Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 5th November, 2009 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Contact: Lloyd White, Head of Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

Prayers

Prayers were said by Pastor Derek Page.

1.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Bartram.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 244 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 3 September 2009

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of 3 September 2009 be agreed as a correct record.

 

4.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor advised Members that, as part of the war memorial renovation programme in the Borough, 9 memorials had been restored and two dedication ceremonies had taken place. A new web page was being designed for the Council’s website with information on the location of these memorials and the work that had been undertaken.

 

The Mayor was pleased to announce that Hillingdon had been awarded a Silver Gilt in the large city category at the London in Bloom Awards 2009 run by the Royal Horticultural Society.

 

The Mayor informed the meeting that Hillingdon had become a member of the Normandy Veterans Association.  She also advised that the BIGfest annual arts event held on 25 October 2009 had been very well attended.

 

It was with sadness that the Mayor informed Members of the recent death of Mrs Janet Routledge, the wife of Councillor David Routledge and former Mayoress of the Borough. All present stood for a minute’s silence in her memory.

 

5.

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 38 KB

To take questions submitted by members of the public in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 10.

Minutes:

Question 5.1 from Gay Brown of the Yiewsley Community Involvement Group to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation – Councillor Burrows

 

“Following influence from the Chamber of Commerce the Government required rates to be paid on empty buildings. We feel this has backfired since many companies now choose to bank the sites and demolish the buildings leaving us with rubble filled sites looking like World War II bomb sites. This has become a form of intimidation. The company thinks we will approve of a development which is inappropriate or wrong use of the site just to get rid of the eyesore! Will the Council join the move to include a policy in their Sustainable Communities Strategy to require that alternative planning permission is granted before buildings can be demolished regardless of whether they are residential or commercial?”

 

In the absence of the questioner, the Mayor put the question on her behalf and Councillor Burrows advised that a written response would be provided.

 

Question 5.2 from Kenneth Clucas of York Road, Northwood to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation – Councillor Burrows

 

“Given the inducement to vote for this administration, by offering to freeze the Council Tax, can I draw the Cabinet Member's attention to the deplorable state of the Borough's roads and pavements caused by lack of investment in regular planned proper maintenance. Colchester Road and Hilliard Road are prime examples of shabby maintenance caused by simply botching the filling of pot holes with a quick fix pile of tarmacadam creating conditions comparable to traffic calming which only last a couple of months. The resultant patchwork quilt of tarmac filled holes damages cars and creates driving hazards. When are these two roads in particular and others in Northwood Hills going to be resurfaced properly?”

 

Councillor Burrows replied that reactive maintenanceinvolved identifying and making safe dangerous defects such as potholes.  Once reported, over 99% of these dangerous defects were made safe within 24 hours. These safety repairs were not always aesthetically pleasing, and were not always as smooth as a permanent repair, but they were there to fulfil a purpose. They were designed to prevent both potential accidents and further deterioration of the surface, until a permanent repair could be carried out.

 

Permanent repairs were carried out under planned maintenance,which involved repairs such as patching or resurfacing.  The Council’s resurfacing programme was drawn up on a priority–needs basis across the whole of the Borough. The Council considered whether the road had structural problems (which might not be easily discernable from the surface) and also whether there were "serviceability" problems (where the surface was rough and unsightly).  However, the number of roads that the Council would like to resurface was greater than the available funding.

 

Hilliard Road was high on the Council’s priority list and funding would be made available to resurface it during this financial year. Although Colchester Road was not so high on the priority list, following discussions with relevant Ward Councillors, officers had been asked to keep it under review to see if it could be resurfaced by the end of this financial year.

 

In the meantime, through inspections, the Council would continue to monitor the condition of both roads and footways, and do any repairs necessary to keep them safe for residents.

 

5.3       Question from Tony Ellis of Kewferry Road, Northwood to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation – Councillor Burrows

 

“The Planning Committee process is undemocratic as an applicant has no right of reply to contest errors made by Planning officials. How do applicants and residents address mistakes in Planning officials’ reports presented to Committee if they do not have the right to challenge the Planning officer in Committee?”

 

In the absence of the questioner, the Mayor put the question on his behalf and Councillor Burrows advised that a written response would be provided.

 

6.

Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To consider the governance options available to the Council under the above act.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Puddifoot moved the recommendations as set out on the Order of Business. This was seconded by Councillor Simmonds.

 

Following debate (Councillors Khursheed, Crowe, Cox, Seaman-Digby and Mills) the motion was put to a recorded vote.

 

Those voting for: The Mayor (Councillor Harper-O’Neill), the Deputy Mayor (Councillor Yarrow), Councillors Allam, Allen, Baker, Bamber, Banks, Barker, Barnes, Barrett, Bianco, Bliss, Bull, Burrows, Buttivant, George Cooper, Judith Cooper, Corthorne, Courtenay, Crowe, Curling, Dann, Dhillon, Duncan, Eginton, Gardner, Garg, Harmsworth, Hensley, Higgins, Horn, Jackson, Jarjussey, Jenkins, Kauffman, Kelly, Liz Kemp, Peter Kemp, Khursheed, Lavery, Lewis, MacDonald, Major, Markham, Melvin, Mills, O’Connor, Oswell, Payne, Puddifoot, Retter, Riley, Routledge, Sandhu, Sansarpuri, Seaman-Digby, Simmonds, Stead, Way, White and Willmott-Denbeigh.

 

Those voting against: None

 

Those abstaining: Councillors Bishop, Cox and Rhodes.

 

RESOLVED: That:

 

1.         the outcome of the public consultation exercise, as set out in the report, be noted.

 

2.         the formal proposals for a change in governance arrangements, as set out in the Appendix to these minutes, be approved.

 

3.         the Head of Democratic Services be authorised to take the following steps in accordance with the specific requirements of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007:

a)      to arrange to make copies of a document setting out the proposals and make them available at the Civic Centre for inspection by members of the public at all reasonable times;

b)     to arrange to publish a Notice setting out the main features of the proposals in a local newspaper circulating in the Borough; and

c)      to arrange a special meeting of the Council to be held on Thursday 10 December 2009, commencing at 7.30pm, to confirm the change in governance arrangements.

 

7.

Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To take questions submitted by Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11

Minutes:

Given that questions 7.4 and 7.12 related to the same matter, the Mayor agreed that these questions be taken together and asked jointly.

 

7.4     Question from Councillor Judith Cooper to the Cabinet Member for Social Services, Health & Housing - Councillor Corthorne

 

Following the recent tragedy at Lakhanal House, Camberwell, the Cabinet Member for SSH&H commissioned an independent review of the fire safety procedures in our housing blocks. Please could the Cabinet Member provide an update on that review?

 

7.12   Question from Councillor Bliss to the Cabinet Member for Social Services, Health & Housing - Councillor Corthorne

 

The BBC has received a report from a retired architect, who had worked on the building of Lakhanal House, who believes that the use UPVC windows may have contributed to the rapid fire spreading in the tower block’s recent fire. How many of the high rise blocks in the London Borough of Hillingdon have UPVC windows fitted and has their safety in a fire been the subject of a fire risk assessment?

 

Councillor Corthorne responded that he had explained at the last Council meeting that, notwithstanding the work and processes already in place, in view of what had happened at Lakhanal House and from a due diligence perspective, in his opinion it was right for a review to be conducted with the involvement of a consultant who had worked for the fire service.  He went on to say that the high and low rise blocks and the sheltered housing blocks had had their risk assessments reviewed. Inspections of a sample of dwellings in each block were being undertaken to check the integrity of the fire compartmentation. Hillingdon Homes’ fire safety strategy and management plan were being revised following this review. 

 

In addition, the London Fire Brigade had audited a sample of the Council’s fire risk assessments and there were no major issues identified. Any necessary further actions were being undertaken. 

 

Officers from Hillingdon Homes, the Council and the London Fire Brigade were meeting later in the month to discuss the risk assessment programme and review any remaining issues and the arrangements in place to address them.  Whilst the fire risk would never be fully eliminated, the Council was satisfied that all reasonable steps were being taken to mitigate this.  Councillor Corthorne would write to Members detailing the outcome of this meeting later in the month. 

 

The initial investigations into the fire at Lakhanal House had not identified the cause of the fire or why it spread. There was also conflicting information as to whether the windows at Lakhanal House were UPVC or metal and the manner of their installation. It was noted that there was one Council owned high rise block in the Borough which was fitted with UPVC windows. The windows used in the Council’s housing stock met the British Standards for the manufacture, installation and use of UPVC windows.

 

Councillor Corthorne stated that, if a causal link was established between the fire and UPVC windows, there would be a major industry wide problem going well beyond the social housing sector into private sector housing, offices and other buildings.

 

The Council was awaiting the outcome of the enquiry into the Lakhanal House fire and would carry out any necessary steps which might be deemed appropriate as a result.

 

There were no supplementary questions.

 

7.9       Question from Councillor Gardner to the Cabinet Member for Improvement, Partnerships and Community Safety – Councillor Mills

 

Can the Cabinet Member tell the Council what he and the Safer Communities Partnership are doing in response to the latest figures in the local alcohol profiles for England, which show that in Hillingdon:

 

·           Alcohol-related crimes are significantly worse than the England average

·           Alcohol-related violent crimes are significantly worse than the average

·           Alcohol-related hospital admissions for both men and women are also above the average?

 

Councillor Mills responded that the Council’s alcohol strategy had been developed by the Safer Hillingdon Partnership, the Drug and Alcohol Action Team and the Primary Care Trust.  Although the statistics for alcohol related crimes and violent crimes were higher than the England average, they were thought to be average for all London boroughs.  Ealing and Hounslow were thought to have almost identical figures to Hillingdon. 

 

Work that was being undertaken with regard to this issue included:

·        The whole of the Borough had been designated as a Controlled Drinking Zone;

·        Pub Watch schemes had been introduced;

·        Unannounced enforcement visits were undertaken on licensed premised to make effective use of the licence review process; and

·        Alcohol awareness had been included in the Healthy Schools Programme and the positive activities for Young People programmes.

 

It was noted that Hillingdon was significantly better than the England average for alcohol attributable admissions for under 18s and binge drinking.  The Safer Hillingdon Partnership had discussed the problem of young people drinking too much and a decision made to ensure that young people admitted to hospital due to alcohol received proper follow up treatment. 

 

Councillor Gardner, by way of a supplementary question, asked when the Council’s alcohol strategy would be formalised.  Councillor Mills advised that the Council had made significant progress on the production of the strategy and he would ensure that officers sent a copy to Councillor Gardner.

 

7.1     Question from Councillor Cox to the Cabinet Member for Improvement, Partnerships and Community Safety – Councillor Mills

 

Can the Cabinet Member for partnerships detail what efforts Hillingdon Council made to ensure that proposals under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007 were submitted to the LGA in advance of the deadline of the 31 July 2009?

 

Councillor Mills assured Members that a lot of effort had gone into the consideration of how and whether Hillingdon could benefit from the Sustainable Communities Act. 

 

Councillor Cox, by way of a supplementary question, asked whether there were any plans for the Council to support the Sustainable Communities Act.

 

Councillor Mills advised that the Council would use legislation to its advantage whenever the opportunity arose.  It was noted that information had been forthcoming on the total spend of the PCT and the Metropolitan Police in Hillingdon but that no information had been released on the quangos relating to Hillingdon or the money spent on empty properties in the Borough. 

 

7.5     Question from Councillor O’Connor to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation – Councillor Burrows

 

Can the Cabinet Member provide Members with an update on the Third Runway proposal?

 

Councillor Burrows thanked Councillor O’Connor and other Members from all parties, in particular the Leader, who had tirelessly campaigned for years with local residents and NoTRAG against the most unprecedented environmental and social threat the Borough had ever faced.  The Council’s long and determined fight against the third runway was being fought on a number of fronts - locally, legally and politically – and this fight was nearly won.

 

Locally, the Council was continuing its successful partnership with NoTRAG, residents and local authorities in the 2M Group, through a wide variety of event, campaign and publicity activities.  Council officers were also well-prepared to look after the interest of residents, should a planning application for a third runway ever be submitted.  All Members would continue to be briefed through regular monthly updates from the Council’s Planning Team.

 

Members would also be aware that recently BAA had sent letters to affected residents to say that it would buy properties ahead of announcing its intention to submit a planning application.  Councillor Burrows expressed concern that BAA’s decision to start buying homes, at a time when a third runway had never seemed more unlikely, was a cold and calculated move. 

 

On the legal front, Members would be aware that on 5 August 2009, the Council had been informed that it could challenge the Government's decision to approve a third runway at the airport.  The judge, the Honourable Mrs Justice Dobbs, highlighted the 'significant public interest' in the case and ordered a 'rolled up' hearing.  A ‘rolled up’ hearing was in effect a full public hearing of the Council’s judicial review claim against the Secretary of State for Transport.  The latest position was that the Council was still awaiting formal notification of the date of the hearing, but it would be sometime next year and all Members would be kept fully informed.

 

Councillor Burrows felt that BAA had let the Government down and not supported it as an interested party in the legal challenge. On the other hand, this Council had not been let down. The Council was fortunate to have the support of many organisations representing millions of people. Joining the authority in the legal challenge were Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, Richmond upon Thames, Wandsworth and Windsor and Maidenhead councils, Greenpeace, World Wide Fund for Nature, the Council for the Protection of Rural England, HACAN and NOTRAG. The RSPB and The Mayor’s Transport for London were also backing the case.

 

On behalf of all Members, Councillor Burrows thanked the first rate team of officers at Hillingdon, who had (and would continue to) made a fantastic effort in supporting this campaign and legal challenge. Even though the Council might win any legal challenge, the political world was where the fate of the third runway would be decided once and for all.

 

Councillor Burrows announced that, in the last month, Theresa Villiers and David Cameron had re-confirmed their party’s policy to abandon plans for a third runway.  They had even warned BAA not to sign contracts for a project they would stop.  As an alternative to Heathrow expansion, Mayor Boris Johnson and others were continuing with their vision of a green airport, privately funded, on an island in the Thames Estuary.

 

In contrast, Councillor Burrows stated that BAA was having difficulties in that it had announced a pre-tax loss of more than £785m and would sell off Gatwick Airport to raise much needed money.  On top of this, Heathrow had just been voted as the worst airport in the world. 

 

According to the Sunday Times, BAA had stated that it would give up the fight if the Conservatives were to win the next election. Within 24 hours of this article, BAA announced that it remained fully committed to it. The Council had promised residents that it would take this fight all the way and it was doing this.

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

The Council’s Head of Legal Services announced that the legal challenge in the High Court had been scheduled for Monday 22 February 2010.

 

7.10    Question from Councillor Khursheed to the Cabinet Member for Improvement, Partnerships and Community Safety – Councillor Mills

 

Can the Cabinet Member explain what action he proposes to take in response to the fact that, after all the investment in community safety the Home Secretary has identified Hillingdon as one of only 62 Councils in the country needing challenge and support because at least 25% of the local population remain concerned about unsolved anti-social behaviour?

 

Councillor Mills responded that the data referred to in the question was from the Place Survey 2008/09 but that the statement was partially incorrect. The public, when surveyed by MORI, had not been asked about “unsolved” anti-social behaviour. The survey (and preceding Local Government (Best Value) User Satisfaction surveys in 2003/4 and 2006/7) had asked to what extent respondents perceived seven different types of anti-social behaviour to be a problem. The percentages were then aggregated to one figure for anti-social behaviour. In the Council’s Crime and Disorder Survey, only 19% of respondents said that they had experienced any form of anti-social behaviour in the last 12 months.

 

Councillor Mills advised that any survey should have a 3% margin of error built in and, as such, the Place Survey figure could be as low as 22% and the Council’s Survey as much as 22%.  Despite reservations about the Home Office’s analysis, the Council was happy to be challenged about its approach to anti-social behaviour.  Furthermore, despite the having a perception of anti-social behaviour figure of over 25%, Hillingdon had been selected by the Home Office for a fact finding visit in January 2010 regarding examples of best practice that could be promoted elsewhere. The Council’s Community Safety Manager had also been chosen by the Home Office to join its Expert Squad to provide the support referred to in Councillor Khursheed’s question. 

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

7.2     Question submitted by Councillor Rhodes to the Cabinet Member for Environment - Councillor Jenkins

 

Can the Cabinet Member responsible for the environment agree that if the Council have decided that an alleyway cannot be gated as it is a highway then will the Council take responsibility for clearing any dumped rubbish?

 

Councillor Jenkins responded that there were a small number of alleyways to the rear of properties that were registered as Highway land.  Responsibility to remove dumped rubbish or fly tipped waste therefore fell to the Council and the waste services team undertook the necessary clean up.  If evidence was found as to who had dumped the rubbish or where it originated from, enforcement action would be taken.

 

Councillor Rhodes, by way of a supplementary question, asked if it would be possible to put this in writing so as to avoid any misunderstanding and to perhaps include the information in the Hillingdon People.  Councillor Jenkins advised that she would look into this. 

 

7.6     Question from Councillor Baker to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation – Councillor Burrows

 

Can the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation inform this Council of the agreed policies and procedures to be followed when developers submit planning applications to the Local Planning Authority in respect of property, or of land, they do not own or have legal title to?

 

Councillor Burrows responded that, when making a planning application, an applicant had to complete a Certificate which provided details of the ownership of the site. The certificate had to relate to all the land the applicant had included in the application site by outlining the site in red and this should contain all the works and changes covered by the application.

 

There were four different circumstances where the applicant was required to complete Certificates (Certificates A, B, C and D) and the completion of each related to different situations. Councillor Burrows outlined the four circumstances in detail and stated that the Local Planning Authority (LPA) was required to check applications to ensure that the Certificates had been filled out and, in the event that they had not been completed correctly or not at all, the application would not be validated.

 

The LPA was not responsible for checking with the Land Registry that the correct Certificate had been submitted. That was the responsibility of the applicant. It was noted that it was a criminal offence to knowingly or recklessly issue a false or misleading certificate. However, such cases were rare and the Principal Planning Solicitor was not aware of such circumstances which had arisen in this authority.

 

Councillor Baker, by way of a supplementary question, asked whether the Council would write to the occupier of a property to advise them of their rights if a developer had submitted an application with Certificate B. 

 

Councillor Burrows advised that the Council was not permitted to offer such advice.  However, he had asked officers to update the Council’s website with information on where residents could obtain advice on planning matters. 

 

7.17   Question from Councillor Harmsworth to the Cabinet Member for Education & Children’s Services – Councillor Simmonds

 

Can the Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services assure the Council that the £1.2m allocated to Hillingdon for the Playbuilder programme will be spent according to the deprivation criteria specified?

 

Councillor Simmonds responded that, at a previous Cabinet meeting, it had been agreed that each of the Playbuilder schemes would be considered on an individual basis.  It was noted that deprivation was one of the main criteria for the selection of sites which had been approved by Play England and was in line with the funding requirements. 

 

Councillor Harmsworth, by way of a supplementary question, stated that deprivation was an important criteria and that Northwood was not as deprived as other parts of the Borough.  He asked if the money could be spent in the south of the Borough where it was needed.  Councillor Simmonds advised that the Council was undertaking this programme of work to address areas of deprivation in the whole of the Borough. 

 

7.7     Question from Councillor Melvin to the Cabinet Member for Improvement, Partnerships and Community Safety – Councillor Mills

 

Has any analysis of usage been carried out since the introduction of the Hillingdon First Card?

 

Councillor Mills responded that there were currently 161,793 valid cards in the scheme and that the card readers had been used for parking and at the Harefield amenity site 403,015 times.  Cards had been used on the card readers at the Council’s libraries 128,951 times.  Councillor Mills stated that it had been three months since the launch of the Hillingdon First Card and congratulated officers on its success.  It was noted that this scheme was the first of its kind amongst local authorities to adopt a blanket coverage and it had been well received by residents. 

 

The income generated by visitors to the Borough was in line with the financial forecast and the tonnage at Harefield amenity site had dropped by 446 tonnes since the card’s introduction.  Conversely, the tonnage at the Hertfordshire landfill site had increased since the card went live.  This reduction was expected to generate a saving of £70,000 per year and it was anticipated that this figure would increase. 

 

Additional businesses had also enquired about joining the scheme since its launch.  Members were advised that a survey would soon be undertaken with the business community to gauge how the scheme was working for them. 

 

Councillor Melvin, by way of a supplementary question, asked, in view of the concerns expressed by the Northwood Residents’ Association, was there any evidence to suggest that usage of the card had decreased?

 

Councillor Mills advised that the Council was aware of the support that Northwood Residents’ Association had given to non-residents in their request for a non-residents residents’ card but that this suggestion had not been taken forward.  Although it had only been 3 months since the launch of the card, there was nothing to indicate that parking in Northwood was not in line with what had been expected.

 

7.8     Question from Councillor Hensley to the Cabinet Member for Education & Children’s Services – Councillor Simmonds

 

Can the Cabinet Member for E&CS update me on recent Ofsted inspections on schools in the Borough?

 

Councillor Simmonds advised that a new Ofsted inspection regime had been introduced and a number of issues had been flagged by Councillors.  The inspections were bringing forward recommendations which the schools were finding challenging. The Council was supporting the schools in the implementation of these recommendations.

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

7.11    Question from Councillor Eginton to the Cabinet Member for Finance and Business Services – Councillor Bianco

 

Will the Cabinet Member please let me know the number of businesses operating in Hillingdon?

 

Councillor Bianco responded that the last Government figures the Council had for businesses were for 2007 (published 28/11/08) which showed that, within Hillingdon, there were 9,615 active enterprises, 1,315 of which were new start-ups during 2007. Unfortunately the Office for National Statistics published statistical information at the end of November each year so the figures for 2008 were not yet available.

 

Whilst the majority of businesses in Hillingdon were small, the Borough had over 7,500 which employed between 1 and 4 people. Hillingdon also had a greater proportion of large employers than many Outer London boroughs because of its proximity to Heathrow. It also had significant concentrations of company headquarters, especially within the Uxbridge and Stockley Park areas.

 

However, it was difficult to assess the effects of the current recession on businesses in Hillingdon

 

Councillor Eginton, by way of a supplementary question, asked why there were fewer than 2,000 businesses included in the Hillingdon Directory on the website.  Councillor Bianco advised that the Hillingdon Directory was a voluntary arrangement and, as such, the inclusion of 2,000 business on it was good. 

 

As the 45 minutes time limit had been reached, written responses would be provided to Councillors in relation to the following questions.

 

7.14   Question submitted by Councillor Jarjussey to the Cabinet Member for Environment - Councillor Jenkins

 

Given that the Civic Amenity Site in Rigby Lane, Hayes has now been closed for some months and re-development is to take place, which will take even longer, what arrangements are being made to provide civic amenity site facilities for people in the south of the Borough?

 

7.13   Question from Councillor Major to the Cabinet Member for Social Services, Health & Housing - Councillor Corthorne

 

Can the Cabinet Member inform the Council of the latest position on the action being taken to bring the management of Hillingdon Homes back under Council control?

 

7.15   Question Submitted by Councillor Duncan to the Cabinet Member for Environment - Councillor Jenkins

 

Can the Cabinet Member please inform the Council how many fixed penalty notices have been issued for dropping litter since the start of the current campaign and in which areas of the Borough?

 

7.16   Question from Councillor Allen to the Cabinet Member for Planning and Transportation – Councillor Burrows

 

Members will recall that some months ago I raised a question regarding the speed limits that had been put in place on the Townfield Estate: 20 mph in Central Avenue and 30 mph in the surrounding roads. I had requested that all roads on the Estate be 20 mph and Cllr Burrows informed us all that he would be looking into this.

 

Since then many more residents have raised concerns about this issue and some have told me that they have witnessed near misses due to cars picking up speed in the side roads. In most cases it has only been through the quick reflexes of those concerned that an accident has been avoided.

 

As the dark nights and mornings are now upon us, the unbalanced unsafe speed limits on the Estate need to be urgently addressed. I would respectfully suggest that the time for looking into this matter should come to an end and could action be taken immediately?

 

7.3     Question from Councillor Bishop to the Leader of the Council - Councillor Puddifoot

 

How many members of staff cycle to work in the Civic Centre?

 

8.

Motions pdf icon PDF 47 KB

To consider Motions submitted by Members in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 12

Minutes:

8.1 MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR MILLS:

 

Councillor Mills moved the following motion:

 

“This Council notes the Mayor of London's recently published consultation documents on the London Plan, Transport strategy and Economic Development strategy.

 

This Council welcomes the focus given by the Mayor on a wide range of issues concerning Hillingdon residents, including but not limited to:

 

·        the rejection of a third runway at Heathrow

·        the removal of arbitrary targets for affordable housing

·        the ability to provide greater protection against inappropriate development of gardens

·        the importance of the car in outer London

·        the need to support our town centres

 

The Council further notes the Cabinet’s success in winning support from the Outer London Commission on a number of key points which are now incorporated into the future plans. Council asks the Cabinet to continue dialogue with all relevant parties to build upon these themes and in particular the discussions about:

 

·        two new Express north to south bus routes

·        appropriate funding for both the social infrastructure required to support the expected growth and for the regional theatre to be sited within the revised Uxbridge town centre.”

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Burrows.

 

The following amendment was moved by Councillor Major:

 

No changes to first paragraph. 

 

Amend second paragraph to read: “This Council welcomes the focus given by the Mayor on a wide range of issues concerning Hillingdon residents, in particular the rejection of the Third Runway at Heathrow and others including:”  The delete the first and second bullet points.

 

The remainder of the motion to be unchanged.

 

The amendment was seconded by Councillor Way.

 

Following debate (Councillors Barnes, Corthorne and Eginton), the amended motion was put to the vote and lost.

 

Following further debate (Councillors Harmsworth, Duncan and Barnes), the original motion was out to the vote and agreed.

 

RESOLVED: That this Council notes the Mayor of London’s recently published consultation documents on the London Plan, Transport strategy and Economic Development strategy.

 

This Council welcomes the focus given by the Mayor on a wide range of issues concerning Hillingdon residents, in particular the rejection of the Third Runway at Heathrow and others including:

 

·        The ability to provide greater protection against inappropriate development of gardens

·        The importance of the car in outer London 

·        The need to support our town centres

 

The Council further notes the Cabinet’s success in winning support from the Outer London Commission on a number of key points, which are now incorporated into the future plans. Council asks the Cabinet to continue dialogue with all relevant parties to build upon these themes and in particular the discussions about

 

·        Two new Express north to south bus routes

·        Appropriate funding for both the social infrastructure required to support the expected growth and for the regional theatre to be sited within the revised Uxbridge town centre.”

 

8.2 motion from councillor allen

 

Councillor Allen moved the following motion:

 

“Once again I feel compelled to put another motion on this issue. We all know that there are some buildings going up in many back gardens across the borough, which the owners are calling Games rooms, although in a number of cases they are being rented out as homes.

 

Time and again when an investigation is requested, the owners of said properties get given time to empty the property before a visit is made by an Enforcement Officer. Within days or weeks after a visit from an Enforcement Officer the building is once again rented out.

 

These buildings bring hidden costs for the Council as no data is collected/available to assist in the management of need, be it Housing, Health and Educational provision etc. Also as these are separate properties and the tenants are not on the Electoral register no Community charges are collected from them to pay for the services they use.

 

The anger from surrounding residents is further heightened by what they perceive as a doorstep service being supplied by the Planning Department to those who flout the rules. Residents are aggrieved that someone who ignores planning rules and puts up a building without permission is then assisted by being given advice by an Enforcement Officer on how to make changes to enable them to make a retrospective planning application. Although the building may, in some cases be permitted development, the use as a separate dwelling requires permission. It appears to residents that all assistance is given to people carrying out unauthorised development while those acting within the law often do not receive this level of personal help.

 

In view of the above the Council calls upon the Cabinet Member to look at this issue in depth and then take appropriate action.”

 

The motion was seconded by Councillor Garg.

 

The following amendment was moved by Councillor Burrows:

                          

Delete paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 4 and replace with:

 

“This Council is aware that there is strong public concern about the development of out buildings in back gardens particularly for use as rented homes.

 

This Council notes that it is a growing problem not helped by the Government’s changes to the planning system with regard to permitted development rights. It is pleased to note that officers for Planning Enforcement, Private Sector Housing and the Councils Tax collection teams are now working together on this issue and that this issue will be given full scrutiny through the RESPOC and through the HIP process.”

 

Paragraph 5 - delete “In view of the above the Council calls upon the Cabinet Member” and replace with “This Council calls upon the Cabinet Member for Planning & Transportation”.

 

Paragraph 5 - after “…take appropriate action.” add “including lobbying Central Government to review this long ignored area of Planning Legislation to give it more teeth to prevent this spread of what is often un-neighbourly development.”

 

The amendment was seconded by Councillor Corthorne.

 

Following debate (Councillors Simmonds, Major, Duncan, Way and Markham), the amended motion was put to the vote and agreed.

 

The substantive motion was then put to the vote and agreed.

 

RESOLVED: That this Council is aware that there is strong public concern about the development of out buildings in back gardens particularly for use as rented homes.

 

This Council notes that it is a growing problem not helped by the government’s changes to the planning system with regard to permitted development rights. It is pleased to note that officers for Planning Enforcement, Private Sector Housing and the Councils Tax collection teams are now working together on this issue and that this issue will be given full scrutiny through the RESPOC and through the HIP process.

 

This Council calls upon the Cabinet Member for Planning & Transportation to look at this issue in depth and then take appropriate action including lobbying Central Government to review this long ignored area of Planning Legislation to give it more teeth to prevent this spread of what is often un-neighbourly development.

 

9.

Appendix

Minutes:

LONDON BOROUGH OF HILLINGDON

 

PROPOSALS FOR CHANGES TO GOVERNANCE ARRANGEMENTS

 

1.      In accordance with section 33E of the Local Government Act 2000, the London Borough of Hillingdon [''the Council''] has drawn up formal proposals for changes to its governance arrangements, following consultation with residents in the borough.

 

2.      The executive model which the Council wishes to adopt is the ''new-style'' Leader and Cabinet Executive [England].

 

3.      The size of the Cabinet is likely to be between eight and ten Members, including the Leader, but the final decision will be taken by the Leader following the date of the local elections to be held in 2010.

 

4.      The extent of individual Cabinet Member delegations will also be determined following the date of the local elections to be held in 2010.

 

5.      Section 33E of the Local Government Act 2000 states that the proposals may provide for a change in governance arrangements to be subject to approval in a referendum. The Council will not hold a referendum for the following reasons. Firstly, the low level of responses arising from the public consultation exercise, asking for a referendum to be held, suggests that the Council would not be justified in spending a considerable amount of time and public money in holding it. Secondly, as the Council is proposing to adopt a ''new-style'' Leader and Cabinet Executive model, which represents only a minor change from the current arrangements, this would amount to a further justification for not holding a referendum.

 

6.      The Council is required to set up a timetable for the implementation of the proposals and to provide details of any transitional arrangements which are necessary for the implementation. This timetable is outlined as follows:

 

·        6 November 2008 - The Council decided its preferred model i.e. the ''new-style'' Leader and Cabinet Executive [England].

·        Beginning of September 2009 - 15 October 2009 - public consultation exercise.

·        5 November 2009 - Council approval of these proposals.

·        10 December 2009 - Council resolution to adopt the ''new-style'' Leader and Cabinet Executive [England]

·        May 2010 - Implementation of new governance arrangements to take effect three days after the date when the local elections are held.

 

7.      With regard to the transitional arrangements, the Council is not in any way prohibited from continuing to operate its current ''old-style'' Leader and Cabinet Model which will expire three days after the date when the 2010 local elections are held. It will therefore continue to operate this model until this time when the ''new-style'' model will replace it.

 

8.      The Local Authorities [Functions and Responsibilities] [England] Regulations 2000 set out those functions which may, but do not have to be, the responsibility of an authority's executive. They are more commonly known as the ''local choice'' functions. These functions, which are currently set out on page 46 of the Council's Constitution, will continue to be discharged by the current Cabinet but this arrangement will be reviewed by the Council's new administration following the local elections in 2010.

 

9.      Finally, the Council is obliged to consider the extent to which the proposals, if implemented, would be likely to assist in securing continuous improvement in the way in which its functions are exercised, having regard to a combination of economy, efficiency and effectiveness. The "new style" model will build on the already successful way in which the Council manages its improvement programme and will ensure continued effective decision making. This is demonstrated by the Council currently being recognised as the most efficient in London and the eighth best in the UK. This model will ensure the continued drive on improvement is maintained. It will also positively support and enhance the Council's efficiency programme at a critical time of ever increasing demands on services and the continued need to reduce the level of the overall Council budget.