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Declarations of Interest
All Members who believe they have a Disclosable Pecuniary or other Interest in any matter to be considered at the meeting must declare that interest and, having regard to the circumstances described in Section 4 paragraph 4.6 of the Councillors’ Code of Conduct, leave the meeting while the matter is discussed.
Agenda item 7 – Market Lane Road/Hollow Hill Lane Network – Proposals
Councillor Paul Kelly declared a non-pecuniary interest in that he was also a South Bucks Councillor.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 15 January 2019 be approved as a correct record.
Resolved: That it be noted that the Homelessness Plan and action plan had been circulated to the Panel.
(An opportunity for panel members to ask questions of the relevant Director / Assistant Director, relating to pertinent, topical issues affecting their Directorate – maximum of 10 minutes allocated.)
Members noted the tabled response to a Member’s question regarding the update on the discussion between Bucks County Council and South Bucks Council on the closure of Burnham Beeches recycling centre. Two supplemental questions were asked on the implications for SBC funding to Bucks CC of the reduced operation of the Burnham Beeches recycling centre and the potential impact on the Chalvey recycling centre.
1. the response to the member’s question be noted;
2. a response to the supplemental questions be circulated to the Panel.
The Panel received a report on the potential options for tackling fly tipping in a more proactive and intelligence-led manner and which provided an update on the deployment of CCTV in relation to this.
Members were informed that officers liaised with South Bucks District Council on cross-border work although it was predominately a rural matter in South Bucks and urban in Slough. Work was undertaken with the Environment Agency as appropriate.
In response to comments with regard to raising public awareness, Members were informed that members of the public were encouraged to be observant and report incidences of fly-tipping. The Council’s Communications Team monitored social media and forwarded relevant information to the officers. However, an accurate location was not always given and in the absence of contact details further action could not be taken. In response to a question the Panel was informed that the collection service had been advertised on the website and the recent issue of the Slough Citizen.
The Panel discussed the use of CCTV to both discourage fly-tipping and identify offenders. In response to a question the Panel was advised that fly tipping was a criminal offence and adequate signage was required at any monitored area in order to be compliant with the legal framework. Members were informed of the use of overt CCTV in a public space such as a town centre compared with covert use in areas where controls were required as people would not expect to be observed. An officer suggested the use of deploying a roving vehicle with CCTV and the Panel thought that this would be useful. In response to a question, it was noted that the use of dummy cameras was not an option as attempts could be made to rely on it in case of emergency.
Members were informed that flytipping was primarily overt and CCTV acted as a deterrent. However prosecution was not possible if the CCTV footage was unclear, the offender’s face was covered, or the vehicle registration number was not visable. Action was taken if sufficient evidence was available. Where there was fly-tipping, evidence was sought on the type of waste and its source but such work did not always lead to a result. The officers highlighted prosecutions that had taken place but stated that such work was labour intensive and fly tipping work was a small part of the operatives’ employment.
A Member reported feedback from residents that the recycling centre had informed them that use was restricted to one visit per month. He suggested that the bin and recycling collections should take place on the same day. The officers undertook to clarify the position with Environmental Services.
A Member referred to three hotspots in his Ward which he constantly logged for casework. He stated that the use of CCTV had not been a deterrent.
In response to questions by Members, the Panel was informed:
· the four incursions by Travellers during the current year had been dealt with quickly and the areas had been secured by concrete blocks;
· there was a variety of legislation to deal with reported fly tipping on the front lawns of houses although where vulnerable people were involved work in default could be required;
· work was undertaken in schools but littering and fly tipping was a national issue in connection with which the Environment Agency was working at full capacity;
· the possible risks associated with the closure of Burnham Beeches recycling centre had not been addressed in the report and would be discussed with Environmental Services.
The Chair commended the officers for the work undertaken with regard to commercial fly tipping and endorsed the proposed partnership work but expressed concern at the regular low level fly tipping. Members supported a trial of two to three wards whereby hotspots were identified, signs erected and cameras installed should fly tipping continue.
1.That The recommendations contained in the report be agreed:
1. Options 6.1 to 6.6 be costed in terms of funds and officer time and that if assessed as viable that these steps be put in place as soon as possible;
2. Preparedness for joint working with partner agencies as detailed in option 6.8 during significant peaks be strengthened;
3. Option 6.7 only be considered once the impact of the previous options had been fully assessed and in consultation with the Service Lead and RIPA Coordinating Officer
1. That officers clarify with Environmental Services:
1. whether the recycling centres informed residents that only one visit per month was permitted;
2. the possibility of bin and recycling collections taking place on the same day;
3. whether consideration was being given to any risks associated with the reduced opening of the Burnham Beeches recycling centre.
2.That a trial of two or three wards take place whereby hotspots were identified, signs erected, and cameras installed should fly tipping continue.
Members of the Panel considered a report on an update and overview of the legislation that came into force on 1 April 2018 and how it could be implemented.
An officer introduced the report with particular attention to the lack of a legal definition of a rogue landlord and that, as far as it was known, no landlords had been placed on the database to date. Civic Penalty Notices had been more useful and two such fixed penalty notices totalling £50k had been issued against two Slough landlords.
The Panel was informed that a report was due to be submitted to Cabinet on 18 March 2019 regarding Homes in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) seeking the introduction of a selective licensing scheme.
The criteria for defining a property as an HMO was five or more unrelated people residing in a property of more than three storeys. In practice it would then be difficult to evidence that five people were in occupation. In response to a question, the Panel was advised that Newham Council had registered properties by use of its Borough wide HMO licensing policy which used different legislation.
In response to questions from a Member, the Panel noted that:
· the legislation referred to private sector property only;
· private property allocated to tenants by Slough Council which required bringing up to standard was dealt with in conjunction with the owner and not by rogue landlord legislation;
· the officers aimed to assist in returning properties found to have been empty for more than six months back into use;
· investigating HMOs was within the remit of the Private Sector Regulatory Team.
1. the overview of the Rogue Landlords Database and Banning Orders Under Planning and Housing Act 2016 and its implementation be noted and
2. the proposals and forthcoming recommendations in relation to Property Licensing Schemes to be submitted to Cabinet in March 2019 be supported.
The Panel received a report on the planned changes to Market Lane/Hollow Hill Lane and the potential impact on the local road network. Representatives from Network Rail were in attendance to enable the Panel to scrutinise its plans and intentions.
It was noted that the Department for Transport had put forward an action plan for Slough BC and South Bucks DC to work together on the options. The options and associated costs following the closure of Hollow Hill Lane would be investigated and the study would be presented to the Department for Transport (DfT). A briefing for Members to discuss the options would take place before determination of which proposals could proceed for further evaluation. The study would help the Council understand how any mitigation package could be used to alleviate congestion, air quality issues and take into account future growth in the surrounding area. The options would be around a small area impact including some small, quicker projects and no options would be precluded due to cost.
A Network Rail representative outlined the reasons for the recent road closure and gave an overview of the transport modelling to date. It was noted that a further update would take place once the outputs were available.
The Chair stated that the experimental six month closure of Hollow Hill Lane, whilst being too long, had been informative regarding the ensuing chaos. Whilst the need for the temporary closure had been known, the Council needed to be aware of proposals with regard to mitigation, alternatives and cost for any permanent closure. He requested that the Panel be the first to see the results of the traffic survey with attendance by Network Rail representatives at a Panel meeting if considered beneficial.
The officer stated that the data from the road closure was going through validations and consultants were testing to see if it replicated the previous closure and traffic congestion. The next stage would be to look at implications and further investigation would take place as to the effectiveness of any junction improvements and the required mitigation to resolve any issues. Slough BC and South Bucks DC were working in tandem to look at other options, including tunnelling, a bridge and road networks, and funding including a residual amount to be collectively funded.
A Network Rail representative stated that no specific alternative route had been put forward. Twenty junction improvements had been identified but this depended on changes in traffic volumes. The implications of the 2022-2028 impact during construction and post construction were being investigated. Network Rail was committed to working with Council officers and further meetings would take place before the DSO application with timescales set for key intervention points. An all-Party Member briefing would take place regarding impact, issues and options.
The Chair stated that there had been strong public feeling at the chaos arising from the experimental closure and although it had reopened residents were aware that the situation would occur. There was disappointment at the proposals for junction improvements as they would not resolve the traffic congestion. In order for Members to benefit from a briefing all relevant information such as traffic surveys and the environmental survey needed to be circulated in good time beforehand. He sought that all non confidential information be made available.
The Major Infrastructure Projects officer stated that the modelling information would be shared with the Members. The preliminary environmental impact document was very detailed and analysis would be shared on some issues. The Network Rail representative stated that information would be condensed. He stated that there was a legal requirement for a stand-alone transport document and non-technical precis. The Chair stated that he wished to see the base documents,
In response to a question, Members were informed that a delay had arisen due to the departure of a senior officer and the time taken to agree the removal of specific reference to local plans.
The Chair concluded by stating that if an alternative route was proposed the opposition to the scheme would be removed as the closure of Hollow Hill Lane was the concern.
1. The proposals contained in the report and presentation be noted;
2. The proposal to hold all Party Member briefings be noted;
3. Arrangements be made for Members to see the scoping brief.
The Panel received a report on the work and focus of the Safer Slough Partnership. Councillor Mann, the Portfolio Holder for Regulation and Consumer Protection, introduced the report and highlighted the work undertaken in connection with the Choices Programme and the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Group which had raised the profile of the issue. The rebranding of the SSP had taken place with the launch of a new logo and website. She expressed her thanks to everyone involved in the Partnership.
In response to a question, the Panel was informed that Slough was not experiencing the same levels of knife crime as experienced by London Boroughs. The Partnership took the issue seriously and had set up focus groups. The Police and Crime Commissioner had secured £800k from Government of which Slough would receive an element from 1 April 2019. The Panel noted that a representative from the Youth Parliament sat on the Board.
With regard to the rollout of the Choices Programme to schools, a co-opted Member enquired as to how the project was conveyed to Slough children attending school outside the Borough and whether speakers included ex-offenders. The Panel was informed of the aim to extend the project beyond Slough including presentations to partnerships in the Thames Valley. Once the Programme was successfully embedded in Slough work would be undertaken with schools in the London Boroughs which pupils from Slough attended
In response to concerns raised by a Councillor in attendance at the meeting, it was noted that the Modern Slavery and Exploitation Group had launched the start of a series of media campaigns focused on raising public awareness in Slough.
RESOLVED: That the report be noted.
It was suggested that two of the items on the forward work programme for the 3 April meeting be deferred. The Key Worker Scheme had not yet been embedded and a review of the Home Improvement Agency was due to take place shortly.
Resolved – That
1. the 3 April meeting of the Panel focus on three items
· Housing – performance statistics
· Review of plans to expand low and medium rise housing;
2. The Key worker housing and Home Improvement Agency items be postponed to a future meeting
Resolved – That the attendance record be noted.
Date of Next Meeting - 3rd April 2019
The date of the next meeting was confirmed at 3rd April 2019.