Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Environment
Monday, 17th September, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming. View directions

Contact: Fiona Cameron  Democratic Services Manager

Items
No. Item

15.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 93 KB

The Minutes of the meeting of the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on  2 July 2018 are attached, and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record. 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 2 July 2018 were confirmed as a correct of the meeting, and signed.

16.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

To receive apologies for absence and note substitutions.

 

Members who are unable to attend this meeting must submit apologies by the end of Monday 10 September 2018 to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Denis Leigh.

 

There were no substitutes.

17.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS

To receive from Members declarations of interests in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting, in accordance with Waverley’s Code of Local Government.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests in relation to items on the agenda.

18.

QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

The Chairman to respond to any written questions submitted by members of the public in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.

 

The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Monday 10 September 2018.

Minutes:

There were none.

19.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

The Chairman to respond to any written questions received from Members in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.

 

The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Monday 10 September 2018.

Minutes:

There were none.

20.

Environment Corporate Priorities Update pdf icon PDF 72 KB

This report provides information on key corporate priorities that fall within the remit of the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee. 

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Committee notes the progress on the Council’s corporate priorities, and considers whether there are matters in relation to these that they would like to add to the Committee Forward Programme, ensuring that the purpose for scrutiny is clearly defined and any proposal passes the work programme selection criteria flowchart.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Planning, Elizabeth Sims, briefly outlined the key areas of progress.

 

·         On Local Plan Part 1, there was one challenge outstanding which would be heard at the High Court on 9 October 2018. The hearing would be on a technical issue relating to Woking’s unmet housing need and how the Inspector calculated the final figure. One outstanding challenge to the Dunsfold Park planning permission, brought by POW Campaign Ltd, would be heard alongside the Local Plan as this was connected to the outcome of the Local Plan hearing.

 

·         Good progress had been made with Local Plan Part 2 since the last meeting of the Committee. The consultation on the Preferred Options ended on 9 July, with over 900 comments received. These had all been read and were available on the Council’s website. A Member Briefing had been arranged for 25 September to brief all Members on the headlines of the consultation, the Planning Peer Review, and the new Housing Delivery Test. The intention was that the updated Local Plan Part 2 would come to Environment O&S, Executive and Council towards the end of October, to obtain approval to move to the next formal stage in the process.

 

·         The agenda report showed the status of the Neighbourhood Plans being prepared. Since the agenda had been issued, the Neighbourhood Plan for Elstead and Weyburn had also now commenced the Regulation 14 consultation.

 

·         Examination hearings on the Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy Draft Charging Schedule had been held in July, and the Examiner’s report was expected imminently.

 

In response to questions from Committee Members, officers advised that a Regulation 14 consultation on a Neighbourhood Plan was an informal consultation stage comparable to the consultation on the Preferred Options for Local Plan Part 2. Once submitted to the Council (under Regulation 15), Waverley would undertake a further, formal consultation.

 

With reference to the proposed CIL rates, whilst these were significantly higher than those in neighbouring boroughs, the assessment of viability had been very thorough and robust. The potential impact on deliverability of windfall development sites had been raised through the consultation process but it was considered that there was sufficient buffer in the viability assessment. There would be a period, typically around 3 months, between adoption of CIL and the implementation date, and there was an expectation of there being a spike in planning applications received in an effort to avoid paying CIL.

 

The Chairman of the Committee asked what role the committee had in the delivery of the Local Plan and delivery of housing numbers. The Head of Planning reminded the Committee of the importance of observing the distinction between the Executive and Overview and Scrutiny functions, and but referred Members to the next item on the agenda that invited the input of the Committee on establishing a framework for delivery of infrastructure needed to enable housing delivery.

 

The Committee agreed to note the progress on the delivery of corporate priorities.

21.

Planning and Infrastructure pdf icon PDF 79 KB

The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on a range of potential options of securing funding for infrastructure. The report:

 

1.    Summarises the background to and need for infrastructure provision in Waverley;

2.    Confirms the existing mechanisms available to the Council to secure infrastructure provision to support planned growth; and

3.    Identifies opportunities for increasing provision of infrastructure, including putting in place mechanisms to enable effective future provision.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Committee:

 

1.    Notes the opportunities set out in this report for securing infrastructure funding;

2.    Passes any observations or recommendations to the Executive; and

3.    Considers whether or not they would like to carry out further scrutiny work in order to support officers in pursuing these opportunities.

Minutes:

Elizabeth Sims, the Head of Planning, and Graham Parrott, Planning Policy Manager, presented a report that informed the Committee of a range of options for securing funding for infrastructure to support the delivery of housing development in Waverley.

 

During the preparation of the Local Plan, the adequacy of the infrastructure to support the proposed level of housing development had been a recurring concern, expressed by Members and local communities. Members were familiar with mechanisms to secure funding through agreements on specific planning permission, such as S106 agreements, planning obligations, and S278 agreements. These had some limitations in that they could only address the impact of the donor development; and since the implementation of CIL Regulations in 2015 there were very strict limitations on the pooling of infrastructure contributions.

 

The Council had now reached an advanced stage in its preparations to introduce CIL. The Examination of the Draft Charging Schedule had taken place, and the Examiner’s report was expected imminently. The intention was that CIL would be adopted in the autumn with implementation at the end of the year. The implementation of CIL would provide many advantages over the current arrangements: a proportion of CIL receipts would be passed to the relevant town or parish council; there were no pooling restrictions and the main CIL fund could be spent on infrastructure anywhere in the borough; and CIL could be collected on schemes of one or more dwellings.

 

At the national, regional and county level, there were a number of mechanisms for delivering infrastructure provision, chiefly in relation to improvements to the trunk road network. In order to access funds for projects in Waverley, it would be vital to raise the profile of local infrastructure requirements and to be able to provide necessary evidence and effective support of key partners in relation to the economic case for infrastructure provision. 

 

The report set out a number of actions that had been identified as ways in which the Council could be more proactive in securing infrastructure funding for Waverley, and the Committee was invited to comment on the proposals.

 

The Committee was pleased that Planning Officers were taking a proactive and constructive approach to addressing concerns about infrastructure. The importance of working with neighbouring councils on cross-border issues had been highlighted by the planning application at Aarons Hill, and the possibility of a similar proposal coming forward on the adjacent site that was within Guildford. The potential impact of both proposals on Guildford and Waverley would need to be considered together.

 

The Committee agreed that having a transport planner within Planning would be an asset and endorsed closer working with Surrey County Council to address local transport infrastructure priorities, including developing a prioritised list of transport project in Farnham. However, the Committee reminded officers of the need to then deliver on it, and to be accountable to local residents for delivery. There was frustration in local communities that the benefits secured through S106 agreements were not always delivered, and more confidence was needed in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Air Quality - update

To receive a verbal update from Head of Environmental Services.

Minutes:

Richard Homewood, Head of Environmental Services, updated the Committee on air quality issues, and advised that the police investigation was continuing into irregularities in Waverley’s reporting of air quality monitoring.

 

Meanwhile, the Council was 6 months into its new air quality monitoring arrangements. Whilst the monitoring was showing some encouraging signs, it was important to have a full calendar year of data to analyse before drawing any conclusions.

 

Consultants had now concluded the review of the diffusion tube monitoring network and a report would be submitted to the next meeting of the Air Quality Steering Group. Both automatic analysers were now operating and providing useful reference data.

 

Spelthorne Borough Council was the lead council on a project funded by DEFRA to raise awareness in schools of the health impacts of poor air quality in Air Quality Management Areas across Surrey. The project aimed to encourage pupils to influence their parents to take action to reduce poor air quality in the vicinity of schools by changing travel habits. Three schools in Waverley were part of the project and it was intended that learning from the project would be shared with other schools.

 

Cllr Ramsdale agreed that raising awareness of the health impacts of poor air quality was important, but behaviour change took a long time and significant improvements would only be seen as a result of action by Surrey County Council to reduce the volume of traffic going through the centre of Farnham through changes to the road network, such as the Farnham Town Centre plan. Richard Homewood advised that once the details of the Farnham Town Centre plan had been shared by colleagues at Surrey County Council, there would be an opportunity to assess the potential impact on air quality.

 

The Chairman thanked the Head of Environmental Services for his report, which the Committee agreed to note.

23.

Corporate Performance Report Q1 (April - June 2018) pdf icon PDF 64 KB

The aim of the Corporate Performance Report is to report a quarterly analysis of the council’s performance. The Performance Report, providing performance analysis for the first quarter of 2018-19, is set out at Annexe 1. The report is being presented to each of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees for comment and any recommendations they may wish to make to the Executive.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Overview & Scrutiny Committees consider the performance of the service areas under the remit of the committee as set out in Annexe 1 to this report and makes any recommendations to senior management, or the Executive, as appropriate.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Tom Horwood, Chief Executive, presented the new format performance report to the Committee. The same report was being presented to all four Overview & Scrutiny Committees, and now included information in addition to the performance indicators that the committees were familiar with. It provided a more comprehensive view of performance and included an enhanced narrative from Heads of Service and the Corporate Management Team.

 

The Committee was pleased to see the overall good performance of the Council in the first quarter of 2018/19, felt that the new style of presentation was a positive improvement.

 

With regard to performance indicators falling within the remit of the Committee, Richard Homewood, Head of Environmental Services, responded to a number of questions on waste and recycling collection rates:

·         The volume of residual waste collected at the kerbside had increased, but it was not possible to say with any certainty whether this was a result of the restrictions introduced at Community Recycling Centres on the amount of household waste that could be deposited. It was a recognised fact that more buoyant economies produced more residual waste, and this could also be a factor.

·         Officers continued to monitor fly-tipping on public and Waverley-owned land, but it was more difficult to monitor incidents to fly-tipping on private land.

·         With regard to the current contract with Veolia ending 31 October 2019, the operatives would be aware that TUPE rules would apply in the event that Veolia were not awarded a new contract. Waverley’s contract management team continued to engage positively with the Veolia contract team. Whilst there was no sense of operatives being concerned about the end of the contract, it was possible that some would have been through the TUPE process before, and it was bound to cause some nervousness.

 

The Chairman asked if there was benchmarking data that could be provided to give some context to the Waverley data reported, for example on staff sickness absences. Tom Horwood, advised that performance was benchmarked where possible, but it was not always possible to obtain directly comparable data. With regard to staff sickness, Waverley had the 3rd lowest sickness absence rate of the eleven Surrey district council. However, rate ranged from 3 days to 10.5 days per employee per year, and depended on the range of services a council offered. For example, a council with its own direct labour organisation providing waste collection was likely to have a higher average sickness rate than one with predominantly contracted services. A valid comparison needed to compare like with like and it was as simple as comparing the public and private sectors. As well as benchmarking against similar district authorities, analysis was carried out to identify any trends and patterns at all levels of the council.

 

The Committee thanked Tom Horwood for presenting the new Performance Management report. The Committee had no particular comments on the performance of services within the remit of the committee, and were generally positive about the new format of the report.

 

24.

Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2017/2018 pdf icon PDF 52 KB

This Annual Report reflects on the progress of the new overview and scrutiny arrangements during the first full year of the committee cycle May 2017 – April 2018. It includes a summary of the work undertaken by the committees, an analysis of the O&S survey and reflections by Members and officers taking part in the overview and scrutiny work.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended the Overview and Scrutiny Committees endorse the Annual Report and agree any observations or recommendations they wish to make to the Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Yasmine Makin, Scrutiny Officer, presented the Annual Scrutiny Report to the Committee. The purpose of the report was to reflect on the new Overview & Scrutiny Committee arrangements introduced in May 2017, and to highlight successes and areas where further improvement was needed.

 

The Vice-Chairman sought clarification on a number of points, and in particular questioned the analysis of the recent survey of Members and their views on the effectiveness of the overview and scrutiny function, and way in which ‘don’t knows’ and ‘non-responses’ had been treated compared with the approach in the original 2015 survey. He also suggested that it would be helpful to have a summary of the conclusions and suggested improvements to the scrutiny function.

 

Whilst recognising the need for data to be comparable, and that the sample size was  very small, the Chairman agreed that it did appear that Members felt that overview and scrutiny was more effective than it had been in the past. He wondered whether this might be due to the impact of having opposition members chairing the scrutiny committees. Committee Members disagreed on the latter point, but did agree that there had been a considerable improvement over the last 18 months, and they welcomed the positive and constructive engagement with officers and the Executive.

 

The Committee agreed to endorse the Annual Scrutiny Report, subject to the Scrutiny Officer re-visiting the analysis of the survey results.

25.

COMMITTEE FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 107 KB

The Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee, along with the O&S Coordinating Board, is responsible for managing the Committee’s work programme.

 

The current work programme (attached) includes items agreed at the O&S Coordinating Board and takes account of items identified on the latest Executive Forward Programme (Annexe 2) as due to come forward for decision.

 

Recommendation

 

Members are invited to consider their work programme and make any comments and/or amendments they consider necessary, including suggestions for any additional topics that the Committee may wish to add to its work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted its forward work programme, and that the Terms of Reference for the Working Group agreed earlier would also come forward in November. It was also noted that it was likely there would need to be a Special meeting in October to consider the Local Plan Part 2, and revised SPA Avoidance Strategies.

 

Cllr Foryszewski noted that the consultations on introduction of Public Space Protection Orders for dog fouling and dog control had generated a lot of response and been extended. She hoped that the analysis and proposals would come to the Committee for consideration, and that a fair resolution could be achieved.

 

The Committee noted that the final report of the Planning Peer Review had been received, and there was an all member briefing scheduled for the end of September to report the headlines. The recommendations related to three themes – decision-making in planning committees, customer and stakeholder engagement, and housing delivery – and these would be reflected in the action plan being developed. This would come through the committee system in the next committee cycle.

 

The Vice-Chairman advised that Surrey County Council were now considering wide-ranging cuts in services in order to reduce costs, and it would be important to keep up to date with proposals and how they would impact on Waverley and Waverley’s residents.