Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Watford

Contact: Caroline Harris 

Items
No. Item

51.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

 

52.

Disclosure of Interests

Minutes:

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 56 as all Members had pecuniary interests in that item.

53.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 14 October 2015 and the Extraordinary Council meeting of 23 November 2015 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.)

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 14 October 2015 and the Extraordinary Council meeting of 23 November 2015 were submitted and signed.

54.

Official Announcements

Minutes:

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.

 

          Watford Lions

 

          The Chairman explained that a presentation event was being held that evening by Watford Lions, when cheques would be presented to her nominated charities, New Hope and Watford Foodbank.  There would also be a presentation to the Elected Mayor’s nominated charity, New Hope.  The Funds had been collected at the annual fireworks display in Cassiobury Park.  She thanked everyone who had attended and Watford Lions for organising the collection.  In addition she wished to thank Norman and Mavis Tyrwhitt who were attending the presentation on behalf of the Council.

 

          Chairman’s Quiz

 

          The Chairman announced she would be holding a charity quiz on 17 March and asked Members to think about their teams.

 

          Management of Conservation Area Task Group Survey

 

          The Task Group was keen to get as many Councillors’ views as possible about the management of Watford’s conservation areas regardless of whether members had a conservation area in their ward.  All members had received e-mails from Ishbel Morren which provided them with a link to the online survey for Councillors.  Officers had extended the survey deadline until Sunday 31 January.

 

          Ex-councillor Steve O’Brien

 

        The Chairman reminded members that former Watford Borough Councillor, Steve O’Brien had passed away recently.

 

          Holocaust Memorial Day

 

          The Chairman informed Council that it was Holocaust memorial day and the theme for this year was ‘Don’t Stand By’, the Chairman would be representing the Council at Watford Synagogue on 8 February for their all day event which was aimed at educating students about the holocaust.

The Council held a minute’s silence.

 

55.

Mayor's Report pdf icon PDF 56 KB

    Minutes:

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

     

     

    The Chairman invited Members to indicate whether they wished to ask a question of the Mayor.  Councillors Silver, Topping, Mehta, Rogers, Turmaine, Haley, S Williams, Dhindsa, Joynes and Bashir indicated that they wished to ask questions.

     

    a)     Councillor Silver asked the Mayor to inform Council explicitly which measures would be used to evaluate the success of the German Christmas market.

     

    The Mayor responded that she would go on public opinion and what was evident.  The German market was an attempt to bring a little more life into the top of town.  It had been felt last year that the ice rink was isolated and there needed to be a bit more around it.  Watford was not a huge city and therefore it would not attract a massive market.  The German Christmas Market was an attempt to bring in more to the High Street at no cost to the Council.  The German Market was arranged through the Council’s partners Town and Country Markets (TCM) who ran the main market.  They had approached the Council about bringing in more stalls at Christmas which was agreed. There had been a mixed reception from the public, however, it cost the Council nothing and added some colour and life.  The Council would not be analysing the success of the market in the way suggested by Councillor Silver as there had been no cost.

     

    b)     Councillor Joynes enquired whether it was a design fault that the market did not have the wind screens that had now been put up and could the Council get compensation.

     

    The Mayor responded that it was not a design fault.  There had been a cross party working group on the market.  The initial proposal was for an outdoor market.  Due to pressure from opposition groups it was decided to progress with a market that was similar to the then existing market.  However, there were no suitable locations for a full indoor market.  Many suggestions were received and a feasibility study was carried out on each one, this resulted in the current location.  The Council engaged with stall holders, all parties and had visits to see other markets who had similar arrangements which were successful.  In response to a request from the current stall holders the Council found the money to install the screening. 

     

    It was not a design fault it was never intended for there to be a wind screen which was what had been agreed by everyone.  Only once the market was completed was it realised that there was a wind tunnel effect.  The new screen would be ready by the end of March. 

     

    The Mayor continued that occupancy rates in the market were up and Watford market was one of TCM’s best performing markets.  The publication ‘Market Times’ showed that markets were in decline nationally.  The successful markets were those which were niche or food stalls.  The stalls offering food at Watford Market were doing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

Financial Planning: Draft Revenue and Capital Estimates 2016/2019 and Treasury Management Strategy 2016-2019 pdf icon PDF 86 KB

    Report of Cabinet 18 January 2016

     

    Please note that this report has been printed separately for Budget Panel on 13 January, Cabinet on 18 January and Council on 27 January.  Members are reminded to bring their copy to this meeting.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of Cabinet, including the original report presented to Cabinet at its meeting on 18 January 2016 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 amendment agreed at Cabinet, which was seconded by Councillor Watkin.

     

    “In light of the Budget Panels recommendations and a further review by officers of the Equality Impact Assessment and benchmarking exercise agrees that the increase in charges for 2016/17 for burials is reduced by 50%. That officers review the impact of this increase on demand and undertake further benchmarking during that financial year with a view to securing:

     

    ·                                                                    cost recovery in the face of budget pressures and reduction in government grant

    ·                                                                    income to facilitate additional resourcing requirements of the Cemetery Strategy

    ·                                                                    alignment of the council’s costs with those of similar authorities

    ·                                                                    management of the demand for diminishing cemetery space.

     

    It is agreed that the fees to non-residents remain at 3 times the charges made to residents as this is a key policy to manage the demand on the depleting stock of available grave space.”

     

    Councillor Bell moved the following amendment which was seconded by Councillor Khan –

     

    “We propose our amended version of the Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) following appropriate scrutiny.  This will include a freeze to Council Tax, no change to residents burial costs and a five times rise for non-resident burial costs, a free collection of 3-bulky items and extra savings through a 10% cut in councillor’s special responsibility allowance and the Mayoral allowance and by cutting the costs of the council’s printing by a third (£41,000.)

     

    In order to protect the most vulnerable people in our town, we propose £1million to be kept in reserves for Homelessness prevention and to go for further growth by allocating up to £1.5 million to the capital programme for St Albans Road, promoting jobs, growth and regeneration for the local economy”

     

    Members debated the original motion and the amendment. 

     

    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, Ewudo, Haley, Joynes, Khan, Mauthoor, Mills, Shah, Turmaine and S Williams

                      

                       Those Members voting against the amendment:

     

                       Mayor Thornhill, The Chairman Councillor Hastrick, Councillors Bolton, I Brown, J Brown, Collett, Counter, Crout, Derbyshire, Hofman, Johnson, Martins, Rindl, Scudder, Sharpe, Taylor, Walford, Watkin and T Williams

     

                       Those Members abstaining from voting

     

                       Councillors Mehta, Rogers, Silver, Topping and Whitman

                      

                       The amendment was LOST by 13 votes to 19 and 5 abstentions

     

                       The original motion was then put to Council.

     

    Those Members voting in favour of the original motion:

     

                       Mayor Thornhill, The Chairman Councillor Hastrick, Councillors Bolton, I Brown, J Brown, Collett, Counter, Crout, Derbyshire, Hofman,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.

57.

Property Investment Strategy, Governance and Management Arrangements pdf icon PDF 67 KB

    Report of Cabinet 18 January 2016

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of Cabinet, including the original report presented to Cabinet at its meeting on 18 January.

     

    The motion to increase the key decision limit to £3m for decisions relating to the investment portfolio was moved by Councillor Sharpe and seconded by Councillor Watkin.

     

    On being put to Council the motion was CARRIED

     

    RESOLVED

     

                       To increase the key decision limit to £3m for decisions relating to the investment portfolio.

     

58.

Questions by Members of the Council under Council Procedure Rule 10.0

    Minutes:

    No questions had been received.  

59.

Petitions presented under Council Procedure Rule 12.0

    Minutes:

    No petitions had been received.

60.

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.

61.

Motions submitted under Council Procedure Rule 13.0

    1. The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Sharpe and seconded by Councillor Taylor:

     

    This council notes that

    -        Hertfordshire County Council is proposing further significant cuts to bus services across the county as part of its budget for 2016–17.

    -        This is part of £20 million cuts envisaged in the county council’s budget proposals, alongside a 3.99% (maximum possible) council tax rise.

    -        Among the proposals is a possible axing of the £390,000 grant to Transport for London for routes that cross the boundary between Hertfordshire and Greater London, which could threaten the popular 142 and 258 routes from Watford to Brent Cross and Harrow.

    -        This follows a £1.5 million cut in funding for bus routes by the county council last year.

     

    This council believes that

    -        These routes provide an essential service to students attending the Bushey schools, as well as to passengers travelling to destinations in North London, including accessing the Underground network.

    -        The financial settlement from the Conservative government is forcing drastic cuts on local communities, the county council should make every effort to protect vital public transport routes, such as the 142 and 258.

     

    This council calls on Hertfordshire County Council to ensure that any arrangement with Transport for London maintains the current level of service on the 142 and 258 routes.”

     

     

    2. The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Haley and seconded by Councillor Dhindsa

     

    This council notes the massive disruption caused by the poorly planned road works on Wiggenhall Road that had been continuous for the last two weeks and is ongoing.

    This disruption is creating havoc for local residents, particularly in Watford Fields and West Watford, with short journeys across Watford taking hours. Workers are finding it difficult to get to work on time, and students are being late for school.

    The disruption is also having a detrimental effect on the local economy as shoppers avoid coming into town, and local businesses are being hit.

    The ill planned works have created a rat-run through Watford Fields, as forewarned by the Watford Fields Residents Association, past a popular local school.  

    The mayor promised that disruption would be kept to "a minimum" but the everyday gridlock caused by this poorly planned road closure demonstrates the incompetency of this fading and tired regime.

    Council is called upon to take immediate action and work with Herts County Council to reduce the detrimental impact of the road works, and that  for any future large scale road closures that Watford Council consults and engages with residents who would be directly affected when plans are being formulated and not when they are about to be implemented.”

    3. The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Rogers and seconded by Councillor Mehta

    “Warner Brothers Studio Expansion.

     

    Council notes the continued success of the Warner Brothers Studios and Harry Potter Tours, as well as the significant benefits these have brought to the area, including the positive manner in which they communicate with local residents.  ...  view the full agenda text for item 61.

    Minutes:

    Council was informed that three motions had been received.

                      

    1) The following motion was proposed by Councillor Sharpe and seconded by Councillor Taylor:

    This council notes that

    -        Hertfordshire County Council is proposing further significant cuts to bus services across the county as part of its budget for 2016–17.

    -        This is part of £20 million cuts envisaged in the county council’s budget proposals, alongside a 3.99% (maximum possible) council tax rise.

    -        Among the proposals is a possible axing of the £390,000 grant to Transport for London for routes that cross the boundary between Hertfordshire and Greater London, which could threaten the popular 142 and 258 routes from Watford to Brent Cross and Harrow.

    -        This follows a £1.5 million cut in funding for bus routes by the county council last year.

     

    This council believes that

    -        These routes provide an essential service to students attending the Bushey schools, as well as to passengers travelling to destinations in North London, including accessing the Underground network.

    -        The financial settlement from the Conservative government is forcing drastic cuts on local communities, the county council should make every effort to protect vital public transport routes, such as the 142 and 258.

     

    This council calls on Hertfordshire County Council to ensure that any arrangement with Transport for London maintains the current level of service on the 142 and 258 routes.”

     

    Councillor Mehta moved the following amendment seconded by Councillor Silver:

     

    “Replace all wording with:

    This council notes

    -       That all public bodies have a duty to review the spending of public money in order to ensure that public money is being appropriately spent

    -         That Hertfordshire County Council have stated they are working towards an agreement with TfL as part of the natural end of their funding agreement, and that the 142 and 258 services are commercially viable

    -       In Financial Year 2014/15 the 142 and 258 bus route services were used by 2,060,340 passengers

    This council believes

    -       Businesses that are able to pay for themselves out of profits should not be further subsidised by taxpayers

    -       142 and 258 bus routes should continue to operate in the same fashion as they do now, either through support from Hertfordshire County Council or by virtue of the fact that they are commercially viable and no longer need taxpayers money to support them

    This council calls on Hertfordshire County Council to maintain its current policy to ensure that any arrangement with TfL maintains the current level of service on the 142 and 258 routes.”

    The following amendment was moved by Councillor S Williams seconded by Councillor Haley:

    “Under “This Council believes that…”

    These routes also serve the residents of Bushey, who use these routes to commute to Watford to make use of local services, to Watford General Hospital as patients, visitors or workers”

    Councillor Sharpe accepted Councillor S William’s amendment for inclusion in the original motion.

    On being put to Council Councillor Mehta’s amendment was LOST

    On being put  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

 

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