Agenda and draft minutes

Overview and Scrutiny - Services - Wednesday, 24th November, 2021 7.00 pm

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

Contact: Kimberly Soane  Email: Kimberly.soane@waverley.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

7.

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 Wednesday 17 November 2021 to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Cllrs Christine Baker, Sally Dickson and Michaela Wicks.

 

Cllr Joan Heagin was present as a Substitute member.

8.

MINUTES

To approve the Minutes of the meeting of the Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 3 November 2021 and published on the Council’s website. 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Special meeting held on 3 November 2021 were approved as a correct record.

 

Cllr Jenny Else asked for a response on a number of outstanding actions from the last meeting of Community Wellbeing O&S Committee, held on 15 September:

-       Kelvin Mills would provide information on grounds maintenance tasks carried out by Continental during ‘No Mow May’ (see Secretary’s note below).

-       Louise Norie confirmed that the Corporate Strategy did include action (8.8) to support the most vulnerable in our communities, particularly those experiencing social isolation, loneliness and poor mental health.

-       Mark Mills advised that there was probably little benefit to having updates from the Health & Wellbeing Board as a standing agenda item, given the workload of the committee; substantive items could be brought to committee for scrutiny as they arose.

-       An update on the Leisure Services contract was currently on the committee’s work programme for January 2022.

-       The police had confirmed that the problem in categorising rural crime correctly had been addressed and was being monitored by the Borough Commander.                                                                                                                              

 

Secretary’s note re Grounds Maintenance tasks carried out during ‘No Mow May’

 

All of the teams who would usually have been grass cutting were moved onto other grounds maintenance tasks during the No Mow May period.  These tasks included hand weeding hard surface areas in parks and housing sites, topping up the bark pits in our play areas and cutting back grass that had started to grow over the edges of paths. 

 

While weeding hard surfaces is within the contract, having staff available to hand weed helped towards our commitment to reducing the use of pesticides as part of our Pesticide Policy and Action Plan.  Topping up the bark pits within our play areas is also part of the contract but it’s a much quicker process to distribute the bark to sites across the borough when there are more people to help and it allowed the playground inspector to continue with other repairs.

 

We are always aware of grass encroaching over the edge of paths and reducing the width of path available for users but as this is not including in the contract sum and is treated as additional work for most areas we are rarely able to clear them all each year.  However, it was one of the tasks that we decided to focus on during No Mow May and a review of Continental Landscapes’ work programme tells me that the paths were edged at sites including Griggs Meadow in Dunsfold, The Glebe in Ewhurst, Queens Mead in Chiddingfold, Chestnut Avenue car park in Haslemere, and College Gardens and Riverside Court in Farnham.  There will be no additional charge for this as the grass cutting teams were redeployed to that task.

 

As Continental continued to cut the grass in senior living sites, playgrounds and sports pitches while also undertaking all other non-grass related tasks during May, the only teams that were affected were the verge teams which accounts  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

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 interests declared in relation to items on the agenda.

10.

QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

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

 

The deadline for submission of written questions for this meeting is Wednesday 17 November 2021.

.

Minutes:

There were no questions from members of the public.

11.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

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

 

The deadline for submission of written questions for this meeting is Wednesday 17 November 2021.

 

Minutes:

There were no questions from Members.

12.

COMMITTEE FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 194 KB

The Services Overview & Scrutiny Committee is responsible for it’s work programme.

 

The Scrutiny Officer to outline the remit of the new committee and introduce a draft work programme.

 

Committee members will then have an opportunity to highlight their priorities and areas of interest.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the updated Work Programme that had been tabled.

 

The Executive’s response to the Committee’s recommendations on the Dunsfold Park SPD had been circulated and would be appended to the minutes of the meeting.

 

The Committee expressed concern at the number of items on the work programme for the January meeting and agreed to have an informal off-line meeting in order to review the list in more detail and decide which items it would be beneficial to scrutinise.

13.

CORPORATE PERFORMANCE REPORT Q2 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

The Corporate Performance Report provides an analysis of the Council’s performance for the 1st quarter of 2021-22. The report, set out at Annexe 1, is being presented to each of the Overview and Scrutiny Committees for comment and any recommendations they may wish to make to the Executive.

 

The Policy and Performance Officer and Heads of Service to highlight areas relating to this Committee’s remit (Pages to note are pages 38-65 of the Agenda papers).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the Corporate Performance Report for Quarter 2 of 2021/22. In response to questions to Heads of Service, the Committee noted:

·         The number of Careline clients had declined due to a drop-off in the number of referrals to the service.

·         Councillors could intervene on behalf of tenants of housing associations, even though the primary relationship was between the landlord and tenant. Councillors could exert leverage by directly contacting the appropriate senior officer at the housing association.

·         The same operatives that collected residential waste and recycling also picked up fly-tips, so there was an impact from accelerating fly-tip removals.

·         With reference to the work exploring the feasibility of PV arrays on the council’s larger buildings, this was exploring both the cost/benefit and the physical feasibility of such installations.

·         Due to the change in the responsive repairs contractor, the independent tenant satisfaction survey following completion of works had been temporarily suspended. The operative carrying out a repair still asked the tenant for feedback as they completed a job.

·         A number of initiatives had been introduced to speed up the process of re-letting void properties, including virtual viewings. The contractor was actively recruiting staff to address the turnaround time before properties were ready to be re-let.

·         The revised Planning Enforcement Plan was due to come to the Committee in January 2022, which would give an opportunity for councillors to have input into the council’s approach to planning enforcement.

·         The O&S Committees would have the opportunity to consider the Performance Indicators and targets at their meetings in January 2022.

 

The Committee RESOLVED to note the Corporate Performance Report for Q2, and requested an informal briefing on Planning Enforcement ahead of the Planning Enforcement Plan being considered by the Committee.

 

[Secretary’s note: subsequent to the meeting the Head of Commercial Services circulated an analysis of calls to the Careline service by reason for call for the period July – September 2021, which had been requested by the Committee.]

14.

CORPORATE STRATEGY 2020-25 - YEAR 1 PROGRESS REPORT DOTX 40 KB

The Chief Executive/ Leader to present a report outlining the Council’s progress against its objectives to deliver a Borough which is “environmentally, economically and financially sustainable with healthy, inclusive communities and housing available for all who need it.”

 

The Committee are requested to review the progress report, highlight any concerns and recommend any responses.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed a progress report on the Corporate Strategy 2020-2025, which was presented by the Leader of the Council.

 

The Committee RESOLVED to note the progress made on Corporate Strategic Priorities, and agreed the following comments for consideration by the Executive:

-       It was vitally important not to lose sight of the social value of the services provided for residents in the face of financial pressures on the council’s budgets.

-       Given the success of the UKOG Listening Panel, the council should look for other opportunities for innovative forms of engagement with residents, especially deliberative forums, rather than relying on traditional consultation methods.

-       The council should look for opportunities to communicate with young people about what local government does, especially through the school curriculum.

-       Care was needed in assessing the business case for investing in large-scale PV panels installations, bearing in mind national trends in energy production towards low(er) emission methods.

 

15.

CRANLEIGH LEISURE CENTRE NEW BUILD pdf icon PDF 665 KB

The Head of Commercial Services and Leisure Services Contract Manager to provide an update on the Cranleigh Leisure Centre New Build, including a recap on the position to date for those members not previously on the Community Wellbeing O&S.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee had received a detailed report on the proposed investment in a new-build leisure centre for Cranleigh, including an updated Feasibility Study by consultants, location options, the preferred scheme plan, investment appraisal and impact assessment.

 

The Committee agreed that given the age and condition of the existing leisure centre in Cranleigh, ‘do nothing’ was not an option and there was broad support for the principle of what was proposed. It was noted that this would deliver on a long-standing commitment by the council to replace the Cranleigh leisure centre. Councillors had a large number of detailed questions, and it was felt that as the decision to proceed was one for Full Council it would benefit all councillors to have an informal briefing on the proposals ahead of the Council meeting on 14 December so that they would be better informed when making the decision.

 

The Committee RESOLVED to endorse the Executive’s proposed recommendations to Council, but Members had a number of detailed questions and asked that the Portfolio Holder and officers arrange one or more informal briefings for all councillors ahead of the Council meeting on 14 December, to allow time for the proposals to be considered in detail, and clarification provided where required, before councillors made a decision at Council.

 

16.

TREE AND WOODLAND POLICY pdf icon PDF 311 KB

The Greenspaces Manager and Tree and Woodlands Officer to present the policies and request the Committee to review and make recommendations as to if they should be adopted and any amendments they feel necessary.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the draft Tree and Woodland Policy and Action Plan, and noted that it would be submitted to the Executive for approval in early 2022.

 

In response to questions, the Committee noted that:

·         Hedgerows and roadside trees were important to providing corridors between habitats;

·         Trees lost due to disease or other damage could be compensated for through natural regeneration, or re-planting.

·         Whilst the policy was not a planning policy, it did support a number of existing council policies, including the Local Plan, and the draft Biodiversity Policy and Action Plan.

 

The Committee RESOLVED to offer broad support for the draft Policy, but there was a desire to see the chapter on Biodiversity strengthened considerably from an ecological perspective, with more emphasis on natural regeneration, and more consideration as to how this policy could support and work alongside Waverley’s planning policies on trees, woodland and biodiversity.

 

17.

FIRST HOMES APPROACH POLICY pdf icon PDF 541 KB

The Head of Housing Delivery and Communities to present a new policy clarifying how the council will implement the national requirements for First Homes on new planning developments.

Minutes:

The Committee received a report setting out the proposed approach to implementing the Government’s First Homes initiative, whilst limiting the negative impact on other tenures of affordable housing in the borough.

 

The Committee RESOLVED to endorse the proposed approach to implementing the First Homes initiative, but noted that it was likely to have limited impact on the supply of affordable homes in Waverley.

 

 

18.

Closing remarks

Minutes:

In closing the meeting the Chairman advised that in future he would be more strict about finishing the meeting at 9pm, as there were diminishing benefits to continuing longer in terms of providing a good level of scrutiny. Any items not covered within the time available would need to be deferred to another meeting.