Agenda and draft minutes

Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 22nd October, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Via Zoom https://zoom.us/j/91179951398

Contact: Joanna Morley  01572 758271

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Jones.

 

2.

RECORD OF MEETING

To confirm the record of the meeting of the Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee held on 13 August 2020 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on the 13 August 2020 were agreed as a true record.

 

3.

DECLARATION OF INTERESTS

In accordance with the Regulations, Members are invited to declare any personal or prejudicial interests they may have and the nature of those interests in respect of items on this Agenda and/or indicate if Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 applies to them.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

4.

PETITIONS, DEPUTATIONS AND QUESTIONS

To receive any petitions, deputations and questions received from Members of the Public in accordance with the Virtual Meetings Regulations (s1 2020 392) and the subsequent RCC Procedure Rules agreed at Council on 20 May 2020 and revised by Council on 14 September 2020. (Please see link: Revision to Virtual Meetings Protocol.)

 

The total time allowed for this is 30 minutes.  Petitions, deputations and questions will be dealt with in the order in which they are received and any which are not considered within the time limit shall receive a written response after the meeting

 

Minutes:

No petitions, deputations or questions had been received.

 

5.

QUESTIONS WITH NOTICE FROM MEMBERS

To consider any questions with notice from Members received in accordance with the provisions of Procedure rule No. 218 and No. 218A.

Minutes:

No questions with notice had been received from Members.

 

6.

NOTICES OF MOTION FROM MEMBERS

To consider any Notices of Motion from Members submitted in accordance with the provisions of Procedure Rule No. 219.

Minutes:

No notices of motion had been received from Members.

 

7.

PARKING STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 312 KB

To receive Report No.121/2020 from the Strategic Director for Places.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No.121/2020 was received from the Strategic Director for Places. Councillor Stephenson the Portfolio Holder for Culture and Leisure, Environment, Highways, Transportation and Road Safety introduced the report, the purpose of which was to present the existing strategy for review and to invite comment on the shape of a future Parking Strategy and its content and consultation. Mr Von der Voelsungen, Parking Manager, responded to Members’ questions.

 

During discussion the following points were noted:

 

·       A refreshed strategy was due by 2021 and the Portfolio Holder wanted scrutiny to have input at the start of the process.

·       Members were asked to look at the Strategy in strategic terms and general parking principles rather than referring to specific situations.

·       The new strategy could consider and include villages rather than just focus on the two market towns, and move away from the current system of referral to the Highways and Transport Working Group (HTWG) to assess individual village schemes.

·       Fees and Charges had been reviewed as part of the annual budget setting process.

·       Any proposed changes to the strategy and new approaches needed to bear in mind the underpinning Department of Transport guidelines and any emerging legislation, as well as the limited resources available.

·       It was suggested that consultation on the new strategy could be done via the Parish Forum.

·       Councillor Begy felt that the new strategy should be reviewed more often as the old strategy had been in place for 10 years.

·       The national ‘Selfish Parking’ campaign, which had been organised by the British Parking association and launched on 23 October, was focussed on tackling inconsiderate parking behaviour such as obstructing the pavement or if the lines and signs indicated no parking.

·       Residents parking hours had been consulted on and residents had requested the hours of 8am-6pm even though many residents were out at work during this time.  Releasing residents’ spaces could provide additional parking in town however once residents’ parking bays were established they were very difficult to reclaim.

·       A park and ride experiment in Uppingham, using Uppingham Community College parking for a Christmas shopping event, had proved very successful.

·       The 30 minutes free parking was popular with residents and Members hoped that this would continue.

·       Although yellow lines in the villages would relieve ‘pinch points’ this could lead to an unwanted urbanisation of villages.

·       As part of developing the new strategy there needed to be positive engagement with local businesses to find out how the Council could work in partnership with them.

·       There were blocks of redundant garages that could be used for additional parking but as most of them were privately owned the Council was somewhat powerless to act.

·       The new Strategy should consider HGV parking.

·       Councillor Payne made a plea for officers to engage with parish councils over the strategy particularly those with neighbourhood planning groups who had already done much of the work on parking requirements and issues within the village.

·       Most councils had a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Police but there was still some  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE WHITE PAPER pdf icon PDF 359 KB

To receive Report No.121/2020 from the Strategic Director for Places.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report No.121/2020 was received from the Strategic Director of Places.

 

Councillor G Brown, Portfolio Holder for Environment, Planning, Property and Finance introduced the report the purpose of which was for Scrutiny to consider the Government’s proposals as set out in the White Paper and to agree any comments for consideration by Cabinet at its meeting to take place on 27th October.

 

During discussion the following points were noted:

 

·       Officers were congratulated for their work in preparing both the initial draft consultation response and the update following the contributions made by Members at the Council meeting on Monday 12 October.

·       Members agreed that there was a distinct lack of detail and substance to the proposals contained within the White Paper.

·       Councillor Brown, the Portfolio Holder for Planning, had joined a meeting with civil servants from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Neighbourhood Plan section where they had talked in more detail of what the changes to legislation and regulations  might look like in particular;

-       Neighbourhood Plans (NP) being able to allocate sites

-       Whether NPs should have a role in defining codes within renewal areas and the role of NP Groups in the Local Plan process to find the best way to produce a common multi layered digital map for the area

-       Improvements to the NP process that could be made in line with the proposals for Local Plans

-       Support for NP Groups to embrace the opportunities of digital plan making and data.

·       It was important that a technically strong and robust set of arguments was submitted not just on those parts of the Paper which the Council disliked but also those that it did, as it was made clear, following a meeting with the Rutland MP Alicia Kearns, that there was a lot of unrest in Parliament about the white paper and that the Government might take stock of the strength of feeling within the country.

·       Alicia Kearns had met with Chris Pincher, the Minister for Housing and Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to fight on RCC’s behalf on the key issues.

·       The Unitary Councils Network had also submitted a response to Government on the white paper which RCC had been involved in and which strengthened the points put forward to Government.

·       A Select Committee was being set up to look at the white paper and RCC would be providing a robust response to the 10 questions asked as Ministers would be challenged on the basis of the answers RCC provided.

·       Councillor Razell commented on the ‘shoddiness’ of the White Paper which had resulted in officers having to spend an inordinate amount of time, far in excess of what they should have had to, responding to the paper. The comments back to Government should reflect this.

·       There was no mention in the White Paper of traveller sites and this needed to be highlighted in the RCC response.

·       Councillor Payne felt that the biggest issue with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

MEMBERS' MYACCOUNT

To receive a verbal update from the Strategic Director for Resources.

Minutes:

A verbal update on the Members MyAccount was received from Mr Della Rocca, Strategic Director for Resources.

 

During discussion the following points were noted:

 

·         During an earlier pre-Covid MyAccount demonstration Members had raised the idea of a Members MyAccount area where they could direct service requests, log issues on behalf of residents, ask for information or see information that was pertinent for their ward.

·         Members had previously been sent a list of service area contact numbers and in effect the Members MyAccount would replace this approach of contacting officers directly with queries.

·         Mr Della Rocca asked Members whether they still thought a Members MyAccount was something that would be useful and also whether they thought all Members would be prepared to use the system for all of the issues it covered rather than in an ad hoc way and in addition to the existing processes.  Full adoption of the system would mean much better analysis of the data it provided, for example, the most common types of issues, whether responses were given in a timely fashion and the themes in certain parts of the business.

·         Councillor Oxley asked whether a feature could be built into the programme that notified fellow ward members in the same way that copying into an email did. This would avoid duplication into the system or the use of other routes.

·         Councillor Payne wholeheartedly supported the concept and felt that being able to see and use the metrics would be very valuable especially being able to see the different demands on officers.

·         If residents had a better understanding of the role of ward members and passed their queries directly through to them then the service had the potential to take pressure off the town councils.

·         Councillor Begy asked officers to ensure that the system worked well on mobile phones.

·         The extent of the system and what functions the Members MyAccount would include still needed to be defined. Members felt that a distinction should be made between logging issues on behalf of residents and ward work, and logging personal issues that Members had such as an IT problem or papers required from Governance.

·         If only half of the Members used MyAccount then it would defeat the objective of introducing such a system.

·         For Members who did not wish to log into the system there was a way to configure it to work using email.

·         Mr Della Rocca would consider the best way of sounding out all Members’ opinions on the MyAccount system.

 

10.

ANNUAL WORK PLAN 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

To discuss substantive items for scrutiny and inclusion in the Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee work programme for the municipal year 2020-21.

Minutes:

The Committee discussed the Growth Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee work plan for the municipal year 2020-21.

 

During discussion the following points were noted:

 

·         Councillor Begy had a long list of items that he would send to Members of the Committee to consider.

·         Councillor Oxley passed on Councillor Jones’ concerns that some of the items identified last year had fallen off the work schedule.

·         The Growth Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee oversaw a considerable area and covered three Cabinet portfolios which meant that because of time restrictions and officer capacity not all issues could come to Committee.

·         The Committee had a draft work plan and the Chair intended to hold a private meeting in November to drill down on the issues put forward so that they had specific targeted reports that came forward to committee.

 

ACTION:

 

The Chair would set up a private meeting with Committee Members in November to agree items for the February meeting.

 

11.

BIODIVERSITY TASK AND FINISH GROUP pdf icon PDF 200 KB

To receive Report No.128/2020 from the Biodiversity Task and Finish Group.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

This item had been moved to last on the agenda as the Chair, of both the Committee and the Task and Finish Group, having talked further with the Portfolio Holders proposed to take a different approach before recommending to Council. Because of the Covid pandemic the report had been delayed and in the intervening period the original officers supporting the group had left the Council. The Chair therefore had written to members of the Task and Finish Group and proposed that she meet with the new Senior Environmental Services Manager to review and further evaluate the recommendations, looking in particular at the cost and resource requirements needed to implement them. The Task and Finish Group would then meet again before reporting back to the Committee.

 

12.

ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS

To receive any other items of urgent business which have been previously notified to the person presiding.

Minutes:

The Chair had not been notified of any other urgent business.

13.

DATE AND PREVIEW OF NEXT MEETING

Thursday 28 January 2021 at 7pm.

 

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Growth, Infrastructure and Resources Scrutiny Committee would be held on Thursday, 28 January 2021.