Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1 - Wallasey Town Hall

Contact: Patrick Sebastian  0151 691 8424

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Items
No. Item

36.

Members' Code of Conduct - Declarations of Interest / Party Whip

Members are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or any other relevant interest in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.

 

Members are reminded that they should also declare whether they are subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were asked to consider whether they had any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or any relevant interest in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.

 

Members were reminded that they should also declare whether they were subject to a party whip in connection with any item(s) to be considered and, if so, to declare it and state the nature of the whipping arrangement.

 

No such declarations were made.

 

37.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2018.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were requested to receive the minutes of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee held 29 November 2018.

 

Councillor A Brame commented that he had not yet received information requested at the previous meeting in relation to the Bates Wells Braithwaite ( BWB) report ( Minute 30 refers)

 

Resolved – That the minutes be received

38.

Local Plan Progress Update pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director for Major Growth Projects and Housing Growth addressed the Committee to provide an update on progress of the Local Plan.

 

A copy of the report considered at Cabinet on 17 December 2018 was appended to the report detailing the current position. Members were advised that a high volume of responses had been received and that a summary of these responses would be published in February 2019.

 

The Assistant Director informed Members that Counsel had been appointed in November and had received the position and provided advice. Members heard how Counsel had recommended to the Council that the timetable for the preparation of the Local Plan should be reviewed to ensure that any future decisions are robust ,legally compliant and take account of all the necessary evidence base.

 

Members were then advised that in order to facilitate progress in the preparation of the Local Plan, it was recommended that the Scheme of Delegation be amended to delegate decisions relating to the approval and publication of the evidence base and associated technical reports to the Director of Economic and Housing Growth in consultation with the portfolio holder for Housing and Planning. Members were reminded that decisions relating to the implementation of policy changes would be made by full Council via Cabinet.

 

Members were then provided with an update following a letter received addressed to the Leader of the Council from Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government dated 28 January 2019. In his letter, the Secretary of State set out directions and advised that should the Council fail to comply without a good reason or should the draft Local Plan fail at examination then the Secretary of State would be minded to take over preparation of the Local Plan.

 

The Chair reminded the Committee that a ‘Call In’ meeting had been arranged for 7 February so that this matter could be discussed further.

 

Resolved – That the Local Plan progress update be noted.

 

39.

Overview of Environmental Enforcement Contract

To receive a verbal presentation.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

 

Mike Cockburn, Leader Commissioner – Environment, addressed the Committee to introduce an overview of the Environmental Enforcement Contract awarded to Kingdom (2018-2021). He explained that he was accompanied by Mr Michael Fisher, Legal Director at Kingdom who would also be providing a presentation.

 

The Lead Commissioner – Environment set out the long term journey to drive behaviour change as detailed within the Wirral Plan Pledge ‘to create an attractive environment for Wirral Residents and Visitors’. Background information was provided to Members and it was explained that Kingdom won the tender for Environmental Enforcement Contract after competing with two other companies. The three year contract commenced in August 2018 and included: littering, dog fouling, smoke free, skip permits and trade waste compliance. Members were reminded that the contract was subject to ‘call’ in’ which was facilitated and upheld by the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee in July 2018.

 

Members were advised by the Lead Commissioner that full delegation of the Council’s enforcement powers had been given to Kingdom with full compliance of the Council’s Enforcement Policy with a zero tolerance instruction. He informed the Committee that robust contract management framework, protocols, complaints and appeal processes are adhered to and that regular contract management meetings are being held.

 

Members were then informed that details of the Environmental Enforcement Contract (redacted), comprehensive set of FAQs and monthly performance reports are available on the Council’s website. Information was provided of fixed penalty notices issued in December 2018 detailing offences under age banding categories, demonstrating how the largest proportion of offences were committed by age group 20-49. Interactive maps were shown to detail litter and dog fouling fixed penalty notices (FPN’s) that had been issued in the last 36 months. Details of contract performance with regards to littering and dog fouling were also available to Members.

 

Details were then provided regarding income generation and Members were advised that Wirral Council retains income generated through court costs from prosecutions against offenders of environmental crime. Members then heard how over the past four years income generated had been re invested back into Environmental Improvement Programmes such as tackling ‘grot spots’, funding the ‘Love Wirral’ brand, litter bin provision and the ‘Love Where You Live’ volunteers support programme.

 

The Lead Commissioner set out current and ongoing operational issues and assured the Committee that allegations of misconduct made against Kingdom Officers are fully investigated. He further advised that Kingdom Officers are suffering from acts of violence, aggression and ridicule on a daily basis and these are subject to ongoing police and community safety investigations.

 

In response to questions by Members, Mike Cockburn advised that there are a number of campaigns groups and a heavy social media presence against the work of Kingdom Officers, particularly prevalent in Birkenhead Town Centre. He then then informed that the Council are contracted to still pay Kingdom if a fine is not paid. He further advised that fines should not be enforced for accidental littering and informed that no action is taken against minors  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Budget proposals pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Report to follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report by the Chair of the Committee presented the findings of two scrutiny workshops for the Environment & Scrutiny Committee in relation to scrutinising the 2019/20 budget proposals. Budget proposal workshops for Members of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee were held 4 December 2018 and 16 January 2019 and provided the Committee with the opportunity to examine in greater detail a number of budget proposals affecting services that fall under the remit of the Committee.

 

The report set out budget proposals as follows: Expert Operator of the Floral Pavilion and Expert operator of the golf courses. Summaries of Member and Officer comments were detailed within the report.

 

On a motion by Councillor A Sykes and seconded by Councillor Lewis it was:

 

Resolved (8:4: with two abstentions) That-

 

(1)  committee is concerned that all options have not been explored to make the golf courses listed viable in this proposal; and

 

(2)  committee is concerned that Brackenwood Golf Course is at a higher risk of being left as a cost to the Council budget, leading to greater risk of sale for development as the only viable future option, if excluded from the proposal, therefore, Committee urges the Cabinet Member to either withdraw this proposal, or only consider this option as a group of three golf courses including Brackenwood

 

41.

Environment O&S Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A report by the Chair of the Committee explained the process of developing and managing the Scrutiny Work Programme for the municipal year. Members were advised that the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, in cooperation with the other three Overview and Scrutiny Committees is responsible for proposing and delivering an annual Scrutiny Work Programme.

 

A Member requested that homelessness be considered as part of the work programme.

 

A Member expressed her thanks to Mark Camborne and his team for the organisation of a conference at the Floral Pavilion regarding Modern Slavery.

 

Resolved – That the work programme be agreed with the addition of a homelessness to be considered.