Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Board
Monday, 7th October, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, Bridge Street, Christchurch BH23 1AZ. View directions

Contact: Claire Johnston - 01202 454627  Email: claire.johnston@bcpcouncil.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

49.

Apologies

To receive any apologies for absence from Members.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs S Bartlett, M Greene, N Greene,  R Maidment and P Miles.

50.

Substitute Members

To receive information on any changes in the membership of the Committee.

Note – When a member of a Committee is unable to attend a meeting of a Committee or Sub-Committee, the relevant Political Group Leader (or their nominated representative) may, by notice to the Monitoring Officer (or their nominated representative) prior to the meeting, appoint a substitute member from within the same Political Group. The contact details on the front of this agenda should be used for notifications. 

 

Minutes:

Notification had been received from the appropriate group leaders of the following changes in membership for this meeting of the Board:

Councillor J Butt to act as substitute for M Greene.

Councillor R Burton to act as substitute for R Maidment.

51.

Declarations of Interests

Councillors are required to comply with the requirements of the Localism Act 2011 and the Council's Code of Conduct regarding Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

Councillors are also required to disclose any other interests where a Councillor is a member of an external body or organisation where that membership involves a position of control or significant influence, including bodies to which the Council has made the appointment in line with the Council's Code of Conduct.

Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest.

For transparency Councillor F Brooke declared for item 6, the Housing Delivery Action Plan, that he was a Board member of the Bournemouth Development Company.

For Transparency Councillor R Burton declared that he was a landlord, with a property for rent in the BCP area outside of the Discretionary Licensing Scheme area.

52.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 352 KB

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Meeting held on 9 September 2019.

Minutes:

The Board agreed as an accurate record the minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2019.

The Board agreed an amendment, to include Councillor A Hadley as present, in the minutes of the meeting held on 8th July.

53.

Action Sheet pdf icon PDF 157 KB

To note and comment on the attached action sheet which tracks decisions, actions and outcomes arising from previous Board meetings.

Minutes:

The Board confirmed the Action Sheet without amendment.

54.

Public Speaking

To receive any public questions, statements or petitions submitted in accordance with the Constitution. Further information on the requirements for submitting these is available to view at the following link:-

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/documents/s2305/Public%20Items%20-%20Meeting%20Procedure%20Rules.pdf 

The deadline for the submission of public questions is Monday 30 September 2019.

The deadline for the submission of a statement is 12.00 noon, Friday 4 October 2019.

The deadline for the submission of a petition is 12.00 noon, Friday 4 October 2019.

Minutes:

There were no public questions, statements or petitions received for this meeting.

55.

Scrutiny of Housing Related Cabinet Reports

To consider the following housing related reports scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 9 October:

·         Housing Delivery Test Action Plan

·         Housing Strategy

·         Enforcement Policy – Private Sector Housing

·         Discretionary Licensing

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the reports and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Keiron Wilson. Portfolio Holder for Housing

Also Councillor Margaret Phipps, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning for Housing Delivery test Action Plan.

The Cabinet report will be published on Tuesday 1 October 2019 and available to view at the following link:

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=285&MId=3722&Ver=4

 

 

 

Minutes:

Housing Delivery Test Action Plan

The Portfolio Holders for Strategic Planning and Housing presented a report, a copy of which has been circulated and appears as Appendix ‘A’ of these minutes in the Minute Book. 

It was explained that in February 2017 a white paper ‘Fixing Our Broken Housing Market’ was published setting out the government’s plan to increase housing supply. The white paper set a national building target of approximately 300,000 new homes annually.

A measure to assess whether councils were building enough homes locally was introduced and included a housing delivery target. Councils that fell below 95% of their housing delivery target were required to produce a Housing Delivery Test (HDT) Action Plan.

Cabinet were being asked to agree the publication of the BCP HDT Action Plan. The plan identified 5 key strategic factors to help drive forward the delivery of housing.

 The plan would be implemented in 2019-2022 and would be monitored by a steering group jointly led by officers across Growth and Infrastructure and Housing. Progress on the action plan would be reported annually to Council and staffing resources would be increased to drive forward delivery.

The Board were informed that between 2016-2019 Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Councils granted planning permission for 10,425 homes, 3,705 of these were delivered.  It was therefore considered important to understand the barriers to development and to work with landowners and developers to help progress developments.

It was also recognised that the national targets had some anomalies and further work was required, by national government, to understand them, with some councils struggling to meet their targets whilst others were reaching circa 200%.

Two technical errors were highlighted. On page 165, under 2.4, the figure should read 730 instead of 722. Additionally, on page 181, 4.12 Christchurch Town Council should be replaced with Highcliffe and Watford Parish Council.

A number of questions were raised and discussed by members of the Board at the meeting, including;

·         The figures for the number of units to be delivered. This was available on page 167 of the report;

·         Whether the target had been appealed, what was being done to appeal it and the cost of the work. Initially the Council would gather evidence to inform its Local Plan. The Local Plan would identify a housing delivery target for the BCP area. This target would form the basis of any challenge to the national target. The work would be carried out using legacy budgets;

·         That environmental constraints would be taken into consideration when identifying a housing delivery target in the Local Plan and that BCP Council would work with neighbours under the Duty to Cooperate to deliver housing;

·         That lobbying government was important and developing housing was on the LGA’s agenda. It was highlighted that this area needed further discussion;

·         That taking direct action and being proactive in engaging developers was important, particularly in relation to the communications plan and in developing an understanding of barriers and reasons why sites may have stalled;

·         Why the Winter Gardens  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.

56.

Scrutiny of Transport Related Cabinet Reports

To consider the following transport related reports scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 9 October:

·         BCP Car Parking Strategy

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the reports and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Margaret Phipps, Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning will attend on Behalf of Councillor Andy Hadley, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Transport.

The Cabinet report will be published on Tuesday 1 October 2019 and available to view at the following link:

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=285&MId=3722&Ver=4

Minutes:

BCP Council Strategic Car Parking Review

The Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning presented a report, a copy of which has been circulated and appears as Appendix ‘E’ of these minutes in the Minute Book.

The report informed the Board that parking in the BCP area had previously been managed by four councils. The report proposed a BCP Council strategic review in order to form a new single strategy for the provision, operation, pricing and enforcement of parking across the highway network and car parks in the area.

The plan would be linked to the BCP Council Parking Policy and the Local Plan. There would be three stages to the review. These would include the gathering of information and consultation, the assessment of data and preparation of recommendations and finally the formation of the recommendations. It was anticipated that the recommendations would go through Council in October 2020.

A number of questions were raised and discussed by members of the Board at the meeting, including

·         The possible benefit of introducing variable charging rates within a carpark;

·         The importance of considering competitor carpark rates and the impact charges have on commercial activity;

·         The benefit of considering charging principles outside of the BCP area;

·         That stakeholders including businesses, trading associations, major employers and members of the public would be engaged;

·         That the report would benefit from incorporating clear benefits to focus the discussion and facilitate clear feedback.

·         The role of the proposed steering group in setting the direction of the consultation;

·         That a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Board should be on the Steering Group;

·         That Neighborhood Forums could be engaged by Councillors and through the communications programme;

·         The importance of protecting income received from carparks;

·         The importance of considering the aim of the policy, for example whether the intention is to make money or support sustainable travel;

·         Details regarding what the Council is permitted to charge;

·         The importance of rationalising car park spaces to ensure maximum benefit;

·         That disabled people should be considered key stakeholders. That some councils do not charge for off-road disabled spaces;

·         That differential rates depending on the type of vehicle should be considered, some authorities include a surcharge for cars with heavy emissions.

RESOLVED that:-

That the Steering Group that considers the BCP Council Strategic Car Parking Strategy include a member of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.

Vote: Unanimous

 

57.

Scrutiny of Environment and Climate Change Related Cabinet Reports

To consider the following environment and climate change related reports scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 9 October:

·         Unauthorised encampments

·         Response to Climate Change Emergency

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the reports and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Felicity Rice, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change.

The Cabinet report will be published on Tuesday 1 October 2019 and available to view at the following link:

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=285&MId=3722&Ver=4

 

Minutes:

Revised Policy and Practice for Unauthorized Encampments

The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change presented a report, a copy of which has been circulated and appears as Appendix ‘F’ of these minutes in the Minute Book.

The report informed the Board that there were variation between the existing policies and practices for unauthorized encampments across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.

The report recommended that a cross party working group was established to align the policies and procedures across the BCP Council area. The unified policy for unauthorized encampments would then return to Cabinet for further consideration.

A number of questions were raised and discussed by members of the Board at the meeting, including

·         Potential reasons for the differing number of incursions between Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, particularly why there were less incursions in Christchurch;

·         The environmental impact and the cost of decontamination and cleaning following incursions;

·         The impact of height barriers and target hardening;

·         The differing approaches to incursions by predecessor councils, particularly the provision of toilets and skips in Poole;

·         Whether the approach would be to make incursions difficult or to provide facilities, this would be determined following an evidence gathering process;

·         That the policy was urgent and important and whether some decisions could be made more quickly to meet the needs of gypsies and residents earlier;

·         The importance of providing training to ensure members of the Working Group had a broad knowledge and understanding of the issue;

·         That the cost of the methods used by legacy councils should be considered when making a decision;

·         The importance of considering whether an option is good value for money, manages public expectations and can be delivered effectively within budget;

·         Whether or not a transit camp could make a difference and whether parliament should be lobbied to allow the police powers to direct to the Dorset site;

·         Whether quarterly meetings with MP’s would be beneficial in order to discuss items on the agenda;

·         Whether pre-emptive injunctions should be considered first by the Working Group and the implications the injunctions could have on other policies;

·         Whether the number of Councillors on the Working Group should be reduced to allow a swifter response;

RESOLVED that:-

To suggest to Cabinet an amendment to the recommendation included within the report, as follows:

It is recommended that Cabinet establish a cross-party member working group, as outlined in para 27, to

1.    expedite actions as a matter of urgency in anticipation of incursions for summer 2020,

2.    consider the alignment of policies and procedures across the council area and report back to Cabinet.

Vote: 11/0 Abstention 1

The Chairman left the meeting. The Vice-Chairman stepped into the Chair.

 

Response to the Climate Change Emergency

The Portfolio Holder for Environment and Climate Change presented a report, a copy of which has been circulated and appears as Appendix ‘G’ of these minutes in the Minute Book.

The Portfolio Holder highlighted that the world was on course for a temperature rise of 3-4 degrees and this meant climate change should be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

Scrutiny of Finance Related Cabinet Reports

To consider the following finance related reports scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 9 October:

·         Medium Term Financial Plan Update

The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise the reports and make recommendations to Cabinet as appropriate.

Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor David Brown, Portfolio Holder for Finance

The Cabinet report will be published on Tuesday 1 October 2019 and available to view at the following link:

https://democracy.bcpcouncil.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=285&MId=3722&Ver=4

 

Minutes:

The Medium-Term Financial Plan Update Report

The Portfolio Holder for Finance presented a report, a copy of which has been circulated and appears as Appendix ‘H’ of these minutes in the Minute Book.

The report outlined the refresh of the Medium-Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and informed the Board of the progress made towards delivering a balanced budget for 2020/21.

The report included information on the financial risks faced by the Council, progress with the disaggregation of the 31 March Dorset County Council balance sheet and details of grants available from the government to support the potential cost to the Council following the decision for the UK to leave the European Union.

It was highlighted that the forecast funding gap for 2020/21 had reduced from 15,000,000 to 7,700,000. The main changes included an additional 3,000,000 in savings and efficiencies identified by service areas, the inclusion of the Councils share of extra funding from the Adult and Children’s Social Care Grant, the deferred implementation of the Negative Revenue Support Grant and the recognition of additional spending pressures.

It was highlighted that no decision had been made on whether to increase Council Tax by 4% in 2020/21, as per the government’s strategy to fund social care. The increase in the MTFP remained at 2.99%.

The Board were informed that delivering the resources needed for the Capital Programme and the transformation agenda were key risks. Additionally, the Council were required to deliver a balanced budget for the high needs block of the Dedicated Schools Grant. More information on this would be available following further consideration on 5 November.

A number of questions were raised and discussed by members of the Board at the meeting, including

·         The importance of recognising that 3,000,000 of the reduced funding gap was from savings and efficiencies and the rest was from grants and a government decision;

·         That government needed to be lobbied, and work needed to continue, to ensure support for the high needs block within the Dedicated Schools Grant;

·         That the savings and efficiencies in service areas were mostly from efficiencies and the restructuring of the Council. Increases higher than inflation weren’t planned;

·         When the council would consider its assets and which buildings were surplus to requirement;

·         Whether the Council would pay for Dorset County Council’s debts. Disaggregation was covered in paragraph 18-21 of the report;

·         That the settlement announcement was usually in December but due to turbulence in national government it could be later;

·         The importance of having a sustainable budget and not relying on grants;

59.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To consider and amend the Board’s Forward Plan as appropriate.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members agreed the Forward Plan at their meeting on 4 October 2019.

Any additions from this meeting would be agreed by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman in advance of the November meeting.

60.

Future Meeting Dates

To note the future meeting dates arranged for the Board as follows:

11 November 2019 - start time and venue TBC

The following meetings are planned to begin at 6.00pm, venues tbc:

9 December 2019

13 January 2020

10 February 2020

16 March 2020

20 April 2020

 

Minutes:

It was highlighted to the Board that a meeting to consider 5G would take place on Monday 11th November 2019.

A date had not been confirmed for the next meeting for consideration of Cabinet reports. It was explained that members would be consulted if there were various options for a future date.