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Agenda and minutes

Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 6th July, 2011 7.00 p.m.

Venue: St George's Suite, The Basildon Centre, St Martin's Square, Basildon, SS14 1DL

Contact: Sarah Northrop on 01268 2994423, email  sarah.northrop@basildon.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

426.

MEMBERSHIP:

Minutes:

Councillor S Hillier replaced Councillor Allen for the duration of the meeting.

427.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS:

To receive any declarations of interest from Members in accordance with Part 2, Paragraph 9 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

428.

MINUTES: pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Confirmation of the Minutes of the meeting of the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee held on 9 March 2011.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee held on 9 March 2011 were approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

 

(For voting see Appendix, Column 1.)

429.

TERMS OF REFERENCE: pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To note the Terms of Reference of the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee as set out in Article 6 of the Council’s Constitution.

 

Minutes:

Members noted the Terms of Reference of the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee as set out in Article 6 of Part 2 of the Council’s Constitution.

430.

ADVISORY MEMBERS:

To consider the approach to the appointment of Advisory Members, to assist in the Committee’s work.

 

Minutes:

The Committee agreed that Advisory Members would be appointed as required on an ad hoc basis.

 

The Chairman indicated that he proposed to extend an open invitation to Councillor S Buckley, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, to attend the meetings of this Committee or any working groups that may be set up.

431.

OUTSTANDING ACTION: pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To note actions arising from previous meetings.

Minutes:

Graffiti Strategy – Twelve Month Update (Minute No. 2011/92

 

The Manager of Enforcement and Technical Services advised that letters had been drafted from the Cabinet Member for Environment to the three MP’s for the borough seeking their support to amend the standing Home Office Guidance in respect of graffiti on private property and that these letters would be dispatched shortly.

 

With regard to the removal of graffiti from a culvert on the Crouch River Wickford the Council had raised the issue with the Environment Agency.  The Environment Agency had indicated that whilst they had no liability to remove graffiti from culverts they would be willing to permit Basildon Council to arrange for its removal subject to the submission of Risk Management and Method Statement, including details of chemicals to be used.  The Environment Agency had indicated they would be willing to consider making a financial contribution to the cost of the graffiti removal from this culvert.

 

The Council’s Manager of Streets Scene and Depot Services had undertaken a site visit and had concluded that the removal of the graffiti from this culvert, which would involve negotiating a steep bank alongside water, would require specialist equipment and could not, therefore, be undertaken by the Council’s own graffiti removal team.

 

It was AGREED:

 

(1)               That a quotation be obtained from a specialist graffiti removal company to find out the cost to remove the graffiti from the culvert on the Crouch River at Wickford.

(2)               That this item remain on the Outstanding Action List.

 

Budget and Performance Report 2010/11 – October to December 2010 (Minute No. 2011/180

 

The Manager of Planning Services explained that it was necessary for the two development control offices currently seconded to work on the Local Development Framework to continue in that role for the foreseeable future.  This obviously had had a negative impact upon the services’ ability to meet the performance targets relating to the time taken to determine planning applications; performance levels in this respect were anticipated to drop further when another development control planning officer retired in early July 2011.  In light of the current demands upon the Planning Service it had been agreed that the targets set out in the 2011/12 Business Plan for Planning be revised downwards to reflect the national targets as follows:

 

·                     Major Applications – 60% determined within 13 weeks

·                     Minor Applications – 65% determined within 8 weeks

·                     Other Applications – 80% determined within 8 weeks

 

Members fully accepted that the priority for the Planning Service was the delivery of the Local Development Framework documents in accordance with the agreed timetable and were supportive of the reduction in target levels for 2011/12.  Members advised the Manager of Planning Services that it was expected that the lower targets would be achieved in full and that more challenging targets in relation to planning application turn-around would be set for 2012/13.

 

It was AGREED:

 

That the item be removed from the Outstanding  Action List.

432.

Budget and Performance Report 2010/11 - April 2010 to March 2011: pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the budget and performance position of those Council services within the remit of the Committee at the end of the 2010/11 financial year.

 

Members were advised that from the first quarter of 2011/2012 budget and performance monitoring reports would be submitted to the Overview and Scrutiny Commission.  The Commission would identify any issues of concern for referral to the relevant scrutiny committee for  further investigation.

 

It was also pointed out that on page 22 of the Agenda the Actual performance figure in relation to NI 192 – percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling and composting – should be 47.39 and not 49.39 as stated on the Agenda.

 

Members sought and received further information relating to:-

 

·               The system whereby Basildon Council receives  financial credits for recycling household waste; and

·               Possible reasons why planning inspectors do not support the Council’s reasons for refusing planning applications.

 

Members considered the budget monitoring information and 2010/11 outturn (year end) position for the services within the Committee’s remit.

 

Members asked why within the Refuse, Collection, and Recycling Budget ‘spot hire’ costs had increased by £208,000 during 2011/2012.  The Manager of Street Scene and Depot Services explained that during 2010/11 the service had undertaken a market testing exercise with regard to vehicle supply and maintenance to assess the most effective way of managing the Council’s fleet.  For this reason vehicles due for replacement in 2010/11 and new vehicles needed for the new food and garden waste collections had not been replaced/purchased but hired on a short term basis 'spot hire' until the best long term solution for vehicle supply and maintenance had been established.  The Council has now entered into agreement with Riverside Truck Rental Ltd from 1 June for supply and maintenance of the Council’s fleet.  The vehicles needed had been ordered with Riverside and new vehicles were due to be delivered over the next few months.

 

Members queried the outturn variance of £102,000 in respect of the Land Charges budget and it was explained that provision had been made should the Council be required to repay Personal Search Charges made since 2005.  The issue of repayment of Personal Search Charges by Councils was currently the subject of an appeal by a consortium of local authorities.

433.

Review of Commuter Parking at Laindon and Wickford Rail Stations Task and Finish group - outcome report: pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In 2009 a Commuter Parking Review was undertaken, in partnership with Essex County Council, National Express and c2c, to assess the scale and impact of commuter parking at and in the vicinity of Laindon and Wickford Rail Stations.

 

The task and finish group, led by Councillor Sandra Hillier, recommended a range of measures to alleviate traffic congestion at the station forecourts, reduce on-street parking in the residential roads near to the stations, improve road safety and promote the use of sustainable forms of travel.

 

Members were advised on the progress of each of the review recommendations and were pleased to note how many had been implemented.

 

The key outcomes arising from the review included:-

 

At Wickford Station

 

·               Frequency of late evening trains on Southminster rail line increased from every hour to every 40 minutes

 

·               ECC funded Wickford Station forecourt improvement scheme (£95k) completed March 2011 to improve traffic flow, including improvements to bus stops and taxi rank, provision of a passenger drop off /pick up are and improved cycle storage and motorcycle parking.

 

·               Overhanging trees in Station Approach cut back to improve access for double decker buses

 

·               Additional parking enforcement during the evening rush hour at Station Avenue and The Broadway junction

 

At Laindon Station

 

·               ECC have agreed  funding (£150k) for Laindon Station forecourt improvement scheme to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety, scheduled to begin in November 2011.

 

·               Improved signing along the Five Links cycle way

 

·               Lighting and pedestrian crossing upgrade in Northumberland Avenue

 

·               Extension of the one hour parking restriction in Pittfields on road safety grounds.

 

In addition consultations had commenced on a number of traffic management schemes recommended by the review which were aimed to reduce on-street parking in residential roads near to these stations and these schemes were to be considered by the South Essex Partnership.

 

The Chairman commended Councillor Sandra Hillier and the other members of the task and finish group on the successful outcomes achieved by this scrutiny review.

 

Members discussed the need to further promote the use of public transport to and from Laindon Station.

 

It was AGREED:

 

That the Chairman of the Bus Forum be asked to place an item on a future Agenda to ask First Buses to consider re-routing their No. 8 bus via Laindon Station.

434.

Weekly Garden and Food Waste Recycling - update: pdf icon PDF 66 KB

Minutes:

The Committee received an update report on the roll out of the weekly garden and food waste collection service covering its first six months of operation, including the first two months of providing the service to schools and flats.

 

Members were pleased to note the significant increase in the level of organic materials collected and the corresponding reduction in landfill waste levels.

 

Members were advised that although initial six months collection figures for garden and food waste were encouraging they were subject to seasonal variation and, therefore, it would not be possible to make an effective assessment of the impact of the new scheme until the year end collection figures were compiled in September 2011 when it would be possible to make a direct comparison with the year prior to the commencement of the scheme.

 

 

Members discussed enforcement of the Council’s recycling regulations and were pleased to learn that the enforcement process had recently been tested in court when it was determined that this Council’s approach to enforcement was robust and fair and offered sufficient opportunity to achieve compliance.

 

A Member enquired as to why animal food waste could not be put into the food waste bins.

 

A Member pointed out that the Council should consider making  a collection charge to those schools that were privately funded.

 

It was AGREED:

 

(1)                           That the Manager of Street Scene and Depot Services find out why animal waste was not able to be collected under the food waste recycling scheme and advise Members of the Committee and Councillor Malcolm Buckley accordingly.

 

(2)       That the Manager of Street Scene and Depot Services investigate whether a charge should be made for garden and food waste collection to those schools that are privately funded.

435.

Street Cleansing Service - Six Monthly Review: pdf icon PDF 76 KB

Minutes:

Following the separation of the Grounds and Parks Service and the Cleansing Service in 2009 this Committee had received six monthly update reports on performance of the Cleansing Service.

 

Members received performance data relating to the removal of litter,  detritus  (accumulated debris) and flytipping.

 

Members commended the Cleansing Service for the sustained improvements to cleansing standards across the district.

 

Members were pleased to learn that there had been a noticeable decrease in incidents of flytipping and discussed the factors that may have contributed to this.

 

It was AGREED:

 

That the Cleansing Services update report be noted.

436.

FORWARD PLAN:

To note that there is one item on the Council’s most recent Forward Plan of Key Decisions which falls within this Committee’s area of responsibility.

 

Draft Basildon Borough Local Development Scheme 2011-2014

 

Item Summary:                      The Local Development Scheme is the Programme        for making the Local Development Documents that together comprise the Local Development Framework.

Decision Taker:                     Cabinet

Scheduled Date:                   14 July 2011

 

Minutes:

The Committee noted that there was one item -   Draft Basildon Borough Local Development Scheme 2011-2014 – on the Council’s most recent Forward Plan of Key Decisions that fell within the Committee’s area of responsibility and that it was due to be considered by Cabinet on 14 July 2011.

437.

DRAFT WORK PROGRAMME 2011/12 - REVIEW: pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted the list of items to be considered by the Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee during the 2011/12 Municipal Year.

 

The Chairman suggested that the Committee consider the Basildon Town Centre Regeneration Scheme at the appropriate time and that the developer be invited to make a presentation to the Committee to which all Members would be invited

 

It was AGREED:

 

That an additional meeting date be added to the Work Programme to consider the Basildon Town Centre Regeneration Scheme.

Env & Regen Scrutiny voting pdf icon PDF 34 KB