Councillors' Attendance Statistics
Agenda and minutes
Tuesday, 27 March 2012 7:00 pm
Venue: Council Chamber, York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham
Contact: Kathryn Thomas, Head of Democratic Services, 020 8891 7860, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Council held on 28 February 2012 attached.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 28 February 2012 be signed by the Mayor as a correct record.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Members are asked to declare any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.
To receive Petitions in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 2.1 (iv).
Councillor Allen presented a petition to the Council requesting that action be taken to keep Twickenham Golf Club open to the public.
Councillor Jaeger presented a petition to the Council on behalf of the residents of Bridge Way seeking implementation of a 20mph zone.
Any questions received of which due notice has been given attached.
(1) In accordance with the notice given, Mr Tim Lennon asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene:
‘Will the Council actively endorse and enact the Times’ cyclesafe manifesto (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/contact/) including the commitment to specific budgets towards the provision of worthwhile cycling facilities in the borough?’
As Mr Lennon was not present at the meeting, a written response would be provided:
(The Council supports improved safety for cyclists, indeed for all users of the highway, and we applaud The Times for the work it is doing. The Times makes several recommendations which I am pleased to say are already part of the Council’s work programme, including providing training courses for cyclists, safety awareness literature and improving cycling infrastructure. Looking at budgets, if we exclude major project and maintenance spends which benefit all transport users alike, in the coming year around £300,000 or 15 percent of the Local Implementation Plan grant from TfL will be spent on promoting and improving cycling in the Borough. As the cycle share of all journeys made in the borough currently stands at 5%, I think it can be seen that we are by no means neglecting cycling in the overall work programme.)
(2) In accordance with the notice given, Mr Mark Rycroft asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene:
‘The law states that a tricycle can be used in a bus lane as long as it weighs less than 450kgs. I have a Reliant Robin which weighs less than 450kgs and on the V5 it is classed as a tricycle. Can I use the bus lane?’
As Mr Rycroft was not present at the meeting, a written response would be provided:
(I am not sure which law it is referred to, but I can say that tricycles are not allowed to use bus lanes in roads for which the LBRuT is the Traffic Authority. The only specified exemptions we have in this borough are for bicycles and taxis and, where permitted, for motorcycles. I am not sure that there is a case to be made for further exemptions. Most decisions in Highways involve a trade-off between classes of road users within a given piece of road capacity. If we consulted on it, I think we would find the other bus lane users might well be opposed to further exemptions. For further information, there has been a case taken to the Parking Appeals Tribunal Service where the adjudicator upheld a penalty charge notice issued by LBRUT to a tricyclist for travelling in a bus lane. So the PATAS adjudicator was happy with the legality of our current arrangement.)
To receive questions from Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.2, of which due notice has been given.
(a) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Evans, asked the Cabinet Member for Schools:
‘Can the Cabinet Member update us on any developments for the future provision of Secondary School places in the Borough?’
Councillor Hodgins replied in the following terms ‘As we laid out at the Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee last year, there are a number of schemes going on for secondary school places. We have the consultation for the Clifden site, there are Free School applications in at the moment which we expect to hear the results of over the coming months and last week we announced a joint consultation with Richmond upon Thames College to look at the use of the site potentially and also looking at the possibility of establishing an entirely new secondary school on the site.’
Councillor Evans asked a supplementary question regarding further detail of the initial discussions with Richmond Upon Thames College. Councillor Hodgins confirmed that all options were being discussed with the College and that it provided a unique opportunity to further develop education provision within the Borough.
Councillor Eady asked a supplementary question regarding the potential to attract Government funding for such a proposal when previous attempts had been unsuccessful. Councillor Hodgins noted that funding options were being considered as part of the feasibility study.
Councillor Chappell asked a supplementary question regarding the impact of the proposals on increased educational choice for all the families in the Borough. Councillor Hodgins responded that the plans were essential to the long term future of increased choice and quality in education for Richmond children.
(b) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Knight asked the Leader of the Council :
‘How much has Councillor Richard Montague received in Members’ Allowances since he last attended a meeting (Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 21 November 2011?)
Lord True replied in the following terms ‘Former Councillor Richard Montague received the same sum as any other member elected to represent his constituents and he did so admirably. He is no longer a Councillor but I think we should thank him for what he did. He and his colleagues secured the Manor Road foot bridge which the Liberal Democrats failed to do, he helped get rid of the unfair parking taxes introduced by the party opposite saving local tax payers hundreds of thousands of pounds and he backed the Council’s council tax freeze saving local tax payer millions of pounds a year. He also put his hand in his pocket and paid for his food and wine after every Council meeting unlike the party opposite.
Councillor Knight asked a supplementary question regarding former Councillor Montague’s recent resignation and suggested he return his allowances paid to the authority. Lord True responded that this should not be the case.
Councillor O’Malley asked a supplementary question regarding increases prior to 2010 in the allowance received by the Leader of the Council. Lord True noted that such a significant increase of 36% had not been in best interests of the residents of the borough and could have had a detrimental impact on delivery of services to vulnerable people.
Councillor Williams asked a supplementary question and sought clarification on the role of former Councillor Montague in securing the Manor Road foot bridge. Lord True responded that former Councillor Montague had been instrumental in delivering the foot bridge in accordance with the wishes of local people.
(c) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Butler asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture:
‘What were the circumstances that led Cabinet to decide to close Heathfield Library in 2008?’
Councillor Fleming responded in the following terms: ‘The Cabinet in fact took the decision to sell the Heathfield Library and the adjacent land to the NHS Local Investment Finance Trust at its meeting on 7 July 2008. The sale of the library site was to enable a new community health centre to be built.’
Councillor Butler asked a supplementary question regarding the representations made by the Ward Councillors at that time with regard to the proposal. Councillor Fleming confirmed there had been none.
Councillor Jaeger asked a supplementary question regarding the detail within the decision to use the capital monies from the land sale to create a new library and the potential to utilise land as part of the rebuilding of Heathfield School to provide the facility. Councillor Fleming responded that there had been no appropriate land available for a permanent library at the time of the decision and the option of a temporary demountable had been discounted. A review would be undertaken of the existing library provision at the Community Centre in due course.
Councillor Elliot asked a supplementary question about discussions which had taken place with Ward Councillors about library service provision in Heathfield. Councillor Fleming responded that a meeting to consider alternative sites had taken place with Councillors from Heathfield, Whitton and West Twickenham Wards.
(d) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Williams asked the Cabinet Member for Schools:
‘Why did the consultation on sixth form provision in local schools not include a reference to the £25 million plus capital cost to the local tax payer of this proposal nor the need for significant ongoing revenue subsidy from the local tax payer to schools to support these otherwise financially unviable services?’
Councillor Hodgins responded in the following terms: ‘I’m not sure entirely which consultation Councillor Williams is referring to. Last year we did a survey asking in principle questions about 6th forms, in which 87% of respondents were in favour of 6th forms being introduced. We are now doing the statutory consultation in which the capital investment is clearly indicated and we will find out the results within the next few days.’
Councillor Williams asked a supplementary question regarding the nature of the first survey and the fact that without associated costs, it may have been misleading for residents. Councillor Hodgins responded that sixth forms were a long term investment and would be a valuable addition to the borough’s education provision.
Councillor Martin asked a supplementary question regarding whether sixth form investment would provide value for money for residents. Councillor Hodgins responded that this was a long term proposal which would be of benefit to families of the borough.
Councillor Eady asked a supplementary question regarding the £25 million investment required for sixth forms and linked ongoing costs in contrast to services reducing in other areas such as day centres. Councillor Hodgins replied that sixth forms were a long term investment, supported by the residents of the borough.
(e) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Chappell asked the Cabinet Member for Education, Youth and Children’s Services:
‘ Can the Cabinet Member give an update on the old Courthouse Unit in Mortlake?’
Councillor Percival responded in the following terms: ‘The Mortlake Centre opened in 2010 to work with some of our most vulnerable pupils. It operates with a multi agency team to ensure we support those pupils who might find normal school provision a challenge. The team brings together educational support with social care and health related workers, skilled at working with vulnerable youngsters. The aim of the centre is to ensure that pupils are supported to such an extent that they are able to return to mainstream education.’
Councillor Chappell asked a supplementary question regarding future development of the provision available at the Centre. Councillor Percival responded that on a recent visit to the Centre, it was acknowledged that increased teaching support on site would be of significant benefit to young people attending.
Councillor Stockley asked a supplementary question about the difference between the Mortlake Centre and the New House Centre. Councillor Percival confirmed that the purpose of the New House Centre was to provide support for children with more challenging behaviour.
(f) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Elloy asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene:
‘ What action is he taking to tackle the undesirable practice in many roads of residents removing their front garden walls to create a parking space and driving across the kerb without a dropped kerb?’
Councillor Harrison responded in the following terms: ‘I share Councillor Elloy’s concerns regarding the practice described. As Members know, the Council has a very clear policy through the Supplementary Planning Guidance on the provision of crossovers. Each case has to be looked at on its merits to consider whether there has been a breach of Planning (some locations will need Planning Permission to remove a wall) and/or a breach of ‘highway’ law. The remedies can often vary depending on the situation.’
Councillor Elloy asked a supplementary question regarding the unfairness of the practice when some residents went through the due process whilst others did not. Councillor Harrison agreed to investigate further any areas of particular concern.
Councillor Acton asked a supplementary question regarding the difficulties faced by residents trying to park in streets where cars were parking across kerbs which hadn’t been lowered. Councillor Harrison acknowledged that problems did occur and specific areas could be investigated.
(g) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Elliott asked the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources:
‘What is the Council’s policy on investments?’
Councillor Samuel responded in the following terms: ‘The Council’s policy on investments is set out in the Treasury Management policy approved by the Audit committee, Chairman Liberal Democrat Councillor Cardy, the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee Chairman, Liberal Democrat Councillor Miller and this Council at its last meeting. This policy carries into effect our obligation to meet three criteria, security, liquidity and yield and in these troubled financial times security is the most important. It’s because our professional officers follow this line that Richmond, unlike many other Councils, never invested in Icelandic banks’
Councillor Elliott asked a supplementary question regarding the Authority’s role in lending money to other Councils. Councillor Samuel responded that any monies loaned would be at a competitive rate and income from interest would help to subsidise services for the residents of the Borough.
Councillor Knight asked a supplementary question about the possibility of investing some of the monies in reserves into preventative services. Councillor Samuel responded that the Council was managing its finances prudently and investing in an ambitious Capital Programme.
Councillor Porter asked a supplementary question regarding funding for the Capital Programme. Councillor Samuel responded that some of the cash flow would be used to fund the Capital Programme.’
(h) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Jones asked the Cabinet Member for Environment and Parks, Planning and Highways:
‘What is her justification for introducing land charges and service fees for new community and local charity events when existing such events will continue to be free of charges?’
Councillor Morris responded in the following terms: ‘An important feature of the events policy is to ensure appropriate recovery of fees associated with the staging of events. We are keen to ensure organisers take responsibility for reducing costs. We have invested resources in support of our Events service and all event organisers have the benefit of this. Established community and local charity events are tried and tested in the value they make to our community. New events are afforded at a significant discount of 60%, with no deposit charged and will be encouraged to apply for funding to support what costs there are.’
Councillor Jones as a supplementary question about the potential for the charges to discourage charities and voluntary organisations from holding events in the Borough. Councillor Morris re-emphasised that such organisations would still receive a 60% discount and would not be required to pay any upfront deposits.
Councillor Gibbons asked a supplementary question about the perceived level of bureaucracy required by the policy. Councillor Morris responded that organisations had been consulted on the policy and were aware of the requirements and welcomed the consistent approach it would bring.
(i) In accordance with the notice give, Councillor Salvoni asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Street Scene:
‘Is the fair parking policy succeeding?’
Councillor Harrison responded in the following terms; ‘I’m glad to report that for the 5th month in a row there have been no stage one complaints regarding parking operations.’
Councillor Salvoni asked a supplementary question regarding the normality of such a record. Councillor Harrison reported that it was unprecedented and an indication of high resident satisfaction.
Councillor Avon asked a supplementary question regarding the lack of stage one complaints. Councillor Harrison responded that increased publicity of the policy, empathetic and well trained parking enforcement officers and a customer service based approach had contributed to the development of the service.
The time allowed for Members questions had elapsed and a written response would be provided to all remaining notified questions.
(j) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Coombs asked the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Resources:
"Can he confirm that, of the £14 million he announced at the last meeting would be spent on new affordable homes over the next five years, £4.1m relates to expenditure in the past year on legacy schemes, £1.3m relates to final payments on these same legacy schemes in 2012/13, £1.7m relates to sponsored moves and home extension schemes and only £7.3m is available for new affordable homes over the next five years?"
Councillor Samuel responded in the following terms:
[The relevant figures are: of 167 social rented homes in the programme, 38 had funding approved under the Liberal Democrats, 129 under this administration. The Liberal Democrat record is 2006/7 £2.4m spent, 2007/8 £770k, 2008/9 a pitiful £54k and 2009/10 £672k.
Under this administration 2010/11 £2.4m and this year alone £4.2m - i.e. more than the four Liberal Democrat years put together. The figures speak for themselves. Conservatives deliver more social housing than the Liberal Democrats. ]
(k) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Blakemore asked the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing:
‘Will the Cabinet member bring the Council up to date with Supported
Housing plans in the Borough?”
Councillor Urquhart responded in the following terms:
[Two new supported housing projects for learning disabilities have been developed and due to open soon. One is at Landon Park for six people with complex needs and autism that will also return some service users back into the borough. The other is at Lincoln Avenue, for five young people in transition into adulthood providing a much needed local alternative to out of borough placements. In addition there are planned developments for mental health service users, one for five people and one for four people who need help to move on and prepare for living independently longer term.]
(l) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Roberts asked the Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture:
‘How many expressions of interest have there been for running Ham, Hampton Wick and Kew Libraries?’
Councillor Fleming responded in the following terms:
[ The Council has received four expressions of interest from organisations interested in managing Ham, Hampton Wick and Kew libraries in partnership with the Council.]
(m)In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Elengorn asked the Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture:
‘ How will ward councilors be consulted on the draft Village Plans?’
Councillor Fleming responded in the following terms:
[Ward councillors will receive draft copies of the village plans covering their wards on 8 May 2012. It is proposed to publish the plans at the end of May.
It is proposed that Councillors will be invited to attend an early evening drop in session to give their comments on the Plans. This will allow all the councillors for a specific village area to comment on the plan together. If unable to attend they can arrange to meet an officer to give their comments at a convenient time.]
(n) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Acton asked the Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture:
‘ What activities will the Twickenham Advisory Plan (TAP) be supporting in 2012 and how does its work relate to other Council initiatives?’
Councillor Fleming responded in the following terms:
[The task of the Twickenham Advisory Panel will be to continue to assist and support the emerging and developing Twickenham Area Action Plan. They have a developing programme of work on specific site projects that includes the areas of transport, retail and economy and community and leisure. This may involve activities of research, feasibility and consultation activities. A more detailed programme will soon be published on a web page dedicated to the Twickenham Advisory Panel.]
(a) Councillor Jaeger has given notice to raise the following Ward Concern:
“The overall plan, timetable and budgets for improvements to Whitton.”
(a) Councillor Palmer has given notice to raise the following Ward Concern:
"The serious Health hazard created by the increasing Dog-fouling in Barnes Ward"
(a) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Jaeger highlighted her concern about the overall plan, timetable and budgets for improvements to Whitton. She explained that residents’ expectations for improvements to Whitton had been raised following a number of engagement events seeking views on developments over recent years. The improvements to lighting and shop frontages had been undertaken yet further improvements were expected to local youth facilities, the vicinity of the railway station and pavements. The exact budget available for further improvements was noted to be as yet, unconfirmed.
Councillor Morris indicated her continued support for improvements to Whitton and noted that this area was included as one of five priority uplift areas within the Borough. Funding would continue to be available for improvements to Whitton over the next 5 years as part of £10 million included in the Council’s Capital Programme.
(b) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Palmer highlighted her concern about the serious health hazard created by the increasing dog-fouling in Barnes Ward. Much local support to reduce dog fouling incidents and keep the area clean had been forthcoming with school children creating posters to be displayed locally. Support for the initiative was sought from the Council, particularly for laminating posters and for additional litter bins in the area surrounding Lowther School.
Councillor Morris indicated her agreement with local residents about the hazardous nature of dog fouling and thanked residents for taking a proactive approach to resolving the issue. Enforcement Officers had been working in the area and funding for 25 posters had been agreed. She agreed to review the placement of litter bins in the area and noted that repositioning existing bins within the area may assist to resolve the issue without creating additional clutter on the street scene.
Lord True presented the Corporate Plan 2012/2013 to the Council for approval.
During the course of debate improvements were suggested to strengthen areas of the plan relating to prevalence of smoking amongst young people linked to preventative education and public transport and cycling.
REPORTS OF OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEES
There were no reports of Overview and Scrutiny Committees on this occasion.
REPORTS ON JOINT ARRANGEMENTS AND EXTERNAL ORGANISATIONS
There were no reports on joint arrangements and external organisations on this occasion.
Resolved: That the draft Schedule of Council Meetings, May 2012 – May 2013 be noted.
EXECUTIVE DECISIONS TAKEN AS A MATTER OF URGENCY
There were no reported Executive decisions taken as a matter of urgency on this occasion.
To receive any announcements from the Mayor, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Head of Paid Service.
The Mayor, on behalf of the Council made the following announcements:
The Leader of the Council announced that Councillor Rita Palmer had been nominated to be Mayor for the 2012/2013 year.
NOTICES OF MOTION
There were no notices of motion on this occasion.