Agenda and minutes

Housing, Economy and Business Committee
Tuesday, 9th March, 2021 7.30 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Farzana Alam, Committee Services Officer  Tel: 020 8770 4990; Email:  committee.services@sutton.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

24.

Welcome and Introductions

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Jayne McCoy, welcomed those present and the watching public to the meeting.

25.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

26.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Jean Crossby raised a declaration on Item 10 that she is a tenant of Sutton Housing Partnership.

Councillors Marlene Heron and Barry Lewis declared that they were members of the board of Sutton Housing Partnership.

 

27.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 8 December 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

1.    That the minutes of the meeting held on 8 December 2020 be agreed as an accurate record subject to confirmation that Councillor Nick Mattey was present.

28.

Any Urgent Business

To consider any items which, in the view of the Chair, should be dealt with as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances (in accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972).

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

29.

Support for Businesses Affected by COVID-19 pdf icon PDF 294 KB

Minutes:

This report was presented by Mark Halls, Head of Revenues and Benefits, which covered the different schemes of grants available to businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. He spoke about mandatory and discretionary awards which were given to different types of businesses.

 

Elizabeth Harris, Opportunity Sutton Service Manager, spoke about the discretionary grant schemes. The Additional Restrictions Grant was allocated to Sutton as a result of the November 2020 restrictions. The purpose of the grant was to support businesses that had been substantially affected by the lockdown restrictions, including those which hadn’t been able to access the main Closed grants scheme. She also explained the difference between open and closed grants; open grants referred to Tier 2 and the businesses that were not required to close but were significantly affected by the restrictions on socialising. The closed grants schemes were for businesses that could not operate during Tiers 3, 4 and the national lockdown.

 

Members commended the grants schemes and spoke about how they have had positive impacts on local businesses.

 

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the COVID-19 business support schemes established to support businesses be noted.

30.

Support for Residents Affected by COVID-19 pdf icon PDF 177 KB

Minutes:

Annette Madden, Assistant Director Business Services, presented this item. She spoke about the work of the Welfare Reform Team and how the team had adapted to meet the demands brought about the COVID-19 pandemic. She explained the support provided by the team in addition to the existing crisis loans and grants such as Council Tax reduction, Test and Trace Support payments, Free School Meal vouchers during school holidays and COVID-19 Winter Grants.

 

Ms Madden said that after doing research, they eradicated the loans element and replaced them with grants as residents were concerned about paying the loans back during these uncertain circumstances.

 

The committee discussed the criteria for the discretionary grants and how the communications regarding the Test and Trace support payments should be made clearer to ensure the grants are being distributed effectively.

 

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the COVID-19 support schemes established to support residents be noted.

31.

Hallmead Farm Estate ASLC pdf icon PDF 156 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dean James, Strategic Planning Manager, led this item on the Hallmead Farm Estate ASLC Character Appraisal. The report summarised the importance of supporting the Character Appraisal in line with the Ambitious for Sutton priorities. He explained that this was a resident-led document and the London Borough of Sutton saw merit in what was being proposed upon doing their own assessments.

 

The guidelines in the Character Appraisal were certain characteristics that should be retained when development proposals come forward which would drive up the quality of applications being put forward. The residents were looking for this designation (as an ASLC) for protection to prevent further conversion of the properties into flats.

 

Members asked for this level and method of consultation to be replicated on other planning applications. Andy Webber, Head of Development Management and Strategic Planning, explained that statutory requirements were exceeded when consulting on most applications according to the parameters in the statement of community involvement (SCI).

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That Hallmead Farm Estate be designated as an Area of Special Local Character (ASLC) in accordance with the map in Appendix A.

2.    That the Hallmead Farm Estate ASLC Character Appraisal (Appendix B) be approved for use as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications within the designated ASLC.

 

The meeting was adjourned from 20:48 to 20:53.

32.

Beddington Farmlands Restoration Update pdf icon PDF 193 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Andy Webber, Head of Development Management and Strategic Planning, introduced the item to the committee. Mr Webber detailed where the restoration should currently be at and what stage it is actually at. The restoration should be completed by the end of 2023. He flagged up concerns regarding the restoration:

Habitat management and creation

What the plans are for the acid grassland

 

 

Adrian Foster, Head of Project Delivery, Viridor, gave a progress report on the Beddington Farmlands restoration since Winter 2018. This included the establishment of wet grasslands and displacement habitats. The anti-predation fence is also due to be installed.

 

The committee voiced concerns about the remaining work to be done and asked for a detailed plan of action to ensure work is on schedule.

 

Mr Foster confirmed that Viridor would support the commitment to ensure deadlines are met and that applications were in place with contractors to do the final topography for Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the project.

 

Andrew Turner, Associate Director, Madano, said there was good engagement with residents and understood concerns of the Wandle Valley Forum regarding lapwings and the foxes. He added that there was a real commitment to reporting back to the Conservation and Access Management Committee.

 

The committee reiterated the importance of a collaborative approach between Thames Water, Prologis Development, Viridor, and residents to ensure that the work is completed within time. It was also noted that there were other factors that had delayed progress of the restoration project such as COVID-19 and adverse weather conditions.

 

Councillor Jayne McCoy moved an amendment to revise wording of recommendation 2 to:

 

“To note Viridor’s firm commitment to the substantial commencement of the remaining parts of the restoration (particularly Wet Grassland and Acid Grassland) by May 2021, as formally requested by the Conservation Access Management Committee.”

 

This was seconded by Councillor David Bartolucci. The amendment was put to a vote and carried. At his request, it was noted that Councillor Nick Mattey voted against the proposed amendment.

 

 

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the progress made on the restoration since 2019 be noted.

2.    That Viridor’s firm commitment to the substantial commencement of the remaining parts of the restoration (particularly Wet Grassland and Acid Grassland) by May 2021, as formally requested by the Conservation Access Management Committee be noted.

3.    That Viridor be requested to report on this action to the Housing, Economy and Business Committee in June 2021 with a clear itemised project plan, including available resources, that demonstrates with clear milestones, how each phase of the remaining work will be completed by 31 December 2023 and to report back to the HEB Committee in September 2021.

33.

Sutton Housing Partnership Delivery Plan 2021-4 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair invited Trevor Hart to introduce the report. Trevor Hart, Housing Strategy and Commissioning Manager, explained that this paper looked three years ahead rather than the usual annual delivery plan. The delivery plan included the financial, service improvement and performance plan as well as revised service standards. The delivery plan was in line with the requirements of the Social Housing White Paper.

 

Steve Tucker, Managing Director Sutton Housing Partnership, spoke about achievements that SHP had delivered over the past year including a reduction in the number of tenants in arrears, and increase in satisfaction in estate cleaning and repairs completed on time. He also explained that customer service was at the forefront of the organisation and the importance of co-working to ensure customer satisfaction is achieved. He thanked staff for remaining in contact with residents and providing support for residents in need, especially at a time of significant pressure on the service due to COVID-19.

 

In answer to the committee’s questions regarding targets, Mr Tucker explained that the targets set in the delivery plan (such as customer satisfaction) were taking wider factors into account benchmark performance for other providers, and had to reflect the amount of effort and resources the organisation was expected to place.

 

Members discussed the ongoing issue of anti-social behaviour in Rosehill Court and added that a report on lessons learned would be useful.

 

Councillor Jean Crossby declared a non-pecuniary interest that a family member resides in a block managed by the Sutton Housing Partnership.

 

RESOLVED:

That Sutton Housing Partnership’s Delivery Plan 2021/4 be approved.

34.

Authority Annual Monitoring Report pdf icon PDF 180 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Dean James, Strategic Planning Manager, introduced this item. The document focused on implementation and targets of the Sutton Local Plan and reported on the performance of the council’s planning policies.

 

Certain other prescribed matters that were also covered within the report were:

 

The rate of housing delivery against the Council’s adopted housing target, including the extent to which the Council can meet it’s housing target over the next five years. 559 net additional dwellings were completed in 2019-2020.

 Progress of the Council's Local Development Scheme. Sutton were on track with the South London Waste Plan.

‘Duty to Cooperate’ activity that has been undertaken within the monitoring period.

 

Members raised the issue of having enough affordable and appropriate sized dwellings in the Borough to accommodate for the expected rise in the number of households. Mr James explained that it was more difficult to secure three bedroom units in town centre locations but that this would be looked at when reviewing the local plan and that three bedroom units are sought where possible.

 

The Chair commended the work done on the Public Realm Design Guide and congratulated officers on it being used as a good practice example by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

 

RESOLVED:

1.    That the Local Plan Authority Monitoring Report for 2019-20 be noted.

 

The Chair thanked members, officers, external participants, and the viewing public for their attendance and closed the meeting at 23:00.