Agenda and minutes
Venue: Town Hall, Watford
Contact: Caroline Harris
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Martins, McLeod and Turmaine.
Disclosure of Interests
Council was informed that, under the Council’s Code of Conduct, all Councillors had been given a dispensation by the Monitoring Officer to consider and vote on minute number 58 as all Members had pecuniary interests in that item.
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2014 to be submitted and signed.
Copies of the minutes of this meeting are usually available seven working days following the meeting.
(All minutes are available on the Council’s website.)
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2014 were submitted and signed.
Civic Carol Service
The Chairman thanked all the Members who had attended the Civic Carol service and Christ Church for their generous donation to the Chairman’s charities from the collection taken at the service.
The Chairman explained that a presentation event was being held that evening by Watford Lions, when cheques would be presented to his nominated charities, Herts Inclusive Theatre and Arthritis Research UK. There would also be a presentation to the Elected Mayor’s nominated charity, DEMAND. The Funds had been collected at the annual fireworks display in Cassiobury Park. He thanked everyone who had attended and to Watford Lions for organising the collection. In addition he wished to thank Norman and Mavis Tyrwhitt who were attending the presentation on behalf of the Council.
The Chairman stated that he would be holding a reception at the Colosseum on Sunday 15 March to see a performance of ‘La Traviata’. At the event he would be fundraising for his charities. He reminded Councillors that they should have received an invitation. He asked them to contact the Member Development and Civic Officer by Friday if they wished to attend.
The Chairman informed Council that he was proposing to hold the annual Chairman’s Quiz on Thursday 19 March at the Colosseum. There were only a few tables left so Members should contact the Member Development and Civic Officer if they wished to enter a team.
Holocaust Memorial Day
The Chairman informed Council that he would be attending a Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration at Watford and District Synagogue. Pupils from local schools were invited to the Synagogue, where they would be informed of subsequent genocides in other parts of the world. This year there would be a talk given by a survivor of the Rwandan genocide.
A report of the Mayor had been circulated with the agenda.
a) Councillor Taylor referred to pot holes in Watford. He had noted that the Mayor had met the Chamber of Commerce and asked whether the state of roads in Watford had been raised. Recently the RAC Foundation had issued a report which had shown that Hertfordshire’s roads were the seventh worst in the whole of the UK for pot holes. He urged the Mayor to raise the matter with the Conservative-run County Council, as her residents were fed up with the state of the roads.
The Mayor responded that she believed that all Members in the Chamber would not be surprised that Hertfordshire was the seventh worst in the whole country. Everyone was aware of how to report pot holes on the County Council’s website. It was something raised by residents when Councillors knocked on doors. She regularly witnessed vehicles on Deacons Hill swerving to avoid parts of the road which were particularly bad. She added that the issue for her was that the poor roads undermined the other work being done by the Council in Watford. The Council’s agenda was to improve Watford but the town was left with shoddy infrastructure.
The Mayor commented that it was often called the ‘Cinderella’ budget, because it was possible to cut this budget and the local authority would receive very little protest. However, it had been the ‘Cinderella’ budget for too long. The issues now were not just about funding, but based on comments from County colleagues, it was more about poor contract management and shoddy workmanship.
The Mayor urged Councillors to be tough when jobs were done. It was only when Members reported issues that a message would be sent to the County Council that it needed to do something about it. The County Council was currently paying for a contract that was inferior. She believed that Watford and Hertfordshire deserved better.
The Chairman invited the Mayor to speak further on her report.
The Mayor felt her report included in the agenda was self explanatory. She referred Council to the comments she had made about the Town at Christmas, which was good news, particularly in relation to the reduction in anti-social behaviour over that period. There had been good news from the Job Centre; there had not been the usual significant increase in unemployment after the temporary Christmas staff contracts had expired. This indicated that many of those people had been kept on.
Questions by Members of the Council under Council Procedure Rule 10.0
No questions had been received.
Questions by Members of the Public under Council Procedure Rule 11.0
No questions had been received.
An e-petition and paper petition in the following terms has been received. At the time of agenda publication the petitions contained 105 signatures from Watford residents.
We the undersigned petition the council to: The brand new Watford Market has a 1st floor food court which brings existing and new traders to provide a wide range of excellent food. The first floor food court has a designated public seating area which is located next to the Exchange road flyover. As the food court public seating area only has a roof but has no side panel/walls to shield the visiting public from the wind/rain/low temperature, we petition the council to provide additional heating/side panels in the public seating area.
An e-petition and paper petition, containing 105 signatures from Watford residents, had been received in the following terms
“We the undersigned petition the council to: The brand new Watford Market has a 1st floor food court which brings existing and new traders to provide a wide range of excellent food. The first floor food court has a designated public seating area which is located next to the Exchange road flyover. As the food court public seating area only has a roof but has no side panel/walls to shield the visiting public from the wind/rain/low temperature, we petition the council to provide additional heating/side panels in the public seating area.”
Mr Jason Lee of Mandarin Kitchen was invited to present the petition to Council.
Mr Lee stated that he was attending as a trader in the new market and as a Watford resident. The petition was regarding the condition of the first floor food hall in the new Watford Market. He referred to the potential of the food hall; it being a vibrant place enjoyed by families, the young and old. However this was not the case because of its location and the design of the building. It was liable to the weather, noise and fumes from the traffic on the Exchange Road flyover, which was experienced by visitors and traders, particularly the designated seating area in the food court. For example today it had been very cold and miserable. This situation had contributed to the loss of business. The people of Watford had lost a vibrant market which many had cherished.
Mr Lee said that one trader, who had been in the market for a very long time had described the building as not ‘fit for purpose’ and had left. Many of the traders who moved from the old building felt let down by the initial artist’s impression of the new building, which appeared to be fully covered and not just with the current roof. The issue of side panels had been raised in previous communication from the Council, before the current building had been completed. Through discussion with various traders and customers there was a clear opinion of the issues. There was not a consensus how to shield people from the weather and noises in the food court.
Mr Lee referred to the petition and the speed in which he had gathered enough signatures to raise it at Council. Many people felt the Council had not done enough to address the current issue. There had recently been dialogue but no plan. He said that a clear action plan was needed which had scheduled deliverables, not just talk.
In conclusion Mr Lee questioned whether the current market was a work in progress or a broken promise. He petitioned the Council to show leadership to right what was wrong and heed the cry for help from the public; to help build a lasting legacy that contributed towards a sustainable economic growth for Watford and its people; making the food hall a ... view the full minutes text for item 55.
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.
There was no urgent business.
Motions submitted under Council Procedure Rule 13.0
No motions had been received.
Report of Cabinet – 19 January 2015 (to follow)
Please note that this report has been printed separately for Budget Panel on 15th January, Cabinet on 19th January and Council on 28th January. Members are reminded to bring their copy to this meeting.
Council received a report of Cabinet, including the original report presented to Cabinet at its meeting on 19 January 2015 and an additional report from the Shared Director of Finance setting out the Council Tax Resolution for 2015/2016.
The Mayor moved the budget report incorporating the following amendments to the minutes from Cabinet, which was seconded by Councillor Watkin –
· £250,000 to be added to the Capital Programme for work to community centres;
· Saving of £1,650 would not be taken from the Democratic Services budget.
Councillor Bell moved the following amendment which was seconded by Councillor Khan –
· £30,000 for weekend burials (paid from the net revenue from fees and charges) in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18
· £40,000 for free graffiti and bulky waste removal in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18
· Cut the cost of the Mayor’s office £70,198 – 2015/16; £120,190 – 2016/17; £120,190 – 2017/18
· Cut £1,680 for the cost of mobile phones for Cabinet in 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18
· £50,000 from Reserves for Watford Women’s Centre for three years, 2015/16, 2016/17 and 2017/18
· £1,500,000 from Reserves for St Albans Road 2015/16
Members debated the original motion and the amendment.
During the debate Councillor Sharpe raised a point of order following an allegation made by Councillor Dhindsa.
After consultation with the Head of Democracy and Governance and the Managing Director the Chairman invited Councillor Dhindsa to withdraw the allegation, which he did.
The amendment was then put to the vote
In accordance with the Local Authorities (Standing Orders) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 the votes were recorded as follows –
Those Members voting in favour of the amendment:
Councillors Bashir, Bell, Connal, Dhindsa, Joynes, Khan, Mauthoor, Mills, Shah and S Williams
Those Members voting against the amendment:
Mayor Thornhill, The Chairman Councillor Derbyshire, Councillors Aron, Bolton, I Brown, J Brown, Collett, Counter, Crout, Greenslade, Hastrick, Hofman, Jeffree, Johnson, Lynch, Mehta, Saffery, Scudder, Sharpe, Taylor, Walford, Watkin and T Williams
Those Members abstaining from voting
The amendment was LOST by 10 votes to 23 and 1 abstention.
The original motion was then put to Council.
Those Members voting in favour of the original motion:
Mayor Thornhill, The Chairman Councillor Derbyshire, Councillors Aron, Bolton, I Brown, J Brown, Collett, Counter, Crout, Greenslade, Hastrick, Hofman, Jeffree, Johnson, Lynch, Saffery, Scudder, Sharpe, Taylor, Walford, Watkin and T Williams
Those Members voting against the original motion:
Those Members abstaining from voting
Councillors Bashir, Bell, Brandon, Connal, Dhindsa, Joynes, Khan, Mauthoor, Mehta, Mills, Shah and S Williams
The amendment was CARRIED by 22 votes to 0.
1. that the proposals recommended by Cabinet on 19 January 2015 be agreed:
a) that the Council’s net General Fund expenditure for 2015/16 shall be £15,176,500.
b) that the Capital Programme shall be as set out in the Cabinet report with the addition of £250,000 for improvements to the community centres.
and in approving these recommendations
c) has regard to the Director of Finance’s assessment of financial risks and the ... view the full minutes text for item 58.
A report from Head of Democracy and Governance
Council received a report of the Head of Democracy and Governance setting out the Boundary Review Group’s recommendations on the optimum size for the Council, which would be put forward to Local Government Boundary Commission. The motion was moved by Councillor Sharpe and seconded by Councillor Bell.
On being put to Council the motion was unanimously CARRIED.
1. that Council recommends that the size of Watford Borough Council remains at 36 councillors.
2. that the draft submission attached as Appendix 1 to the report be approved for submission to the Local Government Boundary Commission to support the Council’s recommendation.