Agenda and minutes
Tuesday, 22 January 2013 7:00 pm
Venue: Council Chamber, York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham
Contact: Kathryn Thomas, Head of Democratic Services, 020 8891 7860, Email: email@example.com
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To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Council held on 27 November 2012 attached.
The minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2012 were approved as a correct record of proceedings.
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 the nature of the interest being declared.
There were no declarations of interest on this occasion.
To receive Petitions in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 2.1 (iv).
There were no petitions presented on this occasion.
There were no public questions on this occasion.
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, Parks and Highways:
‘Does the Cabinet Member wish to comment on the decision of the High Court concerning the planning consent for Twickenham Station?’
Councillor Morris replied in the following terms:
‘At this moment I think it would be inappropriate to comment on the High Court decision.An application has been made to the Court of Appeal to request that the judgement made just before Christmas supporting the Council decision, is reviewed.’
Councillor Salvoni asked a supplementary question regarding work being undertaken by the Council to mitigate the impact of the development on those residents most affected, including St Mary’s Terrace. Councillor Morris explained that a Council Liaison Officer had been appointed to work with local residents.
Councillor Chappell sought clarification that officers would be able to closely monitor any breach of conditions which might occur as a result of the development. Councillor Morris replied that this could be added to the list of duties for the Council Liaison Officer who would work alongside the Community Liaison Officer who would be appointed through the S106 process.
(b) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Elengorn asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, Parks and Highways:
‘Why did the December Cabinet express ‘surprise’ at West London Waste Authority’s supplementary levy when the possibility of such a levy had been flagged up in public agenda papers of the WLWA as far back as July and could have been reported to the Cabinet then?’
Councillor Morris replied in the following terms:
‘The possibility of an
additional levy had indeed been flagged in public agenda reports to
the West London Waste Authority, as had a plan to make savings so
to avoid the need for an additional levy. Officers and I had
both asked for early warning if and additional levy was needed. It
was therefore a big surprise to find that a potential need for an additional levy had transformed
into an actual demand for £3.6 million
in additional funds because we did not receive our early warning.
In fact the first we heard was via published formal
Councillor Elengorn asked a supplementary question regarding the attention paid by the Council’s representative on the authority. Councillor Morris responded to highlight that issues had been ongoing at the Authority for a number of years but that as the Council’s appointee, she had been monitoring the issues carefully.
Councillor Harborne asked a supplementary question regarding the action being taken by West London Waste Authority. Councillor Morris referred Members to the published minutes of the Authority for further information and explained that Elected Members were scrutinising the accounts and procurement processes of the organisation in closer detail.
Councillor Acton asked a supplementary question regarding advice from the West London Waste Authority relating to increasing recycling rates within the Borough. Councillor Morris responded that no advice had been provided or sought.
(c) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Linnette asked the Leader of the Council:
‘Will the Leader give the Council an update on his plans for a referendum on the possible expansion of Heathrow Airport?’
Lord True replied in the following terms:
‘As I have made clear in this Council I believe we need to send a very strong message to Central Government that further expansion of Heathrow is totally unacceptable to the majority of local people. I have had discussions with the London Borough of Hillingdon and we will be joining forces with them to allow all our residents to have their say on the expansion of Heathrow. Residents will receive a simple polling card which they will be able to return by post or at local Council buildings or they will be able to vote online.’
Councillor Linnette asked a supplementary question regarding the Leader’s view on the Davis Commission investigations. Lord True responded that the Council should continue to strongly resist any future expansion of Heathrow Airport and remain united in this stance.
Councillor Knight sought clarification regarding the additional benefit to the Council of the Referendum style poll being undertaken in 2013 when a residents’ survey on the same matter had been carried out in 2008. At this time 9 out 10 respondents had indicated they were against Heathrow airport expansion. Lord True responded that the voice of residents on the matter should be heard at the current time.
Councillor Speak asked a supplementary question regarding the appropriateness of airlines making full use of existing capacity at Heathrow before expansion should be considered. Lord True responded that he fully supported this view.
(d) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Williams asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, Parks and Highways:
‘Does she support the formal request made to the Council last month for Ham Village Green to be designated a Village Green by the Council under section 15(8) of the Commons Act 2006?’
Councillor Morris responded in the following terms:
‘I need to make clear that the application will likely require a form consideration through the Regulatory Committee so I will only state my view as Cabinet Member not in any other capacity. I do not support this application. We have a publicly stated ambition to regenerate the part of Ham within which the application land lies. This includes consideration of new community buildings and proposed re-build of the housing stock in partnership with Richmond Housing Partnership. There are bound to be sensible options for this regeneration that will involve rearrangement of the open space from its current layout and location. Rearrangement that will nevertheless be significant and improve the quality of open space in the immediate facility but that would be frustrated by successful village green applications that would fix land boundaries and stifle ambition.’
Councillor Williams asked a supplementary question regarding support for the reason behind the request to protect public open space. Councillor Morris replied that she did not support the application.
Councillor Avon asked a supplementary question regarding proposed uplift in Ham and who had commenced the work. Councillor Morris explained that proposals developed under the current Administration had been based on the residents’ views for a regenerated village open space as presented in the Village Plans.
Councillor Miller asked a supplementary question regarding the need to liaise with the Member of Parliament for Richmond Park regarding the matter and the work which had been carried out based on plans for the Ham Park Estate developed under the previous Administration. Councillor Morris replied that the MP for Richmond Park fully supported the work underway regarding uplift in Ham.
(e) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Speak asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Community, Business and Culture:
‘How do the number of empty shops in the Borough overall compare with the national average?’
Councillor Fleming replied in the following terms:
‘The national UK vacancy rate is 14%. And in fact within the Borough the vacancy rate in 2012 was 8% compared to 9.5% in 2011.
The average for the 5 larger town centres is 7.7% and in the 7 local centres it is 5.7%.I don’t want to be complacent about this because we have all seen the loss of shops with high street names but overall the total number of vacant shops fell from 231 to 194 between 2011 and 2012.’
Councillor Speak asked a supplementary question regarding activity being undertaken to encourage investment in the Borough’s high streets. Councillor Fleming explained that the Council’s Fair Parking Policy had encouraged residents to visit their local high streets more frequently, the Business and Retail Alliance had been undertaking much positive work alongside the introduction of small grants for pop-up shops.
Councillor Acton asked a supplementary question regarding the views of the Cabinet Member regarding established chain organisations taking up premises on local high streets. Councillor Fleming explained that in some circumstances the introduction of a small supermarket on a local high street could trigger future investment.
Councillor Salvoni asked a supplementary question regard the introduction of Town Teams within the Borough. Councillor Fleming replied that £10,000 of funding had been secured for the Barnes area as a result of not being chosen as one of the Portas Pilot areas. Work was underway to establish a Town Team in Barnes and a Business Improvement District (BID) in Twickenham.
(f) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Knight asked the Strategic Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, Parks and Highways:
‘What business plan has been developed to demonstrate the viability of, and demand for, the proposed new community building on the former Royal Mail site and how many affordable homes are going to be sacrificed in order to provide this building?’
Councillor Morris replied in the following terms:
‘The proposal for a Community Building has been proffered by St James as part of a comprehensive development of the Twickenham Sorting Office site and they have consulted with the public widely in developing their proposals, to accord with the Council approved brief set for the site. We do not as yet have a business plan as such for the Community Building, in the same way as we do not have much of the other information to fully support this planning application, including the viability report or an acceptable submission in respect of affordable housing.’
Councillor Knight asked a supplementary question regarding the business case, funding required and possible tenants for the proposed community building and impact of this on the reduction in the number of affordable homes proposed for the site. Councillor Morris responded that the current Administration had provided more affordable homes that the previous Administration.
Councillor Coombs asked a supplementary question seeking assurance that future planning briefs would include provision for affordable homes to the maximum levels. Councillor Morris responded to explain that it had never been possible to achieve maximum levels of affordable homes on development sites.
Councillor Porter asked a supplementary question regarding proposals to develop Twickenham Town Centre for the benefit of all residents. Councillor Morris responded to explain that work was being undertaken to develop Twickenham.
(g) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor O’Malley asked the Cabinet Member for Highways and Streetscene:
‘I noted that the Richmond pavement works have progressed along The Quadrant as far as Richmond Station. Could the Cabinet Member give us the planned next steps in the programme of work and the timetable for the completion of the whole project?’
Councillor Harrison replied in the following terms:
‘I am pleased to say that the Richmond Highways works are progressing well and are maintaining an exceptionally high standard of workmanship. New curbs are currently being laid in the vicinity of the station. Once the new curb lines are in place which should be by mid February, then carriageway surfacing will be carried out and the new bus stop and taxi arrangements introduced. After that the paving works will continue behind the new curb lines and this phase will include the new station forecourt. Weather permitting we are on track for substantial completion of the works by the end of the March. This will conclude the work in Richmond Town Centre, which has spanned a number of years. I believe the completed scheme will bring significant improvements to residents, business and visitors to the town for many years to come.’
Councillor O’Malley asked a supplementary question regarding access to the station forecourt for taxis and private cars. Councillor Harrison confirmed that access to the forecourt would remain.
Councillor Elengorn asked a supplementary question regarding the involvement of Transport for London (TfL) in developing the scheme. Councillor Harrison responded to explain that the scheme overall was an incredibly positive one and a number of key resolutions to issues had been proposed by the Council’s Assistant Director of Environment.
Councillor Elliott asked a supplementary question regarding timescales for the Whitton footways project. Councillor Harrison explained that work to lay york stone paving on both sides of the high street would commence on 4 February 2013 and would be carefully phased to minimise the impact on residents and local businesses.
(h) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Nicholson asked the Chairman of the Regulatory Committee:
‘Why has the complete and comprehensive file for the new illegal moorings by-law, which she said she was pressing for at the last Council meeting and was supposed to have been submitted by Christmas, still not been submitted to the Secretary of Stage?’
Councillor Chappell responded in the following terms:
‘Due to the nature of the River Thames flowing through the borough, the compilation of the file as you know has been an incredibly complex piece of work. As I said when I spoke in November, the most important thing is we ensure a comprehensive and robust case is presented to the Secretary of State. This, officers have done and unfortunately just before Christmas it was determined that further work was required to ensure absolute clarity and confidence in the process. It was felt after consideration that delay at this stage was considered worthwhile to ensure that no unnecessary delay came at a later stage. However I am very pleased to say that it has been confirmed that submission was made on Friday 18 January 2013 to the Secretary of State.’
Councillor Nicholson asked a supplementary question seeking assurance that the Regulatory Committee will continue to do as much as possible to further the matter. Councillor Chappell confirmed this would be the case.
Councillor Mathias asked a supplementary question regarding the use of the by-law to enable the riverside to be fully restored to residents and legal moorers. Councillor Chappell confirmed that all options regarding illegal moorers were being fully investigated.
Councillor Jones asked a supplementary question regarding the impact of illegal mooring at Ham Lands. Councillor Chappell noted that she would investigate the particular case in more detail.
(i) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Mathias asked the Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Health and Housing:
‘Can the Cabinet Member assure us that the recommendations arising from the final report in the Winterbourne View scandal are being progressed in the Borough?’
Councillor Urquhart responded in the following terms:
‘Following this tragic story our Council and NHS professionals have been progressing work with the 6 people with a learning disability in NHS Assessment and Treatment Units, who the Council & NHS Commissioners have responsibility for. Following the interim report recommendations, two people are subject to Home Office approval; two are young people in transition (one is in the process of moving to a ‘step down’ facility; the other is moving back to borough). One is having their needs considered for future local possibilities; the other has complex needs and officers are looking at a more specialist placement. All will have a clinically approved action in place by March 2013.’
Councillor Mathias asked a supplementary question regarding the impact of the revised requirements on delivery of services in Richmond. Councillor Urquhart outlined the process and timescales for placement review, community care packages and development of pooled budgets.
The time allowed for Members Questions had elapsed and a written response would be provided to all remaining notified questions.
(a) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Eady asked the Cabinet Member for Schools:
‘Why has he chosen to abandon the long standing custom and practice of political balance in the appointment of secondary school governors?’
The situation has changed since the first time a sitting councillor was prevented from continuing to represent the Council on a school in his own ward by my Liberal Democrat predecessor in 2006. The new constitutional regulations relevant to newly-constituted school Governing Bodies or, for academies, Management Councils, mean that there is now only one local authority recommendation for appointment. That person needs to represent and advise on the views of the local authority. Given the Liberal Democrat leadership’s ongoing strong opposition to our administration’s most important policies and priorities, it is deemed that their Members are likely to have a significant conflict and therefore appointments to academy governance boards have been made on that basis.’
(b) In accordance with the notice given, Councillor Chappell asked the Cabinet Member for Schools:
‘Could the Cabinet Member tell the Council how Education Richmond is helping to improve education in the Borough?’
‘Education Richmond is a partnership of all primary, secondary, academy and special schools in the borough, which has been developed to improve educational outcomes for all children and young people in Richmond upon Thames. The partnership reflects the Government’s aim to give greater autonomy to schools by developing the expertise and experience of school professionals to create a sustainable model of school improvement. The school-to-school support led by Education Richmond includes practical projects to narrow the achievement gap, curriculum development work, the development of resources to support teaching and learning, and the organisation of training programmes to develop the school workforce.’
There were no Ward Concerns on this occasion.
1. COUNCIL TAXBASE AND NNDR FORECAST 2013/14
Lord True moved, seconded by Councillor Samuel that the Council:
Councillor Knight moved, seconded by Councillor Williams that the recommendations be amended as follows:
Insert at the end of recommendation (1) and (2) the following wording:
‘subject to the removal of the proposed 75% discount for properties that are unoccupied and unfurnished for up to six months.’
The amendment was put to the vote and FELL.
The substantive motion was put to the vote and CARRIED.
2. COUNCIL TAX SUPPORT SCHEME
Lord True moved and Councillor Samuel seconded an amendment to the recommendation to read:
‘Council to approve the Council Tax Support Scheme and delegate to the Director of Finance and Corporate Services authority to make any final minor technical adjustments following consultation with the Group Leaders before the deadline of 31 January 2013.’
The amendment was put to the vote and CARRIED.
Councillor Knight moved, seconded by Councillor Williams a further amendment to the recommendation to read:
‘Insert after ‘Council Tax Support Scheme’ the following wording:
‘except in the light of the likely impact on child poverty and the results of public consultation, permanently removing the proposal to limit support to the level of Band E Council Tax.’
In accordance with Procedure Rule 20.4, a recorded vote was called upon the proposed amendment, whereupon Councillors Acton, Allen, Cardy, Coombs, Elengorn, Elloy, Gibbons, Jaeger, Jones, Knight, Langhorne, Lee-Parsons, Miller, Nicholson, Pollesche, Roberts and Williams voted for the amendment and Councillors Arbour, Avon, Bond, Bouchier, Butler, Chappell, Elliott, Evans, Fleming, Harborne, Harrison, Head, Hodgins, Linnette, Marlow, Martin, Mathias, Morris, Naylor, O’Malley, Percival, Porter, Salvoni, Samuel, Speak, True and Urquhart voted against the amendment. The Mayor and Deputy Mayor did not vote.
Therefore the amendment FELL.
The substantive motion therefore declared to be CARRIED
3. REFRESH OF THE COMMUNITY SAFETY PARTNERSHIP PLAN 2011-14: YEAR TWO
Resolved: That the Council endorse the refresh of the Community Safety Partnership Plan.
REPORTS OF OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEES
There were no reports from 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.
A. APPOINTMENT OF DEPTY ELECTORAL REGISTRATION OFFICERS
It was RESOLVED:
· Mike Gravatt – Assistant Director of Finance and Corporate Services
· Angela Holden – Electoral Services Manager
It was RESOLVED:
1. That the Council note the decision on ‘Achieving for Children – Next Steps’ taken as a matter of urgency.
To receive any announcements from the Mayor, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Head of Paid Service.
The following announcements were made by the Mayor:
(1) Events during the Christmas period had assisted with fund raising for the Mayor’s charities, the Horse Rangers Association and the Poppy Factory. Thanks were expressed to the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall for performing at the Christmas concert and to the RFU for the generous donation following the sale of Christmas trees.
(2) Forthcoming events included the Vintage Valentine concert being held on 14 February 2013 at the Barn Church in Kew. Entertainment would include the Connaught Opera, Richmond Music Trust and the Kew Wind Orchestra. On 8 March 2013, the Celtic Quiz will take place. Tickets for both events can be purchased from the Mayors Office.
(3) Thanks were expressed to St George PLC for their gift to the Council of a book of attractive views celebrating events in London during 2012. The book will be kept in the Members Room.
NOTICES OF MOTION
There were no notices of motion on this occasion.