Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Watford

Contact: Caroline Harris 

Note: Please note the start time of this meeting 

Items
No. Item

35.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Brandon and Lynch.

 

36.

Disclosure of Interests

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

 

37.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 30 July 2014 to be submitted and signed.  (All minutes are published on the Council’s website.)

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 30 July 2014 were submitted and signed.

 

38.

Official Announcements

Minutes:

Audentior Awards

 

The Chairman reported that the Audentior Awards were held on 24 October.  The event was very successful and raised over £1,500 for his nominated charities.  One of his charities, Herts Inclusive Theatre, gave an excellent performance on the night.

 

Remembrance Sunday

 

The Chairman advised Council that the Remembrance Service on Sunday 9 November had been well attended.  Watford Museum had provided its World Ward One centenary exhibition at the Town Hall, which had been appreciated by the visitors. 

 

Civic Carol Service

 

The Chairman informed Council that the annual invitation to attend a Civic Carol Service at Christ Church, St Albans Road had been received.  The service would be held on Sunday 21 December at 6.30 p.m.

 

Mrs Jill Greenstreet

 

The Chairman said that the Council had been sorry to hear that Mrs Jill Greenstreet had passed away on Friday 26 September.  Mrs Greenstreet had been the Mayoress from 1983 to 1984.

 

Geoff O’Connell

 

The Chairman stated that he was sorry to announce that Mr Geoff O’Connell had passed away on 1 November.  Mr O’Connell had been a Councillor from 1999 to 2006.

 

The Chairman invited all those present to stand and observe a minute’s silence in memory of Mrs Jill Greenstreet and Mr Geoff O’Connell.

 

The Chairman invited Councillor Bell, Leader of the Labour Group, and Councillor Sharpe, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, to say a few words about Geoff O’Connell. 

 

39.

Mayor's Report pdf icon PDF 79 KB

    • View the background to item 39.

    Minutes:

    A report of the Mayor had been circulated with the agenda.

     

    a)         Councillor S Williams referred to the positive news about empty properties contained within the Mayor’s report.  He noted it mentioned the Parade and High Street.  He asked the Mayor when the focus would shift from the Town Centre to other parts of the town including St Albans Road and Queens Road.  He considered it to be important to spread the economy rather than in one area.

     

                The Mayor responded that the aspect of empty properties was dependent on the market.  The Council was unable to influence individuals or companies to take an office or shop in St Albans Road.  The Council had no means to influence people unless a decision was made to use taxpayers money to grant rate relief to businesses. 

     

                The Mayor stated that the investment in the Town Centre had encouraged people to create ventures in that area.  This had been the point she had been trying to make in her report. 

     

                The Mayor advised Councillors that if there were projects or things they felt could be done in St Albans Road, within the remit of the Council and benefiting traders, she would be willing to listen to ideas.  It was important to do things that directly impacted on their trade.  She believed that people thought that the Council was able to find tenants for the many properties in St Albans Road.  She added that having looked at some of the properties, some of them were in an atrocious state.  Significant amounts of money would need to be invested in the properties.  She advised that many of the premises were owned by pension companies; the properties being one of many in their portfolio.  The companies did not reply to letters from the Council asking what action was being taken with their premises or attempts to improve them.

     

                In closing the Mayor said that where the Council was able to do something it would and the Town Centre was direct evidence of the Council’s work.

     

    b)         Councillor Bashir stated that his question related to the new Watford Market.  He said that he accepted the old market needed significant investment.  He asked the Mayor whether she accepted that the new Watford Market, in respect of traders and patrons, faced significant difficulties.  He also sought assurances that the current problems and difficulties were being addressed.

     

                The Mayor commented that she did not fully accept the premise of the Councillor’s question.  She acknowledged that change was always unsettling, particularly for people as they got older.  She had made a point of visiting the market locality more.  She regularly received good and bad views about the market.  The idea of the new market was to appeal to new and different people.  She accepted that some of the regulars of the old market would find it different.

     

                The Mayor agreed that there had been teething problems and that there were still some matters that needed to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Questions by Members of the Council under Council Procedure Rule 10.0 pdf icon PDF 44 KB

    Minutes:

    The Chairman reported that questions had been received from Councillors Bell, Khan and S Williams.

     

    The questions and responses were circulated at the meeting and are attached as Appendix 1 to these minutes.

     

41.

Questions by Members of the Public under Council Procedure Rule 11.0

    Minutes:

    No questions had been received.

     

42.

Petitions presented under Council Procedure Rule 12.0

    Minutes:

    No petitions had been received.

     

43.

Business especially brought forward by the Chairman or the Head of Paid Service which in the opinion of the Chairman should be considered as a matter of urgency.

    Minutes:

    There was no urgent business.

     

44.

Motions submitted under Council Procedure Rule 13.0

    (1) The following motion is being moved by Councillor Nigel Bell and seconded by Councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa

     

    “This Council resolves that after the Judgement in the High Court on 31st. October, that the Mayor and her Cabinet work constructively with the tenants of Farm terrace allotments to preserve the historic site and provide the extra resources needed for a popular new Community facility.”

     

    (2) The following motion is being moved by Councillor Anne Joynes and seconded by Councillor Sohail Bashir

     

    “Domestic Violence occurs behind closed doors. Once a victim feels able to report what is happening they need to be helped with a series of strategies in order to be able to extricate themselves from danger. This Council, therefore, should provide and maintain a current directory of the services available to victims of Domestic Violence on its website under the aegis of a council officer, as not every victim has the freedom to gain access to these services outside of their home.”

     

    (3) The following motion is being moved by Councillor Matthew Turmaine and seconded by Councillor Seamus Williams

     

    “This Council condemns the Conservative County Council for its callous cuts to Bus Services in Watford. We are also concerned about the deafening silence from the MP for Watford, for not sending a response to the consultation on the Bus cuts. This Council calls upon Hertfordshire County Council NOT to cut any Bus services in Watford as there is no financial need to do so.”

     

    Minutes:

    Council was informed that three motions had been received.

     

44a

Motion 1

    Minutes:

    The following motion was proposed by Councillor Bell and seconded by Councillor Dhindsa –

     

    “This Council resolves that after the Judgment in the High Court on 31st. October, that the Mayor and her Cabinet work constructively with the tenants of Farm Terrace allotments to preserve the historic site and provide the extra resources needed for a popular new Community facility.”

     

    Members debated the motion.

     

    On being put to Council the motion was LOST.

     

44b

Motion 2

    Minutes:

    The following motion was proposed by Councillor Joynes and seconded by Councillor Bashir –

     

    “Domestic Violence occurs behind closed doors. Once a victim feels able to report what is happening they need to be helped with a series of strategies in order to be able to extricate themselves from danger. This Council, therefore, should provide and maintain a current directory of the services available to victims of Domestic Violence on its website under the aegis of a council officer, as not every victim has the freedom to gain access to these services outside of their home.”

     

    Mayor Thornhill moved the following amendment, which was seconded by Councillor Collett –

     

    “Delete all after ‘danger’ and replace with

     

    This council takes the need to stop domestic violence very seriously, and has made this a high priority in its Homelessness Strategy Action Plan 2014-15, which is due to be approved on Friday by the Cabinet Member for Housing.

     

    Council undertakes a range of activities aimed at tackling domestic violence, including:

     

    -                 a statutory duty to assist households who become homeless due to domestic violence, including arranging temporary accommodation.

    -                 attending the Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Committee (MARAC) for Watford, Three Rivers and Dacorum which deals with the needs of individuals in cases of domestic violence.

    -                 providing information on its web pages reflecting the key help, advice and support that is available for victims of and those affected by domestic violence.

    -                 co-operating with and supporting other agencies such as Watford & Three Rivers Domestic Abuse Forum, Watford Women’s Centre and Watford Women’s Refuge.

    -                 working as part of the Safer Watford partnership, which recently agreed to fund the Watford Women’s Centre Domestic Abuse Service to December 2014 pending the outcome of the HCC commissioned review and subsequent report on the provision of Domestic Abuse Services across the Country.

     

    Council resolves

     

    -                 To ensure that action against domestic violence is given high priority in line with the Homelessness Strategy Action Plan 2014-15.

    -                 To continue providing services and information including on its website to those affected by domestic violence to enable them to access available help and support.

    -                 To engage positively with the outcomes of the Hertfordshire County Council review of Domestic Abuse Services and with any opportunities for district councils to contribute to implementing its outcomes.”

     

    The full amended motion therefore read –

     

    Domestic Violence occurs behind closed doors. Once a victim feels able to report what is happening they need to be helped with a series of strategies in order to be able to extricate themselves from danger.

     

    This council takes the need to stop domestic violence very seriously, and has made this a high priority in its Homelessness Strategy Action Plan 2014-15, which is due to be approved on Friday by the Cabinet Member for Housing.

     

    Council undertakes a range of activities aimed at tackling domestic violence, including:

     

    -                 a statutory duty to assist households who become homeless due to domestic violence, including arranging temporary accommodation.

    -                 attending the Multi-Agency Risk  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44b

44c

Motion 3

    Minutes:

    At the meeting an amendment, proposed by Councillor Sharpe, to the original motion printed in the agenda was circulated.  Councillor Turmaine, the mover of the original printed motion accepted the amendment.

     

    Councillor Turmaine moved the following revised substantive motion, which was seconded by Councillor S Williams –

     

    “Council notes:

     

    1.         The outcome of the Hertfordshire County Council Highways and Waste Panel on 4 November which proposed:

     

                - Withdrawing funding from subsidised bus services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturdays.

     

                - Withdrawing funding from subsidised services that operate on a Sunday.

     

                - Limiting the amount of subsidy per passenger journey across all subsidised services meaning that 39 routes could be cut totally.

     

                - A total cut of £1.5 million per annum in subsidised bus services.

     

    2.         That these additional proposals are not actually required given that the county council now has “found” £753,000 of savings on the bus budget without reducing services and the original aim of the consultation published in June was to save “at least £700,000” and that this has been exceeded.

     

    3.         That this was in defiance of the 12,000 residents who signed petitions opposing bus cuts and the official consultation with 4,548 replies showed only 30 in support of the reductions proposed.

     

    4.         That Watford’s MP Richard Harrington failed to support local bus passengers by objecting to the proposals.

     

    Council believes

     

    1.         In line with its resolution passed at full council on 30 July that cuts to bus services will hit the most vulnerable in our community, have an unacceptable impact on bus passengers and undermine attempts to cut car use and reduce congestion.

     

    2.         That the county has already made significant savings in its budget for bus routes to make cuts in services unnecessary.

     

    Council resolves

     

    1.         To write immediately to the county council requesting that its cabinet does not proceed with the proposals of the Highways and Waste panel.

     

    2.         To respond to any formal consultation opposing the proposed cuts and to encourage a high response from Watford residents.”

     

    On being put to Council the substantive motion was AGREED.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    Council notes:

     

    1.         The outcome of the Hertfordshire County Council Highways and Waste Panel on 4 November which proposed:

     

                - Withdrawing funding from subsidised bus services after 7.30pm Monday to Saturdays.

     

                - Withdrawing funding from subsidised services that operate on a Sunday.

     

                - Limiting the amount of subsidy per passenger journey across all subsidised services meaning that 39 routes could be cut totally.

     

                - A total cut of £1.5 million per annum in subsidised bus services.

     

    2.         That these additional proposals are not actually required given that the county council now has “found” £753,000 of savings on the bus budget without reducing services and the original aim of the consultation published in June was to save “at least £700,000” and that this has been exceeded.

     

    3.         That this was in defiance of the 12,000 residents who signed petitions opposing bus cuts and the official consultation with 4548 replies showed only 30 in support of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44c

45.

Chair of Highways Panel pdf icon PDF 23 KB

    Report of Democratic Services Manager

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Democratic Services Manager seeking the appointment of a Chair for the Highways Forum.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that Councillor Sharpe be appointed as Chair of the Highways Forum for remainder of the Municipal Year.

     

46.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) pdf icon PDF 42 KB

    Report of Head of Regeneration and Development

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Head of Regeneration and Development setting out the proposed Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Schedule for implementation from 1 April 2015.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.         that the CIL Charging Schedule for implementation from 1 April 2015 be adopted.

     

    2.         that the CIL supporting policies documents be approved.

     

    3.         that final approval of the CIL Charging Schedule and supporting policies to reflect graphics, formatting and any grammatical updates be delegated to the Portfolio Holder for Planning.

     

47.

Boundary Commission Review pdf icon PDF 43 KB

    Report of Head of Democracy and Governance

     

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Head of Democracy and Governance informing Members of the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s intention to carry out a review of the Borough of Watford’s boundaries during 2015.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.         that a working group of 5 members be set up to consider how many councillors the Council should propose to the Local Government Boundary Commission to consider when conducting its review to report back to Council on 28 January 2015, and that this working group then go on to look at potential ward boundaries and ward names, reporting back to Council in June/July 2015.

     

    2.         that the working group comprises the following five councillors –

     

    ·                    Councillor Derek Scudder

    ·                    Councillor Iain Sharpe

    ·                    Councillor Stephen Johnson

    ·                    Councillor Asif Khan

    ·                    Councillor Nigel Bell

     

 

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