Agenda and minutes

Environment and Neighbourhood Committee
Thursday, 4th September, 2014 7.30 pm

Venue: Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA

Contact: Victoria Lower, Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services). tel: 020 8770 4640 Email:  victoria.lower@sutton.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

apologies for absence and notifications of substitutes

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Patrick McManus. Councillor Tim Crowley attended as a substitute.

 

2.

minutes of last meeting pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2014.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 6 March 2014 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

Further to Minute 249/14 The Committee were informed that the Petition on Link Road, Kimpton Industrial Estate, had been considered by the Cheam North and Worcester Park Local Committee and investigations into speed and noise had been conducted. Officers had held informal discussions with Transport for London, but due to the cost of any projected scheme it was unlikely that this would be implemented.

 

The Chair informed the Committee that a second petition had been received at the start of the meeting which would be taken at the next relevant meeting.

3.

Sustainable Transport Strategy - Draft for Consultation pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Report of the Executive Head of Economic Development, Planning and Sustainability.

(To follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the draft Sustainable Transport Strategy which was a high level document that considered all forms of transport, including cycling, walking, the bus, train, tram and car. The strategy had a clear statement of ambition and a list of priorities which was consistent with the One Planet Sutton action plan. It had been developed by a Task and Finish Group of this committee over the last year, following initial consultation with stakeholders and community groups through a workshop.

 

The Committee discussed the need for a renewed policy document following the positive changes seen since the 2006/7 Smarter Travel initiative. Due to congestion it was important to decrease the number of short car journeys made within the Borough by making public transport, walking and cycling more attractive to residents. This would include the improvement of the Boroughwide cycling network. Councillors stressed that the Strategy was not anti-car but about smarter travel and better air quality, bearing in mind an increase in the population of the Borough, seen already in school expansions and new developments.

 

Committee members discussed the importance of the proposed Crossrail 2 project including a stop at Worcester Park station, and the implications of the development on the surrounding area. Other public transport routes to Worcester Park station would need to be improved to ensure travellers were able to utilise the network.

 

The Chair emphasised the importance of access to transport being available to all across the whole Borough, whether in remoter areas or for those who had a disability or infirmity.

 

The Chair pointed out that consultation on the final draft would be through the Council’s website and through stakeholders such as the Public Transport Liaison Group, who had been consulted previously.

 

Resolved:

 

(i)        Approve the draft Sustainable Transport Strategy for public consultation

 

(ii)       Delegate authority to the Executive Head of Economic Development, Planning and Sustainability in consultation with the Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee to agree the final format and minor adjustments to the content of the document prior to public consultation.

 

Councillor Colin Hall declared an interest in the above item as he was a Director of Living Streets.

4.

The future of theatres, halls, heritage, arts and the Life Centre in Sutton pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Report of the Executive Head of Neighbourhoods and Communities.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee noted that the Council was required to make £40 million of savings in addition to the £32 million which had already been made over the last four years. The extent of these savings was due to a large reduction in government funding for all local councils. The total of £72 million over eight years equated to nearly one half of the Council’s overall budget, and the £40 million to be saved over the next four years to one quarter of its budget. Additionally, the £40m savings were front-loaded by government in that many of the savings needed to be made in the next financial year 2015/16, or shortly after.

 

In making these savings, the Council was required to review all its services, and in particular discretionary services which the Council did not have a legal duty to provide. This included the arts and cultural services. It was noted that statutory services the council needed to provide by law included social services, waste collection, street cleaning and road repair, but these also needed to be made more efficient.

 

The Committee considered a report which outlined proposals for the future of cultural services in Sutton. The aim was to develop a community based approach by enabling local groups to develop and deliver cultural activities.  A representative survey of Borough residents had been undertaken in December 2013 which collected evidence about cultural use in Sutton. This showed that 22% of Sutton’s adult residents had visited the Council’s cultural buildings. The Council’s own financial information showed that the average subsidy per visit was £5.65. Combined income for cultural services in 2013/14 was £240,000 against a gross revenue expenditure of £2.2 million. The report looked at options for the four halls and theatres, for the Heritage Service and for the Life Centre.

 

The proposals for the halls and theatres were threefold.

  i.        It was proposed to dispose of Wallington Hall, due to its poor condition,

 ii.        It was proposed to continue to lease Grove Hall to a nursery and,

iii.        It was proposed to dispose of the Secombe Centre and the Charles Cryer Studio Theatre unless local theatre groups could come forward with a viable business plan to take over one or both of these buildings. As an alternative, local community and theatre groups would be supported to provide cultural services on an outreach basis and this would be funded through a budget of £150,000.

 

The Heritage Service was continuing to bid for £6m worth of Heritage Lottery Funding (HLF) (as approved by Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee in 2013) and had already been successful in securing Stage One funds. This ability to attract external funds, plus active Friends Groups providing wide scale volunteering support, enabled heritage buildings to be marketed to attract outside visitors.

 

The Life Centre would continue to be reviewed with regards to options for the future, with a further report to the Environment and Neighbourhood Committee planned for the new year. The Life Centre was a multi use centre,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Green garden waste collection - service consultation pdf icon PDF 102 KB

Report of the Executive Head of Commissioning.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the proposals to consult with residents on the future of the Green Garden Waste service, the results of a financial analysis on options for change and research on similar services provided elsewhere. The report further provided an update on funding secured from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) for improved recycling facilities.

 

The key aim was to achieve a saving to the council of the annual cost of the garden waste service, either through ceasing provision of the service or by recovering the costs through charging those who use the service.

 

The proposed consultation programme included three “Have Your Say” events, a Sutton’s Future website survey, a telephone survey of residents and a survey of the Council’s Residents’ Panel. This information would provide the Committee with qualitative and quantitative data to consider when making a decision on the future of the service.

 

The Committee noted the stark choice being considered, whether to discontinue or charge for the service, as the Council was unable to continue to provide the service free of charge within the financial environment where savings were required.

 

There was some discussion about the need to provide fair services for residents and that the current free of charge service (funded by the council taxpayer) was not fair to residents who lived in flats and were thus unable to use the service.

 

The Committee discussed the possible repercussions of the service including queues for the Kimpton Park site and increased fly-tipping. Waste Awareness Officers would be employed through the DCLG funding, to inform residents of alternative options such as composting. Previous evidence when the service was last changed had shown no major increase in use of Kimpton Park, nor of people using the brown or green bins for garden waste.

 

However, the DCLG funding was also being used to develop a set of community composting sites, as previously agreed at the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee earlier in 2014. Officers were currently looking at possible local sites, and a member Task and Finish Group was being set up to review these. Councillors Piracha and Pollock offered to sit on this group and further members would be sought.

 

In response to a query on the start date for a chargeable service, it was pointed out that an April start date would not provide enough time for the service to be introduced and set up in readiness. Therefore July 2015 was the preferred start date.

 

Resolved:

 

(i)        To agree the resident consultation strategy for the garden waste service

a.         Agreed (8) Councillors Kevin Burke, Colin Hall, Steve Penneck, Nighat Piracha, Hamish Pollock, Jill Whitehead, Paul Wingfield and Hanna Zuchowska

b.         Against (2) Councillors Tim Crowley and Tony Shields.

 

(ii)       To receive a report at the November Environment and Neighbourhood committee on the results of the consultation exercise, with a recommendation for a charge to the service.

 

(iii)      That a task and finish group be established to agree the delivery of community compost sites, as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

LOCAL IMPLEMENTATION PLAN FUNDING 2015/2016 TRANSPORT FUNDING BID pdf icon PDF 312 KB

Report of the Executive Head of Commissioning.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the Local Implementation Plan Funding Bid which outlined Transport for London’s transport related programme for investment from 2011/12 to 2016/17. Schemes considered included cycling initiatives and local transport funding. The report further suggested rolling forward major scheme funding for the development of Beddington Lane.

 

The Committee were pleased to note that the process for considering the Local Implementation Plan bids had improved each year with better input from the Local Committees.

 

Resolved:

 

(i)        To agree the needs assessment of schemes contained within the project mandates.

 

(ii)       To agree that the draft list of proposals contained within Appendix A should form the basis of the submission to Transport for London for Local Implementation Funding in 2015/16.

 

(iii)      To agree to incur capital expenditure for 2014/15 Planned Highway Maintenance Programmes as outlined in 2014-18 Capital Programme.

 

7.

Re-commissioning the Parking Services Contract pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Report of the Executive Head of Safer and Stronger Communities.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the options for the re-tendering of the parking services contract as the current contract was outdated and had limited scope for service modernisation. The new contract would provide for the free flow of traffic and safety of all road users, and would allow for amendments following the implementation of the De-regulation Bill to ensure the new service is compliant. It was important that the new contract could include the implementation of new parking ticket machines, which would allow for both cash and cashless payments.

 

Some members were concerned that procuring a new parking services contract, before new regulations were agreed, was an additional risk which could be avoided. However the Committee was assured that the new contract would allow for amendments once the regulations were passed. It was stressed that it was important that the new contract went live in April 2015 to enable improvements to be made.

 

Resolved:

 

(i)        That authority be given to officers to proceed with the procurement of a new parking services contract.

 

(ii)       The authority to award the contract be delegated to the Strategic Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods in consultation with the Strategic Director of Resources and in conjunction with the Head of Legal Services.

 

8.

Local Flood Risk Management Strategy pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Report of the Executive Head of Commissioning.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the consultation proposals for Sutton’s Local Flood Risk Management Strategy.

 

The Council had worked with the London Boroughs of Merton, Croydon, Richmond and the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames to develop the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy. The full report was around 80 pages; however a summary of the document had been presented to the Committee to consider.

 

The Consultation would go live on the Council’s website and full information would be provided for those wishing to take part. It was confirmed that the Flood Risk Management Strategy would be used in the Council’s strategic planning documents, but there was concern expressed that there may not be enough resources provided by government for the Council and its partners to enact all the proposals and targets.

 

The Committee was concerned that specific areas of the Borough were more at risk of flooding more often, due to future climate change, and expressed a desire that solutions could be found and implemented. The Committee, however, acknowledged that this was looking into the longer term future and that it was important that risks were continually reviewed, and the Flood Plan updated.

 

Resolved:

 

(i)        To agree Sutton’s Local Flood Risk Management Strategy for consultation.

 

(ii)       To receive the final Strategy in July 2015 for agreement.

9.

Wandle Valley Big Green Fund Project - appointment of main contractor pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Report of the Executive Head of Safer and Stronger Communities.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report on the delegation of the decision to appoint a main contractor for the Wandle Valley Big Green Fund Project.

 

Resolved:

 

That the appointment of the main contractor for the Wandle Valley Big Green Fund project is delegated to the Strategic Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods in consultation with the Strategic Director of Resources, Head of Legal Services and the Chair of the Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee.