Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Watford

Contact: Caroline Harris 

Items
No. Item

30.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bolton and Connal.

31.

Disclosure of Interests

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

32.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 11 July 2017 to be submitted and signed. 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 11 July 2017 were submitted and signed.

33.

Official Announcements

Minutes:

County Councillor Robert Gordon and Past Mayor Robert Caton

 

The Chairman informed council of the passing of County Councillor Robert Gordon, who had also been a Watford councillor and was a past Chairman.  He also referred to the passing of Robert Caton in August, who had been Mayor between 1972 and 1973.  He was sure that everyone’s thoughts were with their families at this time.  He asked everyone to join him in a minute’s silence.

 

Councillor Bell and Mayor Thornhill paid tribute to Robert Gordon and Councillor Watkin spoke about Robert Caton.

 

Audentior Awards

 

The Chairman thanked everyone who had attended the Audentior Awards.  He was pleased to announce that over £1,600 had been raised for his charities, Watford Foodbank and Watford Mencap.

 

VC paving stone unveiling

 

The Chairman reminded councillors that they had received an invitation to attend a paving stone unveiling for Victoria Cross recipient Major General George Pearkes on 30 October.  He asked councillors to contact the Member Development and Civic Officer if they would be attending.

34.

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 Turmaine, Asif Khan, Smith, Shah and Bashir indicated that they wished to ask questions.

     

    a)      Councillor Turmaine said that he wished to ask the Mayor about the Football Lads Alliance march on 7 October 2017.  The organisation was intended to bring together football supporters who could gather together to pay respects to the victims of terror.  There are now genuine fears that the English Defence League (EDL), Britain First and other similar organisations were trying to use it to stir up racism and islamophobia, as reported in the media.  He asked the Mayor if she would be seeking assurance from Watford Football Club that it would monitor the situation and disassociate itself with this group if the fears were realised.

     

             The Mayor replied that this was a challenging situation.  The EDL was a legitimate group and everyone had their views about the group.  She assured everyone that nobody from the Liberal Democrat group condoned their views and actions.  There was always a worry that an event could be hijacked by them.  The council had similar concerns when the Royal Anglian Regiment wanted to march through the town.  There had been problems in Luton at their Freedom of Entry march.  In Watford, there had been relief when the same problems did not arise.  This had been in part due to the positive response of the local Muslim community, the police and local people.

     

             The Mayor added that she had sent a message to the club to discuss it.  The police were aware of the issue.  It was something everyone was worried about.  She was also aware of some speakers at Mosques and how their comments could cause certain people to be upset.  Everyone needed to be careful of things that may inflame the situation but it was not possible to deny people their freedom of speech and right to assemble.  It was a matter she cared about and got involved in.  She thanked the responses of the local community who were always positive.

     

    b)      Councillor Asif Khan referred to a BBC news article about councils giving one-way train tickets to homeless people.  He asked the Mayor for assurance that this council did not follow the same practice in Watford.

     

             The Mayor advised that she was unable to give that reassurance.  New Hope had done this.  When it was done, it had been the most humane and sensible thing to do.  If someone was trapped in Watford, homeless and desperate and the only thing stopping them going back home was they would never have the money to join their family and it was their express desire, then it was the right thing to do.  In conjunction with New Hope, the council had flown family relatives to Watford to help their family member.  If it was the right thing to do and done  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Questions by Members of the Council under Council Procedure Rule 10.0

    Minutes:

    No questions had been received.

36.

Questions by Members of the Public under Council Procedure Rule 11.0

    The following question has been received from Mr John Dowdle:

     

    “Watford Council web page https://www.watford.gov.uk/homepage/3/major_projects_update states that as part of the proposed Watford High Street Improvements:-

     

    ‘Blue badge parking (approximately five spaces) to be relocated from the High Street between Clarendon Road and Market Street, and expanded to 10 new bays in Church Street.’

     

    QUESTION: What is the exact length and width of each of the 10 new blue badge parking spaces on Church Street and is there actually sufficient space to accommodate all 10 vehicles?”

     

     

    Minutes:

    A question had been received from Mr John Dowdle, which was included on the agenda.

     

    Mr Dowdle referred to his question printed in the agenda.  He questioned whether there was sufficient space in the allocated area to accommodate all 10 proposed vehicles.

     

    Councillor Sharpe responded that the precise location of the new bays in Church Street was on the grass area immediately adjacent to Church car park.  Each bay would be 2.4 metres wide by 4.8 metres long and had a 1.2 metre shared strip to enable those who needed to fully open their car doors.  There would also be a path along the back of the bays in order to gain access to the rear of the vehicles.  The path would be on the same level as the bay to enable step free circulation. 

     

    Councillor Sharpe referred to the Mayor’s earlier comments about the consultation on the scheme.  There were still matters being considered and discussed.  He had suggested that only six bays should be created, which reduced incursion on to the grass area and maintained the line of the current path way.  Even if reduced this would nearly double the number of bays being included in the scheme when combined with those proposed in Wellstones. 

     

    The Chairman invited Mr Dowdle to pose a supplementary question if he wished to do so.

     

    Mr Dowdle stated that he had based the question on the diagram shown on the website, which showed the bays just to the north of the path way.  He considered there to be space for a maximum of four cars.  He questioned the extension of the bays on to the grass area, which would mean the loss of open space in the area.

     

    Councillor Sharpe advised that he understood the plans showed the bays located within the grassed area.  This suggestion was first proposed in 2015 as part of an enhancement scheme by the parks team for the conservation and green flag open space at St Mary’s.  It would provide additional parking possibly for use by the church.  The grassed area was probably not of a high amenity value as it was located immediately next to the Church car park.  This scheme provided an opportunity to have a much wider enhancement of the High Street and the public realm.  It would be designed in a way that satisfied the conservation and parks teams, ensuring it was sympathetic to its environment.

37.

Petitions presented under Council Procedure Rule 12.0

    A petition in the following terms has been received. At the time of agenda publication the petition contained 105 signatures of Watford residents.

     

    Statement:

     

    “We, the undersigned, call on Watford Council to immediately cease work on destroying St Mary’s historic Town Square.  The One Bell Pub extension is taking almost half of our historic Town Square and needs urgently to be stopped, and St Mary’s Square fully reinstated.”

     

     

    A petition in the following terms has been received.  At the time of agenda publication the petition contained 34 signatures of Watford residents.

     

    Statement:

    “We the undersigned petition the council to make Northfield Gardens a safer place for children, parents and carers who are crossing the road to and from school before someone gets seriously hurt.”

     

    Minutes:

    Council received two petitions from the public.  It was noted that the second petition, submitted about Northfield Gardens, had been withdrawn from the agenda.  The petitioner had agreed to present the petition to the Highways Liaison Meeting later in the week. 

     

    A petition, signed by 105 Watford residents, had been received in the following terms

     

    “We the undersigned, call on Watford Council to immediately cease work on destroying St Mary’s historic Town Square.  The One Bell Pub extension is taking almost half of our historic Town Square and needs urgently to be stopped, and St Mary’s Square fully reinstated.”

     

    Mr John Dowdle was invited to present the petition to the council.

     

    Mr Dowdle said that he was attending the meeting to address council on the development of the One Bell public house and the impact it would have on a locally listed building and St Mary’s Square which were located in the St Mary’s Conservation Area.  He referred to the petition and asked that all works were stopped on the redevelopment of the One Bell.  The proposed extension would permanently take away almost half of the historic town square.

     

    Mr Dowdle informed council that he lived near the development in the conservation area.  The extent of the development was immediately apparent to him.  All residents in the alms houses had signed the petition and had confirmed that they had not been informed about the development, even though it had a major impact on their view of the town centre.  The failure to consult local residents was one of many flaws.  He felt the planning application process had been questionable and referred to the planning application.  He showed council the planning applications’ advert printed in the Watford Observer.  Mr Dowdle raised questions about the honesty and probity of the planning application. The Managing Director invited Mr Dowdle to provide evidence so that the matter could be investigated or withdraw the inference.

     

    Mr Dowdle asked council to call-in the application for scrutiny in order to understand the entire saga.  In addition, all work on the One Bell and St Mary’s Square should be halted immediately.  Work should start in removing the hoarding.  If the current owners were not prepared to undertake the work then the council should exercise its powers to compulsory purchase the One Bell and create a town centre visitor’s centre, community centre and arts and culture centre for the people of Watford and visitors.

     

    Councillor Sharpe acknowledged receipt of the petition.  The application had gone through the normal consultation processes and comments were received about the proposal.  Many issues the council had to consider gave rise to different opinions.  He disagreed with those views put forward by the residents.  The plans for restoring and extending the One Bell public house were a proactive piece of conservation; giving a historic local landmark a new lease of life.  He referred to listed properties in Watford that had lain empty for some time and the work being done to bring them back  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

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.

39.

Business Rates Retention Pilot pdf icon PDF 39 KB

    A recommendation to Council following an executive decision taken by the Mayor

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Mayor following her delegated decision.  The Director of Finance’s original report to the Mayor had been included in the agenda.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that Council agrees to sign up to the Hertfordshire Business Rates Pool pilot or a business rates pool for 2018/19.

40.

Local Plan Review 2016 - 2036 pdf icon PDF 47 KB

    Report of Deputy Managing Director and Director of Place Shaping and Corporate Performance from Cabinet to recommend to Council that

    the Local Plan Part 2 is not submitted for examination and instead focus resources on progressing the Local Plan Review

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Deputy Managing Director setting out information about the Local Plan Part 2.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the Local Plan Part 2 is not submitted for examination and that resources should now be focussed on progressing the Local Plan Review to cover the period 2016-2036.

41.

Scrutiny Annual Report pdf icon PDF 52 KB

    A report of the Committee and Scrutiny Officer.  This report provides an overview of the scrutiny work carried out in Watford Borough Council in 2016/17

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Committee and Scrutiny Officer which included the Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny n Watford Borough Council for 2016/17.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the Annual Report of Overview and Scrutiny for Watford Borough Council 2016/17 be noted.

42.

Members' Performance Scheme - Self Assessments pdf icon PDF 55 KB

    A report of the Democratic Services Manager.  Members’ completed self-assessments for 2016/17

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Democratic Services Manager which included individual councillors’ self-assessments for 2016/17.  It was noted that further assessments had been received since the publication of the agenda; these would also be uploaded to the individual councillors’ web pages.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the summary of the members’ self-assessments for 2016/17 be noted.

43.

Amendment to Council's Scheme of Delegation pdf icon PDF 65 KB

    A report of the Head of Democracy and Governance to amend the council scheme of delegation to add additional officers to take action with regards to the functions relating to Licensing and Registration.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Head of Democracy and Governance which sought approval for a change to the council’s scheme of delegation following a request from the Head of Community and Environmental Services.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that the scheme of delegation be amended as set out in Appendix 1 to the report.

44.

Motions submitted under Council Procedure Rule 13.0

    1.     The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Asif Khan and seconded by Councillor Nigel Bell

    "The council notes that the Herts Valley Clinical Commission Group (HVCCG) has withdrawn its legal defense against the closure of Nascot Lawn. We also note that this was as a result of the great campaign run by the parents of children who go to Nascot Lawn, respite and medical centre. 

     

    We call upon the council to 

     

    - write to the chair and chief executive of the HVCCG to honour its commitment to continue to fund the much loved respite centre, noting that we are deeply concerned that staff are still leaving the centre and that no attempt is made to retain them, thus enforcing a backdoor closure.

    - write to the chief executive of Herts County Council, calling him to work with HVCCG to come to a funding proposal which will see the permanent survival of the Nascot lawn.

    - write to Watford's MP, Richard Harrington, to get the required funding from central government, for the funding of Nascot Lawn and other health services in Watford which are due a cut of £45 million."

    2. The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Mo Mills

    “We, as Councillors for West Watford call on the Mayor and her Liberal Democrat Cabinet to show they are finally taking the issue of fly tipping seriously for the whole of our town, by immediately installing CCTV cameras at the notorious dumping area at the Junction of Harwoods Road and Chester Road.

    Our residents are fed up with having this constant anti-social behaviour blight on their doorsteps just as we are fed up having to report it to Council Officers with no effective deterrent introduced by this administration.

    As residents constantly remind us the Mayor wouldn’t let this happen on the streets of Oxhey Village, the Cassiobury estate or Nascot ward or Tudor Avenue, so let us see her and this Council take strong action to show all areas in the Borough are being treated equally.”

    3.     The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Taylor, seconded by Councillor Grimston

    “Council notes:

     

    · That the next censuses in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will be conducted in 2021.

     

    · The ‘Count Them In’ campaign of the Royal British Legion, Poppy Scotland, Help for Heroes and others to highlight the lack of information on members of our armed forces, their communities, where they live and their needs.

     

    Council believes:

     

    · That it is very important that all local council meet their Armed Forces Covenant commitments.

     

    · That no member of the Armed Forces community should be left disadvantaged because of their service.

     

    · That the public and voluntary sectors would benefit from knowing whether an individual has ever served in the Armed Forces, the dates that they served and whether an individual is directly related to someone who has served in the Armed Forces.

     

    · That the 2021 census should include questions concerning our Armed Forces community.

     

    Council therefore resolves:

     

    · That the Mayor  ...  view the full agenda text for item 44.

    Minutes:

    Council was informed that four motions had been received

     

    Motion 1

     

    The following motion was proposed by Councillor Asif Khan and seconded by Councillor Bell.

     

    "The council notes that the Herts Valley Clinical Commission Group (HVCCG) has withdrawn its legal defense against the closure of Nascot Lawn. We also note that this was as a result of the great campaign run by the parents of children who go to Nascot Lawn, respite and medical centre.

     

    We call upon the council to

     

    - write to the chair and chief executive of the HVCCG to honour its commitment to continue to fund the much loved respite centre, noting that we are deeply concerned that staff are still leaving the centre and that no attempt is made to retain them, thus enforcing a backdoor closure.

    - write to the chief executive of Herts County Council, calling him to work with HVCCG to come to a funding proposal which will see the permanent survival of the Nascot lawn.

    - write to Watford's MP, Richard Harrington, to get the required funding from central government, for the funding of Nascot Lawn and other health services in Watford which are due a cut of £45 million."

     

    Members debated the motion.

     

    On being put to council the motion was AGREED.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    the council notes that the Herts Valley Clinical Commission Group (HVCCG) has withdrawn its legal defense against the closure of Nascot Lawn. We also note that this was as a result of the great campaign run by the parents of children who go to Nascot Lawn, respite and medical centre.

     

    We call upon the council to

     

    - write to the chair and chief executive of the HVCCG to honour its commitment to continue to fund the much loved respite centre, noting that we are deeply concerned that staff are still leaving the centre and that no attempt is made to retain them, thus enforcing a backdoor closure.

    - write to the chief executive of Herts County Council, calling him to work with HVCCG to come to a funding proposal which will see the permanent survival of the Nascot lawn.

    - write to Watford's MP, Richard Harrington, to get the required funding from central government, for the funding of Nascot Lawn and other health services in Watford which are due a cut of £45 million.

     

    Motion 2

     

    The following motion was moved by Councillor Mills and seconded by Councillor Shah.

     

    “We, as Councillors for West Watford call on the Mayor and her Liberal Democrat Cabinet to show they are finally taking the issue of fly tipping seriously for the whole of our town, by immediately installing CCTV cameras at the notorious dumping area at the Junction of Harwoods Road and Chester Road.

     

    Our residents are fed up with having this constant anti-social behaviour blight on their doorsteps just as we are fed up having to report it to Council Officers with no effective deterrent introduced by this administration.

     

    As residents constantly remind us  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

 

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