Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Watford

Contact: Caroline Harris 

Items
No. Item

31.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bashir and Dychton.

32.

Disclosure of Interests

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

33.

Minutes

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2018 to be submitted and signed. 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 July 2018 were submitted and signed.

34.

Official Announcements

Minutes:

Past Mayor Peter Kiely and former Councillor Hugh O’Hanlon

 

The Chairman stated that the council had been saddened to hear of the passing of former Councillor Hugh O’Hanlon in August.

 

The Chairman added that in the same month the council had been informed of the passing of Peter Kiely, who had been mayor in 1992-93.

 

The Chairman said that everyone’s thoughts were with their families at this time.  He asked everyone to stand and observe a minute’s silence.

 

Heritage Open Day Friday 14 September 2018

 

The Chairman informed Council that the Heritage Open Day had been a very successful event.  He, and the Mayor, had shown members of the public the Council Chamber and Chairman’s Parlour.  One lady had donated some valuable concert pamphlets to the Museum.

 

Fundraising Coffee Morning, Cheslyn Gardens, Saturday 22 September 2018

 

The Chairman thanked the Freemen, Mavis and Norman Tyrwhitt, for all their hard work organising the coffee morning and helping to raise funds for his charities, Guideposts and Signpost.  The event raised £540.31 and he was happy to receive further donations.

 

World Mental Health Day, Wednesday 10 October 2018

 

The Chairman and Mayor held a small networking event with the Chairman’s charities and other mental health organisations from Watford and Hertfordshire.  The event raised the profile of Guideposts and Signpost and enabled groups to talk to each other; exchanging information and discussing this important issue.

 

Rough sleeper count

 

The Chairman informed Council that New Hope was asking for volunteers to help them count the number of rough sleepers in Watford.  The count was carried out annually by New Hope on behalf of the council.  The count was due to take place over 15 and 16 November.  Councillors should contact New Hope if they were interested in volunteering.

 

Emergency Shelter Service

 

The Chairman advised Council that New Hope was leading on setting up an emergency shelter at St Mary’s Church in central Watford.  This would provide a safe place to sleep for rough sleepers from 1 December 2018 to 31 January 2019.  The work was being done in partnership with local churches and the council.  Again New Hope was looking for volunteers and councillors should contact them if they were available to help.

35.

Mayor's Report pdf icon PDF 82 KB

    Minutes:

    Mayor’s Report

     

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

     

    Prior to the councillors’ questions being put to the Mayor, he said he wanted to inform Council of the tragic passing in September of Councillor Mandy Perkins, the Leader of Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.  He commented that she had been very welcoming to him when he was first elected to the role of Mayor.

     

    The Chairman invited Members to indicate whether they wished to ask a question of the Mayor.  Councillors Hofman, Smith, Dhindsa, Cavinder, Bell and Mills indicated that they wished to ask questions.

     

    a)      Councillor Hofman referred to a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  The conclusion stated that governments and civil societies needed to act now to limit global warming to below a rise of 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.  Otherwise there could be an increase in extreme weather events.  Transport was the most polluting sector.  It was a matter of urgency that Hertfordshire County Council took electrical vehicles seriously.  The county council needed to work with the borough council to roll out a comprehensive charging network and infrastructure throughout Watford and Hertfordshire.

     

             The Mayor thanked the councillor for his question and said that he agreed with the comments about climate change.  Watford had the highest rate of electrical vehicle usage in Hertfordshire; three times higher than any other district.  He said that the council wanted to do more.  Officers worked with the county council to try to increase the number of on-street charging points.  The council provided charging points in its own car parks.  He added that he was keen to work with Councillor Hofman and others to ensure support for electrical vehicles and other modes of sustainable transport across the town.

     

    b)      Councillor Smith said that he had read in the report about the ongoing improvements to the High Street.  These were welcome.  He felt other councillors would agree that there were other shopping centres that needed improvement, namely St Albans Road.  He asked the Mayor if St Albans Road would be the next location to get investment.

     

             The Mayor agreed with the councillor’s comments about the High Street.  He acknowledged that it was not the only place that councillors and county councillors had worked hard to improve, for example Goodwood Parade.  He said that it was correct about St Albans Road.  He had been impressed with Councillors Stotesbury and Laird who were working with businesses, residents and organisations.  The council was keen to work with all groups, including the county council and officers.  However, practical suggestions were needed for improvements on St Albans Road.

     

    c)      Councillor Dhindsa said his question related to anti-social behaviour.  The Vicarage ward councillors met the police at the police station to discuss issues within the ward.  They also visited the ward collecting information.  Drugs was becoming a problem in the town.  He asked the Mayor if he had met the Police and Crime Commissioner to discuss cuts to the police budget.  He also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.

36.

Questions by Members of the Council under Council Procedure Rule 10.0 pdf icon PDF 75 KB

    Minutes:

    Questions had been received from Councillors Khan and Bell.  The responses were circulated at the meeting and attached as Appendix 1 to these minutes.

37.

Questions by Members of the Public under Council Procedure Rule 11.0 pdf icon PDF 39 KB

    The following question has been received from Ms Herron:

    “Re: Watford Community Housing

    It came up in the WCHT AGM that the trust has moved 75 or so properties social housing rents have been converted to affordable housing rents. 

    This was not well received by tenants.

    I’d like to know who is monitoring WCHT as nothing seems to be being asked to tenants before big changes are done.

    This completely goes against what WCHT was set up for years ago.

    Is this in keeping with the terms of the original transfer?”

     

     

     

    Minutes:

    A question had been received from Ms Herron, which was included on the agenda.

     

    Ms Herron referred to her question and said that at Watford Community Housing’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) residents had been informed that 75 social housing rents had been converted to affordable housing rents.  This had not been well received by the residents present.  She asked who was monitoring the trust as they did not seem to be consulting the tenants before the changes took place.  This was completely against the original reason for the trust being set up.  She also enquired whether this was in line with the transfer of stock from the council.

     

    Councillor Watkin thanked Ms Herron for her question.  He apologised for the legal aspects of the reply but said that these were key factors in the reason the council was prevented in taking a direct interest in Watford Community Housing’s actions.  He confirmed that a written response would be sent to her, attached as Appendix 2 to these minutes.

     

    Councillor Watkin explained about the transfer of the council’s housing stock to Watford Community Housing and the requirement under the agreement that existing tenants would retain the same rights under Watford Community Housing.  It did not cover any new tenants.  He informed her that Homes England (previously known as the Homes and Communities Agency) was the regulator of registered providers of housing, such as Watford Community Housing. He referred to the Government’s spending review which coincided with the Localism Act 2011 which provided registered housing providers and councils with housing stock the opportunity to offer flexible tenancies and the gave ability to access additional borrowing.  This required the conversion from social rented properties to affordable rents.  At that time Watford Community Housing’s Board decided not to take up this opportunity as it required a one for one conversion rate.  Later the conversion requirement was removed and Watford Community Housing took the opportunity to access the funding.  Subsequently the rules were changed again and recent programmes have required conversions.  The trust negotiated a one to four ratio with Homes England, which had been acceptable to the Board.  He said that the actual number of converted properties to affordable rent was 28.  This had generated grant funding for an additional 157 homes.  Another item on the agenda showed how the trust was working with the council to produce new properties.

     

    The Chairman asked Ms Herron if she wished to pose a supplementary question.

     

    Ms Herron commented that Councillor Watkin had advised that 28 properties had been converted.  At the AGM the trust’s Chief Executive had mentioned 75.

     

    Councillor S Johnson confirmed that Watford Community Housing had informed the council that 28 properties had been converted.

38.

Petitions presented under Council Procedure Rule 12.0

    Minutes:

    No petitions had been received.

39.

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.

40.

Voter ID Pilot pdf icon PDF 70 KB

41.

Business Rates Pilot for 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

    Report of the Director of Finance to ask for Council’s approval to enter the Business Rates Pilot or Hertfordshire Business Rates Pool for 2019/20

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report of the Director of Finance seeking approval to enter the Business Rates Pilot or Hertfordshire Business Rates Pool for 2019/20.

     

    RESOLVED –

               

    1.      that approval be given to enter into the Business Rates Pilot, or if that bid is not successful the Hertfordshire Business Rates Pool for 2019/20.

     

    2.      that delegated authority be given to the Director of Finance in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Resources and Customer Services to make the final decision on entering either the Pilot or Pool for 2019/20.

42.

Gambling Act 2005 Statement of Principles 2019 - 2022 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

43.

Proposed Licensing Act 2003 Statement of Licensing Policy 2018-2023 pdf icon PDF 54 KB

44.

Exclusion of press and public

    Minutes:

    Councillors confirmed that they wished to discuss some of the information contained in the Part B appendices for the following two items.  The main discussion would then continue in the open meeting.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that under Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business as it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during consideration of the item there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Section 100(1) Schedule 12A for the reasons stated in the reports.

45.

Opportunity to increase the provision of social rented housing pdf icon PDF 51 KB

    Report of Cabinet on 10 September 2018 with one recommendation to Council

     

    The appendix is considered Part B in accordance with Paragraph 3, Part 1, Schedule 12A as it contains information relating to the financial and business affairs of the Council.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report from the Cabinet meeting held on 10 September 2018, which included the report and appendices presented at the meeting.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    that £2.65 million from the funds currently earmarked for the provision of new temporary accommodation are allocated to support this project, the money being split between 2018/19 and 2019/20 financial years.

46.

Cycle Hire Scheme and Demand Responsive Transport System pdf icon PDF 47 KB

    Report of Cabinet on 8 October 2018 with two recommendations to Council.

     

    The appendix is considered Part B in accordance with Paragraph 3, Part1, Schedule 12A as it contains information relating to the financial and business affairs of the Council. 

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Council received a report from the Cabinet meeting held on 8 October 2018, which included the report and appendices presented at the meeting.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    1.      that £27,000 is allocated from the Programme Management Board budget and £68,000 is allocated from the Economic Impact Reserve for project management and business case development costs for the provision of Cycle Hire Scheme and the Demand Responsive Transport System, and

     

    2.      that the Community Infrastructure Levy receipts that had previously been committed towards funding the Metropolitan Line Extension be made available to fund the Cycle Hire Scheme and the Demand Responsive Transport Schemes, including any supporting infrastructure allowed by the appropriate legislation.

47.

Motions submitted under Council Procedure Rule 13.0

    1.     The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Stotesbury and seconded by Councillor Dychton

    Full Council ‘People’s Vote on Brexit’ Motion

    Council notes that:

    1.    While Watford's EU referendum result was the closest in the UK, and marginally in favour of Leave, recent opinion polls indicate that there has been a significant swing in favour of a 'People’s Vote' on the final Brexit deal

    2.    The Government’s own impact assessments show that the UK is likely to be worse off in every scenario after Brexit

    3.    There will be severe damage to our international relationships, reduced influence with other states, and the complete loss of say and control over the rules of the European Single Market and Customs Union, the largest market in the world

    4.    There are a large number of non-UK EU nationals living in Watford who are concerned about the impact of Brexit on their lives, and that their current rights are not being fully protected

    5.    That the Government has totally mismanaged the Brexit negotiations. The ‘Chequers Statement’, issued on 6th July 2018, (the closest indication yet of what a final deal might look like), has been rejected by EU negotiators and has also managed to alienate both supporters and opponents of Brexit

    6.    The NHS is experiencing severe problem in recruiting nurses and doctors since the decision was made to leave the European Union, and this is having a real negative impact on the health of local residents.

    7.    The UK economy is now the slowest growing economy in Europe, reducing the prosperity of the UK and our local residents. New investment in the area is being jeopardised and new job opportunities are being lost.

    8.    Inflation caused by Brexit-related depreciation of the pound is driving up living costs for our poorest residents, further squeezing their living standards

    9.    There will be a negative impact on our established mutually beneficial partnerships and links with European cities.

     

    Council therefore:

    1.    Believes that the people should have scrutiny of what is being negotiated on their behalf and an opportunity to vote on the final deal, including the option to remain in the EU

    2.    Formally adds its voice to those calling for a public ‘People’s Vote’ on the final Brexit deal

    3.    Asks the Mayor to write to Watford's MP expressing these views and asking him to support a 'People’s Vote'

     

    2.     The following motion has been proposed by Councillor Tim Williams and seconded by Councillor Ian Stotesbury

    This Council fully endorses and supports the end to the use of unnecessary Single Use Plastics (SUPs) in Watford and to take the following measures to achieve this:

     

    a) Watford Borough Council to become a full signatory of the ‘Plastic Free Pledge’, by phasing out the use of unnecessary SUPs in all Borough Council buildings, and working with commissioning partners to reduce, with the aim to end the purchase and procurement of SUPs through the Watford Borough Council supply chain.

     

    b) to encourage the town’s  ...  view the full agenda text for item 47.

    Minutes:

    Council was informed that four motions had been received.

     

    Motion 1

     

    The following motion was proposed by Councillor Stotesbury and originally seconded by Councillor Dychton; at the meeting councillors were informed that it was now seconded by Councillor Kloss

     

    Full Council ‘People’s Vote on Brexit’ Motion

     

    Council notes that:

    1.      While Watford's EU referendum result was the closest in the UK, and marginally in favour of Leave, recent opinion polls indicate that there has been a significant swing in favour of a 'People’s Vote' on the final Brexit deal

    2.      The Government’s own impact assessments show that the UK is likely to be worse off in every scenario after Brexit

    3.      There will be severe damage to our international relationships, reduced influence with other states, and the complete loss of say and control over the rules of the European Single Market and Customs Union, the largest market in the world

    4.      There are a large number of non-UK EU nationals living in Watford who are concerned about the impact of Brexit on their lives, and that their current rights are not being fully protected

    5.      That the Government has totally mismanaged the Brexit negotiations. The ‘Chequers Statement’, issued on 6th July 2018, (the closest indication yet of what a final deal might look like), has been rejected by EU negotiators and has also managed to alienate both supporters and opponents of Brexit

    6.      The NHS is experiencing severe problem in recruiting nurses and doctors since the decision was made to leave the European Union, and this is having a real negative impact on the health of local residents.

    7.      The UK economy is now the slowest growing economy in Europe, reducing the prosperity of the UK and our local residents. New investment in the area is being jeopardised and new job opportunities are being lost.

    8.      Inflation caused by Brexit-related depreciation of the pound is driving up living costs for our poorest residents, further squeezing their living standards

    9.      There will be a negative impact on our established mutually beneficial partnerships and links with European cities.

     

                Council therefore:

    1.      Believes that the people should have scrutiny of what is being negotiated on their behalf and an opportunity to vote on the final deal, including the option to remain in the EU

    2.      Formally adds its voice to those calling for a public ‘People’s Vote’ on the final Brexit deal

    3.      Asks the Mayor to write to Watford's MP expressing these views and asking him to support a 'People’s Vote'”

     

    Members debated the motion.

     

    On being put to council the motion was AGREED.

     

    RESOLVED –

     

    Full Council ‘People’s Vote on Brexit’ Motion

     

    Council notes that:

    1.      While Watford's EU referendum result was the closest in the UK, and marginally in favour of Leave, recent opinion polls indicate that there has been a significant swing in favour of a 'People’s Vote' on the final Brexit deal

    2.      The Government’s own impact assessments show that the UK is likely to be worse  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

 

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