Agenda and minutes

Residents' Services Select Committee - Wednesday, 29th November, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Liz Penny, Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of interest in matters coming before this meeting


There were no declarations of interest.


To receive the minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 227 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting dated 25 October 2023 be agreed as an accurate record.


To confirm that the items of business marked as Part I will be considered in public and those marked Part II will be considered in private


It was confirmed that all items of business were in Part I and would be considered in public.


Hillingdon's Canals pdf icon PDF 143 KB

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Further to the Committee’s recent frontline visit on the Grand Union Canal, it was confirmed that the boat trip had facilitated in-depth conversations between different partners. The purpose of the discussion was to recap and discuss the key points raised during the site visit, particularly to update those who had been unable to attend on the day.

David Brough, Chair of the Hillingdon Canals Partnership, began by highlighting the significance of the canals in Hillingdon, stating that the Borough boasted more miles of canal than any other London Borough. He commended the initiative of those who had attended the canal site visit, emphasising the importance of firsthand experience in understanding what the canals had to offer and addressing local issues.

Several points relating to the canals were touched upon, including their role in the drainage system, being a green corridor for walking and cycling, contributing to the urban environment, providing a place for relaxation, and supporting volunteering efforts. The Council's positive efforts in improving tow paths and utilising ward budgets and Chrysalis funding for canal-related projects were acknowledged. It was noted that tow path improvements had previously been funded partly by the Council and partly by TfL; this was no longer the case as TfL funding had now ceased.

Challenges such as graffiti, litter, and antisocial behaviour along the canals were noted. More collaboration with schools was recommended to raise awareness of the canals' history and environmental significance. The need for increased funding to support canal improvement schemes and the potential impact of reduced funding for the Canal & River Trust were highlighted.

The potential of The Elsdale (the boat used for the site visit) was recognised and Members heard that this vessel was now located in West London. It had previously been used by the Council to facilitate a trip for local people with dementia which had been very successful.

Members’ attention was drawn to the Canal & River Trust canalside projects which were set out in the agenda pack. It was noted that the first item on the list (Colham Bridge approach public realm and wayfinding) would soon be underway. Other initiatives were in the pipeline. The Council had helped with funding and other funding streams from developers were being sought.

The Hayes Festival was highlighted – Members heard that this was a fantastic event which was very popular with local residents and had been supported in the past by local Ward Councillors Gardner and Farley.

It was noted that British Waterways, a nationalised industry, had previously been responsible for the canal network. This was no longer the case and the Canal & River Trust, a charity, had now assumed this responsibility. Mr Brough concluded by highlighting the impending funding challenge for the Canal & River Trust, given the expiration of the current Government grant in 2027 and the potential funding gap thereafter.

The Committee heard that addressing these challenges to prevent deterioration of the canal infrastructure was essential. Mr Brough was due to meet with local MPs in the near  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Review Topic Selection pdf icon PDF 317 KB


The Chair informed Members that the Committee’s Alley Gating review report had been well received and endorsed by Cabinet. He thanked the Select Committee Members for their hard work on the review.


Members were invited to suggest ideas for the Select Committee’s next major review topic. Councillor Farley proposed a major review of the customer service element of Housing, focusing on the end-to-end process when residents presented housing issues to the Council. He highlighted the Committee's potential to provide valuable recommendations for improvements to the service.

Members supported this suggestion and reported that they were dealing with numerous cases where it appeared that residents had received sub-standard service from the Housing Department. It was felt that improvements were needed.

Given the vast scope of the Housing area, the need for specificity in the review's focus was highlighted. Other areas of potential focus included the repair service, but it was noted that this did not fall within the remit of the Residents’ Services Select Committee.

Alternative review topic suggestions included private lettings and temporary housing conditions, given the lack of scrutiny in these areas. The importance of understanding the Locata system and procedures to better assist residents was also noted.

The ongoing impact of Heathrow Airport and the potential third runway were highlighted, and it was agreed that an information item on this matter would be added to the Committee’s future Work Programme.

In conclusion, the Select Committee agreed that their next major review would focus on an aspect of Housing; Democratic Services would liaise with the Chair and Labour Lead and work with Council officers to come up with specific points to be discussed further at the next meeting.

RESOLVED: That the Committee:

1.    Noted the guidance on undertaking policy reviews in Appendix 1 of the report;

2.    Sought to make use of the scorecard attached as Appendix 1 of the report (Annex A) to assess any policy review topic ideas;

3.    Developed a single or shortlist of potential topic ideas over the coming months or year for officers to scope further and report back to the Committee on feasibility; and

4.      Delegated to the Democratic Services Officer, in conjunction with the Chairman (and in consultation with the Opposition Lead) any further agreement of review topic selection as required.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 328 KB

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RESOLVED: That the Forward Plan be noted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 230 KB

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RESOLVED: That the Work Programme be noted.