Agenda and minutes

Council
Thursday, 22nd November, 2018 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

9.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Curling, Dhillon, Gardner, Graham, Hurhangee, Melvin and O’Brien.

10.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 167 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2018. (attached)

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2018 be agreed as a correct record. 

11.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor congratulated the Ruislip Rifle Club on winning the London Mayors’ Association London Inter Borough Small Bore Rifle Shooting Challenge Cup for the third year running.  He also congratulated Vyners School for winning the Super 1s final at Lord’s on 18 October 2018, which he and Councillor Corthorne had attended. 

 

The Mayor thanked those who had attended or been involved in the Mayor’s quiz that was held on 7 November 2018.  He advised that the next quiz would be held on 30 January 2019. 

 

Between September and November 2018, the Mayor had attended a range of wreath laying events around the Borough as well as the Safe Drive Stay Alive event which he recommended everyone make time to attend at least once.

 

The Mayor had switched on a number of Christmas lights and would be turning on the lights at the Civic Centre on 30 November 2018.  He advised that there would be a Hillingdon float in London’s New Year’s Day Parade. 

 

It was noted that the Mayor would be supporting the Big Sleep Out this year and that he would also be taking part in a Marathon Walk on 28 and 29 March 2019 to raise money for his charities and to promote health and wellbeing.

 

The Mayor invited the Leader of the Council to make a statement regarding the Heathrow Legal Challenge. 

 

Councillor Puddifoot stated that the 1972 Local Government Act enabled local authorities to prosecute, defend or appeal legal proceeding in relation to the promotion or protection of its residents.  Together with five other local authorities and the Mayor of London, Hillingdon had commenced judicial review proceedings against the Government in relation to its decision to back the building of a third runway at Heathrow airport.  The case had been set down for a ten day hearing starting on 11 March 2019 that would be heard by a High Court Judge and at least one judge from the Court of Appeal.  It was noted that four other separate judicial review challenges had been commenced. 

 

In November 2018, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had expressed concerns regarding the proposed third runway costs and timescales and stated that major doubts needed to be addressed by Heathrow decisively and urgently.  The CAA had threatened enforcement action against Heathrow to force it to provide clear evidence about how it would finance the £14bn needed to build the runway.  As public consultation on the proposed plans had been delayed until June 2019, the CAA had written to the Department of Transport expressing its concerns. 

 

Back Heathrow Limited had recently made accusations in a press release regarding the way that staff at the London Borough of Hillingdon had handled a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.  Although no Member of the Council had been aware of the FoI request, the Borough Solicitor had advised that an FoI request had been made by a representative of Back Heathrow Limited on 28 July 2018.  Back Heathrow Limited had asked how much money the Council had spent on campaigning against Heathrow expansion (including as part of the 2M Group or any other coalition of councils).  This information requirement included, but was not limited to, money spent on research, legal services, public relations, advertising, marketing, community engagement, referendums, consultations and stakeholder relations since August 2016.  The organisation also asked that the Council disclose the support in funding and in kind that it had given since August 2016 to fifteen specified groups that had opposed Heathrow expansion.  The Council’s FoI team had informed the applicant that all information relating to expenditure over £500 was published on the Council’s website. 

 

On 18 September 2018, the Back Heathrow Limited representative requested an internal review as they were unable to locate the Council’s expenditure on the legal challenge.  An internal review had been conducted by the Borough Solicitor’s deputy who had determined that, in this case, the information should be provided.  The Information Commissioner’s Office had not directed that this review be undertaken and had not been involved in the FoI request at any stage. 

 

In response to the FoI request, Back Heathrow Limited had been advised that, since August 2016, the London Borough of Hillingdon had spent £621,310.97 on campaigning against Heathrow expansion and had received £180,321.51 for contributions from partnering boroughs during that period.  Therefore, the net spend had been £440,989.46, which included £100,800 given to Stop Heathrow Expansion and £174,000 to the No Third Runway Coalition. 

 

Following receipt of the information, Back Heathrow Limited had released a number of statements and press releases stating that, between January 2007 and August 2016, the London Borough of Hillingdon had spent £827,000 on legal services, campaigning and community engagement on the run up to the legal challenge.  Since then, it had stated that the Council had spent £620,000 with £270,000 going to fund local campaign groups.  No reference had been made to the contributions made by other parties involved or the Government which had had to pay all except £20,000 of the Council’s legal fees from the 2010 case when the proposed expansion had been judged to be illegal.  There had been a deliberate inclusion of gross rather than net figures. 

 

This misrepresentation of the facts by Back Heathrow Limited had been poor.  Furthermore, Mr Parmjit Dhanda, one of the company’s directors, had stated that Councillors had not wanted residents to know that £1.4m of their hard earned cash had been wasted whilst local service had been cut to the bone.  Mr Dhanda had gone on to state that there had been a lack of scrutiny in Hillingdon and that this expenditure went against local opinion on the new runway. 

 

At the Council meeting in November 2016, referring to the legal challenge, the Leader had advised that the Council had made it clear to the Government that Heathrow continued to break the law with regard to air quality and, unless this could be resolved, the Council would progress the issue through the legal system.  At the Council meeting in January 2017, the Leader had stated that, in the ten years since January 2007, after deducting £170,000 contributed by other councils, Hillingdon had utilised £587,078 of Council funds to fight Heathrow expansion (an average of £58,708 per year or 60p per year per household or 20p per year per resident). 

 

The Leader stated that the Council would continue to provide the funding, sincerity and integrity necessary to defend and represent Hillingdon residents for however long it took to win the battle.  He advised that the Conservative manifesto for the May 2018 local elections had clearly stated that they would continue to support and lead local residents who had once again be threatened with additional noise and air pollution; a devastating effect on local communities of an expanded Heathrow Airport.  The Council had set aside sufficient funding to fight the proposed third runway at Heathrow through the various courts in the years ahead should it be required.  The Leader was confident that the proposal would again be defeated.

 

Local opinion had favoured the Conservative administration who had been returned with an increased majority.  A result the Leader believed had been achieved not only because of the policy on Heathrow expansion but also because, contrary to Mr Dhanda’s statement, services had not been cut to the bone. 

 

The Leader requested that Back Heathrow Limited provide the Council’s Chief Executive with the following information within 40 days: For each of the last three financial years, provide the name of all providers of finance together with the amount provided in each case as well as the description, value and names of providers of services and facilities to Back Heathrow Limited, including but not limited to facilities, travel, marketing and staff support.  The Council would issue a press release containing the detail of this request and the response received which would also be published in Hillingdon People to allow residents to judge for themselves the validity and purpose of the organisation.

 

The Leader stated that Back Heathrow Limited was not a resident-focussed organisation and was a control puppet of Heathrow Airport Limited.  He doubted that the organisation would respond appropriately to the Council’s request for openness and transparency but would instead demonstrate a complete lack of scrutiny that would go against the grain of local opinion.  In contrast, the Council would remain open and transparent in defending its residents and its environment against the detrimental effects of Heathrow expansion, however much it cost and however long it took. 

12.

Report of the Head of Democratic Services pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

i)          Urgent Implementation of Decisions

 

Councillor Puddifoot moved, and Councillor Simmonds seconded, the recommendation as set out on the order of business.

 

RESOLVED:  That the recent urgent decisions taken be noted.

 

(ii)        Local Government Boundary Commission Review of Electoral Arrangements

 

Councillor Puddifoot moved, and Councillor Simmonds seconded, the recommendation as set out on the order of business.

 

RESOLVED: That the contents of the Council submission to the Commission be noted.

 

iii)     Amendment to the Council Constitution.

 

Councillor Puddifoot moved, and Councillor Simmonds seconded, the recommendation as set out on the order of business.

 

RESOLVED: That Ms Sandra Taylor be named as the substitute for the Statutory Director of Adult Social Services on the Health and Wellbeing Board.

13.

Members' Questions pdf icon PDF 42 KB

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

Minutes:

6.1       Question submitted by councillor RODRIGUES TO THE Cabinet Member for EDUCATION AND CHILDREN’S Services - COUNCILLOR SIMMONDS:

 

“Can the Cabinet Member please update us about the school places position in Hillingdon?”

 

Councillor Simmonds advised that schools were a service in which the Council had a significant role and which touched the lives of a huge number of residents and, as such, the local authority had been planning for the school places that would be needed for next year.  The Council continued to fulfil its statutory duty to offer primary and secondary school places and should be proud of its record of applicants being able to secure one of their top three choices in Hillingdon.  Councillors, many of whom were governors, played a part in this achievement. 

 

The most recent OFSTED inspections indicated that 90% of schools in Hillingdon were rated as Good or Outstanding (in 2013/2014, this had been 80%).  To cope with additional demand, three new schools had been built and 26 had been expanded, providing 6,825 new school places.  The level of demand would be monitored closely by the Council as there had been a 0.3% decrease in primary school applications in Hillingdon and a 2.3% decrease across London. 

 

It was noted that there had been a 4.4% increase in school place applications across London; in Hillingdon there had been a 0.7% with 3,441 applications for secondary school.  95% of Hillingdon applications had been given one of their top three secondary school choices; the London average was 93%.  98.6% of primary school applications in Hillingdon had been given one of their top three choices. 

 

Following the baby boom of recent years, there had been a rise in the number of primary school places needed and these children were now moving on to secondary schools.  The Council had invested £260m in its school expansion programme which demonstrated the priority that was being placed on this issue.  To address the demand on secondary schools, Swakeleys and Oakwood had been rebuilt and attention was now being drawn to West Ruislip where pressure on school places remained.  Options for this area were being reviewed and possible sites would be discussed in due course. 

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

6.2       Question submitted by councillor CHOUBEDAR TO THE Cabinet Member FOR COMMUNITY, COMMERCE AND REGENERATION - COUNCILLOR D.MILLS:

 

“Would the Cabinet Member please update the Council on the situation regarding the proposal to assist local policing by purchasing Uxbridge Police Station and therefore contributing towards the running costs for a five year period?”

 

Councillor D Mills reminded Members that, in December 2017, the Council had opposed the closure of Uxbridge Police Station and suggested to MOPAC that the Council could pay £5m for the building and £250k for police operating costs per annum so that the station could remain open.  Although MOPAC had closed Uxbridge police station, police officers were regularly seen entering the building. 

 

Despite regular reminders, a reply had not been received until September 2018.  In this response, MOPAC had advised that there would be no property or financial benefits to accepting the Council’s offer. 

 

The Leader had responded in mid-September 2018, detailing the financial benefits and savings to MOPAC from not having to borrow money.  He also explained how MOPAC would be better off with a net benefit of £528k on day-to-day expenditure.  To date, although no response had been received, the Mayor of London continued to state that he did not have enough money to tackle crime in the capital. 

 

There was no supplementary question.

 

6.3       Question submitted by councillor radia TO THE leader of the council - COUNCILLOR puddifoot:

 

“Could the Leader of the Council, in his role as Older People’s Champion, please provide an update on recent developments in services for older residents in Hillingdon?”

 

Councillor Puddifoot advised that the Older People’s Plan set out a range of actions to address issues of importance to older residents.  As Older People’s champion, the Leader regularly monitored the Plan.  Action had been taken which included the supply and fitting of burglar alarms whereby 9,500 alarms had already been fitted with a further 1,000 planned in phase 2 of the scheme.  In addition, Telecareline was available free to those residents aged 75+ and dementia-friendly events and facilities had been made available to residents. 

 

Help was also available to older people wanting to downsize their homes and it was anticipated that the Grassy Meadow extra care housing would be fully occupied by Christmas.  Electric mobility scooter storage had been provided at Mandella House with other blocks of flats also being assessed for similar facilities. 

 

Keeping active was important for older people and, as such, funding had been provided by the Council for a range of events across the Borough.  The tea dances had proved very popular, as had the free swimming and swimming lessons and the brown badge parking scheme (1,077 new badges had been issued making a total of 12,292 active users in Hillingdon). 

 

Age UK offered financial health checks to older people.  These assessment had generated £921,810 of additional income for local residents.  Heater grants and loans were also available to older residents and formed just part of a comprehensive package of support. 

 

There was no supplementary question.

14.

Motions pdf icon PDF 64 KB

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

Minutes:

7.2       MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR BURROWS

 

Councillor Burrows moved, and Councillor Tuckwell seconded, the following motion. 

 

“That this Council notes that during the May local elections, residents were keen to see further improvements in the quality of roads and footpaths in the Borough.  Council further notes that as a result of the sound financial management of this administration, resources to resurface a further 36 carriageways and 33 footpaths have been released since May.

 

“Council agrees that this is a record to be proud of, especially in straightened financial times for local government, and resolves to continue to put residents first by ensuring resources are efficiently allocated to local priorities.”

 

Following debate (Councillors Morse, Puddifoot and Sweeting), it was put to the vote and:

 

RESOLVED: That this Council notes that during the May local elections, residents were keen to see further improvements in the quality of roads and footpaths in the Borough.  Council further notes that as a result of the sound financial management of this administration, resources to resurface a further 36 carriageways and 33 footpaths have been released since May.

 

Council agrees that this is a record to be proud of, especially in straightened financial times for local government, and resolves to continue to put residents first by ensuring resources are efficiently allocated to local priorities.

 

7.1       MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR DUNCAN

 

Councillor Duncan moved, and Councillor Sansarpuri seconded the following motion:

 

“That this Council requests the Cabinet to examine the issue of acquiring properties for housing where this will evict tenants who are then made homeless, but meet the Council’s criteria for housing support. This means the evicted families are put in costly bed and breakfast accommodation which is disruptive to education and employment for the families concerned. It would be beneficial for cost, common sense and compassionate reasons to maintain qualifying families within their existing homes and allow them to continue their lives undamaged by Council actions.”

 

Following debate (Councillor Corthorne), the motion was put to the vote and lost.

 

7.3       MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR SIMMONDS

 

Councillor Simmonds moved, and Councillor Lewis seconded, the following motion:

 

“That this Council expresses alarm at the rise in antisemitism in recent years across the UK. This includes incidents when criticism of Israel has been expressed using anti-Semitic tropes. Criticism of Israel can be legitimate, but not if it employs the tropes and imagery of antisemitism.

 

“We therefore welcome the UK Government’s announcement on 11 December 2016 that it will sign up to the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines on antisemitism which define antisemitism thus:

 

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

 

“This Council resolves to fully adopt the IHRA definition and is of the opinion that, whilst defending the principle of freedom of speech, thosewho have expressed such anti-Semitic tropes when criticising Israel or the Jewish community have no place in public life in this Borough.”

 

Following debate (Councillors Bianco, Money. Puddifoot and Riley), the motion was put to a recorded vote:

 

Those voting for: The Mayor (Councillor Morgan), the Deputy Mayor (Councillor Yarrow), Councillors Ahmad-Wallana, Allen, Arnold, Barnes, Bianco, Birah, Bliss, Bridges, Brightman, Burrows, Chamdal, Chapman, Choubedar, Cooper, Corthorne, Denys, Deville, Dhot, Duncan, Edwards, Eginton, Farley, Flynn, Fyfe, Goddard, Haggar, Hensley, Higgins, Jackson, Kauffman, Lakhmana, Lavery, Lewis, Makwana, Markham, Mathers, Milani, D Mills, R Mills, Money, Morse, Nelson, Oswell, Palmer, Prince, Puddifoot, Radia, Riley, Rodrigues, Sansarpuri, Seaman-Digby, Simmonds, Singh, Stead, Sweeting and Tuckwell,

 

Those voting against: None

 

Those abstaining: None.

 

The motion was unanimously carried and it was:

 

RESOLVED:  That this Council expresses alarm at the rise in antisemitism in recent years across the UK. This includes incidents when criticism of Israel has been expressed using anti-Semitic tropes. Criticism of Israel can be legitimate, but not if it employs the tropes and imagery of antisemitism.

 

We therefore welcome the UK Government’s announcement on 11 December 2016 that it will sign up to the internationally recognised International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) guidelines on antisemitism which define antisemitism thus:

 

“Antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of antisemitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.”

 

This Council resolves to fully adopt the IHRA definition and is of the opinion that, whilst defending the principle of freedom of speech, thosewho have expressed such anti-Semitic tropes when criticising Israel or the Jewish community have no place in public life in this Borough.

 

7.4       MOTION FROM COUNCILLOR MATHERS

 

Councillor Mathers moved, and Councillor Morse seconded, the following motion:

 

“That this Council calls on the Cabinet to introduce live streaming on YouTube for Executive Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committees in line the current arrangements for Full Council, planning and licencing committees.”

 

Following debate (Councillor Sweeting), Councillor Bianco moved, and Councillor R Mills seconded, the following amendment:

 

“That this Council asks the Corporate Services, Commerce & Communities Policy and Overview Committee to look at the issues pertaining to adding the Executive Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committees to those already streamed live on our YouTube channel and to report their recommendations in due course to Cabinet for a final decision”.

 

Following debate (Councillors Duncan, Milani, Puddifoot and Simmonds), the amended motion was put to a vote and carried.

 

The substantive motion was then put to the vote it was: 

 

RESOLVED:  That this Council asks the Corporate Services, Commerce & Communities Policy and Overview Committee to look at the issues pertaining to adding the Executive Scrutiny and Policy Overview Committees to those already streamed live on our YouTube channel and to report their recommendations in due course to Cabinet for a final decision.