Agenda and minutes
Tuesday, 3 July 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
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Annual Council held on 22 May 2012 attached.
Resolved that the minutes of the Council held on 22 May 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.
To receive Petitions in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 2.1 (iv).
In accordance with the Petition Scheme, Council has received a petition with more than 1000 signatures. This threshold triggers a debate. The petition has been submitted by F.A. Gray and the Richmond Dog Fouling Steering Group.
We, the undersigned, petition the council to introduce an effective 'zero tolerance' policy against littering of dog litter bags and dog fouling; introduce more signage of FPNs; install dog foul bins on or near green grass spaces; issue free dog litter bags; and introduce a major 'enforcement awareness campaign' to inform the public of the consequences of breaking ‘enviro-laws’.
Dog fouling is a nuisance and can also be a danger, particularly to young children, as it can lead to serious illnesses such as Toxocariasis (round worm infection). The worst effected areas in Barnes are ALL the footpaths, pavements and green spaces leading into Stilling Fleet Road where Lowther Primary School is situated. Everyday the footpaths are littered with dog mess which is hazardous to children on scooters, bicycles, foot and baby strollers.
In accordance with the Petition Scheme, the Council had received a petition with more than 1000 signatures, triggering a debate. The Petition had been submitted by F.A. Gray on behalf of the Richmond Dog Fouling Steering Group.
Fern Gray presented the petition and began by reminding members of the health risks dog mess presented, particularly to children. She said that dog fouling tended to be worse around the primary schools in the area, which was exacerbated by pushchairs and bicycles. It was reported that this was a long running issue and was identified as one of particular concern to residents in the All-in-One survey. Some signs that aimed to discourage dog fouling, and had been produced by local children, were presented. Ms Gray stated that the aim for those signing the petition was to change the attitudes of less conscientious dog owners through education and awareness. Ms Gray presented a ‘five point plan’ that the Richmond Dog Fouling Steering Group had prepared, which aimed to tackle the issue of dog fouling borough-wide.
Councillor Morris thanked the petition’s organisers and began by outlining the different types of antisocial behaviour some dog owners exhibited. Councillor Morris outlined some of the measures that were being taken as a result of the petition, such as litter bins in areas established as problematic. She asked for more reporting from residents using either the website, or the freely available ‘Love Clean Streets’ app. It was reported that there was a pending prosecution, although such action was typically difficult to bring about because of a lack of evidence. Councillor Morris welcomed the support of community groups in addressing this problem and asked that the Richmond Dog Fouling Steering Group share their ‘five point plan’ with her.
Councillor Elengorn said that this was an issue that both sides of the Chamber agreed was unpleasant. He added that some parts of Barnes had historically been the subject of more complaints than others and gave examples of how the issue had been tackled nationwide.
Councillor Stockley said that this was an unhygienic and potentially dangerous problem and she was concerned that some dog owners were discarding bagged dog excrement on residents’ gates. Councillor Stockley said that she felt the issue was one that necessitated long term prevention as in her experience, campaigns tended to have only a short-term effect. She welcomed more work between residents and the Council, as well as posters like the ones that had been presented.
In accordance with the notice given, the following questions were asked of the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment, Planning, Parks and Highways:
(1) By Nicole Detering
“Is the Council in direct cooperation with the street cleaning crew to ensure that they are cleaning up any dog fouling that is left on our pavements? If so, why does the dog fouling remain, even directly following the street cleaning? How can the Council ensure that they are doing their job properly?”
(2) By Alex Gray
“Richmond Borough Council is a network partner of Keep Britain Tidy, how has the Council demonstrated utilising this invaluable resource to deliver better standards of local environmental quality?”
(3) By Gaurav Mathur
“What specific actions will the Council take in the next 90 days to start a major enforcement awareness drive, informing public of the consequences of breaking ‘dog-fouling laws’?”
(4) By Fern Gray
“Under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 and The Fouling of Land by Dogs Order 2007, how many Fixed Penalty Notices and Prosecutions have there been in Richmond Borough as a whole and also specifically in Barnes for the period May 31st 2011- May 31st 2012?”
(5) By Becky Lewis
“Who will be responsible for reviewing and implementing solutions to address the issue of dog fouling across the whole Borough of Richmond?”
(6) By Joanne Rippon
“What budget will be made available to implement solutions to alleviate the dog fouling issue in the Borough of Richmond?”
As all of the public questions concerned litter and dog-fouling, the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment, Planning, Parks and Highways supplied an answer to each in one statement. Councillor Morris replied in the following terms:
“Dog fouling on our streets is totally unacceptable and we acknowledge that this is a significant problem. The issue today is not as great as it was a number of years ago, but it is a problem as it is unsightly and there are the associated health risks, particularly for children.
Responsible dog owners clear up behind their dogs and the few who leave it are totally irresponsible and leave it to the Council or others to clear up the mess. We have run enforcement campaigns and whilst we have officers visible on the streets we haven’t observed any deposits being left, even though we have had teams out early in the morning or the evening. We are no longer allowed to use CCTV as a means to find the culprits so this is very difficult to enforce without total community support and engagement. We cannot do this alone and need the help of the community.
Our Contractor cleans the streets on a regular basis and will remove any dog fouling as they go. In addition we have a contract monitoring officer and inspectors who ensure that the contractor performs and leaves the streets in a satisfactory condition. Members of the public can use the Love Clean Streets app that is very good and allows you to photograph the location of the mess.
We employ ENCAMS, part of the Keep Britain Tidy Group, to monitor street cleanliness and compare our performance to other Boroughs. As part of that service they provide feedback on areas where they believe we should give additional attention and dog fouling has not been an issue that has been raised as a recommendation by them. We do have the ability to ask them for additional advice and I shall be taking up this option to advise on what steps would be appropriate in this part of the Borough and indeed across the whole borough.
In the meantime I will be working with my colleague Councillors in the ward to look at how we can help the local community address the issues, through more bins to collect the waste and the ability to place further signs in the street.
I ask that I am sent the “five point plan” that was mentioned in the petitions debate so we can discuss how we can work together.”
Those who asked questions were given the opportunity to ask supplementary ones.
Gaurav Mathur asked what the timescale was for dealing with dog fouling problems. Councillor Morris invited Mr Mathur to contact her to discuss this.
Fern Gray asked for the specific number of offences, as mentioned in her original question. Councillor Morris said that she would contact Ms Gray when this figure was available to her.
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 Salvoni asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning:
“With the successful opening of the Jubilee Gardens what will be the next phase for Twickenham Riverside?”
Councillor Morris replied in the following terms:
“Approval was received at the Cabinet meeting on 24 November 2011 to appoint specialist consultants to undertake a feasibility study on options to open up the old swimming pool site on Twickenham Riverside. Phase 1 has successfully delivered the new Diamond Jubilee Gardens. The second Phase is now underway to consider options on the potential to utilise some of the existing buildings”
Councillor Salvoni asked a supplementary question about the start date for phase 2 on the riverside site. Councillor Morris said that it had started at the conclusion of phase 1.
Councillor Elengorn asked a supplementary question about what planning permissions existed on which areas of the site and whether they could be rationalised. Councillor Morris said that she would need to research this and respond to Councillor Elengorn in writing.
Councillor Chappell asked as a supplementary question whether investment would continue as part of the Twickenham Area Action Plan. Councillor Morris confirmed that it would.
(b) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Elengorn asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene:
“What assessment have you carried out of the impact on bus users of your proposal to remove all bus stops from King Street Twickenham?”
Councillor Harrison replied in the following terms:
“The principle of reducing the dominance of traffic in King St was well supported in the early round of consultation on the Twickenham Area Action Plan. The relocation of bus stops could greatly improve the pedestrian environment and with the proposed footway widening should create a more pleasant environment in which to sit out in this main shopping parade.
Transport for London are currently analysing data on the use of bus stops in King St, the results of this analysis will be considered along with the results of the public consultation prior to the making of any decision. A questionnaire will be distributed to 19,000 households and bus users will be fully aware of the plans through advertising in the area and on buses.”
Councillor Elengorn asked a supplementary question regarding whether any assessment had been made on the possible impact to businesses and less mobile users. Councillor Harrison said that TfL were carrying out origin and destination surveys. He said that some passengers would be nearer to their destinations and that the findings would be considered in detail, with the needs of the elderly and disabled being paramount.
Councillor Naylor asked as a supplementary question on what weight would be given to the findings of surveys undertaken. Councillor Harrison confirmed that they would be given proper consideration and that the Council would listen to residents and passengers. He added that TfL had a veto on any proposed changes to the transport network.
Councillor Action asked a supplementary question about whether the needs of the elderly and disabled would be taken into account. Councillor Harrison confirmed that this would happen, stating that it was the law to do so.
(c) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Mathias asked the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing:
“Will the Cabinet member please inform Council of the actions taken so far to address the impact of the changes made in Adult Social Care services in April 2011?”
Councillor Urquhart replied in the following terms:
“Since changing eligibility criteria, the range of universal services which can be accessed by everyone outside of eligibility criteria has been increased to include:
42% of service users (483 people) continue to receive care services free of charge. A joint survey with the voluntary sector was carried out to assess the impact on people whose contribution increased. Concerns raised have been individually followed up with service users and carers.
Concerns raised are taken seriously by officers and me and we are monitoring any impact on users.”
Councillor Mathias asked as a supplementary question how Richmond upon Thames’ spending on social care services compared with other councils nationally. Councillor Urquhart said that Richmond upon Thames currently spent 39% of its overall budget on social care, compared to an average of 34% nationally. She added that Richmond upon Thames was generous with its savings allowances.
Councillor Jaeger asked a supplementary question about how the Council would support voluntary organisations during a time of rising demand on their services. Councillor Urquhart said that the Council had committed to funding transport and fuel costs, adding that she hoped to address further concerns in the future.
Councillor Butler asked a supplementary question about the popularity of the Woodville Centre. Councillor Urquhart said that it was proving to be an excellent facility and had been operating at 99% capacity during June.
(d) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Jaeger asked the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing:
“Will you reconsider the increases in social care charges made last year, in the light of the Council’s significant budget surplus and the recent LINk report highlighting the harmful impact the higher charges are having on the lives of care users?”
Councillor Urquhart replied in the following terms:
“Quite frankly, I am staggered by the question. I should remind the Council of the £2m deficit inherited from the last administration. We have managed to now claw back £800k through sensible housekeeping and need to ensure that budgets are managed properly in order to preserve services for future generations.”
Councillor Jaeger asked in a supplementary question whether the £824k underspend could be used to address some of the negative effects raised in the LINk report considered by the Health, Housing and Adult Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Councillor Urquhart said that new services had been invested in and where possible, further reinvestment would continue to happen.
Councillor Butler asked a supplementary question about the charges to uses of the day centre. Councillor Urquhart said that the maximum charge for any user was £58, which was below the £80 cost of providing each place. Beyond this, many users received further allowances that contributed to the cost of their place.
Councillor Jones asked a supplementary question about how the isolation some users faced, as mentioned in the LINk report alluded to by Councillor Jaeger, was being addressed. Councillor Urquhart said that this was something marked to be addressed in the future.
In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Evans asked the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for finance and Resources:
“What is the state of school balances at the end of the 2011-2 financial year?”
Councillor Samuel replied in the following terms:
“The underspend for borough schools has increased by 42%, or £4.65m, in the last financial year and I believe it mischievous that the opposition are suggesting this is anything but a good thing. Schools in this borough are well treated by the Council which is evidenced by their ability to set aside more money for future large expenditure.”
Councillor Evans asked a supplementary question regarding the level of Council reserves. Councillor Samuel said that the Council’s reserves had remained static; it was school reserves that had grown.
Councillor Eady asked in a supplementary question whether it was the Council’s responsibility to remind schools that they should be spending their money, not hoarding it. Councillor Samuel said that he would support any school in saving money for future investment and that he applauded the prudence of schools.
Councillor Porter asked a supplementary question on whether he felt governing bodies were better placed to make decisions on their budgets. Councillor Samuel agreed that they were.
(f) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Knight asked the Leader of the Council:
“In the light of continuing reports that George Osborne and others are seeking a Conservative policy u-turn over Heathrow expansion, what representations have you made to David Cameron and George Osborne on the impact of such an expansion on Richmond upon Thames residents?”
Councillor True responded in the following terms:
“The only reports I am aware of are the ones from the coalition government stating that there will be no third runway. The government at every level is aware of local Council objections to a third runway.”
Councillor Knight asked a supplementary question about whether the 2M group would be reinstated if another plan for a third runway was produced. Councillor True said that the government had ruled out a third runway at Heathrow and councils would continue to maintain their objections.
Councillor Linnette asked a supplementary question about how the Council supports residents with complaints they may have about aircraft noise. Councillor True said that the Council was assisting residents in keeping and maintaining better records of disturbances from aircraft noise.
Councillor Elengorn asked in a supplementary question whether the aircraft noiseline should be reintroduced. Councillor True said that many policies existed with there being more expected. He added that as Leader of the Council, his first duty was to protect the interests of residents.
(g) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor O’Malley asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene:
“Whilst congratulating the Cabinet Member on the success of his programme for pavements and highways generally, could he give me the timetable for the completion of works at The Quadrant in Richmond?”
Councillor Harrison replied in the following terms:
“The final stages of the Richmond Town Centre improvements are progressing to programme and being delivered to an excellent standard of workmanship.
In order to comply with the Olympic Roadworks Embargo, work on site will be suspended between 16th July and 10th September. Weather permitting, we hope to complete the work up to the car park before the embargo takes effect. We will then recommence work on Kew Road, on the opposite side to the station, with work to the station forecourt itself being undertaken in February/March 2013.
All major works are planned for completion by the end of this financial year.”
Councillor O’Malley asked a supplementary question about the response rate for the consultation. Councillor Harrison said that this had been good at over 500 responses.
Councillor Chappell asked a question about the timetable for considering the consultation responses. Councillor Harrison confirmed that the list of proposed works would be on the website from around October.
(h) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Williams asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture:
“What is the Council doing to get back to being the safest borough in London, as we were from 2007 to 2010, now that we are only the third or fourth safest borough in London?”
Councillor Fleming answered in the following terms:
“Richmond upon Thames is the safest borough in terms of violent crime. It is acquisitive crime that has risen in the borough, with things like bike theft in an area with many cyclists being a factor. Drug testing has been introduced along with a multi-agency approach to resolving issues. There is also a new contract for domestic abuse support services.”
Councillor Williams asked as a supplementary question whether the Cabinet Member would take a more active role with policing. Councillor Fleming said that she was taking an active role in crime reduction and drew attention to schemes such as utilising social media and drug testing. She confirmed that better information sharing was also being looked at, particularly with community groups.
Councillor Speak asked a supplementary question about the town centre crime rate. Councillor Fleming said that this had reduced because of partnership working with the police.
Councillor Knight asked as a supplementary question whether the borough crime rate was the fifth lowest in London last month. Councillor Fleming re-emphasised that cases of acquisitive theft had risen, citing the example of bicycle theft.
The time allowed for Members questions had elapsed and a written response would be provided to all remaining notified questions.
(i) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Linnette asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture:
“How have local organisations benefited from the Civic Pride fund since its launch?”
[The Civic Pride Fund has contributed in excess of £95,000 to local projects run by 28 organisations since its launch in July 2011, funding a number of successful projects. The fund allows constituted groups to apply for a maximum of £5,000 towards their project, provided they are not for profit, constituted and financially solvent. This summer the Fund will be extended to allow applications for funding of up to £1,000 from individuals and unconstituted groups, particularly suited for one off projects. Applications are assessed against these criteria:
(j) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Day asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Education, Youth and Children’s Services:
“Now that Heatham House is to stay as a youth centre, will you reconsider the decision to cancel the improvement works to the Heatham House Gym?”
[The Council is currently undertaking a full assessment of costs for improvements and updating to the Heatham House building. Once these costs are fully understood and prioritised the council will give full consideration to which priorities it will be able to fund. These considerations will take into account current Council and Education and Children Services priorities, the level of risk of not undertaking the improvements, the cost of the improvements in terms of value for money and the alternatives of providing a similar service or activity elsewhere.]
(k) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Elloy asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene:
“What steps does the Council take to ensure that damage to kerbs and paving slabs caused by skips or heavy vehicles delivering building materials and equipment is replaced at no cost to the Council Tax payer, and how many such cases have been dealt with in the last 12 months?”
[Highways Inspectors proactively approach anyone causing damage, however, it is acknowledged that unless they are there at the time of the damage it is often very difficult to prove that a particular individual did in fact cause damage. Not withstanding this wherever possible ‘pre and post construction inspections’ are undertaken with developers either carrying out repair or making an appropriate payment. For the previous 12 months this has occurred in 26 locations with a recovered cost of just over £7,000.
As it is not possible to be in every location we are grateful when the public/Ward Members can provide details of persons that are causing damage to the highway.]
(l) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Langhorne asked the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing:
“Why does the council fund less accessible transport to Linden Hall than for other day centres?”
[Transport to social day care centres is currently delivered via a combination of in-house and voluntary sector provision with different service costs and charging arrangements, resulting in different funding arrangements for individual services.
(a) Councillor Allen has given notice to raise the following Ward Concern:
“Loss of officer-level ward champion.” (West Twickenham Ward)
(b) Councillor Harborne has given notice to raise the following Ward Concern:
“Road safety in Manor Road.” (North Richmond Ward)
(a) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Allen said that opportunities such as ‘ward walks’ and ‘ward action weeks’ has been lost with the deletion of the ‘ward champion’ role. He added that officers for village areas had been mentioned, but that there was no such role yet, which was making obtaining improvements for his ward more difficult. An example of one such area that could have been helped by ward champions was the one at the end of Meadway; there was an unsightly fence and several discarded vehicles.
Councillor Fleming said that she had some sympathy with the Meadway site as she had had a similar issue in her ward. She stated that ward champions’ effectiveness varied greatly between areas and that there should be an ethos of good relations between officers and councillors. She drew attention to the newly published village plans, which set out a number of goals for each area.
(b) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Harborne stated that there had been various issues with the Manor Road area, including the level crossing. She said that there was often a lot of correspondence related to this site that could be dealt with more efficiently, particularly when it was being received from passionate residents on a regular basis. A way in which this could be done would be to share more unusual requests for information on social media sites. She said that the offer of a small piece of land by Homebase in order to allow the creation of a proper crossing was welcomed by residents and Network Rail.
Councillor Harrison replied by saying that various improvements were to take place in the Manor Road area, including better signage and road markings.
REPORTS OF THE EXECUTIVE AND COMMITTEES
Article 7.2 of the Constitution allows the appointment of ‘Champions’ to support the work of Cabinet. The first report of the Tenants’ Champion is hereby reported to Council.
Councillor Blakemore presented the report, thanking all those who assisted her in her role as Tenants’ Champion.
Resolved that the report be noted.
Annual Report 2011 – 2012 Attached
Resolved that the ninth annual report of the Standards Committee be noted.
Councillor True moved, seconded by Councillor Morris that Council:
1. approve the Twickenham Area Action Plan Publication version for public consultation and submission, together with the associated Sustainability Appraisal
2. approve the use of the Twickenham Area Action Plan Publication version for development control purposes.
Councillor Elengorn moved, seconded by Councillor Knight that the recommendation be amended to read:
“It was RESOLVED that Cabinet:
1. Recommend to Full Council approval of the Twickenham Area Action Plan Publication version for public consultation and submission, together with the associated Sustainability Appraisal, subject to
(i) deleting from the Public Transport and Interchange section all references to removing any of the King Street bus stops and
(ii) making equivalent and consequential changes to the Twickenham Town Centre "Public Realm and Highways" scheme.
2. Recommend to Full Council approval of the use of the Twickenham Area Action Plan Publication version for development control purposes.”
The amendment was put to the vote and FELL.
The substantive motion was put to the vote and was CARRIED.
1. The Twickenham Area Action Plan Publication version for public consultation and submission, together with the associated Sustainability Appraisal be approved.
2. The use of the Twickenham Area Action Plan Publication version for development control purposes be approved.
DEBATE ON OPPOSITION PRIORITY BUSINESS
There was none.
REPORTS OF OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEES
There were none.
REPORTS ON JOINT ARRANGEMENTS AND EXTERNAL ORGANISATIONS
There were none.
REPORTS OF THE HEAD OF PAID SERVICE
Resolved that Council:
1. Establish the Members’ Standards and Disciplinary Committee with the membership and terms of reference as set out in appendix 1.
2. Adopt the Code of Conduct as set out in appendix 2 to the report on an interim basis pending submission of a revised code to the September meeting.
3. Adopt the arrangements for the consideration of complaints as set out in appendix 3 to the report
4. Authorise the Monitoring Officer to advertise the role of Independent Person and establish an appropriate selection panel in consultation with Group Leaders.
Resolved that the amendments to the Constitution be approved.
Resolved that the decision taken as a matter of urgency be noted.
To receive any announcements from the Mayor, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Head of Paid Service.
The Mayor reported that her fundraising activities had got off to a good start and that she had already raised her first £1000. She thanked all those who attended her charities’ appeal launch at the Poppy Factory and the Jubilee quiz. The Mayor welcomed the continued support of members.
The Leader of the Council brought members’ attention to the London Borough of Croydon’s decision to propose a joint health scrutiny committee of the South West London region. The joint committee would be tasked with examining the apparent loss of £22.73m, some of which had been met from Richmond PCT funds. He felt that it was important for councils to undertake the role of scrutinising healthcare providers and he was therefore nominating Councillor Butler as the Administration’s representative on the joint committee.
The Leader of the Opposition said that he was shocked when he first learned of the issue in Croydon. He supported Lord True’s sentiments and welcomed further discussion with him on the matter in future.
NOTICES OF MOTION
There were none.