Agenda/Speakers:

1.  APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

2.  REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE LEADER AND LEAD MEMBERS

  • 17e)  Question to Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader
  • of the Council and Lead Member for the Local Plan from Councillor Reena Ranger
  •  
  • Does this Council regret that the
  • inordinate delay in the adoption of the Local Plan has prevented the minimum
  • housing space standards being implemented?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • The Local Plan is following a
  • statutory process in order to comply with Government requirements. The
  • principle issue with new dwellings being of substandard size has been the
  • ability to convert former office space to flats without the need for planning
  • permission. This is not affected by the Local Plan and it is pleasing that the
  • Government has eventually recognised the deficiency of this form of permitted
  • development and belatedly introduced better standards which will come into
  • force in the coming months.  Although the
  • emerging Local Plan will include minimum space standards there is no evidence
  • that where planning permission is required new dwellings are currently being
  • developed below these standards other than in a few exceptional circumstances.  As such, the timing of the Local Plan has had
  • little effect on whether development meets the minimum space standards.
  •  
  • 17ee) Urgent Question to
  • Councillor Sarah Nelmes, Leader of the Council from Councillor Stephen
  • Giles-Medhurst, Deputy Leader of the Council agreed under Rule 14(3)
  •  
  • Would the Leader of the Council
  • like to outline the expected additional costs and measures that the authority
  • will be taking in the event of local and PCC elections on 6 May or a later date
  • if social distancing and COVID restrictions of any kind are still in place?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • Members may be aware of the
  • recent government statement confirming the date of the combined local
  • government elections on Thursday 6 May 2021. 
  • As is the case for all District Council elections costs will be met by the
  • local authority elections budget.  As our
  • polls will be combined then costs will be shared with our partners Herts County
  • Council and from central government for the Police & Crime Commissioner
  • election, and Chorleywood Neighbourhood Planning Referendum. In addition where
  • any parish vacancies are contested then the Parish Council will be charged a
  • fair proportion of those costs.  We have
  • also been advised that the government will be providing grant funding to meet
  • the additional costs of running the polls during the Coronavirus pandemic.  We are awaiting details of the financial
  • support package available (31 million across the UK), and are currently working
  • with county and local authority partners to jointly procure the additional
  • equipment required at the most preferential rates.
  •  
  • We are currently working on the
  • basis that existing government restrictions will apply during the polls and
  • will be following all public health related guidance along with the Government
  • Delivery Plan as it affects elections staff, candidates & election agents and
  • voters, including:
  •  
  • Advising voters of the 3 voting
  • options available – in-person, by post or by proxy, and to apply early to put
  • in place any absent voting arrangement
  • Provision of PPE for polling and
  • counting staff including the wearing of masks
  • Encouraging voters to bring their
  • own pen or pencil to mark their voting preference on the ballot paper, or else
  • provide single use pencils
  • Provide remote training for
  • polling staff
  • Regular cleaning and sanitising
  • of polling booths and touch points in polling stations
  • Controlling the numbers of voters
  • in polling stations with the use of additional poll staff outside each polling
  • place
  • Requirement of voters to wear a
  • face mask while voting (unless exempt)
  • Providing remote briefing session
  • for candidates and election agents
  • Undertake a Covid risk assessment
  • for all sites
  • Communicate messages to voters in
  • regards to voting arrangements on the day, including social distancing
  • requirements at polling stations
  • Delay the start of the
  • verification & counting of votes for 24hrs after polls close
  •  
  •  
  • INFRASTRUCTURE, HOUSING AND
  • ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
  •  
  • Reports from the Lead Member for
  • Transport and Economic Development (Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst), Lead Member
  • for Infrastructure and Planning Policy (Cllr Steve Drury), Lead Member for
  • Housing (Cllr Andrew Scarth).
  •  
  • 17f) Report from Councillor
  • Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development
  •  
  • Parking Controls
  •  
  • The current controls covering
  • permit parking have been suspended whilst in the current lockdown. Most
  • councils have not suspend controls. 
  • Civil Enforcement Officers will still be enforcing restrictions relating
  • to road danger or contacting the Police as appropriate.
  •  
  • Rickmansworth High Street
  •  
  • The part time closure of the High
  • Street as part of the Government’s intention to support social distancing and
  • improve the shopping environment continues. This is supported by the County
  • Council who have brought in the Temporary Traffic Order which the County
  • Council has now extended until January 2022. 
  • Planters have now been installed and TRDC has initially planted these up
  • as requested. Discussions continue regarding ongoing maintenance of the
  • planters.
  •  
  • There is the outstanding issue of
  • a new bus shelter in Northway which is within the remit of Herts County Council
  • (HCC) but I have been kept abreast of the ongoing delay. I’m afraid that BREXIT
  • and COVID has made this rather more complex. 
  • A new shelter was agreed here by the County Council well before Xmas.  Unfortunately the last UK-based manufacturer
  • of shelters withdrew from the market around 18 months ago and left a big gap
  • which has not been filled all that satisfactorily. So they have to be sourced
  • from abroad including Belgium and China (for some components!). So something of
  • a 'double-whammy' here inevitably delayed by COVID and Brexit problems at the
  • ports. The shelter is still in-transit and has not reached contractor's yard
  • yet. Once received it should be installed in days.
  •  
  • Croxley Green Permit Scheme
  •  
  • This was progressed to the
  • Traffic Regulation Stage. 750 letters were sent out. 14 objections were
  • received and considered but raised no issues that had not already been
  • considered.  The order has been sealed
  • and it’s intended to have the scheme operation from 31 March subject to any
  • national restriction changes. Residents in the permit zone are all be written
  • to explaining again how the scheme will run.
  •  
  • Other Croxley items
  •  
  • Minor changes including other
  • junction protection measures outside of the permit area will be progressed
  • later this year.
  •  
  • Rickmansworth West Controlled
  • Parking Zone
  •  
  • Following a meeting with Ward
  • Councillors final designs are being agreed. We will then review and will decide
  • when the formal consultation will take place.
  •  
  • Cycling
  •  
  • We will shortly be carrying out
  • informal consultation with Councillors about Local Cycling and Walking priority
  • routes (LCWIP) as part of the review of our Walking and Cycling Strategy that
  • is being progressed jointly by Three Rivers, Watford and the County Council
  • together.
  •  
  • Delta Gain upgrade
  •  
  • Unfortunately this Retail Parade
  • Revitalisation project has been set back as Ward Members are aware, not least
  • over securing a detailed legal agreement over land that is not in public
  • ownership. Officers continue to try to get agreement from the landowners for
  • the planned scheme.
  •  
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Points
  •  
  • The tender for these in two of
  • our car parks is now out. I welcome the recent government announcement that is
  • encouraging local highways authorities to make on road provision along with
  • additional funding.  This will fall to
  • HCC as on road provision.
  •  
  • Other items
  •  
  • New wayfinding directional signed
  • street nameplates are due to be erected in Croxley Green (part funded from
  • Sustainable Transport funding contributed from planning agreements). Local
  • members and key partners were consulted over these.  Further Welcome Signs for Three Rivers are
  • due to be erected at key locations to enhance local identity in the District.
  • The grass verge hardening programme continues – principally in South
  • Oxhey.  TRDC has provided a small amount
  • of capital money to the County Council to allow a road safety improvement
  • scheme to be extended by the A405 in Bucknalls Lane.
  •  
  • I am also pleased to announce
  • that the first two new solar powered (for lighting) buses shelters are due to
  • be installed (if not already done by the time of the Council meeting) in South
  • Way and by St Michaels School. Delivered by the Council through our Better
  • Buses Programme. This is yet another first for Three Rivers.
  •  
  • Hertfordshire Growth Board (HGB)
  • – S101 Joint Committee
  •  
  • As Deputy Leader and the
  • representative on this body for Three Rivers Council I have attended meetings
  • on the 17 December and as the first Joint Committee on 26 January.  This has included a workshop on its work
  • programme and how to engage stakeholders. A Communications Strategy and Work
  • programme has been agreed to drive forward inward investment and ensure that
  • the HGB (and its authorities) are match fit to secure potential government
  • support for infrastructure investment
  •  
  • Priorities to December 2021
  • include:
  •  
  • Economic Recovery, performance
  • and resilience;
  • Working together to deliver the
  • homes that Hertfordshire needs;
  • By December 2021 we hope have:
  •  
  •  Secured a Growth Deal with HM
  • Government;
  •  
  •  Protected Hertfordshire from
  • the impact of the virus upon our economy;
  •  
  •  Established the Hertfordshire
  • Housing pipeline and Delivery Pathway;
  •  
  •  Developed an investment
  • prospectus and approach;
  •  
  •  Assembled a spade ready
  • projects investment portfolio;
  •  
  •   Delivered some initial projects whilst
  • progressing second tier projects.
  •  
  • 17g) Question to Councillor
  • Stephen Giles-Medhurst, Lead Member for Transport and Economic Development from
  • Councillor Joan King
  •  
  • Is the Lead Member aware of the
  • lack of disabled parking near the chemist's new premises close to the market
  • square in South Oxhey which is causing consternation and precluding people who
  • need to use the chemist from doing so? 
  • Further as this chemist plans to administer the Covid vaccine, what is
  • this Council proposing to do to alleviate the problem?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • This issue was brought to mine,
  • officers and Countryside management attention some weeks ago by Cllr Andrew
  • Scarth and I thank him for that and his helpful input.
  •  
  • Firstly let me outline the
  • details regarding the parking provision here which is readily available in
  • public documents on the Council website.
  •  
  • The details are:
  •  
  • Parking provision for residential
  • and non-residential uses and management of the parking in the SO redevelopment
  • was carefully assessed as part of the planning permission.  The management of the parking is controlled
  • by Condition 30 of the planning permission (ref. 16/0005/FUL) which requires
  • the submission of a Car Parking Management Strategy for each phase and by the
  • Phase 3 planning permission (ref. 19/2133/FUL)
  •  
  • With regards to parking for holders
  • of blue badges 20 accessible spaces were agreed including 8 in Fairfield Avenue
  • and Bridlington Road and 5 in the Henbury Way car park.
  •  
  • This parking provision and
  • layout, including the accessible spaces, was considered sufficient to serve the
  • development at the planning stage and no objections were raised on this aspect
  • which was approved by the highways authority, the County Council.
  •  
  • It is acknowledged parking spaces
  • (including accessible spaces) do not exist immediately outside shops but such
  • spaces are in close proximity to the retail premises and central area.  An enforcement agent has recently been
  • retained by the applicant and enforcement of the parking spaces across the
  • development and on non adopted roads is now underway.
  •  
  • Notwithstanding this, Officers
  • are currently investigating the use of the loading bays outside this chemist
  • premises.  However, these loading bays
  • are the main group of loading bays serving the non-residential aspect of the
  • development so any reduction in the number of loading bays will most likely
  • impact on all traders here and would have to be carefully considered and
  • consulted upon. It would also require a planning application to amend the
  • existing permission.
  •  
  • It should also be noted that at
  • present this is not adopted highways by the County Council so TRDC actions in
  • respect of any enforcement cannot legally take place
  •  
  • Also thanks to Cllr Andrew
  • Scarth.  On the 1 February Countryside
  • Management, having been made aware of the issue by Cllr Scarth, added
  • additional signs to the four bays in front of the Pharmacy, to try and
  • reduce/prevent people just leaving their cars there long term. This has had
  • some effect, and while the area is not adopted can continue.  As Andrew suggested they organised for some
  • disabled persons parking only signs, to be deployed, to see if that had a
  • greater effect.
  •  
  • For Countryside to change the use
  • of these bays permanently from loading only, they would have to propose the
  • revision to HCC in addition to the planning application. Countryside have raised
  • that with their Technical Team, who are already aware of the parking issues and
  • are investigating.
  •  
  • As the highways authority is the
  • County Council they would need to consent to removal of the loading bays in
  • case such a removal effects traffic flow here. As the County Councillor for the
  • area you may wish, if you have not already, to discuss with highways officers
  • and the Development Management Team at the County Council.
  •  
  • 17h) Report from Councillor Steve
  • Drury, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy
  •  
  • As a Council we wrote to the
  • Secretary of State to voice our objections to the proposed Permitted
  • Development Rights, as requested at IHED Committee on 19 January 2021. To which
  • we have had a reply stating that "from April all new homes delivered
  • through this scheme will meet nationally described space standards.” 
  •  
  • There could be an enormous amount
  • of extra work for our planning officers, for which there was no mention in the
  • reply about fees and charges for this and as a Council, we may lose out
  • financially.
  •  
  • The Planning Advisory Service
  • have been asked by MHCLG to undertake research on Planning good
  • practice/experience which is to take place next month, which Councillor Lloyd
  • will I expect comment further on.
  •  
  • The Local Plan is progressing and
  • there have been a number of meetings recently to progress this further.
  •  
  • Lastly, Central Government, at
  • the moment is still planning Elections for May so, the Chorleywood Neighbourhood
  • Referendum should go ahead as planned along with some Parish, Local District
  • and the County Council elections, but we will have to wait and see how things
  • progress over the next few weeks.
  •  
  • 17i) Question to Councillor Steve
  • Drury, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor
  • Alison Wall
  •  
  • Residents have contacted local
  • Councillors reporting increased flooding. 
  • Flood management needs a larger focus in planning applications and the
  • impact schemes have on water tables. 
  • Will this administration write to Herts County Council (HCC) the flood
  • authority and our MPs to highlight this issue?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • I would agree it is an issue and
  • it is the County Council that is the Lead Local Authority on this. 
  •  
  • The Local Planning Authority has
  • a statutory requirement to consult the Lead Local Flood Authority only when
  • considering major development (an application for 10 or more houses or with
  • 1,000 square metres of floor area proposed) with surface water drainage. The
  • statutory requirement to consult the Environment Agency on flooding matters is
  • only applicable to development other than minor development to be carried out
  • in Flood Zones 2 or 3.  Often the
  • Environment Agency encourage the Local Planning Authority to use their online standing
  • advice when considering planning applications, rather than providing bespoke
  • written comments.  This standing advice
  • gives general guidance on the management of surface water, access and
  • evacuation, and floor levels for proposed developments.
  •  
  • I am pleased that following a
  • motion proposed by the Liberal Democrat Group to a Full County Council meeting
  • last year the Administration at County Hall has now agreed a root and branch
  • review of how it deals with flooding issues and I hope and expect this will
  • include what advice it gives on planning applications.
  •  
  • It is however often the case that
  • in large developments flood mitigation measures can assist in dealing with
  • witnessed issues with the inclusion of attenuation ponds and other works.
  •  
  • Indeed recent examples of such
  • successful measures include the developments at Farriers Way off Bucknalls Lane
  • and the development off Woodside Road. 
  •  
  • I have no issues of again
  • bringing to the attention of the County Council and MPs the ongoing issues of
  • developments and the failure of the Government to ensure all developments i.e.
  • those less than 10 units do not have to comply with requirements.
  •  
  • 17j) Question to Councillor Steve
  • Drury, Lead Member for Infrastructure and Planning Policy from Councillor
  • Shanti Maru
  •  
  • Many developments ruin grass
  • verges.  The County Council then needs to
  • make them good through tax payers’ income. Will this administration write to
  • our MPs and Herts County Council (HCC) to look at the introduction of a verge
  • bond?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • I agree it is unacceptable for
  • developers to not reinstate damaged verges whether these be single house
  • developments, extensions or large building sites.  Some developers do this and indeed it is the
  • case that in larger schemes such re-installment is the norm. 
  •  
  • However like other Councillors I
  • have often brought the County Council's attention to problems with damage to
  • the verges. 
  •  
  • My fellow County Councillors,
  • especially Cllr Giles-Medhurst, who leads on Highways issues has raised this
  • issue repeatedly in the last 20 years but the County Council has been slow to
  • act on occasions and is restricted by the law. 
  • On the legal basis it does require evidence to support that the damage
  • to verges (and footways) has been caused by a developer and that was not
  • already the case before works started.
  •  
  • If damage is proven/obvious HCC
  • as the Highways Authority will write to the owners and the developers to try to
  • get restoration undertaken and in a lot of cases this can be successful but
  • takes time. It does however require the County Council to be informed of such
  • damage first so if you are aware of sites please do let your County Councillor
  • or the County Officers know.
  •  
  • As I understand the County
  • Council cannot legally require a bond for something outside the development and
  • this has already been looked at by the County Council.  Indeed the Government has relaxed greatly the
  • controls on developers and suggests such requirements restrict developers. 
  •  
  • If the highways aspects are not
  • part of the planning application it does not have the same highways powers that
  • exist in the Greater London area. Often a large development scheme may offer to
  • undertake works on the highway but neither TRDC or HCC can require works that
  • are outside of the planning application.
  •  
  • 17k) Report from Councillor
  • Andrew Scarth, Lead Member for Housing
  •  
  • There have been two excellent
  • evening training sessions for members who wished to know about the role of the
  • Housing department, its structure and how it functions. Kimberley Grout gave
  • fellow members the opportunity to ask questions as she went through her hour
  • long presentation.  I would like to thank
  • her for the time and effort she spent on this informative task.
  •  
  • Due to the current national
  • lockdown, Housing department officers are again duty bound to accommodate any
  • rough sleepers in the district. As of the end of 28 January Council had 49
  • households in Council owned temporary accommodation (all within the District).
  • There were a further five households in other temporary accommodation, three of
  • which are outside of the District (Watford, Borehamwood and Potters Bar). 
  •  
  • Up to 21 February there is again
  • an eviction ban in place.  Whilst this is
  • positive there is a concern that when the ban is lifted there will be a rise in
  • evictions from the private sector. 
  •  
  • During quarter three (Oct-Dec)
  • the Housing team were able to prevent 33 households from becoming homeless and
  • they relieved homelessness (meaning they found alternative accommodation) for
  • 32 households. Therefore 65 households were prevented/relieved from
  • homelessness which is the highest figure the team have ever achieved.  I would like to congratulate Kimberley and
  • her team. 
  •  
  • Regarding the refugee post.
  • Kimberley will give me the latest on this before the Council meeting.
  •  
  • Questions to Councillor Andrew
  • Scarth, Lead Member for Housing from Councillor Debbie Morris
  •  
  • 17l) This Council requires
  • occupants of temporary accommodation to have all electrical appliances more
  • than 12 months old PAT-tested but do not ask for copies of the PAT certificates
  • unless a particular issue has been identified on inspection.  However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,
  • Watford Community Housing Trust (managers of the South Oxhey temporary
  • accommodation) are not inspecting any property. How are tenants protected from
  • the risks generated by potentially faulty electrical appliances?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • The inclusion of such a clause by
  • the Council highlights the importance that is placed on protecting our
  • residents.  However, it should be noted
  • that the Council is being cautious by its inclusion. Due to the very nature of
  • temporary accommodation and people often needing to be provided with this
  • accommodation at short notice and in crisis, it would not be reasonable for the
  • Council to request that PAT certificates are produced when offering temporary
  • accommodation, nor is there a legal requirement for customers to provide such
  • information to the Council. PAT certificates must be paid for and a customer
  • may not have sufficient funds in order to pay for this.  Should the Council request such information,
  • any failure to produce a PAT certificate would not result in the withdrawal of
  • an offer of temporary accommodation. 
  • Therefore, a pragmatic approach is taken and the managing agent inspects
  • all temporary accommodation sites on a regular basis.  However, due to the pandemic and current lockdown,
  • inspection visits have been temporarily halted by Watford Community Housing.  Initial lettings are completed in person and
  • if we or Watford Community Housing have any concern a visit will be completed;
  • it is only inspection visits that have halted. 
  • As with lots of other issues, the pandemic has meant certain things have
  • not been able to be completed.  Officers
  • believe this is reasonable in the current time. 
  • Inspection visits will resume when the lockdown ends.
  •  
  • 17m) Where else in the District
  • are tenants bringing into Council-owned accommodation electrical appliances
  • more than 12 months old without having to produce a PAT certificate?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • The Council owns properties that
  • are used for temporary accommodation at 15 Bury Lane, 38 Lincoln Drive, Spellen
  • Place and Jack Prescott Place plus four other pepper-potted properties in the
  • District.
  •  
  • 17n)  The occupancy agreement for temporary
  • accommodation requires tenants’ vehicles to have valid tax, insurance, MOT
  • certificates and to be in a roadworthy condition yet again, this Council and
  • its managers do not seek evidence of this. If the Council considers it
  • sufficiently important for tenants’ vehicles to be insured, taxed and
  • roadworthy, why are they not validating this or asking the relevant authorities
  • to do so?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • Officers believe that there is no
  • need for the Council to validate such information, nor would this be a good use
  • of officer time.  The Police are the
  • responsible authority that would deal with this matter and it is felt it would
  • not be a good use of Police time to provide such information to the Council for
  • every customer. The requirement for residents is that they must comply with the
  • law, this is listed in the occupancy agreement to reinforce the legal
  • requirement. As previously stated, requiring customers to provide this at a
  • time when they are generally going through crisis would not be reasonable and
  • there is no legal requirement for this to be provided to the Council.  Should the Council request such information,
  • any failure to provide this could not result in the withdrawal of an offer of
  • temporary accommodation.  If the Council
  • or its managing agents have any concern about any vehicles at temporary
  • accommodation sites they will liaise with the relevant authorities.
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • LEISURE, ENVIRONMENT AND
  • COMMUNITY
  •  
  • Reports from the Lead Member for
  • Leisure (Cllr Chris Lloyd), Lead Member for Environmental Services &
  • Sustainability (Cllr Phil Williams), Lead Member for Community Safety and
  • Partnerships (Cllr Roger Seabourne) and questions.
  •  
  • 17o)  Report from Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead
  • Member for Leisure
  •  
  • Leisure – Watersmeet is closed.
  • Skate Parks and Out Gyms are closed. Play areas are open. The Aquadrome had to
  • close because of the worst flooding in 7 years. We have yet been able to fully
  • assess the damage to paths and river banks. 
  • Trees have been planted since last council meeting at the Aquadrome.
  •  
  • Health – The Council Leader has
  • been forwarding regular updates. HCC have been organising regularly updates
  • alternating between afternoon and evening. I would like to thank all of our
  • officers.
  •  
  • We are currently recruiting for a
  • Covid Engagement Officer, funded by Public Health, to support with the
  • organisation of Covid Marshals and engage with the community, encouraging
  • uptake of the vaccine and compliance with regulations. We have also been able
  • to expand the Community Support Service delivered by Herts Mind Network to
  • support people with mental health problems through extra public health funding.
  • The Healthy Hub also remains open offering services virtually.
  •  
  • Watersmeet continues to remain
  • closed to the public at present due to Covid restrictions with the intension of
  • reopening as soon as restrictions allow. In the meantime phase 2 of the stage
  • lighting replacement (switching over to LEDs) is due to take place from 8 March
  • with the works lasting 3 weeks following a successful tender process. The new
  • lighting system will allow greater flexibility and bring Watersmeet lighting
  • infrastructure up to date whilst improving the energy efficiency of the
  • building. In addition a number of other building improvements continue to be
  • carried out including repair works to the roof. Watersmeet management have
  • submitted an application to the second round of the Culture Recovery Fund for a
  • grant of £87,500 to help support the venue through April-June 2021 and we
  • expect to hear if the application has been successful by the end of March.
  • Tickets for shows and events from April and beyond continue to be on sale with
  • the online box office open 24/7 and a telephone box office open 11am-2pm Monday
  • to Friday.  Watersmeet staff continue to
  • support the Council’s wider Covid response activity including redeployments to
  • Revenues and Benefits. 
  •  
  • I would like to thank all the
  • officers for the support during the Council year.
  •  
  • 17p)  Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Lead
  • Member for Leisure from Councillor Debbie Morris
  •  
  • Public consultations on a cycle
  • path at Swilletts Recreation Ground (SRG) and an outdoor adult gym at Eastbury
  • Recreation Ground (ERG) took place in spring 2020. The SRG project came before
  • our Planning Committee in December 2020 but the ERG one is not expected to come
  • to Planning Committee for several more months. Why has the SRG project
  • progressed so much faster than the ERG one?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • Eastbury Recreation Ground
  •  
  • Following the consultation
  • process for the project, it was highlighted that there were differing views on
  • the location and this needed to be resolved prior to moving forwards. A site
  • meeting was therefore needed, however due to the pandemic a number of
  • restrictions were put in place, which meant officers were unable to arrange a
  • site visit to agree the location. In addition to this, the officer leading on
  • this project was re-deployed to Environmental Protection and subsequently has
  • been seconded to Community Partnerships as part of the Council’s response to
  • the pandemic.
  • As part of the Council’s response
  • to the pandemic, all services across Three Rivers were prioritised based on a
  • number factors: supporting the vulnerable, significant financial implications
  • etc. and were agreed through the COVID-19 Policy and Resources Sub Committee.
  • The majority of leisure projects were identified as priority 4 and 5 and have
  • been on hold throughout the pandemic. They were due to recommence in November 2020,
  • however, following the latest national lockdown this has now been postponed.
  • The location was highlighted as
  • an issue to Ward Councillors and Batchworth Community Council and they have
  • since agreed the location for the Outdoor gym through a site meeting amongst
  • themselves.
  • Officers have corresponded with
  • Ward Councillors to highlight that the project would be picked up again in
  • early 2021, subject to resources. This remains the case and Officers will be
  • starting work on the procurement for the project, now that the location has
  • been agreed and will be sharing this with Ward Councillors and Batchworth
  • Community Council in due course.
  • The Swillet Cycle Track
  •  
  • This is a different project
  • process due to the need to secure external funding to proceed with this
  • project. The potential funding partner highlighted that before they could
  • assess a funding application for this project, planning approval would be
  • needed. The timescales for the funding partner indicated that the most feasible
  • funding window that the Council could apply to, allowing for the processes for
  • planning and procurement, would be February 2021. The funding application
  • window closes in June 2021 and the outcome will then be known as to whether or
  • not the project can proceed.
  • Both projects are being delivered
  • within similar timescales but in a different order due to the need of
  • prioritising resources and external influencing factors. It is likely that both
  • projects will have a similar installation timetable, with Eastbury Outdoor Gym
  • being potentially sooner. It is anticipated that this will take place during
  • the summer months.
  •  
  • 17q)  Report from Councillor Phil Williams, Lead
  • Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability
  •  
  • The teams at the Depot continue
  • to work at their fantastically high standards. 
  • Some of you will have noticed that “Let’s Recycle” have yet to publish
  • the 2019/2020 recycling figures. The previous year we were best in Herts, best
  • in the Eastern Region, best in the whole of the South England and 3rd in
  • England overall. Last year’s figures are imminent.
  •  
  • Along with Officers I have
  • attended a number of meetings with colleagues across Hertfordshire at the
  • Hertfordshire Climate change Strategy Partnership and the Herts Waste
  • Partnership to help create a joined up County wide way of tackling issues. 
  •  
  • Jo Hewitson, Elen Roberts and
  • Ellie Nathan have been beavering away to get the Climate Change Strategy ready.
  • It is due to be presented to the LEC Committee on the 10 March. I’m sure we all
  • thank them for their efforts.
  •  
  • 17r)   Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead
  • Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability from Councillor David
  • Sansom
  •  
  • How many solar panels does TRDC
  • now have and how much power has been generated and what funds/credits received
  • by TRDC?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • The number of solar panels are as
  • follows:
  •  
  • Three Rivers House – 65
  •  
  • Watersmeet – 56
  •  
  • Bowls Club – 4
  •  
  • Income received from the Feed in
  • Tariffs for TRDC is as follows:
  •  
  • 2018/19 - £4401
  •  
  • 2019/20 - £5904
  •  
  • 2020/21 to date £3569
  •  
  • 17s)   Question to Councillor Phil Williams, Lead
  • Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability from Councillor Reena
  • Ranger
  •  
  • All trees have value.  In response to our climate change emergency,
  • how are we ensuring that low amenity trees (not under TPO) being felled are
  • replaced so that we aren’t presiding over a decline in tree numbers?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • Development of the draft Climate
  • Change Strategy identified the need to find new locations for tree planting on
  • District Council-owned land.  Officers
  • will be meeting with Countryside Management Service in the near future, with
  • the aim of commissioning a study aimed at identifying new planting
  • locations.  It is hoped this study will
  • form the basis of a long term tree planting plan for the district.  More detail on plans for tree planting will be
  • included in the forthcoming Tree Strategy for the District, currently in
  • production.
  • Policy DM6 of TRDC’s current
  • local plan requires many developments to produce landscaping schemes, which
  • include new tree planting.  Tree &
  • Landscape Officers also review and comment on many planning applications in the
  • district, and frequently advise that new tree planting is required as a
  • condition of development.
  • The draft Climate Change Strategy
  • includes a biodiversity objective to ‘Encourage local residents and
  • householders in the District to improve their gardens and open spaces for
  • biodiversity.’ Actions to achieve this objective, such as tree planting, will
  • be set out in due course.
  • 17t) Question to Councillor Phil
  • Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability from
  • Councillor Paula Hiscocks
  •  
  • When are we starting regular
  • meetings asked for by Councillors and residents with the water authorities to
  • discuss the sewerage signage and flooding concerns?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • The Community Partnerships team
  • will be setting up a water partnership consisting of key organisations and
  • stakeholders in our District to work to reduce water consumption, bringing
  • organisations together to enable discussion and communication on reducing
  • pollution and preventing flooding in our district. The first meeting will be
  • planned for May. There are also discussions taking place with the water
  • organisations and the flood authority to support the delivery of the
  • Hertfordshire Water Action plan and with regard to specific issues of flooding
  • and sewerage discharge which we are involved in.
  •  
  • 17u) Question to Councillor Phil
  • Williams, Lead Member for Environmental Services and Sustainability from
  • Councillor Paula Hiscocks
  •  
  • Why did the Muslim families of
  • those buried in Woodcock Cemetery not receive their deeds of burial as is their
  • legal right?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • When grave space is purchased, it
  • may be purchased with or without an exclusive right of burial. It is not
  • compulsory to grant a deed of exclusive right of burial. Nor is it a
  • purchaser’s legal right to be granted one. It is, however, the Council’s
  • practice to send to all prospective purchasers of full plot graves a form
  • entitled ‘Notice of Intended Burial’ which includes a request that they be
  • granted the exclusive right of burial in that particular grave.
  •  
  • Rule 6 of the Council’s Rules and
  • Regulations in respect of the Woodcock Hill & Chorleywood Road Cemeteries
  • provides that, “A person can purchase the exclusive right of burial in any
  • grave or vault for a period of 100 years only. A deed of grant of exclusive
  • right of burial (The Deed of Grant) will be issued by the Council to this
  • effect.”
  •  
  • When the Muslim Section at
  • Woodcock Hill Cemetery was leased by the Council to B W Foundation, deeds of
  • exclusive rights of burial were granted in their favour. B W Foundation have
  • not previously transferred those rights onwards to purchasers of individual
  • graves, and the Council has not required them to do so.
  •  
  • During the second part of 2020,
  • the Council received a number of requests from families who had purchased grave
  • space from B W Foundation to be issued with deeds of exclusive rights of
  • burial. As a result, the Council requested and B W Foundation have agreed to
  • surrender their deeds of exclusive rights of burial back to the Council in
  • order that the Council may in future issue deeds to individual families on
  • request.
  •  
  • 17v)   Report from Councillor Roger Seabourne, Lead
  • Member for Community Safety and Partnerships
  •  
  • During the last year the
  • department has undertaken the following activities / implementation new
  • processes and services:
  •  
  • March 2020:
  •  
  • The department conducted a
  • multi-agency operation (Op Guardian) with police and trading standards to check
  • vehicles in the area that were carrying scrap metal
  • The department quickly
  • implemented online applications due to working from home
  • Conducted multi agency visits to
  • licenced premises giving advice on Covid-19 regulations.
  •  
  •  
  • April 2020:
  •  
  • The increase in licensing fees
  • which were reviewed in 2019/2020 came into effect.
  • Councillors attended the first
  • successful Licensing training for Councillors via video link
  •  
  •  
  • August 2020:
  •  
  • Officers implemented the
  • temporary pavement licence process
  •  
  •  
  • October 2020:
  •  
  • Joint working with the police and
  • inspecting the scrap metal sites within the district
  • St Albans Crown Court upheld the
  • Magistrate’s decision to dismiss an appeal from a driver based on hearsay
  • evidence concerning inappropriate behaviour.
  • Officers commenced distributing
  • licence plates & badges from Watersmeet including vehicle checks.
  • Officers have changed the design
  • of the licence plates and these have started to be distributed.
  •  
  •  
  • November 2020:
  •  
  • New staff member (seconded from
  • CSC team) appointed to help with day to day licensing functions and to assist
  • with the implementation of online applications.
  • Department held first successful
  • virtual licensing sub-committee (Shish restaurant, Moneyhill Parade)
  •  
  •  
  • January 2021:
  •  
  • The Travel with confidence scheme
  • launched and has received significant interest. This is a training course that
  • drivers and operators may undertake which teaches them about how viruses can be
  • easily spread and how they can help to reduce the spread of infection.
  • Overview in numbers of
  • suspensions/revocations/refusals between January 2020 and end of January 2021:
  • PH and HC Drivers: 163
  • suspensions issued, 3 driver licences revoked, 4 driver licence applications
  • refused,
  • PH and HC Vehicles: 28
  • suspensions issued, 2 applications refused
  • PH Operators: 4 suspensions
  • issued, 1 application refused
  • Licensed premises: 18 suspensions
  • issued
  • Officers are continuing to pursue
  • opportunities to accept new driver applications
  •  
  •  
  • 17w) Question to Councillor Roger
  • Seabourne, Lead Member for Community Safety and Partnerships from Councillor
  • David Sansom
  •  
  • I was pleased to see the 'Travel
  • with confidence' scheme to encourage the use of Taxis and Minicabs when
  • appropriate. Last summer when we were not in lockdown, TRDC would not test any
  • new taxi/mini drivers so could not issue any new drivers licenses. If officers
  • can’t test new drivers, how are the existing drivers being trained to this new
  • standard?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • The Travel with Confidence scheme
  • is effectively an accreditation for the sanitisation of a licensed vehicle to
  • combat the spread the Coronavirus and other infections.  It is not a pre requisite to become a
  • licensed driver and it is not mandatory. 
  • Existing licensed drivers can apply to be accredited by the scheme.  Existing licensed drivers are able to achieve
  • the scheme accreditation by undertaking an electronic training course.  Their vehicles also have to be inspected by
  • Council staff.  We have already seen a
  • positive interest from existing drivers in pursuing this accreditation (and
  • first accreditation now been issued).
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • RESOURCES AND SHARED SERVICES
  •  
  • 17x)   Report from Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead
  • Member for Resources and Shared Services
  •  
  • There is no report from the Lead
  • Member for Resources and Shared Services
  •  
  • 17y)   Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead
  • Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor Paula Hiscocks
  •  
  • The sale of Council houses to
  • Thrive Homes generated £32 million for this Council. Could I have a breakdown
  • of how that money has been spent?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • The income received was a capital
  • receipt and under the LG regulations it can only be used to support capital
  • expenditure. 
  •  
  • £20m was used to fund the
  • Property Investment Board’s acquisition of Properties in Norwich and Nottingham
  • and the Ex public House ‘The Grapevine in South Oxhey. These generate revenue
  • income in the form of rents of £1million. 
  •  
  • The balance of the capital
  • receipt has been used to support the funding of the Councils approved capital
  • programme over the years, including provision of temporary housing for homeless
  • families within the District.
  •  
  • 17z)   Question to Councillor Matthew Bedford, Lead
  • Member for Resources and Shared Services from Councillor David Raw
  •  
  • At the last Full Council, I asked
  • this administration what 5 savings they had made. They could only provide two
  • examples.  Is that because there were
  • only two?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • 5 savings were provided as
  • requested. “Savings” by definition includes additional income. Residents
  • benefit equally from increased income and from reduced expenditure. As at
  • period 6 budget monitoring the top 5 savings are:
  •  
  • £73k saving in temporary staffing
  • in Leisure
  •  
  • £23k saving on hiring of rooms
  • for Active Community Development Fund
  •  
  • £34k due to additional transport
  • subsidy from HCC
  •  
  • £15k additional building control
  • income
  •  
  • £71k additional property income

3.  REPORTS AND QUESTIONS TO THE CHAIRS OF THE AUDIT, PLANNING, LICENSING AND REGULATORY SERVICES COMMITTEES (RULE 14)

  • AUDIT COMMITTEE
  •  
  • 18a)     Report from and questions to the Chair of
  • the Audit Committee (Cllr Margaret Hofman)
  •  
  • Due to Covid 19, the publication
  • date of audited accounts for all Local Authorities moved from July to
  • November.  Draft statutory accounts for
  • TRDC have been published and are available to view on the Council’s website.
  •  
  • However, the external audit of
  • the Draft Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2020 has not yet
  • been completed by our external auditors due to resources pressures as
  • additional audit work has been required due to pandemic.
  •  
  • Due to unknown impact of COVID
  • 19, the Audit Committee has requested additional information and more frequent
  • reporting from officers.
  •  
  • PLANNING COMMITTEE
  •  
  • 18b)     Report from and questions to the Chair of
  • the Planning Committee (Cllr Chris Lloyd)
  •  
  • The December meeting had to
  • reconvene to finish the Agenda. The February meeting is starting 30 mins
  • earlier due to the volume of applications to be considered.
  •  
  • We are working with the Planning
  • Advisory Service as part of reviews they are doing to see how Planning
  • Committees have been working since we have been doing remote or virtual
  • meetings.
  •  
  • I would like to thank officers
  • and Members of the Committee for the support they have given me.
  •  
  • 18c)     Question to Councillor Chris Lloyd, Chair
  • of Planning Committee from Councillor Debbie Morris
  •  
  • Should Members of the Planning
  • Committee not intending to use their video cameras at meetings inform the
  • Planning Chair in advance of each meeting and if they fail to do so, will the
  • Chair ask them to turn their cameras on when they want to speak at the
  • meetings?
  •  
  • Written response:
  •  
  • I will ask the Committee section
  • to remind members of the Committee, Ward Councillors and the public by email. I
  • will aim to remind everyone at the start of the meeting.
  •  
  • LICENSING
  •  
  • 18d)     Report from and questions to the Chair of
  • the Licensing Committee (Cllr Martin Trevett).
  •  
  • In December Members discussed the
  • Statement of Licensing Policy which was reviewed by Officers. The Statement of
  • Licensing Policy promotes the four licensing objectives (prevention of crime
  • and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance and protection of
  • children from harm) and seeks to balance the interests of both businesses and
  • residents to make sure Three Rivers continues to offer a wide choice of high
  • quality and well managed premises within a safe and orderly environment. The
  • Policy also sets out the approach and principles that the Council will
  • generally apply when carrying out its functions under the Licensing Act 2003.
  • The statement is required to be reviewed every 5 years.
  •  
  • Members agreed to minor changes
  • to the reviewed Policy and to a 6 week public consultation which commenced on
  • 23 December.
  •  
  • Members discussed the Policy and
  • public consultation at the Licensing Committee on 10 February and the
  • recommendation from the Committee is on the summons for Council approval.
  •  
  • REGULATORY SERVICES
  •  
  • 18e)     Report from and questions to the Chair of
  • the Regulatory Services Committee (Cllr Martin Trevett).
  •  
  • A report was presented by the
  • Returning Officer at the meeting on 10 February 2021, seeking temporary
  • delegated powers to make late changes to polling places during the Coronavirus
  • pandemic, as you are aware it was agreed for the 6 May 2021 combined polls,
  • subject to ratification by Council on 23 February.
  •  
  • Where essential changes are
  • notified before 19 March, when we publish the notice of poll, the Committee
  • will meet to discuss and approve any changes. 
  • After this date the Returning Officer will consult as widely as possible
  • any enforced changes, subject to time constraints, but as a minimum will speak
  • to Group Leaders and Election Agents.

4. MOTION UNDER PROCEDURE RULE 11

  • Councillor Andrew Scarth,
  • seconded by Councillor Jon Tankard, to move under Notice duly given as follows:
  •  
  • Council notes that in 2008 the
  • Climate Change Act came into force.
  •  
  • We are pleased that in 2020 this
  • Council declared a Climate emergency and is working up its Climate change
  • strategy. We are also delighted that President Biden has moved to reinstate the
  • USA to the Paris Climate agreement.
  •  
  • Though we welcome Central
  • Government announcing its Green Homes Grant which enables individual home
  • owners to claim up to £5000 Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of
  • installing energy efficient improvements to their present home, there is no
  • mention of all new builds having a renewable electricity source.
  •  
  • Any increase in Housing stock
  • would look to an increase in power requirements. As a country that is
  • struggling with its electrical supply, the reduction in energy requirements for
  • all new properties would have a positive and beneficial impact on the country’s
  • power requirements.
  •  
  • The Government wishes to ban
  • fitting gas fired boilers into new builds by 2025. Electrical boilers have
  • noticeably improved their efficiency, but it means the need for electrical
  • supply at point of use will increase.
  •  
  • Demand for electric cars has seen
  • the biggest increase in new vehicles sales in the UK in 2020, which over time
  • will increase the demand for electricity. We are pleased to note that more
  • electricity is produced by renewable means especially wind farms rather than
  • burning fossil fuels.
  •  
  • It is a fact that every day there
  • is daylight. This free energy source should be used to generate electricity for
  • the home as well as exporting it to the national grid.
  •  
  • Council resolves to request the
  • Rt. Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP Minister of State (Minister for Business,
  • Energy and Clean Growth) to support Council's wish to see all new residential
  • builds having renewables such as solar, wind or combined Heat and Power on
  • site, and make it mandatory that this comes into effect by an Act of Parliament
  • ideally by the end of this year if not 2022.

5.  APPOINTMENT OF TWO STATUTORY OFFICERS (Section 151 officer and Monitoring officer)

  •  21-03-17-extra-cl-appointment-of-dof-and-solicitor-to-the-council

6.  EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

  • If Council wishes to consider the
  • remaining item in private, it will be appropriate for a resolution to be passed
  • in the following terms:-
  •  
  • “that under Section 100A of the
  • Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting for
  • the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely
  • disclosure of exempt information as defined under paragraphs 3 & 5 of Part
  • I of Schedule 12A to the Act. It has been decided by the Council that in all
  • the circumstances, the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs
  • the public interest in disclosing the information.”