Agenda and minutes

Environment, Housing and Regeneration Select Committee - Tuesday, 8th June, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Neil Fraser  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence




Declaration of Interest in matters coming before this meeting




To confirm that all items marked Part 1 will be considered in Public and that any items marked Part 2 will be considered in Private


It was confirmed that all items would be considered in public.


To agree the Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 97 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting held on 20 May 2021 be approved as a correct record.


Strategic Climate Action Plan Consultation pdf icon PDF 63 KB

Additional documents:


David Haygarth, Climate Action Manager, introduced a report detailing the Council’s draft Strategic Climate Action Plan, as part of the consultation process prior to its formal submission for adoption by Cabinet in July 2021.


The Committee was advised that the Council had made three corporate commitments as part of the Plan:


1.    To lead and inspire the Borough’s residents, businesses and schools to reduce their own carbon emissions;

2.    To become carbon neutral by 2030; and

3.    To achieve 100% clean energy across the Council’s services by 2030.


It was confirmed that commitment 2 applied to public access buildings and sites where the Council paid for the energy supplies, together with the Council’s vehicles and highways assets such as streetlighting and car parks.


To achieve commitment 3, the Council was adopting a carbon neutral approach including a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, the purchase of green energy, and carbon offsetting measures.


Figures demonstrating the Council’s efforts to reduce its carbon emissions through the purchasing of green energy and fuel were highlighted, which showed a 42% reduction in emissions since 2009. Regarding green fuel, this was confirmed to be fuel that contained less carbon than previously purchased fuel.


In response to questioning from Members, it was confirmed that the consultation had included distribution to a variety of stakeholders, via the Council’s website, social media channels, and by mail. The 100+ responses received had included feedback that would be useful in drafting detailed actions moving forward. It was agreed that officers would provide Members with a summary of the actions taken as part of the consultation process.


Members highlighted that the report had omitted the circa 5,000 trees planted at Field End Recreational Ground. Officers advised that this would be amended for the final report.


Members referred to questions submitted at the now retired Corporate Services, Commerce and Communities Policy Overview Committee, and officers confirmed that answers were still being sought. Once available, the additional information would be passed to Members.


Members requested that detail on energy saving measures identified at the Borough’s libraries, together with detail on how the Council was updating its fleet of vehicles (for example, to include electric vehicles), be shared following the meeting.


Regarding flood mitigation to address rising waters due to climate change, it was agreed that the clerk would seek further detail form the Council’s Flood Water Management officers before feeding back to the Committee.


Following discussion, it was agreed that the following be submitted as the Committee’s comments to Cabinet as part of the consultation process:


The Committee support the measures outlined within the proposed Action Plan to address climate change through the reduction of the Council’s carbon footprint. The Committee notes the actions previously taken that have resulted in significantly reduced  emissions, and is eager to see further successes as a result of the Plan’s approval and implementation.




1.    That the report be noted;

2.    That the additional information requested above be forwarded to the Committee following the meeting, and;  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Housing Strategy - Development & Consultation pdf icon PDF 175 KB


Debby Weller, Housing Policy and Strategy Manager, introduced a report detailing progress made in preparing the draft Housing Strategy 2021/22 to 2025/26, including the timetable for delivery, the current policy environment and key challenges, emerging strategic direction, and priorities and consultation plans.


For context, housing market activity had been seen to have declined as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but had since recovered strongly. House prices had risen by approximately 4%, while flat prices had remained stable. London prices remained markedly more expensive than other areas, though prices outside London were growing more rapidly as people were moving to rural locations in search of more space.


The policy and legislative context for housing had a focus on  addressing fire safety and other health and safety concerns, housing conditions, social housing landlord’s relationships with tenants and leaseholders, climate change and environmental concerns, domestic abuse, and changes to planning such as permitted development rights, the new London Plan and reforms set out in the planning white paper and the forthcoming planning bill.


Proposed housing strategy priorities related to place shaping, increasing access to affordable homes, improving housing standards, support for the Charter for Social Housing Residents, and supporting independent living, together with addressing climate change and normalising service delivery following the pandemic.


Place Shaping involved Housing Services contributing to ensuring inclusive, greener and sustainable places across a wide range of services which included collaboration between health, social care and housing sectors. The Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy was currently under development and would be informed by housing issues identified following the pandemic, such as overcrowding.


The Council’s need for affordable housing remains, but the profile of the homes needed has changed, with an increased demand for family housing. Housing Standards in the Council stock would be a key element of the Council’s Housing Revenue Account Business Plan, which would include compliance with new building safety requirements.


Implementing the Social Housing Charter was to be supported through increased digital tools, resident surveys and benchmarking. Homelessness was expected to rise following the ending of the ban on evictions, which would increase pressure on the homelessness prevention service. Improvements to housing services would include improved joint working with social care, Domestic Abuse Housing Alliance (DAHA) accreditation, further support for older people, and support for residents with autism or dementia.


The draft strategy would be widely consulted on, likely between July and September, before a further report to this Committee. Thereafter, the Strategy would be submitted for endorsement to Cabinet, before approval at Full Council.


Members sought further information on a number of points, with officers responding as follows:


Regarding the licensing of landlords prior to their renting of a property, Homes of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) landlords required a licence before renting an HMO property to five or more people. Additional licensing was dependent on the Council evidencing the requirement for additional conditions to address issues, such as antisocial behaviour. The Council did not place families into HMOs, instead placing into separate dwellings that adhered  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


New Call-In Process


Further to correspondence issued by Democratic Services on the new scrutiny call-in procedure detailing the Council’s decision to transfer this responsibility to Members of the relevant Select Committee, Members received a verbal update on the procedure change. The Committee was informed that the correspondence explained the procedure and provided detailed guidance, along with a guide on how to download or use the new Scrutiny App.


RESOLVED: That the verbal update on the Scrutiny Call-in Procedure be noted.



New Review Topic Selection pdf icon PDF 82 KB


Consideration was given to the Committee’s potential first review topic. The clerk advised that, following discussions with officers, the following topics had been suggested for the Committee’s consideration:


1.    Maintenance and improvement of the playground areas of our parks;

2.    Practical measures to improve air quality;

-       key players such as public health, planning, transport, use of green infrastructure etc.

3.    Improving feedback from residents of social housing and how to improve estates with use of Better Neighbourhood Fund;

-          I.e. ‘the voice of tenants and leaseholders’.


Members discussed the proposed topics and suggested additional review topics detailing the experience of residents in crisis within rented homes, and how the Council was regenerating its High Streets. It was agreed that these topics could be considered for a future information report or review, and would be further discussed during the Committee’s Work Programme item (agenda item 10).


Members were supportive of the proposed topic number 3, as set out above, and agreed that this should be approved as the Committee’s first review. It was suggested that the review could include feedback from social housing tenants, residents associations, street champions, and Ward Councillors. Areas of focus could include the condition of properties prior to a tenant moving in, the addressing of antisocial behaviour and involvement from the Police, accessibility and adaptations for residents with disabilities, and the information provided to landlords and tenants at the beginning of an occupancy.


It was confirmed that the clerk would bring a scoping report on the topic to the next meeting of the Committee.


RESOLVED:  That the topic of ‘Improving feedback from residents of social housing and how to improve estates with use of Better Neighbourhood Fund’ be approved as the first review of the Select Committee.


Cabinet Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 52 KB

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to Cabinet’s Forward Plan.


RESOLVED:  That the Cabinet Forward Plan be noted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:


Consideration was given to the Committee’s Work Programme for 2021 and beyond.


Members suggested additional topics for information reports, including:


·         Hosing tenants in crisis / within rented Council homes;

·         How the Council was regenerating its High Streets, particularly following the pandemic;

·         Alleygating within the Borough;

·         Houses of Multiple Occupancy within the Borough;

·         Empty properties within the private sector (and how the Council could work to bring these properties back into use);


It was agreed that the clerk would review the above topics for suitability before bringing an updated work programme to the next meeting of the Committee.




1.    That the Forward Plan be noted, and;

2.    That the clerk review the above topics for suitability before bringing an updated work programme to the next meeting of the Committee.