a year. The rates levied by Richmond were comparable to, and in some cases less than, other boroughs.
The Council was looking to reduce this level of subsidy by both increasing income from plot holders, and increasing the efficiency of the service. The allotments service was now managed by the parks service which meant that it could benefit from some existing parks contracts for maintenance and other economies of scale.
Most allotment committees now had access to the controls for their water supply, which could reduce the labour rates in the parks service. It was recognised that there were still issues at some sites.
There was a need to increase the usage of the Sheen Lane Centre and in order to achieve this usage target, some of the hire costs had been reduced for certain times of the day. Officers agreed to provide the committee with figures on the current levels of usage.
There were some proposed changes to the cost of providing marriage ceremonies, which allowed the pricing structure to take account of varying scales of ceremonies and the rooms in which they took place. It was hoped that by doing this, various improvements could be carried out in some rooms.
Citizenship ceremonies were paid for via citizenship fees. An additional charge was made for private ceremonies, or where the person wanted to stipulate the time at which it took place. It was noted that significantly less time was spent on the arrangements for a citizenship ceremony than would be for a marriage ceremony.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
To seek the views of the Committee to the Pre-Submission version of the Plan, prior to formal public consultation.
Report of the Head of Policy and Design attached.
Appendix 1 attached.
Appendix 2 is a separate enclosure.
[Councillor Stanier left the meeting.]
In the course of discussions, the Committee received clarification on a number of issues including:
· Conversions and extensions would be required to meet Ecohomes ‘excellent’ standard and address relevant areas covered in the Sustainability Checklist.
· Wind turbines were generally not effective in generating energy within heavily built up areas in London.
· Many of the figures in the report were aspirational, such as the target figure of 80% of potential roof areas on new developments having ‘living roofs’. It was recognised that further clarification was needed in cases where parts of the roof were used for photovoltaic panels or solar thermal units.
· Cycling was covered by Policies DM TP3/7. The cycle parking standards had been carried forward from the UDP Review and in a number of cases led to very inadequate cycle provision. It was recognised these standards may need to be reviewed in the light of consultation.
· A reference to Home based businesses would be included in the pre-submission document prior to consultation.
· Some policies would need to be reviewed in the light of consultation responses including those from developers.
The following views were expressed by members of the Committee:
· The section around wind turbines should be revised to recognise that while they would generally not be an effective solution within the built up parts of the Borough, there may be some locations where they can be effective particularly with new design solutions.
· The extent to which larger retail premises would be encouraged within Richmond town centre needed to be monitored as too many could prove damaging to smaller independent businesses. It was noted that larger retail units might improve the financial viability of the town centre, but that would be at the expense of changing the character of the shopping environment.
· In relation to linked sites it was important that affordable housing was delivered prior to, or in conjunction with, the completion of the on-site market development.
· Specific reference was made to potential views within Bushy Park and open spaces within Whitton that should be protected.
· The cycling standards needed to be reviewed. These had been carried over from earlier UDPs and no longer reflected the increased and growing reliance on the bicycle as a means of transport.
· One member suggested that consideration might be given to the provision of more houseboat moorings along the Thames.
RESOLVED that the Committee note the Pre-Submission Development Management Development Plan Document and the consultation process subject to the above comments.
This report provides an overview of some of the proposals in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, Public Draft for consultation.
Report of the Assistant Director for Environment attached.
The figures contained in the report took account of the economic downturn and it was noted that the time for commenting on them had now passed.
Some Committee members had written to the Mayor of London to support the proposed parking targets, although they opposed the method by which this would be achieved.
The Committee opposed any expansion at Heathrow, although it was noted that this was not in the Mayor of London’s remit.
The lane rental fee was levied against utilities companies. The purpose of the charge was to encourage utilities works to be completed as quickly as possible. The Committee felt that it was a good idea to encourage companies to coordinate their work so lane rental costs could be cut.
Some members of the Committee commended the approach to emissions based parking charges being proposed by the Mayor.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
This report gives details of the proposed work programme for the municipal year 2009/10.
Report of the Senior Democratic Services Officer attached.
The Director for Environment confirmed that the proposed biomass boiler was no longer viable. This was because it did not meet the various requirements set out in planning policies.
The Assistant Director (Development and Street Scene) said that an information report for the new waste management strategy would be available for the next meeting.