Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Watford

Contact: Caroline Harris 

Items
No. Item

32.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Hofman, Laird, Scudder and Shah.

33.

Disclosure of Interests

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

34.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 5 July 2016 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 5 July 2016 were submitted and signed.

35.

Official Announcements

Minutes:

Audentior Awards

 

The Chairman informed Council that the Audentior Awards had taken place on Friday.  He thanked everyone who had attended and advised that over £1,500 had been raised for his nominated charities.

 

Battle of Britain wreath

 

The Chairman informed Council that on 18 September he had attended a service at St Paul’s Church in Langleybury.  He had laid a wreath on behalf of the council in remembrance of the Battle of Britain.

 

Councillor Jackie Connal

 

The Chairman advised that Councillor Connal, following the death of her husband wished to say a few words.

 

Councillor Connal said that she wished to thank everyone for their kind words and cards.  She would never forget her husband sitting in the public gallery watching the proceedings and someone asking who the gentleman was sitting there.  She again thanked everyone as it had meant the world to her.

36.

Mayor's Report pdf icon PDF 75 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 Bashir, Turmaine, Martins, Mauthoor, Bell and Fahmy indicated that they wished to ask questions.  Councillor Mills had initially indicated she wished to ask a question but later withdrew the request.

     

    a)      Councillor Bashir noted that on 2 September the Watford Observer contained a report about Jimmy’s World going into liquidation, having £639,000 in debts, of which £101,000 was owed to Watford Borough Council in unpaid business rates.  He presumed this had accrued over a number of years.  However, local families might miss one payment and then council officers vigorously pursued them and threatened them with legal action.  He asked if it was incompetence or reckless neglect by the department.  He asked the Mayor for assurances that this situation would not happen again.

     

             The Mayor questioned whether the councillor had spoken to the department about collection arrangements.  He had not found out the lengths staff went to in order to collect unpaid business rates.  She informed council that there were people and companies out there who would exploit any loopholes.  It happened across the country.  She had decided that she wanted to take this issue up at a national level.  In the future the council would be more dependent on its business rates income and it would be imperative the council collected as much as possible.

     

             The Mayor commented that the service was gentler with residents.  If residents missed one payment the service would send a reminder.  It could happen to anyone.  The reminder helped to ensure residents did not get behind.  Officers tried to resolve any outstanding payments with residents, up to and beyond bailiffs being employed.  Residents needed to speak to the office and make an arrangement, however little they could afford to pay.  Business rates and Council Tax were two separate systems, but it was more favourable for residents.  The council was as hard as it could be with businesses.  If a company was declared bankrupt, then the council would receive nothing towards the debt.  The council had to keep pursuing the debt.

     

             The Mayor suggested that the Labour group should speak to Revenues and Benefits.  Councillors would realise the council had a high collection rate and it was a good service. 

     

    b)      Councillor Turmaine referred to Watford Junction and the Southern Rail service.  He asked whether she had tweeted her support for the RMT or Southern Rail or discussed the situation with Mick Cash, who was a Watford resident and Chair of the RMT, about the behaviour of Southern Rail against its workers, who were trying to protect passenger safety. 

     

             The Mayor responded that she read Mick Cash’s emails.  She had not seen him for some time.  She stated that she could appreciate the workforce’s view but she could also appreciate the other side’s views.  However, she did have issues with Southern Rail and felt that it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.

37.

Questions by Members of the Council under Council Procedure Rule 10.0 pdf icon PDF 62 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    A question had been received from Councillor Turmaine.  The question and answer are attached as Appendix 1 to these minutes.

38.

Questions by Members of the Public under Council Procedure Rule 11.0

    Minutes:

    No questions had been received.

39.

Petitions presented under Council Procedure Rule 12.0

    Minutes:

    No petitions had been received.

40.

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.

41.

Four year funding settlement pdf icon PDF 90 KB

    Report of Head of Finance (Shared Services)

     

    Report of Cabinet - 10 October 2016 (to follow)

    Minutes:

    Council received a report that had been considered at Cabinet on 10 October 2016.  The Cabinet minutes were circulated to councillors.  The report asked members to consider whether the council should accept the Government’s offer of a four-year financial settlement and the requirement to publish an Efficiency Plan.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.      that council accepts the Government’s offer of a four-year financial settlement.

     

    2.      that the Efficiency Plan, attached as Appendix 1 to the report, be approved.

42.

Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny in Watford Borough Council 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

    This report provides an overview of the scrutiny work carried out in Watford Borough Council in 2015/16.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Committee and Scrutiny Officer and the Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny in Watford Borough Council 2015/16.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny in Watford Borough Council for 2015/16 be noted.

43.

Adoption of the Public Health Act 1925 by Watford Borough Council for Street Naming and Numbering Purposes pdf icon PDF 64 KB

    Report of Head of Democracy and Governance

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Head of Democracy and Governance seeking adoption of Sections 17 to 19 of the Public Health Act 1925.  These sections related to street naming and authority to place the necessary notices advertising the adoption.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.      that sections 17 to 19 of the Public Health Act 1925 be adopted.

     

    2.      that the Head of Democracy and Governance be authorised to place the necessary notices to advertise the adoption.

44.

Amendment to the Council Scheme of Delegation pdf icon PDF 72 KB

    Report of Head of Democracy and Governance

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Head of Democracy and Governance seeking approval to amend the council’s Scheme of Delegation following the deletion of the role of Head of Regeneration and Development.  It also requested approval for new delegations following the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy to enable efficient collection and enforcement.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.      that the responsibility for Council Functions A2-A14 and A26-A34 relating to Town and Country Planning and Development Control be amended to delete the Head of Regeneration and Development and to insert the Development Management Team Leader.

     

    2.      that the responsibility for Council Functions A15-A25, A35, B39, B40, B41 and I15 be amended to delete the Head of Regeneration and Development.

     

    3.      that a new A37 be added to the Scheme to provide for the administration and enforcement of the collection of the community infrastructure levy under the Community Infrastructure Levy Regulations 2010 as amended and that this be delegated to the Development Management Section Head and the Development Management Team Leader.

45.

Changes to the Constitution pdf icon PDF 53 KB

    Report of Democratic Services Manager

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Democratic Services Manager which provided details of changes recommended by Constitution Working Party following its meeting on 22 September 2016.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.      that the updated Contract Procedure Rules (attached as Appendix A to the report) to take account of the changes due to the enactment of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 be adopted.

     

    2.      that the constitution be amended to state that the mover of a motion may not exceed 7 minutes with the right of reply speech not exceeding 3 minutes.  The remaining speech times shall stay at 5 minutes and there should be no changes to the length of budget speeches.

     

    3.      that in the case of a busy agenda it should be at the chair’s discretion whether to put a time limit on the length of debate for motions whilst still allowing for a balanced debate.

     

    4.      that the Chair of Community Safety Partnership Task Group be appointed by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee when determining the Group’s membership.

46.

Appointments Committee pdf icon PDF 43 KB

    Report of Democratic Services Manager

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Democratic Services Manager which sought approval for a revised membership of the Appointments Committee to that which was agreed at Annual Council. 

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the following members be appointed to the Appointments Committee –

     

    Councillors Peter Taylor (Chair), Keith Crout, Jagtar Singh Dhindsa, Stephen Johnson and Mark Watkin

47.

Motions submitted under Council Procedure Rule 13.0

    The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Sohail Bashir and seconded by Councillor Ahsan Khan

     

    “Council notes that in the Callowland Ward there has been a continuous and constant problem of street littering and flytipping with which residents of the ward have become increasingly concerned.

    The Council also notes that firm action needs to be taken to significantly reduce the current levels of littering and flytipping in the ward.

    We call upon this Council to increase the frequency of litter picking and street cleaning within Callowland. Furthermore, on behalf of residents, we call for a more proactive approach from this Council to deal with the chronic problems of flytipping in the Callowland Ward.”

     

    The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Asif Khan and seconded by Councillor Sohail Bashir

     

    “The council notes that the Kashmir issue has been ongoing for over 69 years.

     

    Watford has strong ties with Kashmir as thousands of Watfordians have a Kashmiri heritage and links to the region.

     

    The council is shocked and deeply concerned by the killing of over 150 people and hundreds of civilians blinded including children by the use of pellet guns by the Indian security forces since July 2016.

     

    The council also believes in a diplomatic solution to this issue and once resolved it will bring peace and stability to the region.

     

    We call upon the council to write to the Indian High Commissioner calling for the immediate cessation of the use of pellet guns on civilians, investigate human rights abuses and to engage in meaningful peace talks.

     

    We call upon the council to write to the Watford MP, to raise with the foreign office to work harder for the implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir and to push for a diplomatic solution.”

     

    The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Matt Turmaine and seconded by Councillor Bilqees Mauthoor

     

    “This council recognises that technological innovation is driving change in the taxi trade, with particular reference to companies like Uber.

     

    Rider sharing drivers (e.g. Uber drivers) are operating in Watford already. It is important that they are brought within the council framework rules to ensure passenger safety and a thriving local taxi trade.

     

    This council resolves that:

     

    ·       Drivers of such vehicles are subject to the same licensing regulations as existing private hire taxi cab drivers (e.g. licensed, regulated, trained, subject to inspection).

    ·       The conduct of rider sharing services is monitored to ensure that practices outside of permitted private hire are not engaged in, e.g. ranking and that perpetrators are fined/prosecuted.

    ·       The council should investigate offering compensation to existing licence plate holders for the negative pricing effect on their plate ownership, as numbers of Uber taxi drivers in Watford increases.

    ·       The council should establish/maintain a dialogue with relevant organisations in relation to the debate on minimum wage and workplace rights impacting this business sector.”

     

     

     

     

    Minutes:

    Council was informed that three motions had been received.

     

    1)      The following motion was proposed by Councillor Sohail Bashir and seconded by Councillor Ahsan Khan

     

             “Council notes that in the Callowland Ward there has been a continuous and constant problem of street littering and flytipping with which residents of the ward have become increasingly concerned.

     

             The Council also notes that firm action needs to be taken to significantly reduce the current levels of littering and flytipping in the ward.

     

             We call upon this Council to increase the frequency of litter picking and street cleaning within Callowland.  Furthermore, on behalf of residents, we call for a more proactive approach from this Council to deal with the chronic problems of flytipping in the Callowland Ward.”

     

             Members debated the motion.

     

             On being put to Council the motion was LOST.

     

    2)      The following motion was proposed by Councillor Asif Khan and seconded by Councillor Sohail Bashir

     

             “The council notes that the Kashmir issue has been ongoing for over 69 years.

     

             Watford has strong ties with Kashmir as thousands of Watfordians have a Kashmiri heritage and links to the region.

     

             The council is shocked and deeply concerned by the killing of over 150 people and hundreds of civilians blinded including children by the use of pellet guns by the Indian security forces since July 2016.

     

             The council also believes in a diplomatic solution to this issue and once resolved it will bring peace and stability to the region.

     

             We call upon the council to write to the Indian High Commissioner calling for the immediate cessation of the use of pellet guns on civilians, investigate human rights abuses and to engage in meaningful peace talks.

     

             We call upon the council to write to the Watford MP, to raise with the foreign office to work harder for the implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir and to push for a diplomatic solution.”

     

             Councillor Peter Taylor moved the following amendment, seconded by Councillor Rabi Martins

     

             “The council notes that the Kashmir issue has been ongoing for over 69 years.

     

             Watford has strong ties with Kashmir as thousands of Watfordians have a Kashmiri heritage and links to the region.

     

             The council is shocked and deeply concerned by the killing of over 150 people and hundreds of civilians blinded including children by the use of pellet guns by the Indian security forces since July 2016.

     

             The council also believes in a diplomatic solution to this issue and once resolved it will bring peace and stability to the region.

     

             Delete:

     

             We call upon the council to write to the Indian High Commissioner calling for the immediate cessation of the use of pellet guns on civilians, investigate human rights abuses and to engage in meaningful peace talks.

     

             Replace with:

     

             We call upon the council to write to the High Commissioners of both India and Pakistan demanding:

     

    -              the immediate cessation of violence including the use of pellet guns on civilians

    -              the immediate lifting of the curfew and restrictions on free speech

    -  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

 

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