Venue: Council Chamber - Moorlands House, Leek
Contact: Sally Hampton - Member & Community Support Officer Tel: 01538 395429 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Notification of Substitute Members, if any.
There were no substitute members.
DECIDED – That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Panel held on 24 January 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Urgent Items of Business, if any. (24 hours notice to be provided to the Chairman).
There were no urgent items.
Disclosable Pecuniary Interests:
“Other” interests were expressed as follows:-
1. Councillor Keith Flunder – Had been involved with the Biddulph Town Plan as County Councillor.
2. Councillor Andrew Hart – Any site-specific references within Biddulph relating to Local Plan matters.
Questions to Portfolio Holders, if any.
(At least two clear days notice required, in writing, to the Proper Officer in accordance with Procedure Rule 15).
Questions to Councillor Tony Hall (Portfolio Holder for Customer Services) from Councillor Charlotte Atkins –
Q1. “How many people within Staffordshire Moorlands does the SMDC calculate will be applying for Universal Credit when our area becomes part of the universal credit full service from 13 June 2018?”
Response given by Councillor Arthur Forrester in Councillor Hall’s absence:
“We anticipate approximately 730 cases transferring over to UC in the next year, however this is of course a prediction. There is no mass migration until 2019, so people will only be transferring over as circumstances change.”
Councillor Atkins asked a supplementary question – in the light of delays experienced by other local authorities which placed extra pressure on Food Banks, what problems were envisaged as part of the transfer process? Councillor Forrester confirmed that intensive training had been provided for all staff dealing with such claims in order to alleviate any problems which might otherwise occur.
Q2. “What preparations has SMDC made to provide advice and support to those having difficulty claiming Universal Credit for the first time from next month?”
“We have created a Housing Benefits and Advice post to manage the UC project and homeless reduction act project as these are intrinsically linked. We are working closely with DWP to ensure we understand their requirements. All front line advisers have received training direct from DWP and specialist staff have an in-depth session late this week (24 May). We are developing our approach to personal budgeting and digital assistance and are looking at our current structures to generate capacity for this. We are also meeting with CAB to understand the assistance they are able to offer.
Councillor Atkins asked a supplementary question – as a Trustee of CAB, she was aware that they could give no assistance in this process due to a lack of resources, with some claims needing 20 hours to process. The DWP listed CAB as an advice-giver, what other organisations would be able to assist? Councillor Forrester stated that a written response would be issued at a later date.
Andrew Stokes – Executive Director (Transformation) & Chief Finance Officer – introduced the report, giving the background regarding the formation of the joint venture company and progress to date. Phase 1 (Transfer of the High Peak Waste service) had completed successfully and Phase 2 (Transfer of the Staffs Moorlands Waste service and the Fleet Management) had been approved by Cabinet in April 2018. This report requested that the Panel considered the service specification, service delivery and performance framework for the second phase of the project. A further report on the financial arrangements was to be considered by the Resources Overview & Scrutiny Panel.
Nicola Kemp – Operational Manager (Contract Management) – then gave a presentation via the screens in the Council Chamber detailing arrangements for the project.
Members raised queries as follows (responses in brackets):-
· Job security – Any likelihood of redundancies? (There was to be no reductions in front-line services. All staff would be ‘TUPE’ protected and there were no proposals to vary from the current services. However, any new staff taken on would not have the same terms and conditions of service. Any major decision-making would need agreement by all AES parties, which would offer protection to staff.)
· Who would be valuing the vehicles ‘inherited from SFS? (The valuation was to be done based on the remaining payments under the current agreement with SFS.)
· Who would be dealing with Fly-Tipping? (This was to stay with SMDC for now.)
· Would AES be collecting all 4 types of plastic for re-cycling? (All plastic was re-cyclable, the question was cost, which had increased since China had banned the import of certain types. Other markets had been found, but only at extra cost.)
· Under the ‘Change Protocol’, who would attend the meetings? (Commissioning Board meetings would be attended by Cllr. Arthur Forrester and Nicola Kemp. An AES representative would attend meetings of this Panel annually.)
· How many refuse lorries were currently on the fleet at any one time? (17+ other support vehicles, with 5 or 6 available as back up while others were serviced, MoT tested or 6-weekly inspected.)
· When was the Street Scene service to transfer to AES? (This was scheduled for December 2018.)
· Was there a guarantee that there would be no charge introduced for the collection of garden waste? (There was no proposal to charge at this time.)
· Where are enquiries from the public to be received and dealt with? (No proposed change, SMDC staff still to deal with all enquiries.)
· Concern was expressed about AES governance arrangements. Would councillors from another authority be making decisions on what was to happen in Staffordshire Moorlands? (SMDC had Officer and Member representation on both the Shareholders’ Board and the Commissioning Board.)
DECIDED – That the Panel support the development of the new operating arrangements.
FURTHER DECIDED – That the Panel recommend that Cabinet approve the service specifications and service delivery requirements as detailed in the report.
Pranali Parikh – Regeneration Manager - outlined the report to members confirming that the emerging Local Plan was due for submission to the inspector in June 2018 with the examination process expected in September/October 2018. Depending upon the outcome, adoption was likely in Spring 2019.
The draft Growth Strategy was a joint initiative between SMDC and SCC demonstrating commitment from both organisations to deliver sustainable growth in the District. Its purpose was to provide a wider growth context to prospective investors and funders and attract inward investment in the District. Key areas of intervention were:-
· Housing delivery;
· Business & Employment growth and skills;
· Visitor economy and town centres;
· Health & well-being;
The key delivery principles for the strategy were outlined and it was proposed to conduct a 4 week consultation exercise by publishing the document on the Council’s website. Email notifications were to be sent out to all relevant stakeholders, district and county councillors and parish councils. Press releases were to be prepared to notify the residents of the consultation period. Following the consultation, the comments were to be collated and incorporated in the document where appropriate and the final draft would be presented to the Full Council for consideration and adoption as a material planning document.
Points raised by members were (responses in brackets):-
· Very little Live/Work accommodation in the Moorlands. (Such schemes had to be deliverable. Low property values in the Moorlands did not attract developers.)
· Had there been any progress with The Big Mill, Mill Street, Leek? (The Council was working with the building’s owners regarding the security of the building. Discussions were ongoing with Homes England.)
· Was 4 weeks consultation a long enough period as some Parish Councils who only met once a month would not have time to consider and respond? (The consultation was not a statutory process. 4 weeks was considered to be sufficient.)
DECIDED – That the Panel NOTE the Draft Growth Strategy.
FURTHER DECIDED – That the Panel recommend Cabinet APPROVE the Draft Strategy for publication for the purpose of public consultation.
Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme. ( Presentation)
Pranali Parikh gave a presentation to members identifying that one of the main issues faced was the lack of completions in relation to the required annual target of 320. As at March 2018, there had been 142 completions, 199 were under construction, 410 had full planning permission and 654 had outline planning permission.
There had been a ‘spike’ in numbers due to the Ascent joint venture scheme, but besides this, there had been an increase over the last 3 years. The constraints to delivery were identified and the emerging Local Plan, together with the Growth Strategy and Accelerated Housing Delivery Programme (AHDP) proposed to address these. This would create opportunities, with the A50 and the railway station at Blythe Bridge being key connectors.
The key aims of the AHDP were to drive forward the delivery of the Local Plan and maintain the 5 year land supply. Also to deliver community benefits in the form of increased income from Council Tax, Business Rates and New Homes Bonus. A comprehensive package of measures to accelerate housing delivery was identified and explained:-
· ‘Open for business’ approach to planning applications and the regulatory process;
· Facilitating development on sites with unimplemented planning approvals;
· Accelerating delivery of Local Plan sites;
· Council-led proactive interventions.
The above was seen to be a multi-modal approach to tackling the housing delivery problem.
In response to comments from members, Dai Larner – Executive Director (Place) – confirmed that work was ongoing to produce a document which would help to simplify the planning process for small sites.
Dai Larner clarified the proposals in the draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which was recently subject to consultation. The document was due to be finalised later in summer 2018 and would then become a material consideration to planning applications.
With regard to SMDC’s emerging Local Plan, the draft NPPF stated that the current NPPF would apply for the purposes of examining plans submitted within 6 months of the publication of the updated NPPF. In these cases, the examination would take no account of the new NPPF. Accordingly, if the SMDC Local Plan was submitted in June 2018 in line with the agreed timetable, it would be examined under the current NPPF.
DECIDED – That the proposals in the draft National Planning Policy Framework be NOTED by the Panel and that the Council engages with the Local Government Association regarding the proposals.
FURTHER DECIDED – That the implications for the Local Plan Submission Version be NOTED by the Panel.
Any additional items to be added to the Work Programme:
· Chair’s Items
· Members’ Items
The Chair reminded members that there was an ever-present need for them to contribute items for the Work Programme. The following items were requested:-
· An update on the Cornhill project;
· A visit by a representative from the Street-Scene section;
· A more detailed report on the Growth Strategy.
DECIDED – That the Panel’s Work Programme for 2018/19 be agreed, with the additions as shown above.